Jimquisition: Scare Tactics

leviadragon99

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Hmm... personally I'm not really that attached to the horror genre anyway, but I can accept that jump scares have their place if done well and placed in the right context.

Decent voice-manipulation and Scarecrow delivery there too.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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No Jimquisition? Talk about a Straw Man fallacy.

My problem with Dead Space is that the necromorphs didn't look scary: they looked ugly. And they got more annoying than scary.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Toasty Virus said:
Wow, that was pretty good!

What effects processing did you put your voice through exactly?
Thanks! I love doing the Halloween ones and tried to make it special this year.

Effects were pretty layman-level. Just whacked the audio through Wavepad's Chorus and Flanger/Phaser effects until I was happy with what I had.
 

Vausch

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The problem with jump scares isn't that they exist. Every scare tactic has a place and they can work. The problem is when they're so bloody obvious, you're sitting there going "4, 3, 2, 1-"*abloogy woogie woo!*

When used wrong in films, it's really obvious when they're going to come up. The music stops, everything gets quiet, often people stop talking, then "RARG!". It's pretty much the same for games. They have to be earned, some moments of silence without any scare attempts coming helps build the tension too.

I still say one of the scariest moments in Silent Hill 2 was descending the staircase in the museum. Tense, claustrophobic, all waiting for a monster to show.
 

Artemicion

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Gotta love that Iifa Tree track.

Love how a clip of DNF showed up at the end. Priceless.

As for scare tactics: I think one of the issues with jump scares is that they're usually scripted into a certain area and don't often happen randomly in games. Therefore, the chance of them being well-received goes down after the first playthrough. Dead Space got me a few times the first time I played, but by the second and third (and fourth) playthrough it was all old hat. Perhaps that's not the fault of the jump scare, though.

I think jump scares really only work best when the player is uncomfortable with their situation, and is therefore more nervous about what's around the next corner. It's why the first few scares in DOOM 3 really worked on me, but by the end of the first act I had a pistol, a shotgun, and a submachine gun, all with full ammo, and I was behind a full set of medieval plate armor. Jump scares are less likely to work if the player believes they can deal with them, and are thus not worried about what may lurk ahead.
 

Falseprophet

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Vausch said:
The problem with jump scares isn't that they exist. Every scare tactic has a place and they can work. The problem is when they're so bloody obvious, you're sitting there going "4, 3, 2, 1-"*abloogy woogie woo!*
Yeah, wasn't that the issue with F.3.A.R. 3 or whatever it's called? Brightly lit cover-based shooter corridors, then you turn a corner and the lights dim and my brain goes--"Get ready for a surprise!" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiKpEvUShtY#t=1m29s] I don't know if it gets better later, I just got bored of that first level.

Alan Wake too. Could have been creepy and atmospheric, but every time the bad guys show up the score swells and the camera zooms in on them.
 

lord.jeff

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You are right in case of Silent Hill and Resident Evil, the jump scares do give you a feeling of dread with every door and corner but Doom not so much, jump scares requires a weaker character I never saw the creatures in Doom as much more then a target, having little more scare then a game of whack a mole.
 

ZephrC

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Man, after that beginning all I can think is that Jim must be a bad kitty.
 

Deshin

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Awesome vid Jim but not gonna lie I was it playing in a small corner of the screen with sound low because I was expecting a legit jump scare to pop up any second as you were talking about them. Spoony did something recently and I'm still rather paranoid of any videos around this time of the year. Of course that just illustrated your point perfectly about them instilling fear and you didn't stoop low enough to actually doing it. So grats on that front.
 

Angry Camel

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Good grief, that ending was teffifying. Well done, Jim. This actually reminded me of Resident Evil 4. I didn't really see it as a horror game as much as an action game (particularly towards the end, except for that random corridor), but in retrospect it was quite good with jump-scares; the trip mines, the bear traps, the random rocket-wielding zealots, etc. Maybe they just became less scary since I replayed the game to death.
 

Sylveria

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There's certainly a place for jump-scares.. but when it is stuff like Doom 3 or Dead Space where they happen constantly, it dulls the surprise when it happens for the 500000000th time after being telegraphed the same way over and over and they don't surprise you anymore.

They're even less effective in games like Doom 3 or Dead Space because you know you can handle them. You've been mowing down legions of Imps and Necromorphs, they aren't a threat, thus aren't scary.
 

CheckD3

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One of the scariest things is if you look during a full moon, you can see that MOTHERFUCKING ZELDA MOOD EVIL GUY FACE IN IT!

This Scarecrow episode was pretty damned awesome...I enjoy your smile and can't wait till next week to see what ya cooked up for it :D
 

TheOrb

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I think this is what happens when you cross Vivi with Scarecrow...
Good costume, are you going to go trick-or-treating with that?
I've never played a horror game or seen a horror movie... I just don't like the idea of being scared.
 

Techno Squidgy

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I was absolutely convinced once I saw SCP that there was going to be a jump scare or something. I haven't played the game myself but I spent a good hour or two reading through the wiki and I'm terrified of it. I can't play Slender or SCP, if there's one thing that absolutely terrifies me it's knowing I'm being followed but being unable to see my pursuer. Queue frightened whimpering and rivers of piss.
 

ManInRed

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That example of Pyramid Head appearing wasn't a jump scare, because nothing pop up at you. There was a quiet door sound, some footsteps and when you turned around you saw you were cornered by Pyramid Head. A jump scare isn't that gradual, it hits you so fast you don't has time to process what it is, so often what scares you can be something not at all threatening.

That being said Silent Hill 2 did employ jump scares, very rarely and after you had been playing the game long enough to be in the mood for them to be effective. The best example would probably be Laura hitting the keys on the piano.

The main criticism of jump scares is their over use, because people who experience a ton of horror will become immune from them over time. Still, nothing wrong with them, I'd just don't want to be made to expect a jump scare coming, since that is a good way for me not to react frighten to them. Now convincing me a jump scare will happen and then delivering nothing, well there's a quote about that:

"Being prepared for almost anything, he was not, by any means, prepared for nothing."
 

drisky

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Can someone with an HD video tell me what the Kane and Lynch III: Drug Guns Gun Drugs article says?
 

MaxwellMouse

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I don`t find Dead Space scary at all. That is because the monsters pose little threat. Issac Clark has space armor and the weapons to easily deal with the monsters. When you don`t fear the monster jump scares completely fall flat.
 

MortisLegio

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I will agree that a well paced and crafted jump scare works beautifully, but when it's continuous jump scare after jump scare; the scares lose alot of their edge. Alot of horror movies have this problem where they get stuck on one kind of scare and there is very little build up. Taking Dead space as an example the first time you see Necromorphs is well built (though I think it could have been longer) so when the monsters popped out it was scary. Where as later, when you see the 3rd or 4th Necromorph lying on the ground, you're expecting to pop up and it takes some of the shock out of it. Really, I (personally) have no problem with jump scares but the over use of them. There are a great number of tools in horror's arsenal; just don't pick one and keep using it.
 

VeryOddGamer

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I'm kind of hesitant to watch this episode, because I keep expecting a jump scare in the video itself.
 

King of Asgaard

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Wow... just wow.
It takes a special video to keep me smiling throughout the whole thing, and you sir, have created such a video. Many kudos to you.
 

T3hSource

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Scarecrow's voice reminded me of this guy!



Anyway,I consider myself not very prone to jump scares.I feel if it gets me,it should scare most people.When there's actual tension,of course a jump scare will work,that's how you do it,you don't go lazy mode and just jump to the scare itself(pun not intended).
 

Undeadpool

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I think one of the reasons why people are so down on jump-scares is that some people react to fear, especially unexpected fear, with anger. There have been assaults both in haunted houses (where people are paid to GET SCARED) and even outside of them after a person was done, on staff by disgruntled customers.

So naturally when there's no high schooler trying to make a quick fifty bucks to cold-cock, only your $3000 flat-screen, that anger has to go somewhere so suddenly it's "PSH! Jump scares?? More like CHUMP SCARES!! I mean they're SOOOO easy to pull off that it just becomes LAAAZYYYY...not that I got scared!"
 

