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Even “Home” Can be a Scary Place

Benjamin Rivers, creator of Home - A Unique Horror Adventure, shares a little of the thoughts and design choices and work on his acclaimed game.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

First released to PC and then to the iOS, Home has been applauded for its narrative and awe-inspiring atmosphere of horror. While the initial idea of the acclaimed horror game began with a very different tale among his personal stories, Benjamin Rivers took to the idea of creating a thriller and warped this story into its persona today.

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Its creation process undertook a series of questions to fine-tune its idea. “Home was created as a bit of an experiment,” Rivers stated. “From there, everything was a series of questions: what’s the point of the game? What can I do differently? What can I realistically program? How do I make this?”

Making a “Home” Feel Like a “Home”

The game was made with a retro-bit style similar to older Nintendo system video games, but the visual effect remains intact with scenes littered with minute details to the very real and blunt of a body bleeding against the wall. What likely hits these various terrifying queues all the harder is the music. From one room to the next, the audio frequently exhibits a raw silence that aches the ear for sound until a creepy note, rustle, or noise breaks the quiet void.

Rivers, however, does not take credit for the myriad of sounds featured in the horror of Home. “As you may have noticed in the credits, all of the game’s sounds were open-source or Creative Commons-licensed pieces. I didn’t do any actual recording or Foley work.” Except one, he admits, stating to have worked on his own on the title screen soundtrack.

The timing and tune of these sounds are in such sync with everything that players of the game often reactivated negatively to the game and feel uncomfortable, which caused Rivers to give an amused, “It was a game meant to create discussion so, if no one was upset, I knew it wouldn’t be very interesting.”

A New Homestead

While the iOS release has been announced as having been a definitive director’s cut of the original PC version, Rivers stated that he has not forgotten his original work. He did go on to state, “Home is exactly the game I wanted it to be. I think I can only move forward at this point.”

Thus, moving forward, Rivers is already in the planning stages for a new title, a dating simulator — with as many twists and psychological manipulation as Home. Given the detail and work he prizes and has been applauded for in Home, the video game community can be sure to expect that his next work shall likely share in the same heart and thought.

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