Amnesia Dark Descent  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Amnesia Dark Descent  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Survival Horror - Does it Scare like it Used to? Mon, 05 Oct 2015 20:07:55 -0400 Damien Smith

Over the years we have seen the genre of survival horror change greatly in various ways. It all started with the grandaddy of them all, Alone in the Dark but it wasn't until Resident Evil that the genre really began to shine. These changes are so great in fact that, some franchises have become but shadows of their former selves, the original two named above in particular. The question that such changes leave one wondering is, due to change, do survival horror titles scare just as well as in the old titles?

 (Alone in the Dark, 1992)

To Jump Scare or not? 

It would seem there is a divide in the design of survival horror games these days where they are becoming either all out jump scare syndrome or joining on the Amnesia The Dark Descent bandwagon. Jump scares are simply not scary, they are startling and nothing more than that. Therefore that style of game is not really horror and gets thrown out the window.

From that the Amnesia bandwagon looks like the way to go when it comes to horror these days but are they truly scary? Let's look at the classic itself, Amnesia The Dark Descent. Despite the fact that it was Frictional Games first title Penumbra that gave birth to this form of survival horror gameplay, it wasn't until Amnesia that it turned into the cash cow that everybody wanted to also have a piece of the pie.

Amnesia was a great game in its own right and oozed with a classic and done-right atmosphere. It truly had its great moments that were really intense and quite horrifying. The one prime moment that stands out for me is in the flooded cellar with the invisible monster in the water, where you had to jump from crate to crate avoiding it below.

What followed was one of the most intense moments in video game history where you're pursued down corridors and having to close doors behind you to escape the monstrous being. These two moments were easily the greatest moments in the entire game, but where does that leave the rest of it? The rest of the game felt rather boring after experiencing that and I never truly felt like I was in any danger afterwards. I often saw creatures in the distance but never really face to face. Even when I did, I didn't have enough time to get a good look at them for them to have any form of scare while running from them. I could have had a big wide-eyed cuddly puppy dog chasing me and it would have had the same effect as long as it killed me.

(Invisible Creature in Amnesia: The Dark Descent)

So is Amnesia really that scary of a game? Not really, it has its moment but I wouldn't call it extremely scary nor as scary as the hype would make it out.
What about Outlast?

Let's look at Outlast next. Outlast was without a doubt a damn scary game at times, but it was scary for a different reason to that of Amnesia. I often refer to Outlast as a completely relentless beast, as essentially that is exactly what it is. It simply does not stop from the very first moment you're pursued, giving you very little breathing time before something is once again attempting to crush your skull in.

(One of many threats in Outlast)

Hiding from enemies was not easy either as they would often search the areas that were possible to hide in such as lockers, under beds and so on and so forth, meaning there was always the possibility that you would be found. It genuinely scared me, my heart was racing, my body temperature increasing and wondering should I continue to play or give it a break. That relentless feeling mixed in with amazing lighting and atmosphere worked brilliantly but this is the only case of a survival horror game that has scared me in recent years and yet it still felt like something was missing. It still didn't scare me like that of the old games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

What is that thing that is missing you might be thinking. In order to answer that question we need to look back into the game that made the genre the greatness that it once was. Let's go back to 1996 and take a look at the original Resident Evil on the Playstation 1, the game that brought the genre into a being of its own.

(The First Zombie Encounter in Resident Evil)

What did Resident Evil do right?

Resident Evil pitted you against an array of horrors in a very much claustrophobic mansion, with long tight corridors and this ever impending feeling of doom and dread. The ambient music that ran in the background as you journeyed through the mansion just added to this already eerie and mysterious building along with the dimly lit rooms, traps and ambushes.

Ammunition was scarce, wasting it would lead to certain death, awkward tank controls made it extremely hard to control compared to today's control standards and the fixed camera angles worked perfectly. Due to the camera angles you never really knew what was behind that corner you were walking towards if anything at all. It all left this amazing everlasting psychologically effect on the player's mind. Silent Hill did exactly the same thing but added in the likes of limited visibility with darkness and fog mixed with extremely strange monsters that made your skin crawl to enhance the psychological effect even further.

