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Amnesia

I was told that Amnesia was an excellent and extremely frightening game. I vaguely wondered what could ever be good about a game being scary. This vague curiosity became more pressing when I started to experience first hand just how frightening it was.

I gave Amnesia a try with my mind as open as possible. I decided to play it with headphones on, the lights off and exclusively at night time. I played it fullscreen, with the in-game audio on nice and loud. No-one else would be in the room as I played, and I would not have skype or the radio on to distract or comfort me. Whilst I had not played any games of this type before, I certainly knew the sorts of strategies I could employ to protect myself from being sucked into the experience and took steps to prevent myself using them.

I would not try to trip the game up or mess it around. I would not (as I otherwise would) use my years of gaming experience to try and break it, or to probe the limits and rules of its artificial reality. I would take it on its own terms and with sympathy for what it was trying to do. With this in mind, watch the following, HD and fullscreen:

Amnesia is a very frightening game. 20 minutes in, I was running my character down a corridor and into a side room to hide from an enemy. I found a wardrobe, climbed in and shut the door firmly behind me. The danger soon passed, but it took me five long minutes to get myself to open that door and carry on.

At several points I found myself silently pleading with the game mechanics to let up: “You really gave me a scare there Amnesia! That’s surely enough! Look how frightened I am now! Surely you will have to dial things back a bit now, even if its just to lull me into another false sense of security?…etc” The game frightened me into violating one of the rules I had set for myself at the outset – one of the rules that was there to prevent me from cheating the game out of its chance to scare me. I think this speaks for itself.

Amnesia has made me wince, swear, flinch violently, and – I must admit – even whimper. On a few occasions as I played it, I caught myself rocking on my chair. I had a few special twitches during the time I was playing Amnesia. John Walker – in his excellent review on RPS – puts it superbly: “I was inventing new swears by the end of it… I confess I yelped on more than one occasion. One of them might be considered, by some, to be a squeal. But more often I’d find myself rigid with fear, my stomach pressed against my desk as I leaned into the monitor trying to reach the next illusion of safety more quickly.”

Right now I’m not primarily interested in exploring why Amnesia is so frightening. What I am interested in here is examining what unique opportunities a game like Amnesia has to do special and interesting things. I will explore the answers I found the most compelling; no doubt there are others. (When I say ‘game like Amnesia’, the main qualities I have in mind are how frightening it is, the weakness of its main character and its problematisation of light and safety.)

From http://www.amnesiagame.com/#media

In a noninteractive medium such as film or literature, you cannot change the way the plot will unfold. In a game, however, even if there is one ‘correct’ path through, you still have to achieve it. In watching a film or reading a novel, you do not have the terrible burden of responsibility for the characters involved. In a film you can even sigh or chuckle at the inept planning of the characters on screen as a way of dealing with the stress of their situation. In a game you are a full stakeholder in the drama.

Whereas a film merely demands that you watch and respond emotionally to what is happening on screen, a game requires active engagement. You have to be thinking and planning, quick-witted, dexterous – actually doing things. In a game you are saddled with the terrible burden of having to plan, execute and survive.

It is worth taking some time to establish the unique vulnerability of the character you play as in Amnesia. No weapons, armour or radar, no ability to incapacitate or harm any possible threats. Physical vulnerability is paired with mental vulnerability: your character in Amnesia will go insane if they look at too many frightening things (like mutilated corpses and monsters), and if they spend too much time in the dark. (Whilst Amnesia’s reduction of mental health to a ‘sanity meter’ is obviously an oversimplification, it is a minor quibble, especially if you are willing to accept ‘health meters’ in games in the first place).

Unsurprisingly, much of the game is in dark and shadowy locations. You have a lantern and a limited supply of oil and matches. You need light to explore and stay sane, but it has the drawback of revealing your location. Weighing up the trade-offs involved here is one of the crucial dynamics in the game.

It is crucial that you cannot fight, only run and hide. Progress means exploring, sneaking, puzzle solving and surviving. Because the set of skills you have relative to the threats you face in the game is so limited, you are perpetually in a state of vulnerability and impotence. This means that progress is always demanding – both psychologically and in terms of the limited options at your disposal. Moving forwards is always risky, unattractive and frightening – but you have to. Or else you’ll starve in that cupboard.