Mikeyfell

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Definitely, Doom 3 is the only game that ever made me shit my pants. (For the record I was holding one in while I was playing Doom 3 but still)

I don't even think the Jump scares need that tense of a set up.

I still have fond repressed memories of Youtube or Newgrounds videos that say "Cool Optical Illusion" then 30 seconds in BAM! scary face... or alternately pancake face, which is equally as scary.

There's no build up, no tension and to me that makes it even scarier.
 

kanbabrif

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drisky said:
Can someone with an HD video tell me what the Kane and Lynch III: Drug Guns Gun Drugs article says?
"THERE IS NO CRANE ONLY SCARECROW" repeated over and over.
 

PunkRex

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Kinectonauts...
Why would you do that Scarecrow, I thought we were friends?!
 

Jacked Assassin

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Only 2 games come to mind that scared me.

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
The majority of the game isn't scary. Its a very exciting & adventurous place. However that changes for me every time I had to enter the graveyard. It had nothing to do with the monsters since most could be found anywhere. Just the feeling I wasn't suppose to be there & the guilt for destroying the town's water supply.

Shadow Man
I think Dead Side was the creepiest place I've ever been to in a video game. The Sky & Ground are gray. The ponds & streams are made of blood. The enemies there I can't help that I want to help them yet I need to kill them before they killed me.
The only way out of that area was by swimming through a tunnel of laughing crying & some jingle that seemed like a nightmare about pedophiles. The areas that were suppose to be hell with the fire, lava, & bats were too vibrant to be scary. Regardless of that though I found Dead Side scary enough that I ended up playing Harvest Moon 64 just for the sake of contrast.

-

As for the jump scare.... Well I like being startled.... But on its own its hard to be scared when I probably already have a plan on how I'm going to kill whatever it is.

-

As for the things that scare me nowadays they don't come from video games like they use to. Things that tend to scare me now also tend to offend me. Like losing my finances or apartment. Whatever is being said about Windows 8. And whatever is said during presidential elections.

So much so that even if I somehow took 12/21/2012 seriously I would actually welcome it despite being Atheist. I welcome it so much so I'll be eating TGI Fridays food on the 21st of this December.
 

xPixelatedx

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I am going to have to disagree Jim, at least to a point.

Even if some of the jump scare games MIGHT require the same amount of effort, the pure psychological games require much more skill. The evidence I use to that is the fact that hardly anyone outside of silent has been able to pull it off, even after great effort, all while jump-scare games are a dime a dozen. Hell even the Silent hill games after 3 have struggled tremendously to try and capture the specific type of horror the original games offered players.

I love jump scares to, and I do think they have their place in games. But the quality of a good mind-fuck cannot even compare to that. That's the kind of stuff that slowly creeps up over you. It stays with you for a while, and it seems more disturbing the more you think about it.

ManInRed said:
That example of Pyramid Head appearing wasn't a jump scare, because nothing pop up at you. There was a quiet door sound, some footsteps and when you turned around you saw you were cornered by Pyramid Head.
Not to mention (if I am not mistaken)the first time you see him he is literally standing down a hallway, staring at you and nothing else. He doesn't attack or go after you, he is merely there to alert the player that something is stalking them. Which all just goes to show Pyramid head is anything but a jump scare.

It's a shame they changed the game before release. The original E3 videos of Silent Hill 2 showed Pyramid head randomly appearing in areas, dragging his knife slowly across the ground, all while during regular game-play in regular areas. That would have been amazing and randomly horrifying!
 

Jimothy Sterling

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I really liked that episode. Very well done.

....Although I might have to contest the idea that jump scares can hold up a hold game by themselves. As Jim pointed out in the video, they can really add to a horror game, but if they're the only thing that's there, they stop being scary. They lose the horror of the unknown, and just become something mundane and repetitive. Instead of slowly approaching a closet that ruins your evening, it's walking towards a closet and thinking "geez, another jumping monster. I'm gonna have to shoot it again". I guess what I'm saying is that jump scares should be jump scares in themselves.

[sub][sub]God DAMN that's clever[/sub][/sub]
 
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I love jump scares in games because they take effort for another whole reason:

They take effort, because there is a VERY high chance the player won't even be looking in the right direction when the music jumps and a baddie leaps out.

They'll know soon enough, sure, but the effect is lost.

In a film, the makers KNOW where the camera is going to be pointed and thus have to give you no reason to look in a certain direction. They know they have your attention and they can take advantage of it.

In a game, the developers have to WORK for your attention. They have to give you a reason to look at the spooky ghost.

Take Slender. I love the game, but of course it scares me shitless. However, the jumpscares are player created. Created by the fear of not knowing what's behind you. And needing to know.

You can play Slender without seeing him more than once or twice, but it takes INCREDIBLE effort to not frantically look around for him and stay focused on the pages.

The game makes you BEG for the jumpscares because you simply have to know. Even if the knowledge kills you, you have to know.

And THAT is what I call horror.

Awesome episode by the way.

Willem DaCrow was terrifying.
 

SpaceBat

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I'm going to have to partially disagree. While you're right that jump scares have their qualities, especially the fact that you're stressing out in wait for the next one to happen, mere build-up isn't enough. This build up is only effective when the rest of the game mechanics work into that fear and this is not the case for both Dead Space and Doom 3.

Both games not only have an insane amount of not-too-scary enemies that start becoming predictable and repetitive to kill, you yourself are armed to the teeth and able to beat up anything that looks at you funny. After a while, I found myself running through Dead Space because nothing could possibly stop me in my tracks anyway and anything that does make me jump will only temporarily stress me out. That isn't good use of scare tactics.

And there is a clear difference between high levels of fear and stress. What you described in Doom 3 (enemies possibly appearing behind you) and Dead Space (necromorphs jumping out of places) made me stress out about the fact that I could get attacked at any moment, but I wasn't truly scared later on. Only the early sections of both games were able to instill fear, mostly because the game still had a mystery surrounding it (which once again adds to that jump-scare tactic)

What makes jump scare games like Slenderman and Containment breach so incredibly scary isn't just the sheer terror you feel in between the jump scares, it's that combined with the facts that the jump scares are completely random and there is absolutely nothing you can do AFTER the jump scare either. Powerlessness adds immensely to the fear that jump-scare games use.

Dead Space monsters eventually become incredibly easy to predict and the game sometimes even let you know beforehand (Doors shut, lights and sound go off) that they're coming.

I don't have anything against games that use jump-scares, I have something against games that use jump-scares ineffectively.
 

Denamic

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It's not that I dislike jump scares.
It's that horror games tend to over rely on them to the point that it's just not scary any more. When every closet, corner, air vent, ceiling, whatever, springs monsters on you, the unknown and unexpected becomes known and expected.
 

Lieju

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Eternal Darkness is one of my all-time favourite games, and it used a jump-scare very sparingly (depending on your definition, there might have been just one), but to great effect; just as you're at ease, certain that there are no threats in the main mansion JUMPSCARE! that will put you back on your toes.
 

m19

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Amnesia for being known for its other tricks does jump scares very well. When you eventually do run into a monster you'll jump. When the environment suddenly changes from tranquil to ominous with a screen shake and a deep roar, etc.
 

K_Dub

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It's always interesting to be introduced to a new perspective on a subject that I'm always curious about. And Jim definitely made me realize a few things about jump scares. I actually don't hate them as much now. Jim brought up some valid points, and they make plenty of sense.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Yeah for Doom 3. Though he failed to mention the bit in hell, that had some well-crafted openings that I'll always remember.
 

lord.jeff

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I'm I the only one not completely turned off by the Kinectonuats image, a game that uses motion controls for controlling telekinetic abilities sounds like it could be a lot of fun if done right.
 

