At What Point Do Horror Experiences Become Un-Fun?
If you didn't know, the anticipated horror game Outlast 2 was shown off during PAX East.
And here are just a few of the eye-catching headlines from sources that went hands-on with the terrifying new adventure:
"I got my d*ck destroyed in Outlast 2" -- Destructoid
"Outlast 2 - You are going to need some new underwear" -- GamersFTW
"I'm never playing Outlast 2 again" -- Twinfinite
"Outlast 2 is Terrifying -- GameSpot
A few things come to mind when reading these reports and commentaries. Firstly, I used to be shocked at just how desensitized we've all become but I'm no longer surprised at what has seemingly no effect on people. Secondly, this reaction reminds me of that P.T. demo - you know, the one for the "Silent Hills" game that never happened - and how it really hit home for lots of gamers. Hell, I remember being decidedly on edge when playing. But thirdly, and perhaps this is a ridiculous question for true horror fans who understand this better than I, I have to wonder: At what point does this stop being entertainment?
I get the basic premise, of course. Humans have been listening to scary stories since the dawn of time; there's just something about them that caters to the dark corners of the psyche. I've known several people who have always lived for the thrills and chills in a good horror movie (and when I say "good," I'm referring to the quality films that understand the nature of suspense and fear, as opposed to gore-fests that are only about titillation and general shock factor). But I'm not sure they know where the line is, or even if there's a line that separates "fun" from just plain terrified.
And what really is "fun scary," for lack of a better term? Is Outlast 2 pushing the boundaries here? Are people really going to actually dislike playing it because the scare factor is simply too high? Can it even be too high? What happens if a horror fan experiences a "too high" fear factor? When they realize it's no longer fun, that they just want to stop, is that, in and of itself, "fun?" It's kinda like this bizarre circle that I can't quite figure out and defies logical explanation.
As for what it can do to somebody psychologically, that's another subject for another time. Let me just say that people who believe it has zero impact whatsoever are absolutely clueless. The impact is definite; it's just a matter of whether or not it can actually affect our behavior, perception, daily lives, etc. And I'm not about to get into that now. I just want to know where the "fun" line is when the horror starts to escalate...
Related Game(s): Outlast 2
4/24/2016 9:18:10 PM Ben Dutka