As my friend Sasha pointed out in discussion, your vulnerability and inability to fight back makes death this flinching, horrible, terrifying thing again in videogames. No insert coin, no respawn. Death in Amnesia is much more painful and profound than we are used to in games– this is no mere frustration to be dealt with through the quickload function. My character died three times during my play through and I still feel something approaching guilt and shame about each death – part of me doesn’t even want to write about them here. Amnesia is a videogame where the loss of life is profoundly untrivialised. This deserves praise.

From http://www.amnesiagame.com/#media

In Amnesia, light is crucial to your character’s sanity, and is psychologically vital for the person actually playing the game. It is hard to appreciate just how important this is until you’ve actually experienced it. Anyone who has tried Amnesia knows what a joy it is to just sit in a lit, safe, room for a while. This is a game that has made standing still in a room with only a few items of furniture and a lantern in it a profoundly valuable experience. This achievement clearly demands attention. In all my years as a gamer, light has never looked so welcoming or ever been such a beacon of hope; I have never looked so intensely at the flicker of a candle, appreciated so fully and totally the warm glow of a fire, or relished the rich golden light of an oil lamp.

A lot of the time, the light is is tinged with danger: revealing your location, or uncovering horrible things you’d rather not see. Sometimes you have to stick to the shadows, making it all the more comforting when you can enjoy a safe, well lit area. The one or two locations in the game that are flooded with light and provide a moment of safety are some of the most strikingly beautiful I’ve ever encountered.

Light is not just something pretty in Amnesia, it has meaning : it can be a welcome relief for both the player, and the character they are playing in the game – as well as having additional importance in terms of the gameplay mechanics. Of course, other kinds of games have lovely peaceful sections and fantastic lighting etc, but the way Amnesia is set up lets it achieve this kind of beauty and atmosphere very effectively, and in a way that is worth observing.

The violence your player character is faced with is uniquely threatening given your inability to directly respond to any of it. The danger you face is particularly visceral – I meant it when I said I flinched violently. The game serves to remind us of the terror of being powerless, and the force of the imperative to just survive. You have to run, hide, sneak, psyche yourself up, it is always a struggle to move forward. Sometimes it’s almost paralysing. This is a valuable counterpoint to so many games that indulge you with fantasies of being superhuman.

So, why play a frightening game? Because it can so powerfully remind you of the beauty and profound importance of light, comfort, safety and being able to respond meaningfully to the threats you face. As we are sitting down to pursue this hobby of ours, we should occasionally be reminded that the kind of comfort and freedom we enjoy are not in any way inevitable or universal. We should occasionally be jolted out of our comfort zone so we can see it for what it is. This sounds trite written down, but Amnesia isn’t a written piece – it drives this point home with raw atmosphere, emotion and panic. Those are the best means to deliver this kind of point, and Amnesia is utterly consummate at manipulating them.

Amnesia provided one of the most profoundly beautiful moments I have ever experienced in a game – it came immediately after the most frightening. Scrambling down a flooded passage – seriously wounded and still being chased – the splash of it close behind me – much too close – I’ll be dead soon… And then a door. Through it, shut behind me, and the new area loads. Safe.

I cannot describe this adequately. Anyone who has played this section will recall that overpowering sense of relief and beauty. Sunlight streaming through the large stained glass windows, a fountain gurgling peacefully. The music shifted immediately from frantic strings to a sparse choral/acoustic piece. In a few seconds I had switched from running for my life to being struck silent in admiration; it was a truly serene moment. Combining the beauty with the release of tension made it all the more vivid – without the overriding fear and danger immediately before, this experience could not have happened. Panic has never been so vivid in a game, safety and light never so welcome or profound. I would recommend Amnesia on the strength of this moment alone.

The choice between fight or flight is a choice between two active responses. This game focusses on something prior to this  – the conflict between paralysis and activity. That moment of overcoming terror, anxiety, and acting. Acting despite the fear and the overriding danger. This basic purposive step in the face of fear, uncertainty and vulnerability. That’s something profoundly valuable; it’s a fundamental psychological moment. It’s as central a human moment as that in 2001: A Space Odyssey where tools are first used. It’s that crux, that tipping point, that shift from paralysed fear to decisive human action. Capturing this is one of the game’s triumphs.