Casual Shinji

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The problem I have with jump scares is actually the antcipation or the "winding up". Because most if not all jump scares that are designed to make one jump are painfully obvious in their build up. It manipulates you into anticipating an event and then startles you because you couldn't predict the exact moment it would occur.

It's like a game of hand slap.

Yes, it's effective, but it's still a cheap thrill that doesn't last past the initial shock. You won't be lying awake in your bed at night because of any jump scare.
 

malestrithe

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Okay, why do people forget that Survival Horror is nothing more than an action game with monsters in it? Resident Evil 6 did not betray the franchise's roots. It embraced them and made them bigger. All Resident Evil gives you enough ammo and if you are smart, you will never run out.

Jump Scares are a useful tool to elicit the appropriate fear response, but they are a very strong spice that colors the rest of the experience. Have the right amount and it keeps the tension high. Have too many and it weakens the rest of the experience. Spielberg learned this when he showed Jaws to Test Audiences. He had one jump scare about 45 minutes into the movie and it made the audience scream out loud. His instinct then was to add more jump scares. When he did, the audience did not give him the appropriate response when the shark came around. By then they got used to it.

That's the problem with horror games. They rely on too many jump scares to carry the game through.

Dead Space is not scary. A game can't be scary if you are prepared to deal with the threat. I get that the weapons are ill suited to the job because they are more tools than weapons, but that does not matter. A Sledgehammer is meant to pulverize larger rocks into tiny ones, but that does not mean it won't pound a person into hamburger. The fact that I have a chance, albeit small, removes the horror aspects of it.

Also, a gun that shoots sawblades into the enemy renders the horror elements useless. How can I be scared when I have something that awesome in my arsenal?
 

AlwaysPractical

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Great episode and I completely agree with you. I think there's room for both kinds of horror, emotional and jump scares. I nearly died at Too Human, Kinectinauts and the Time cover. Pure genius.
 

matrix3509

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The thing with jump scares is this: to be effective, they need to happen when you least expect it, with no forewarning. Dead Space failed spectacularly at this because every jump scare was preceded by that retarded violin screech, plus the fact that you always knew exactly where the Necromorphs were coming from. The first thing I always did when I went into a room was to check where the vents were, because I knew that as soon as a got to within a pre-decided distance, a Necromorph was going to pop out. Lo, and behold, so it was.
 

SnakeoilSage

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malestrithe said:
Dead Space is not scary. A game can't be scary if you are prepared to deal with the threat. I get that the weapons are ill suited to the job because they are more tools than weapons, but that does not matter. A Sledgehammer is meant to pulverize larger rocks into tiny ones, but that does not mean it won't pound a person into hamburger. The fact that I have a chance, albeit small, removes the horror aspects of it.

Also, a gun that shoots sawblades into the enemy renders the horror elements useless. How can I be scared when I have something that awesome in my arsenal?
Play the game with melee attacks and kinesis then. But we know you won't, will you? You have to have every bullet you can curb stomp out of a corpse, go out of your way to grab every power node you already know is waiting for you like a good little scavenger.

OT: Thank you for giving Dead Space some cred, Jim. A jump scare doesn't last, but honestly I couldn't care less. The game does an amazing job of establishing its atmosphere and I enjoyed every minute of it.
 

Deadagent

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http://spoonyexperiment.com/2012/10/20/vlog-10-19-12-paranormal-activity-4-sinister/
I think this should be posted for more balanced discussion.
 

Havoc Himself

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So people said Dead Space and Doom 3 were bad games? Who are these people I will hunt them down............... and give them a stern talking to.
Really this episode confuses me though, because there aren't many games that abuse jump scares like horror films do. It seems like if there is someone complaining about jump scares not being scary it's in a film and usually it's because they are predictable. The problem there stems from horror not having the right pacing and in all the games Jim talked about the pacing is pretty much perfect for their jump scares to get you. I just wish that he had mentioned some games that use their jumpiness in the wrong way, because I don't think I've played any. I do see what Jim was saying though, and really I have an issue with the way horror as a genre is treated. No one seems to respect it the way it should be. Public opinion seems to think that scaring people is cheap and shallow, when really it takes just as much thought and planning to be effective. So I don't know, maybe people should just..... not think that? Thank god for Jim.
 

Bvenged

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DooM 3 is my scariest game ever. In fact, it's the only one I have never completed and I have no problem with ones such as Amnesia or Slender.

Pretty chilly episode too, well done!
 

teebeeohh

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i like good jumpsacers, the problem is that many hacks reduce those to going BOO at the most predictable moments and good ones are rare today. like remember the original saw? that had one excellent jumpscare with the closet and the camera flash, simply because you did not expect that to be there, you expected the closet to be empty and mask-guy to be behind camera-guy.
oh and good scarecrow
 

shrekfan246

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ManInRed said:
That example of Pyramid Head appearing wasn't a jump scare, because nothing pop up at you. There was a quiet door sound, some footsteps and when you turned around you saw you were cornered by Pyramid Head. A jump scare isn't that gradual, it hits you so fast you don't has time to process what it is, so often what scares you can be something not at all threatening.
So, you'd say that hearing something enter the room with you but not seeing it, and then turning around to discover that it, a deadly and horrifying creature, is right in your face and has you cornered with little or no way of simply escaping, doesn't qualify as a "jump scare"? Okay then.

OT: Funny video, and I agree. The first Dead Space, at least, tried to do a fair job of building up atmosphere in between each time monsters jumped out at you. I think the issue comes when it's just predictable. You see a vent, and you say "Oh, I bet a monster will jump out of that." Then you're expecting it, and depending on a person's personal mind-set obviously, they could either be dreading it or just bored and waiting for it to happen already. Doom 3, as well. I can remember the last time I picked up that game, I had loaded up my last save and gone no further than three doors when a wheelchair mutant thing was right behind a door that I opened and charged at me. Granted, I was a lot younger then, but still.
 

Vausch

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Falseprophet said:
Vausch said:
The problem with jump scares isn't that they exist. Every scare tactic has a place and they can work. The problem is when they're so bloody obvious, you're sitting there going "4, 3, 2, 1-"*abloogy woogie woo!*
Yeah, wasn't that the issue with F.3.A.R. 3 or whatever it's called? Brightly lit cover-based shooter corridors, then you turn a corner and the lights dim and my brain goes--"Get ready for a surprise!" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiKpEvUShtY#t=1m29s] I don't know if it gets better later, I just got bored of that first level.

Alan Wake too. Could have been creepy and atmospheric, but every time the bad guys show up the score swells and the camera zooms in on them.
Most of my experience there comes from films, honestly I don't know of that many horror games beyond the big franchises (Silent Hill, Dead Space, Eternal Darkness, Amnesia etc.)

One prime example to list is Drag me to Hell. Some of the jump scares at in that one started to just blend together because they were happening so rapidly one after another. Began to make me question if Sam Raimi's talents had gone wayside.
 

RaikuFA

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Whats the game that plays at the begining of the episode? The one with the man in the gas mask.
 

TwistedEllipses

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I'm..I'm...impressed...? is that what this emotion is? I can usually take or leave Jimquisition (mostly leave) but this was really, actually, surprisingly good. Kudos!
 

RJ 17

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I'm afraid of Jim doing more videos with his pants off and dry-humping small furry animals. :p
 

AgentLampshade

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I'll join the chorus of "Best. Jimquisition. Ever"

That was very nice, even if I did expect a massive screamer halfway through with all the talk of jump-scares.
 

Tradjus

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I don't agree with Jim's points here.
I never once felt scared playing Dead Space 1 or 2. I was certainly startled very momentarily a few times, but that's not real fear, paranoia, and dread of the kind that the Survival Horror Titans like Silent Hill 2 can conjure.
As for Doom 3, the utter predictability of the monster spawns deflated any hope the game might have had to scare you, you could always tell, -always- and it wasn't scary, it just became a chore after a while.
That's the real heart of this whole thing, when you play a Survival Horror game, you want to feel the emotions associated with horror, not check off "Scripted Sequence #557" on your list as you trudge through a fake plastic Haunted House without a single genuine feeling of terror that lasts more than .5 seconds under your belt the entire time.
 