 (The Darkness Adds to an Already Overwhelming Sense of Dread)

You see it is that psychological effect that is missing from modern-day survival horror, where the game developers create them in a way to play tricks on the player's mind to the point that their mind creates the horror within itself.

Modern day survival horror even the greats like Amnesia and Outlast are predictable, you know from the design of a room or even from how long it has been since your last encounter when something is going to happen. You know full well it's about time.

The modern survival horror games are so highly scripted and linear that it's like following an instruction manual and you quickly begin to see this A,B,C style of design coming into play. While back in the 90s developers were much more limited in what they could do and had to use what they had available and create more of a psychological effecting experience in order for their games to scare.

I have often heard people saying "If a survival horror game has guns in it, it isn't scary".

The thing is, having access to a gun in a place full of monsters with little to no places to hide and having little ammunition at your disposal serves a psychological impact on the player immediately in its own right. The player begins to question "do I kill this monster and risk being lower on ammunition than I already am, or do I find a way around it and save ammunition for later when I find myself backed into a corner?"

It is the psychological aspect of horror that is missing from today's survival horror games. Those moments where the player questions themselves, their actions, their perception and their minds. It is within a persons own mind where the greatest of horror truly lives and this is why survival horror games were scary back in the 90s, as they had such an effect on the player as oppose to today's survival horror games.

I dream of the day that survival horror games go back to having such effects on the player as it is only then that the genre will reach its greatness once again like it was so many years ago. I feel that if survival horror was going to go back to its true roots with developers understanding what it is that actually made them scary back in the day, that with modern-day technology we could have some of the scariest experiences ever created in any form of media.

That brings me back to the original question of this entire article. Does survival horror scare like it used to? The answer to that question is simply no.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent free on Steam; until 9/16 at 10 AM Pacific Tue, 15 Sep 2015 19:54:37 -0400 Courtney Gamache

The "Overwhelmingly Positive" horror-survival-adventure game developed by Frictional games called, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a free addition to your Steam library until September 16th at 10 AM Pacific. The reasoning behind the free game is a large Frictional Games Sale that is taking place until September 18th. Complete list of games on Sale

Among the Frictional Games Sale are five complete games that are on sale for up to 80% off, including upcoming game release, SOMA. Below is the full list:

Is it worth getting Amnesia: The Dark Descent?

In this first person survival horror game, the goal is to not only survive but also escape with your (Daniel's) wits in-tact. This difficult task is posed upon the gamer by questioning every move that you make; from standing in the light of your lantern to walking in the abyss of darkness. Find out how far the human mind can stretch in a game where insanity is a large possibility from the trials that an eerie castle possesses, along with the inhabitants that are inside. 

So of course the game is worth it. Not only is Amnesia: The Dark Descent competely free and entirely yours once you "purchase" the free game; but you can play it at your leisure and take the needed breaks that the intense game requires. Do you plan on adding the free game to your library? Have you played Amnesia: The Dark Descent before? Share your thoughts below on the horror-survival-adventure game.

Video Games in the Classroom Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:04:36 -0500 Pip Simon

Today, I want to write about my experiences using video games as an educational tool in my classroom. I'll start by giving you some background information, so you have a better understanding of where I am coming from. I work at the coolest private school in Washington DC, Emerson Preparatory School. I'm a third year teacher, teaching grades 9-12.

Emerson Prep is a unique learning environment, unlike any school I have encountered. The classes are very small, capping at 12 students per classroom. This is ideal for project-based learning and differentiated instruction. I teach a variety of subjects. Over the past three years I have taught Ancient Myth, Cultural Geography, Film Studies, Filmmaking, The Art and History of Graphic Novels, Psychology, and many more courses that have been absolutely amazing to teach.