Amnesia leaves you so powerless and vulnerable that it forces you to act through this central psychological drama time and time again, albeit in different forms and with different trappings. That basic moment of resolution and action in the face of such overwhelming danger, such limited capacities and such pressing fear is something that Amnesia captures so uniquely well. And you need to be a game of just this sort to capture it. It is because your character is so vulnerable, because you have no particular abilities, because light and sanity are problems for you at every step, that the game is able to hone so ruthlessly in on this central drama and focus so unflinchingly on it. There are no combat sections, conversation options or inventory management tasks to divert the focus away from this psychological core.

Of course, Amnesia cannot capture this moment entirely: you need to have a living human being playing the game and responding to it emotionally for this drama to be played out. That is why it could only be captured in an interactive medium like a videogame – in a film or a novel, the audience simply do not and cannot make the sort of input needed. A game this scary reminds us of the profundity of overcoming fear and paralysis by forcing us to do it repeatedly. Having to move forwards, the terrible burden of having survive and progress in the face of such difficulties -it is this drama that I found the most compelling in Amnesia.

Conclusion

I have not been primarily concerned with looking at how Amnesia creates its fear or with reviewing the game. I’m concerned with examining the things this sort of game can do uniquely well. This piece has highlighted some rare sorts of beauty you can find in this kind of game; it has examined some crucial psychological dramas that could not happen elsewhere; and has explored Amnesia’s uniquely visceral capacity to lead us into certain emotional responses – such as reacting with such strong relief to the presence of a lit candle.

These are the three main unique and valuable things that I think a game like Amnesia can do, (at least with unique ease and efficiency):

Capturing and conveying both a different kind of beauty, and relief – which can only be done in a game that plays it off so strongly against fear and danger.

Reminding us – because it is hard to do so in words – how valuable light, safety and having power over your own situation are.

Capturing that central psychological drama of acting in the face of fear and paralysis – by having the player continually replaying it – and so ruthlessly and relentlessly keeping the focus on it.

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  1. March 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks: Sasha for discussing this at an early stage. All images from http://www.amnesiagame.com/#media

    John Walker’s excellent review over at RPS

    Yahtzee’s astute and incisive review

    Re: people messing around with the game and the monsters in youtube videos. I take the impulse to do this to be two things: a way to try and avoid giving the game a chance to work its magic, and an important form of psychological relief for whose who had experienced the horror of the game. (These are not mutually exclusive.) Whilst I personally disagree with indulging in this sort of shenanigans whilst playing the game through, I sat down and watched every single one of those videos when I had finished it.

  2. j
    March 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I enjoyed this post a lot, particularly your explicit analysis of the gamer’s psychological/emotional responses with reference to the game’s nature, goals and mechanics. I’m just wondering if you think that this game’s effect would be different for people who are a little more accustomed to looking over their shoulder in the dark, metaphorically or otherwise: people living in areas with high rates of violent crime, say (to be simplistic about it).

    I realise that any response to these questions will have to be extremely speculative, but based on your analysis for the mechanisms through which the game achieves its affects: do you think that people who regularly experience that heightened sense of vulnerability may appreciate this game less? Appreciate it more, because there is ultimately still more control afforded one in a computer game, as opposed to real-life danger? Or is it simply incomparable, because this games taps something deeper, some primordial (?) fear of darkness and the unknown?

    • March 30, 2011 at 11:33 am

      That’s a very good – and difficult – question! Will edit a reply in after some more mulling.

    • April 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      I will try not to get too hung up on wondering what it means to be accustomed to looking over one’s shoulder in the dark (although it is has certainly got me wondering, and I’m not satisfied with my current thoughts). I will go with the following as a working interpretation:
      ‘Being immediately aware of one’s vulnerability and status as in a (potentially) dangerous situation on a regular basis’.
      Being accustomed to this could perhaps mean
      -that you are psychologically inured to it because you have to do it a lot, that confronting your vulnerability is not something that shocks you as much, that you are more used to having a sense of your own vulnerability.
      – that you do this ‘shoulder looking’ a lot, and are aware that you do it a lot. Perhaps recognising it as a frequent and maybe almost normal or routine (albeit not acceptable) part of one’s life.
      -‘being able to perform the ‘looking over one’s shoulder and reading the situation’ task more effectively (in terms of judging distances, shadows, the psychology of humans and groups, judging whether writing that subversive play will get you arrested, etc).