Beryl77

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I don't fully agree. I don't mind the occasional jump scare and Dead Space did a pretty good job in setting the right atmosphere but there is just too much there. The beginning was very scary but I quickly got used to it and expected the jump scares. IMO, Amnesia is still far superior. The suspense of knowing something is there but I don't know what it is and when it will attack is much more scary for me, than a body with claws and teeth attached to it, attacking me. Especially if I have really strong weapons which can easily dismember them and they should be more afraid of me.
I don't think most people don't like jump scares, it's just that when it's the only thing that's supposed to scare you in a game and when it's overused, it won't really work.
Pyramid Head is a good example of how it done well but the scary part about him isn't the jump scare. The monster in Amnesia is also very good example of that. Dead Space only at the beginning I'd say.
 

loc978

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First off, thank you for not resorting to an ear-raping volume hike anywhere in that video (unlike Spoony, the magnificent rat bastard).

As for the rest of it... this is pretty much why I require any form of horror to also be a comedy. Jump scares barely work on me, and atmospheric scares tend to bore me. I don't consider myself highbrow for that, just incredibly jaded.

...which is why the only horror series I love is Evil Dead... because it's hilarious.
 

RJ Dalton

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My problem with Dead Space was . . . okay, yes, I am annoyed by its constant reliance on jump scares, I'll give you that Jim. Okay, fine, so a jump scare isn't by itself bad.
But Dead Space still isn't something to praise because it's jump scares were predictable. The parameters under which the jump scares were programmed to occur was too damn easy to figure out and once I figured it out, I found I could walk down most of the halls perfectly calm because I knew nothing was going to come out and when they finally did come out, I could see them long before they did, so there was no tension.
 

carpathic

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Jim,

You have the best toys.

And I mean that.

A pretty good costume, let us be clear. Not as good as the huge purple dildo sword, but still good!
 

Roman Monaghan

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I like how even in the episode defending Jump Scares, he kinda admits that jump scares aren't scarey. His entire argument was that when a jump scare happens, suddenly the time where there aren't any baddies trying to eat your face becomes the scariest part of the game. The anticipation of something scarey happening is far, far more effective then anything the game could throw at you. No one says jump scares are bad on their own merit, it's just that over reliance on them becomes tedious and lame. It's far more effective to only use them once or twice, because then you're constantly on edge the entire rest of the game dreading an experience that probably will never happen again; far better at getting under your skin then just running in the room and punching you in the balls.

Jump scares aren't scarey. They're startling. But startling someone once and then putting them in an environment where it might happen again but never does can lead to real teeth gritting horror.
 

Mortamus

The Talking Dead
May 18, 2012
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Those familiar with the discussions at the Expo may understand when I say that it feels like this might have been Jim's response in a debate with Yahtzee as to why horror games are bad now.

In all honesty, jump scares are best at making a person want to scream like a child. I can't deny that about Dead Space or Doom 3. However, Dead Space 2 was just annoying with it due to the fact that EVERY room you entered had them show up. That build up was gone.
 

Rad Party God

Party like it's 2010!
Feb 23, 2010
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Psychonauts Kinect... that would make me completely lose faith in humanity (I still have a little scrap of hope for it).

As for scary games, well, I'm a nerve wreck and although I'm not a fan of Doom 3, I must admit it did have lots of effective, although cheap scares. I also liked Dead Space.

Thief is another great game with horror elements, kinda like Amnesia, you have to hide to avoid combat, but unlike Amnesia, you can defend yourself, but it's a very ineffective way to dispatch guards and monsters are even harder to kill. Not known as a horror game, but it definitely can get quite scary sometimes, especially Thief 3.

Also Stalker and it's randomness of creepy-as-shit monsters can make (almost) anyone jump out of their seat.
 

Azuaron

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My problem with jump scares is that they're usually scripted events and, honestly, I die a lot in games. Not because I'm bad, but because I try to find/do everything and, well okay, my resource management is pretty bad.

So the second time (and third and fourth and...) I'm walking up a flight of stairs and the same demon tries to grab my legs, it's not scary, it's just tedious.
 

rembrandtqeinstein

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Aliens Vs Predator 2000 was the BEST for scary mouse throwing pants peeing moments.

Well worth $5 if you haven't played it yet http://store.steampowered.com/app/3730/

The engine was written from the ground up to capture the feel of the movies and it pulled it off perfectly.

Also the game had no static spawns except for a very few "boss" fights, and almost no static lighting, all of which could be destroyed.

By a few marine plays through you started tossing grenades at your feet whenever you heard the click-click-click of a face hugger scuttling around because getting killed by one was the best jump scare in any game.

Honorable mention goes to STALKER SoC for the underground levels. No scarier moment than when
the controller first attacks and the camera zooms in on his face
 

lancar

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I never play horror games, jump scares or no, because I don't like being frightened. That people actually play these things willingly has always puzzled me.

While I get the point about jump scares.... There's nothing inherently wrong about them, but no matter what Jim says about em, they're always the lowest form of horror. Even if you can make them more effective with extra care, they're still the easiest to pull off by their very nature, and thus: the cheapest.
 

inkheart_artist

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Dead Space? Pacing? You lost me, that game bored the hell out of me and I really didn't get a feel of pacing in it. I ended that game feeling like a janitor tasked with cleaning out a spaceship of monsters and that killing monsters was just as boring and mundane a job as mopping. Shoot the legs, shoot the arms, rinse, repeat.
 

Darth_Payn

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So, long story short, the key to an effective scary game is the right amounts of atmosphere and pacing. As you play, you just know something scary is about to happen; it's just a matter of when. I haven't played any Silent Hill games (I know, shame on me), but they nailed it.
I also like scary moments in games that don't fit in to the horror genre. Examples: Ravenholme and the Headcrab zombies from Half-Life 2, and the Cyber-ninja carving up a hallway full of Genome Soldiers and any bit with Psycho-Mantis from Metal Gear Solid.
What about the rest of you guys, any moments like that you can recall?
 

The Lugz

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i think the real issue here is that jump scares have their place in horror, but they do not define the concept of horror

horror is, at it's core psychological torture

once you realize this, you understand that the 'jump scare' is simply one tool in the horror scare box

used at the right time it could be devastating, used poorly and repetitively? not a chance
in my opinion a truly first class game will use the jump scare every 3-4 hours
and use it so well you wet your pants
and use it someplace that is not the obvious 'jump scare point'
instead of opening a locker and seeing goo drip out, have a creeking noise follow you then a ceiling panel drop on your head and knock you down and a big ass thing standing on you
as far as the player is concerned.. any ceiling panel is now a threat but what are you going to do? avoid the roof? no. you're going to realize bad stuff is after you and if you don't play well it might overwhelm you
'creaking noise' 'looks at ceiling' 'nothing happens' 'player waits a minute' 'nothing happens'
GOD DAMN YOU DROP!!!!!
^ psychological horror.

if every door you open has a zombie behind it screaming at you, it quickly stops being scary and starts to become boring routine and annoying unimaginative padding
a game cannot exist entirely on the jump scare

that would be like trying to bake a cake entirely consisting of Cherry's
you might well end up with something hot that is cake shaped,
but it would be abusing the medium and not produce something worth having
( a sticky sickly mess. )

if you use all the established elements of horror, or cake making you have a far better chance of producing a quality scare or tasty treat


Bottom line: the jump-scare is the cherry of horror, use it wisely and nobody complains
( even if they don't like Cherry's, 95% of the cake is not a cherry. )
Edit:
[sub][sub] The other 95% is a lie, if you're keeping score. now i feel meme dirty :( [/sub][/sub]
 

