From a technical standpoint, the majority of present-day horror games have successfully built upon mainstays in the genre, changing up many of the elements to make themselves fresh and unique. Unfortunately, even the best modern games in the genre have succumbed to the ever-reliable but overused “jump scare.”
So while cleverly designed games like Until Dawn and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard are incredible feats in most respects, one thing that they still rely on too often is the cheap jump scare.
Basically go from quiet to loud in an instant, or have something happen completely out of the blue, and you’ll achieve a jump scare. But is there really any creativity in that?
This is another annoyingly persistent aspect of horror movies infecting horror games – practically every mainstream horror movie in recent years has used the tactic, so unsurprisingly, we now see it regularly in our video games. Horror entertainment is at its most frightening when it utilizes different means to elicit extreme responses from spectators, and unfortunately, we horror/gamer fanatics just don’t see that enough.
Please stop jump-scaring us. Just stop it.
There are a lot of great horror games out there. And many of them are scary as all Hell. However, it seem that more and more are taking advantage of players by not pushing past trends into brand-new territory.
As time goes on, here's to hoping that more horror video game developers think of more experimental ways of achieving scare factor. Thinking outside of the horror box isn’t just confined to storytelling traits, but if done correctly, it can permeate throughout every facet of a game’s design.
Want to make a truly horrifying gaming experience? Don’t just emulate tired cliches and tropes for an instant reaction – true horror goes far beyond that narrow-minded philosophy.
Image source: Players Press Start