      I think that – despite the different trappings (i.e. settings) – there will be some core similarities between any psychological situations that are centred round vulnerability and fear in the face of some threat. There is clearly a lot of divergence too, and whilst some of the psychological components involved would be shared between Amnesia and a real world situation, there are clearly lots of parts of the respective scenarios that do not map tidily onto each other. Whilst Amnesia has direct physical threat (and shadows and uncertainty), it does not have any threat of pain, torture, degradation, sexual assault, theft, threat to one’s family or loved ones, damage to one’s career or professional standing (I’m thinking more of repressive governments here), or whatever else might go along with a real life threat. Amnesia, as a game, can only have so deep a psychological impact, because it simply cannot touch the things that could be used to cause the most psychological harm or discomfort. Whilst its central psychological drama is extremely frightening, it is narrower than what one could face in real life and it is acted out in in an ultimately sterile and safe environment.

      Unlike in real life (I hope), Amnesia so regularly erupts in violence and immediate physical attack. Amnesia does not have the chance to build up certain kinds of tension that trade on violence seeming to be – unbearably – just on the edge of happening. I won’t speculate here as to whether it might be a good or bad thing to confront these issues or parts of the psyche in Amnesia, or the therapeutic (de)merits of doing so.

      Superficially Amnesia’s setting makes the ‘psychological threat drama’ /look/ novel (i.e. different to our everyday lives), but it will be largely the same emotionally to real world situations. So perhaps there isn’t a very strong ‘novelty’ argument to make for someone of the sort you have in mind to try Amnesia. The plot of Amnesia would give a different sense of progression to proceedings, would provide a different context and meaning to the threat. Again, I’m not sure how much this change would actually mean.

      I don’t have any particular ideas on how people’s everyday psychology relate to how they behave in a game like Amnesia. I /think/ I got better at steeling myself, gritting my teeth and pushing onwards in Amnesia by the end, but I’m still not that sure what to make of this.

      That’s as well as I can see/put it for now. It took me a while to even get that far, so I’m posting what I’ve managed.

  3. Tom Rigg
    March 30, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Amnesia is a very interesting game and thankfully it has been granted a very interesting review. I was rather surprised by your take of things, however, with regard to a few key features. A great deal of the horror bestowed upon you is not necessarily powerlessness, the inability to tap into the ‘fight’ of one’s ‘fight or flight’ instinct (the part which we gamers are practically forced into in most games), but rather because of the sheer suspense of the situation. This is combined with the Gothic and Supernatural perversion that one must face in completing this game. In doing a quick CTRL+F, I was surprised to see no use of the word ‘suspense’ and only one use of ‘tension’. Equally, ‘horror’ is not found at all. For sake of clarity, I will provide for example: Mirror’s Edge. One may argue that this game does allow one to ‘fight’, but the vast majority of the game can be completed without the use of fighting at all. When one is chased by adversaries in Mirror’s Edge, there is no gripping terror or sphincter-tightening horror controlling you and your involuntary twitches and whimpers of fright.

    Hitchcock showed us quite clearly that one of the most terrifying things is suspense. The first difference between Mirror’s Edge’s chases and those in Amnesia is this suspense. It is what divides a mere ‘jump’ at a shocking scene from one of horror. I can never forget the feeling in watching Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ whereby the incapacitated protagonist, Jeffries, waits moment by agonising moment as he hears a suspected murderer approach his door, each footstep echoing throughout his recently covert room until finally the man stands in the doorway, fully prepared to end the life of the injured photographer (interestingly, one of Jeffries’ only defence here is, again, the light from his flash-camera). The tension in this scene is only relieved by the realisation that Jeffries’ assailant is a man and as such can be fought as a man. One knows the capabilities of a man and can comprehend his actions, however terrible they may be. This brings me onto the next difference: Inhuman horror.

    Your enemies in Mirror’s Edge (and indeed in ‘Rear Window’) are human. The threats to you in Amnesia are ~inhuman~, supernatural, unknown and terrifying. It is this sort of thing which was explored by writers like Mary Shelley and HP Lovecraft. The fear of the unknown and the perverse is a powerful thing which this game uses very well. One fears entering the next room not because one is afraid of a natural phenomenon, such as a murderer or a gang of thugs, but because one doesn’t know if the ceiling is going to weep blood or the walls to grow tentacles.