Orinon

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Personally I don't see why people think no jump scares is a good thing, to a point they're almost necessary,
let me give an example of a rare occasion, I was playing Bioshock, good game pretty scary, and they're came a point where i was in a tiny room and tense music was playing, I had an image of Raving insane Psychopaths outside the room trying to find me, Now I believe i had a glitch going on that was making the music still play even though the splicers were gone because i was in there for a while, however my brother, decided to play a prank, he opened the door very quietly and said
"Hello Beautiful" in a creepy voice, that scared me, not in a screaming manner but i was seriously scared. now this was all a rare coincidence however it was a very scary moment it showed how a game can scare you by keeping you on the edge of your seat thinking you will die, but there's a major catch, you need to have a release, a payoff after this tension. if that music had kept playing and I had not surprise eventually I would have realized it was a glitch, and just gone out, in that instance even if there were monsters it's wouldn't scare me because the tension had gone out, imagine a tight cord on a bowstring being pulled back, as you pull back the cord, it gets more and more tense, there's a continuing thought, when is it going to snap? when will the arrow be released, if the bow is held taught for a while it will build tension, you know it's won't hold, its got to snap, this causes little panic, you need to release that arrow though, and you need to do it at the right moment.
If you don't have a release a jump-out scare to release the tension you lose all chances of being scary, you also can at times use a surprise without scary pacing.
I once want into a haunted house sort of building at first i was all cocky and brave laughing as we saw skeletons and such this was lulling a false sense of security I was expecting a lame jump out scare and static scenery. then at a door a loud noise sacred me and everyone else, a voice told us to come closer.
now I'm going to try to analyse how this scared us so well.
1. the door we were to enter was dark. they essentially removed light after this scare before this we had some light to see where we were going.
2. The scares, used tactics, they'd trick many into thinking they were someone they knew, the classic who;s holding my hand, and when this is discovered it give a monetary scare, and also makes it scary because you don't know who is really close. separating you and removing the group safety.
3. the Cheesy and lit area at the beginning created false expectations, you assume you'll be able to see and predict when a scare might come out. this meant when we saw the dark doorway in my head I wasn't expecting anything odd because before I could see anything that I assumed was supposed to scare me.

SO a pop out scare works, the only real problem is knowing how to do it correctly, as such I'm going to make some plans on Halloween.
 

Callate

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I agree that jump scares can work; I stopped playing Rescue on Fractalus back in my 'tweens when the game stopped cluing you in that one of those damn aliens was going to jump up in front of your windshield.

The problem I have is that games like Doom 3 and Dead Space (especially the former) have such a short menu of scare tactics that they become annoyances from a game-play standpoint, annoyances that persist long after their ability to actually scare me have faded. Yes, Dead Space, I know I died; can we skip rubbing it in with this long-ass animation sequence for once? Oh look, Doom 3 is offering me a little cache of supplies out in the open. I wonder if this time grabbing it isn't going to trigger an ambush?

Actually, no; no, I don't.

So every time I pick up ammo, I backpedal a few paces and prepare to feed the horror d'jour a face-full of buckshot; every time I see a human corpse that might jump up and say boo, I pre-emptively carve it into nibblets. Not because I'm scared, or scared of being scared, but because the same tactics that are attempting to scare me are making me grind my teeth at another cheap attempt at chewing off a few life points or a few rounds of ammo in desperation fire.

It strikes me that these things could be more effective in many cases if they weren't a) rote and b) punishing. If the games were more willing to reward players for daring behavior that will expose them to scary things rather than make it advantageous to minimize them, we could enjoy the scares and feel a kind of empowerment from testing the limits of our own courage. I know that some people will argue that horror and empowerment don't remotely belong on the same page (and others will argue that this is part of the reason so many horror games, torn between the apparent contradictions of those two words, fail), but I think there's something to be said for recognizing the player's own contribution to the atmosphere the designer is trying to create. I think it can be much more effective to make players complicit in the experience, rather than trying to make them feel helpless.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Filtering out all the crap; we can all agree that "jump scares" aren't good nor bad but it's how they're used that counts.

If your movie/game/story is all jump scares, then you risk losing your audience fast.
However... If you solely rely on nothing but suspense, you'll risk similar consequences.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Unfortunately, Jim, you're arguing the wrong case.

Anyone who says jump scares should never be used is being dishonest with themselves. Jump scares CAN work and DO require effort....when done well. But it's when you build the entire movie/game around them, or when they become predictable, that they aren't really clever effort-requiring works....they're just lazy and futile attempts to startle you. And startling a person over and over is NOT true horror. For most people, it just starts getting annoying, and it's bound to just wear out their nerves after a while.

Take for example, Dead Space (your key example). Not many people criticize the original Dead Space for its horror, but many people DO criticize Dead Space 2. Why? Because while DS1 develops its story and horror elements, you're literally face-to-face with a necromorph within minutes of playing DS2 and it's a cheap jumpscare at that, and the game only continues the process from there.

It did amuse me you pointed out Slender as well, because I don't find Slender even slightly terrifying. It's actually downright boring.

You want to know what scary is? The first sequence in Amnesia where you're wading through waist-deep water and you hear the faint splashing sounds of some....thing in the water. Something you can't see. You can only hear its presence. THAT is damn scary: knowing there's a monster somewhere near you (but you can't tell how far away it is) that might come running to eat you whole at the faintest sound of a splash from you. THAT sequence was the scariest part of the game for me bar none, and even now it still sends chills down my spine when I watch others play it even though I know it's there. That's the sign of good, lasting horror. A jump-scare can only achieve that effect once. Watch/play again and it's not going to catch you off-guard again (unless you forget things easily). But good horror sets up the environment for you and lets your imagination run wild, knowing that you'll create phantasms more terrifying in your mind than anything they can show you.

Another thing: if the "scary thing" in question is on the wrong end of my shotgun, it instantly becomes significantly less scary. Giving me the opportunity and knowledge that I can kill the big bad scary thing hunting me is enough to significantly reduce or even neutralize my fear. Which is another reason why games like Dead Space just don't work that well on me. Sure, you might startle me, but a second or two later, I'm emptying my clip into whatever it is, so my fear turns instantly into flight-or-fight....and with a gun in my hands, no doubt that I'm gonna fight.
 

johnnyLupine

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That house is not a tree, Im going to let that one slide for now but I saw neither zombie nor zombie dragon in your video! I am disapointed. Your choice in music created such high expectations but did not deliver. You leave me no choice, im going to boycotte your show. (unless I really want to watch it)
 

malestrithe

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SnakeoilSage said:
malestrithe said:
Dead Space is not scary. A game can't be scary if you are prepared to deal with the threat. I get that the weapons are ill suited to the job because they are more tools than weapons, but that does not matter. A Sledgehammer is meant to pulverize larger rocks into tiny ones, but that does not mean it won't pound a person into hamburger. The fact that I have a chance, albeit small, removes the horror aspects of it.

Also, a gun that shoots sawblades into the enemy renders the horror elements useless. How can I be scared when I have something that awesome in my arsenal?
Play the game with melee attacks and kinesis then. But we know you won't, will you? You have to have every bullet you can curb stomp out of a corpse, go out of your way to grab every power node you already know is waiting for you like a good little scavenger.

OT: Thank you for giving Dead Space some cred, Jim. A jump scare doesn't last, but honestly I couldn't care less. The game does an amazing job of establishing its atmosphere and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Sorry to disprove your stereotype of me, but I have already done that. It still was not scary.

Hate to break it to you, but when you know where the scares are, you are prepared for them.

You may find it scary and that's good on you. But I don't. It does not matter how I play it.
 

Eric the Orange

Gone Gonzo
Apr 29, 2008
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Here's the thing, and I think this is pretty critical, your not scared of the MONSTER, you're scared of being STARTLED. With the right build up ANYTHING could be scary.
 

sethisjimmy

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I was hoping jump scares would be the topic when I saw the title, as I definitely agree with what Jim says on this one. Jump scares can absolutely be effective. They can be a big payoff for creating a creepy tense atmosphere, and they give the tension some climax. I'm not a huge fan of "unjustified" jump scares, for instance cat-scares, where the scare is something not really scary, like a cat jumping out at you, or someone friendly tapping you on the shoulder, but jump scares are I feel a big part of horror. Not to say they're necessary, but they can work very well.
I'm also glad you brought up Dead Space, as I love that game, and it definitely scared me when I played it. I feel like as much as it uses jump scares to the max at times, it just so much uses atmosphere and creepiness to set the tone.