Video games are a teaching tool that I feel are often overlooked by educators. I understand that in some schools it may be nearly impossible to incorporate video games in the classroom due to time constraints, standardized testing, class size, and possibly a limited budget, but I'd like to share my experiences and offer suggestions for how you might consider using games in your classroom.

The first time I tried using a video game in the classroom was when I was teaching Psychology. At the time the classroom had 9 students. Students were studying how fear effects the body physically and mentally, and they were questioning why humans are often attracted to media that is fear-inducing (horror movies, horror literature, etc.). After much deliberation I decided to conduct an experiment with them using Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games. Amnesia has some graphic scenes, that being said the first part of the game is frightening, but ultimately mild and easily digested by high school juniors and seniors. 

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a horror game, played for first-person perspective. You play as a man named, Daniel, who wakes up in a mansion with no memory, and just a note written to himself, instructing him to kill someone. As you navigate the mansion, you are not given any weapons. The lack of weapon makes you feel helpless; the only way to survive and keep your sanity is to hide from the misfigured monsters lurking in the dark. 

For the experiment we set up my computer at the front of the room and connected it to our TV using HDMI. To create an environment suitable for game play we covered the windows with poster board in an attempt to get the room as dark as possible. We decided that one at time for approximately 10 minutes the students would trade off playing the game.

While one student was playing, the other students would observe their peer's physical state as the game progressed. They would write down their observations and hypotheses in their journals, which we would later share in order to form useful data. We varied our experiment from time to time during the class period. Some students would use headphones while they played while others did not. Students were vocal about their video gaming experience; some students were veteran gamers, and for others this was the first time they had played a video game. We took all of this into consideration as we observed the player's reactions to the game.

Their journals were filled with notes about how some students were scared while playing, but pressed onward into the descent, while others were too frightened to move forward. They concluded that playing this particular game with headphones was much more immersing than playing without them. Students also recognized that non-gamers were at a significant disadvantage. Due to their lack of experience this would be a somewhat stressful activity even if it hadn't been a horror game. At the conclusion of the experiment students wrote about possible flaws in the experimentation process, and attempted to design a more effective way of measuring people's reactions to horror games.

This activity was an overwhelming success. Students learned how create an experiment, how to record data, analyze their findings, and how to pick out flaws in experimental design.

In later articles I want to provide lesson plans for other games that I have used in the classroom, and offer suggestions for how you might incorporate gaming in your lessons. The next article will feature Year Walk and Minecraft. If you have any questions or suggestions for possible games that could serve as educational tools, please share in the comment section below.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Available Today Tue, 10 Sep 2013 10:52:59 -0400 Courtney Gamache

Today is the day all Amnesia: The Dark Descent fans have been waiting for. We have a game with the same grotesque horror feeling made by the same developers, who are also famous for Dear Esther. We'll be able to expect the same scary thrilling game we've come accustomed to with The Dark Descent, only A Machine for Pigs might have a twist upon it.

Spoilers ahead, beware!

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is centered around an industrialist named Oswald Mandus. He ventured just a bit too far in a Mexico expedition and returned home a bit more disturbed than when he left. Lucky enough, he recovers from the nightmares hes plagued with, unable to remember how much time has passed. Upon his recovery and slumber, he hears a machine below him come to life.

How similar is this to The Dark Descent?

This game is definitely very similar to our beloved horror, The Dark Descent. The darkness and light will equally become your enemy while you're guided with a lantern... again. As always, you won't have any weapons except your wits upon you, while traveling alone hoping to survive. The enemies are similar in the aspect that you can't harm them, and that they look a bit deranged like in the first game.

Where can I play the game?

Today, you're able to purchase Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs through many online stores including Steam, GOG, GamersGate, Gamefly, Desura, and the Mac Game Store. The game runs at $19.99 like The Dark Descent.

Only time will tell if this game can measure up to the horror games we're used to from Frictional Games.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Gets Release Date! Fri, 16 Aug 2013 15:52:24 -0400 Miranda Kirk

The highly anticipated Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, the followup to Frictional Games’ original Amnesia: The Dark Descent, finally has an official launch date. After a few set backs and delays the team at The Chinese Room have set the release date for September 10. 