    I agree entirely that the immersive experience of games is a key quality which drives the horror, but I feel that to pin the experience largely on this is ignoring some of the more important elements of horror, both from this game and from the full body of human achievement. Equally, permitting only a ‘flight’ option to a player does not in itself create fear, as there are many games which do not allow a ‘fight’ (or can be done easily without it) but have very little horror about them (one would hardly consider something like Pacman to be a horror game, but it holds surprisingly similar qualities).

    • March 30, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Thanks for the juicy reply! This might seem like a strange response, but whilst you make excellent points about horror, I do not think it threatens what I have written. It is worth spelling out what I was trying to do here, because – to be honest- its a bit perverse and atypical. This was not intended as a review, or as a piece exploring why Amnesia is so scary. As I say in paragraph 7, what I am interested in doing is looking at the unique opportunities a game like Amnesia has to do special and interesting things.

      This is a different task to a review – it only amounts to picking apart one aspect of the game. You are totally right when you note just how many things this leaves unexamined, and then go on to provide some very good exploration of them yourself. As a review, this would be a fairly strange piece, but if I self-importantly label it ‘game analysis’, then I think it becomes a bit clearer what I am trying to do.

      You say a lot of astute and perceptive things about horror, tension, suspense, inhumanity, perversion, the unknown – and widen the range of examples to include some excellent films. All the things you say in this sort of vein are very important, but they have not been /neglected/ or overlooked in the piece, simply because the piece was concerned with the /unique/ opportunities that an /interactive/ medium could have when playing around with the emotions found in the horror genre. Examples drawn from film and noninteractive mediums do not fall within the remit of the thing I was trying to analyse here. I was not trying to ‘pin’ the /entire/ psychological impact of the game on the things I /did/ explore in the piece, and openly admitted that I would leave most of what made the game scary untouched.

      So, these are all great points and cover territory that I did not even attempt to engage with, providing an excellent addition to what I have written by going over this ground with some care. Thanks for providing a really meaty and authoritative reply 🙂 I’d just like to close by saying again – because it is an unusual thing in this area – that I was concerned with analysing a particular aspect of Amnesia rather than reviewing it. So that’s my excuse for leaving all those good points unsaid and waiting for your to say them 😉

      • Tom Rigg
        March 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm

        Thanks for your quick reply, Duncan.

        Perhaps I was a bit too heavy on the analysis of Horror itself in my response, but I was trying to emphasise the qualities which do make up true terror within oneself. The piece analyses this game as an interactive experience, seemingly pinning a lot of the horror on the fact that it is ~your~ decisions which drive the fate of ~your~ character, instead of watching some B-Movie Scream Queen utter the immortal phrase, “Let’s go investigate,” shortly before being chased, in very few garments, by an axe murderer.

        I find it rather confusing that you mention that analysing what makes horror isn’t the purpose of your review when you mention yourself that you are investigating “how frightening [Amnesia] is” (para. 7). Perhaps I am misunderstanding your words, but this poses the idea that you are trying to figure out what about Amnesia makes it terrifying, while consistently pointing to film and literature as comparative sources (noted continually throughout the piece). I find it difficult to understand how you can say that you are not trying to look at such an aspect when it is written right there in your goals :S While you note that Light (or lack thereof) and Vulnerability are two qualities which are key to the experience, but my response was to show that indeed these are not necessarily the reasons of ~how~ Amnesia causes us to void our collective bowels.

  4. March 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Paragraph 7:
    “Right now I’m not primarily interested in exploring /why/ Amnesia is so frightening. What I /am/ interested in here is what unique opportunities a game like Amnesia has to do special and interesting things.”

    I then go on to spell out what I mean by ‘game like Amnesia’:
    “The main qualities of Amnesia that I am focusing on are how frightening it is, the weakness of its main character and its problematisation of light and safety.”

    I should make this clearer to avoid confusion; that’s my fault.

    Edited to “(When I say ‘game like Amnesia’, the main qualities I have in mind are how frightening it is, the weakness of its main character and its problematisation of light and safety.)” This should hopefully highlight that it is a side point as opposed to a statement of intent.

    I’ve also added another section in with the conclusion.