Also, the OST is just pure genius, amazing stuff.


I love the horn blaring effect combined with the strings.
 

Varis

lp0 on fire
Feb 24, 2012
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I generally hate the horror genre from the bottom of my heart. :D I just get scared SO easily. For example, one time when playing Morrowind I freaked out when dungeon-crawling in some cave where I had accidentally passed by a vampire that thought he'd give me a nice pat on the back... So, then give me Amnesia or some other actual Horror game and I'm crying in a corner after 5 minutes :p.

But yeah, those jump scares certainly have their place (except when in games that aren't horror >:E) and I appreciate the actual work that goes into making those things so scary. I nonetheless have played Slender, Amnesia and Penumbra (mostly because I was forced, but still.. :D) and they have made me feel genuinely scared or at least anxious. I can certainly see what makes a horror game "good" but I just can't enjoy them. I wish I could though. The stories and the effort that's been put into making the perfectly scary and agonizing atmosphere would be a thing to behold, in a bit greater detail than the occasional drunken dash in to the world of horror.
 

Weaver

Overcaffeinated
Apr 28, 2008
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I don't think Doom 3's monster closets were effective at all. After about 2 hours you can basically call when and where the monsters will end up coming from. I found myself turning around at all the right times to kill the very obvious monster that would come from behind me.
 

Shanecooper

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I don't think it's jump scares that people have a problem with. It's the over use of jump scares that annoy people. Yes a jump scare can work, but not if you've used a dozen of them in the past minute. Use them too often and it starts to feel like clay bird shooting but with monsters.
 

Trishbot

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I love horror games. From the cheap jump scares of Resident Evil to the slow-burn psychological tension of Silent Hill.

That's one thing I hate about the new Resident Evil games. RE5 and RE6 are simply NOT scary. They lack any sense of atmosphere, horror pacing, or slow-burn tension.

Jump scares, though, are GREAT if used correctly, and sparingly. Some of the best scares in games came from jump scares used in the right way. Silent Hill 1's room of glass and locker scene, Silent Hill 2's bathroom door, Resident Evil's dogs and windows, Condemned's locker body, Dead Space 2's crypt...

I think Jim's analogy of a kid with a jack-in-the-box sums it up best. You wind and you wind, but you can't quite tell WHEN it's coming to come out. You're bracing for it. You know it's coming. It's not the jump itself that's scary but rather the agonizing wait for what you KNOW is coming. The inevitable. The unstoppable. It's coming and you're helpless to prevent it. It makes you feel vulnerable and weak.

Good horror games still do this; they make you feel vulnerable and weak. Amnesia, Slender, Silent Hill. Hell, I've even seen some people here saying Dead Space isn't scary because they're an unstoppable force of nature, to which I'd say "raise the difficulty, cowards" because anything other than easy and normal strips you of your unlimited resources, health buffers, and makes every single encounter a life or death struggle where running away might just be a better option than facing it head-on.

What's funny is games that are scary to 99% of people, but that one gamer out there is just unfazed. I'm not terrified of Dead Space (I DO find it very scary), but I made my roommate play it and he was screaming and crying and running around the game like a chicken with its head cut off, dying very early on because he could not compose himself to face the enemy with his nerves intact.

Still, I want more games in the horror genre. With so many falling away or abandoning their horror roots, we need it now more than ever.
 

DrunkOnEstus

In the name of Harman...
May 11, 2012
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Varis said:
To be honest I'm completely envious. I wish I could get scared like that the way I used to, but I think I burned myself out on it. It's my favorite genre (though I hate horror movies) so I'm constantly exposing myself to the tricks of the trade.

My scariest games? A tie between Silent Hill 3 and Haunting Ground. Yes, I thought SH3 was scarier than 2, though 2 was the better game overall. That huge deformed troll-man who chases you in Haunting Ground scares the hell out of me when very little does anymore. Hiding under a bed, watching his ankles as he frantically tries to find you? That's how you do that shit right.

As always, great job Jim, as yes you do know just what scares gamers. Ricitello, man of the year? FUUUUUUU
 

Shiro No Uma

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Great costume man!

I don't know if anyone is in the same camp as me, but I used to not do horror very well because I would take it too seriously. Other forms of violence were easer for me to handle, maybe because of my understanding of social standards that I learned form movies and TV, but I was very sheltered from horror films while I was growing up. Gaming to me was very "Nintendo Clean" (Mario jumping on Mushroom heads) and Disneyesque, so after renting the original Silent HIll I had to take it back after just an hour of playing it because it was way too much for me. That said, I had to try Dead Space because I'm a huge sci-fi fan (Space Rules!). Though I couldn't sleep right for weeks, it was the best gaming experience I've ever had. As I'm not as well read on the subject of jump scares and monster closets as most of the people on this forum, I'm curious as to what people might not like about Dead Space.
 

Innegativeion

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Feb 18, 2011
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The thing with jump scares is, yeah, they can be really fucking awful and REALLY fucking obnoxious. In movies, at least, they tend to be done poorly more often than not in my experience.

I agree though, they can be used to excellent and memorable effect with the right style.

Best jump scare of my gaming career, this ************ right here;


If you've been to planet phaaze, you know what I'm talking about.

With all the atmosphere of the metroid prime games, a jump scare like that works tremendously.
 

Dana22

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Really ? Dead Space 2 ? Doom 3 was scary, for all things you mentioned. But Dead Space 2 is complete opposite, mainly because of the de-limbing (is that a word ?) gimmick mechanic.
 

Nurb

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Dec 9, 2008
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Just WATCHING someone play SCP-087 gave me the creeps. One guy made over 300 flights of stairs!

And I'm glad someone acknowledged how well the scares worked in Doom 3. Like when I saw a new weapon sitting on the far end of the room, such as the plasma gun... I knew something was going to happen when I picked it up, but I didn't know what and I looked around for a good minute or two before getting the courage to grab it... then thelights shut down and the zombies came out. Scared the shit out of me.

 

Do4600

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I must disagree. Games that are a "train" of jump scares simply don't work. Jump scares depreciate too quickly for them to be effective on sober individuals. A three minute train ride works well enough, but when you're playing a game for three or more hours they simply don't work. Doom 3 is a great example of this, it's effective for the first 30 minutes or so, but after that point your mind becomes steeled to the stimuli and you no longer react to monster closets. After that point the only thing that's unnerving is the excellent sound design.

The problem is that jump scares force a person into a hidey hole in their mind until they expect to see a monster in every crevice, behind every door and to appear behind you after every powerup. This isn't paranoia, because a horror game that has nothing but jump scares necessarily needs to overuse the jump scare to make it's fear quota, so the monsters will be behind every door, in every crevice etc. in the same way they that are in Doom 3

Speaking of which, this is why F.E.A.R. effectively used jump scares, because you would only encounter them after a period of FPS action. It played with your expectation. You would be looking around every corner for a squad of soldiers, which is what made it so unnerving when you would look around the corner and see girl covered in blood two feet away staring into your soul. It constantly changed your expectations of your current situation. Sometimes you'd be working on a valve and gate puzzle or something and just after you get through the gate you'd find yourself in the middle of a room with eight soldiers looking directly at you. Other times after you just karate kicked the crap out of a soldier and you turn the corner and find yourself in a warehouse covered with symbols written in blood and a little girl would be pointing at you menacingly. In Doom 3 you can only expect imps and zombies, constantly, same thing with Dead Space.

The most frightening games I've ever played are constantly taking steps to bring you out of your hidey hole, usually by introducing a new mind fuck so you're wide open for the next scare. There are few games that do this, because most horror games oppressively browbeat you into a steely paranoia that makes you so ready for everything to be the worst thing ever that when the next attempt to scare you is an imp stepping out of a storage closet it's defeated without a moments contemplation or feeling.
 