Also pre-orders just opened up on Steam with a 20 percent discount from the $19.99 price that will be set at launch--meaning you can grab it now for $15. The game is being developed for PC, Mac and Linux so all can indulge in this game.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent was a game that prompted many players to put up what seemed like an unlimited amount of Let’s Play videos. The game was so scary some people would rather just watch than play for themselves. If Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is anything like its predecessor I’m sure people will be lining up to watch their friends get the life scared out of them.

 Let’s all hope that the game will be worth the wait. I think considering two amazing teams collaborated on this one (The Chinese Room being the developer and Frictional Games producing); we will all be in for a good scare.

So if you are daring enough to play through yet another horrifying experience, pre-order today!

Tell me what you think about indie developers and their many delays! Do you think people are going to be hesitant about buying the game because of the push backs, or do you think allowing these developers time just makes the game better once it finally releases? Does consistency matter?

Time For Another Case of Amnesia Thu, 18 Jul 2013 18:49:03 -0400 Sinh Taylor

Back in 2010 a little known studio by the name of Frictional Games released a game that would forever change the "survival horror" genre, Amnesia: The Dark Decent. The PC game (also later available on Mac OS X and Linux via Steam) was released as an independent download and recieved critical aclaim, eventually receiving the title "scariest game ever made" by fans. Late that year, the DLC pack, Amnesia: Justine, was released. At the 2011 Independent Games Festival, Amnesia won awards for "Excellence in Audio" and "Technical Excellence" as well as the "Direct2Drive Vision Award," which came with a $10,000 cash price.

In early 2012, the studio released one of the most creative bits of viral marketing to date. They updated thier website, simply called "Next Frictional Game," to feature a heavily distorted and blurred image above the "Amnesia" logo. Across the bottom were simply the words, "Something is emerging...." Clicking the blurred images would take the user to a Google map simply labeled "China." Later the image lead to "Boreray" until finally leading to the specific "502 2nd Avenue Seattle, WA, USA." This was bit of an easter egg for fans. Even moreso, opening the site's source code led fans to a computer-like console complete with a count down and runable command lines. Once the countdown expired, the website reads "A Machine For Pigs coming fall two thousand twelve."

Fast forward to June of 2012 and a mysterious video pops up on the Frictional Games YouTube channel. The "teaser trailer" was for the previously known "gameB" it showed some scenes from the game, ending with the player hiding under the stairs.

In October 2012, on Halloween, a second trailer was posted on the YouTube page. This reveiled the use of a latern as well as the voice of the main character. This trailer ended with the main character cornered in the game's pig slaughterhouse by an unseen beast.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is set to release Summer 2013

A mother playing Amnesia Fri, 12 Jul 2013 20:09:44 -0400 oosah

With video games becoming more and more popular among all ages of people I was curious to find out what my mother is playing. She is somewhere between the ages of senile and dementia, so I asked her a few questions and here are the answers.

First off, why don't you tell me the name of your favorite video game?

"I don't know. Maybe The Walking Dead, Penumbra, or Amnesia. It depends what questions you are going to ask me. I guess Amnesia."

Amnesia: Dark Descent?


What do you like about it?

"It's a role playing game, but it is not just a shoot-me-up. It has logic and puzzles."

Did this game scare you, as they say it does?

"If you play the game in the dark - like they tell you to - it has a different feel, but I did not have any nightmares. It did not affect me on a personal level. I can seperate fiction from reality."

Are you sure?


Where did you find out that this game existed?

"My kids found it and told me that I would probably like it. I like logic and puzzles, but all they ever play is violent games. I'm not into that, but I don't mind killing stuff every now and then."

When during your playthrough did you realize this was a great game?

"I barely remember playing the game, but I know that after a few hours I was determined to finish the game. By the time I finished it I think amnesia kicked in."