  5. Dataflashsabot
    April 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Well now I HAVE to play this.

  6. sebmojo
    April 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    That’s a great post, thank you. Very thoughtful and intriguing analysis of a game that (frankly) I’m a bit scared to buy, after playing the demo…

    Out of all the innovations I think the cleverest is that your (indeterminate) supply of sanity can be eroded by looking at scary things. Given that the use of the gaze is the grandaddy of the abilities we have in 3d video games, making it dangerous is quite brilliant.

    Dark Corners of the Earth sort of did this, but in the context of a much more empowered and free-roaming (and thus less scary) game. If you haven’t tried it I’d recommend it though, it’s a great ancestor of Amnesia.

  7. Michael Luke Fury
    April 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Excellent piece, thanks for writing that. I found myself nodding vigorously when you said “Amnesia leaves you so powerless and vulnerable that it forces you to act through this central psychological drama time and time again, albeit in different forms and with different trappings. That basic moment of resolution and action in the face of such overwhelming danger, such limited capacities and such pressing fear is something that Amnesia captures so uniquely well.”

    I, too, am a little frightened to actually buy the game having played the demo, even though it is plainly obvious to me how very well made it is.

  8. April 7, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you all for reading and providing some very thoughtful comments! Sorry I’ve taken a while to respond – work is keeping me very busy at the moment, and most of my remaining time is being devoured by a Shogun 2 co-op campaign 😉 I read these comments when I approved them a few days ago, but wanted to give them a bit of thought before I replied.

    Sebmojo – you make very good point about just how big a subversion or inversion it is to make the player character’s gaze dangerous. I think this is a really promising line of enquiry, looking at the impact of departures from the ‘floating box’ FPS type player perspective (and all the traditional HUD stuff that goes with it).

    Thanks for mentioning Dark Corners of the Earth – I will give it a go sometime. It looks like it does some very interesting things, and the setting is a very rich one too. I look forward to seeing what it does well and what I make of it. 🙂

    Re: being scared to try Amnesia.
    I know exactly what you mean – I was reluctant to play Amnesia myself; the drive to try and work out what could be good about playing such a frightening game was one of the things that finally lured me into playing it. There was probably some steam sale that gave me that extra push (it’s reduced at the moment too). If nothing else, actually buying it gives that slight extra incentive to play it, as you have made some kind of upfront financial commitment to it.

    I confess that during my first few sessions with Amnesia, before I actually loaded the game, I had to set myself a minimum amount of time I would have to play for without quitting. This got me through the first few sessions, and after these first few, I had enough momentum to carry on through to completion. If even I can get through it, I think others have hope too 🙂

    Thanks again!

  9. Cthulhu
    September 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Hi. A wonderful post. I’m a horror game “veteran now”, and when a new, potentially good horror game appears, I usually can’t wait to play it. However, I remember how, when I was younger, it took me years to get myself to play one of the original Silent Hill games, working my way through games like Resident Evil and Dino Crisis instead… But with Amnesia, I was following it’s development from the start, and was so eager to try it ASAP – frictional games has a great development blog where, aside from the technical stuff, they talk a lot about horror in games and other media, about how to approach evoking emotional response in the player (not glycerine horror), then lessons they learned, and about the ways they hope to push the medium forward in that respect. Also, many of their followers have interesting thoughts and ideas themselves. I like to think I’ve made a few humble contributions in some way.

    Here’s the link: http://frictionalgames.blogspot.com/

    About Dark Corners of the Earth: it is a good game, definitely worth the time. It has it’s problems, but it does a lot of things right. Interestingly, it has a similar sanity-meter based mechanics, blurry vision and all. But it has some of the most engaging gameplay sequences ever. For example, not so far into the game, you wake up in the middle of the night to the horrible realization that a gang of shady Innsmouth folk is bent on erasing every trace of your existence, knocking on your door with an axe… And than you run, and run, and run…
    If you don’t die, or fail only once, this is one of the most engaging parts of the game (trust me, there are more); however, if you do die to often, it gets repetitive, and the experience is somewhat ruined… This is something that Amnesia masterfully avoids, by going along with the player, instead against him. This is what games should do more: aim to provide a certain type of experience, instead just a generic challenge, and the outdated trial-and-error mechanics.

    • Cthulhu
      September 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      “about how to approach evoking emotional response in the player (not glycerine horror)”

      Hm… glycerine??? My spellchecker got a little messed up…
      It should say: “not necessarily horror”.

  1. April 3, 2011 at 10:19 am
  2. April 5, 2011 at 4:07 am

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