Baresark

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Good show. And no finer points was ever made about the psychology of jump scares. I used to fight and my coach used to ask me, "when you hurt someone enough times with a tactic, what do you do?" To which I would respond, "keep doing it?". At which point he would say, "no, you go ahead and let them think it's coming and you hurt them in other ways". There was this part in FEAR. You get the radio distortion like Alma was going to jump out at you and I would frantically look around for her. The distortion goes away and I think I missed it. I go to go down a latter and as soon as I turn around, BAM! I jumped out of my seat. It was masterful. Being able to anticipate them lets the game set the pace. And when it doesn't come,you let your guard down, and that is when it happens.
 

Do4600

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rembrandtqeinstein said:
Honorable mention goes to STALKER SoC for the underground levels. No scarier moment than when
the controller first attacks and the camera zooms in on his face
By far one of the most frightening moments I've experienced in gaming.
 

Verkula

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What jumpscares? Dead Space had 1 jump scare, at the end. Plus whoever said every room had predictably the same scares is just wrong. There were a lot of times in that game were the developers are just fucking with you. Probably my favourite is at one of the workstations, now i did NOT expect that, at all.

Now Dead Space 2...that was indeed predictable. I remember in DS1 i was waiting when they play the "necro jumps into the elevator from the vent above", and it never happened. It did in the second game just as expected.

By the way, Silent Hill 2 wasnt scary either...no, i mean its one of my favourite horror games but just as other games has their own way of predictable scares, SH games has the same with the "usually nothing happens even though the music and sound effects are fucked up" style.
 

Alssadar

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The episode reminded me of when I was playing STALKER SoC yesterday, and I was doing the part with the Brain Scorcher.
I'm not sure whether it was scripted or not, but it just so happened to be night time, but there was a thunderstorm out. Nonetheless, the Scorcher.
Basically, the screen gets static, sounds are muffled, and you start seeing things. And when I mean seeing things, it's mirages of beasts that attack your mental life--rendering your vision (and sanity) frayed. You gotta shoot them in order to make them disappear, but my silenced weapons were running low on ammo. Therefore, I had to use normal guns, alerting everyone in the complex to my location. And it's not enough that Monolith has a couple crack-shot snipers on your ass...
Nonetheless, Lab x-10 beneath the scorcher also held its fear. Being knowledgeable, I knew there was going to be Bloodsuckers (Invisible mutants that 2-shot you), all I needed to do was lure them to me so I could kill them. Running through the halls, waiting for that blood curling scream was a real horrifying experience.
Also, after getting lost, I read on the Wiki that there were 4 Bloodsuckers in the lab. I only found 3.
Where is the last one Right behind you.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Massive thank you to everybody who enjoyed my Scarecrow performance on Jimquisition today. He's my favorite comic book character so it meant a lot to me to do him even a vague sense of justice. One person said it was his second favorite version after Arkham Asylum's, which is a massive honor.

So yeah, quite happy this day! :D
 

Mahoshonen

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Hmm..Did Jim call out Yahtzee with this one?

I think we need some artificial drama on the Escapist and have Yahtzee and Jim Sterling engage in a melodramatic slap-fight that only serves to massage their egos!



Actually, no that would be stupid.
 

KrystelCandy

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I find Doom 3 a funny examples, the jump scares came so often that you could predict when and where an enemy was going to pop out after a while. That kind of undermines the 'scare' part when you know when and where they are likely to happen. Jump scares are good... I think DS1 and DS2 did pretty good jobs with it, but jump scares when done too often, and I didn't say predictable, but too often will simply lose their impact.

I hate all jump scares that involve an incredibly loud noise too. Hurts my ears more than it frightens me.

<3 the Scarecrow rendition too!
 
Jan 27, 2011
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Here's the thing....

Jump scares are usually easy to prepare yourself for. Especially in a shooty game.

As much as Dead Space 1 was a GREAT game, and is actually worthy (IMO) of being called a survival horror game, I was only scared by it twice. The first time involved me keeping an eye on a corpse in the morgue that (Being the genry savvy gamer I am) I was sure was going to come to life...only to get sneak attacked from behind (after which I wasn't taken by surprise again because I would occasionally check behind me once in a while). And the second time was when the first "speed demon" thing came screaming around the corner incredibly fast, and I was like "HOLYSHITWHATISTHATHOWDOIKILLITDIEDIEDIE".

Now, I'm willing to give Dead Space a pass, because it at least TRIED to have good atmosphere, and although I switched to my "expect and counter all incoming ambushes" mindset almost immediately, it kept trying to unsettle me. It failed, but it made such a good effort that I give it a pass. It was a great game, and it at least kept me stressed, on my toes, and properly paranoid at all times.

Maybe it's my fault I wasn't scared at all because of the "hyper focused, paranoid, expect all ambushes and counter them" mindset I developed and immediately find myself slipping into whenever I play a horror game. Then again that's the only reason I can even PLAY horror games. I used to be a total wuss and would not be able to SLEEP after playing the RE1 remake for a half hour at a friend's place. Without that mindset...I wouldn't be able to play scary games AT ALL. The only thing that can crack it is to pull the silent hill style "make the player doubt everything" thing and REALLY build up the tension until I'm thinking "DAMMIT SOMETHING ANYTHING ATTACK ME I NEED TO RELEASE MY PENT UP REFLEXES" and then hit me.

Or, you make me ridiculously vulnerable.

I STILL am not able to play Amnesia or Slender.
 

SnakeoilSage

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malestrithe said:
Sorry to disprove your stereotype of me, but I have already done that. It still was not scary.

Hate to break it to you, but when you know where the scares are, you are prepared for them.

You may find it scary and that's good on you. But I don't. It does not matter how I play it.
I don't believe you, sorry.

The scares will wear off because obviously it's a video game. You can only go so far playing a game over and be surprised by what it throws at you. The same goes for any book, movie or any other medium that attempts to create fear.

Just the same, I like Dead Space, and for more than just the attempted jump scares, successful or not. If that's the only value you put on a video game, then word of advice; it might sound thrilling, but hanging yourself from a doorknob while having a wank isn't worth it. I learned this in college. Trust me.

*Laugh* I'm just joshing you. Seriously though. You could pop a blood vessel in your head.
 

Lord Hosk

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I was disappointed by the lack of a jump scare in the episode. :(

there were so many moments that would have BAHHHAHAH! but nothing.
 

crimson sickle2

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I disagree on how jump-scares work, if the closet is promised to scare you, you won't be as scared when it happens, you'll ready yourself. Inversely, if the monster jumps out of the floor behind you after you open the closet, then you will jump out of your skin due to how unexpected it comes out. Some people do get scared from Jack in the Box tactics, but others ready themselves in that time and the fear falls flat.

EDIT: that Scarecrow costume is simply awesome by the way
 

Vrex360

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Mar 2, 2009
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I love Dead Space but I can't agree with that example, I get the core of Jim's argument but honestly I don't think Dead Space applies. It takes all of ten minutes once you have arrived on the Ishimura and have just started to ask questions 'where is everyone' and 'sure looks like they packed up in a hurry' before you are suddenly mobbed by Necromorphs. Your marine support gets butchered and you are forced to flee without weapons while getting attacked. I mean okay it is very effective but also not what I'd call subtle.
And after that, once you have the plasma cutter, there just isn't really a sense of threat anymore. The monsters presence is always announced by loud orchestral shrieks and their signature guttaral scream as they lurch towards you. After a while the jump scares become far too predictable and even kind of annoying in a 'fuck off and leave me alone' kind of way.

I agree with the rest of the examples but I don't think Dead Space has the whole tense atmosphere thing going for it.

As for games that made me scared, I gotta be honest here, the level Sacred Icon in Halo 2 creeped me out a fair bit if anyone remembers. You were the [sub]mighty and sexy[/sub] Arbiter and you were looking for the sacred Icon in a forerunner facility and for almost the first hour you are completely alone. There is no music, hardly any sound, just you walking around in empty corridors with things floating around. You search for a piston that allows you to go a level lower whereupon you descend into the dark tunnel while the music becomes increasingly haunting.
You fight the occassional sentinel and eventually you find allies in the form of Jackals and Grunts which should ease the tension and lonliness but really only serve to increase it because for starters they don't speak english, Grunts only have a limited capacity to speak english and Jackals don't at all so you still feel alone. Second they die incredibly easily so at any moment your little team can be wiped out. Eventually you come across the flood and your rag tag group of Jackals and Grunts either die or abandon you and then you are alone again, descending deeper and deeper into the now flood infested territory.

It put me on the edge of my seat, I gotta say. Not quite so terrifying as the thought of Kinectonauts but still...
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Eh, I disagree. The fact that they're predicable and we know they'll happen is why some of us don't like them and aren't scared by them. I'd say it's much more scary to tease that'll happen, then not do it. Keeping things tense and unpredictable. "Wait, this should be a jump-scare. Why isn't there one? There has to be... if the monster isn't there, where is it? Is it behind me? Following me? Watching me? Waiting for the perfect moment to strike?"

Jump scares could be an effective tool, if used sparingly. But use them too much, like Dead Space and Doom 3, and they just lose their scare factor.
 

90sgamer

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Good work Jim. I really enjoyed this video. I was sort of expecting you to utilize a jump scare yourself during the shot of the stairs as you went on and on and why they are scary. Missed opportunity, but maybe next year.
 

malestrithe

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SnakeoilSage said:
I don't believe you, sorry.

The scares will wear off because obviously it's a video game. You can only go so far playing a game over and be surprised by what it throws at you. The same goes for any book, movie or any other medium that attempts to create fear.

Just the same, I like Dead Space, and for more than just the attempted jump scares, successful or not. If that's the only value you put on a video game, then word of advice; it might sound thrilling, but hanging yourself from a doorknob while having a wank isn't worth it. I learned this in college. Trust me.

*Laugh* I'm just joshing you. Seriously though. You could pop a blood vessel in your head.
You don't have to believe me. I'm telling you what I did. I played the game several times with weapons and without. Sorry, but it was not scary.

I do not play games to be scared. I play games to escape from reality for a time. Maybe it's just me, but when play a horror game, I expect it to scare me at least once. None of the Dead Space games ever did. It relied on too many jump scares and it killed any sense of horror for me.

As a fan of horror movies myself, I have seen more horror movies than most people have. When you've seen as many as I have, I tend to know where and when things are going to happen. I do not watch anything that is meant to disturb. I have not seen A Serbian Film, or anything of the sort because I don't like disturbing horror films. I'm a fan of less is more horror movies, like the original Texas Cainsaw Massacre or Halloween.
 

O maestre

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Hmmm I just realized Jim would make a great starscream/chris latta impersonator. Yes, that fascinating fact was embedded in my mind the entire review and will continue to do so the rest of the day... man i am such a nerd
 

Arnoxthe1

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Yeah, except for one thing there, Jimbo...

Doom ISN'T A HORROR GAME FRANCHISE. Doom 3 should have been THIS. V

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHZJ0de_I4Q

If they wanted to do a horror game, they should have just made a new IP. So yes, I will call it a bad game because it didn't do what it was supposed to be doing. Nevertheless, it's definitely not a horrible game by any stretch. It just went in the wrong direction.
 

TitanAura

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Before I watch... I'm gonna guess from the description that this is about.... jump scares.... *watches first minute* OH GOODY JIM IS A SCARECROW FAN *SQUEEEEEE* Anyways, yep. Jump scares. Pretty much as with all tropes, it's not an inherently bad thing to use them, but you have to know HOW to use them. More often than not, the best way to make jump scares scary.... is to not have them. The fear of knowing they're just around the corner is far scarier than actually seeing them happen.... because we EXPECT them to happen. So they don't scare us. It's when they don't happen and we stop expecting them to happen that *BOO* FUCKING CUNTING CHRIST!
 

ThunderCavalier

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Kane and Lynch III: Drug Gun Gun Drugs

THERE IS NO GAME ONLY SCARECROW.



... Whelp, I'm gonna go hide under the bed now.
 

kburns10

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Sep 10, 2012
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Jim mentioned Jack in the Boxes. That actually makes a lot of sense. Games like Slender and the one he showed with the endless staircase seem like modern extensions of Jack in the Boxes. Interaction, but the point is you will jump and you know the jump scare is coming.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Arnoxthe1 said:
So yes, I will call it a bad game because it didn't do what it was supposed to be doing. Nevertheless, it's definitely not a horrible game by any stretch. It just went in the wrong direction.
Not doing what you want it to do is not the same thing as not doing what it was supposed to be doing. It wanted to be horror. It achieved it. It was a good game.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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O maestre said:
Hmmm I just realized Jim would make a great starscream/chris latta impersonator. Yes, that fascinating fact was embedded in my mind the entire review and will continue to do so the rest of the day... man i am such a nerd
I've actually done him a little bit.

http://youtu.be/8er83h9Bbn8

I wasn't the main Starscream voice. I was the voice of his spark at the end.
 

teh_Canape

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Akalabeth said:
Yeah for Doom 3. Though he failed to mention the bit in hell, that had some well-crafted openings that I'll always remember.
that and the praelanthor ruins in both DOom 3 and Resurrection of Evil were badass looking
so much so that I now wish they made an RPG where you could explore them XD
speaking of it, many people say that one of the main reasons that Doom 3 isn't scary is because you're always packing high power weaponry
I personally think that those weapons help a lot, since the 3 most powerful weapons* (BFG, Rocket Launcher and Grenades) are AoE, and in closed quarters AND panic reactions, they fuck you over too
and let's not forget that there really are a lot of explosives hanging around the place, so you're always too in risk of accidentally a fuel tank with your shotgun, because no matter how powerful your weapons are, a jump scare will still make you panic 90% of the times

*I count the Soul Cube as a tool, since it requires special parameters to be used, such as the demon heart
 

CardinalPiggles

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Best Jimquisition to date.

Anyway, I'm not really into "scary" games myself, but one game that did jump scares right is Bioshock; because it really set the mood even when there wasn't a jump scare on the way. And when there was? Shit got real.

My god, the morgue section literally made me quit the game for a year, because it set you up for a jump scare, then let you relax for a second, and then BOOM! Guy with scythe blades for hands jumps out of the dead guy freezer in your face.
 

beniki

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Hyper-space said:
So...the show is called JimCrow now?

The Crowquisition?
To be honest I was thinking more like 'Burlap the Hutt'.

But anyway...

I like a good jump scare every now and then, but they never leave me awake at night. Like Jim says, they're the theme park ride version of horror, where you're scared but it's all for fun.

Although now I've written that, it makes me wonder why I'd ever watch a movie/play a game which leaves me awake at night.
 

Zhukov

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Dec 29, 2009
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Meh.

The stuff about Dead Space was bull.

You know what isn't scary? Vent #37 bursting open with a necromorph. Or Suspiciously Intact Corpse #11 lying on the corridor ahead of you.

And even if it was scary, any sense of threat is undermined by the fact you're carrying a arsenal of guns in your pocket. When a monster jumps out at me in a DS game, I don't think, "Oh crap, I'm under attack!" Rather, I think, "Fuck yeah, time to try out by new upgraded kinietic blaster!"

Also, there was nothing slow or tense about the intro to either game. DS1 had necros popping up with, what? Five minutes? Ten? DS2 had one screaming in your face before you'd even got control of your character.
 

ZexionSephiroth

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There are many kinds of fear...

Fear of Danger...
Fear of the Unknown...

...And...

...The most Crushing of all categorized fears...

...The fear of one's own self.

For our greatest fears are tied to what we might do, and we feel we have the capability to do deep down, and we oppose doing more than anything else.

...But there is one further fear...

...Our True fear.

It is the one unique fear that you hold above all others.

It is tied intrinsically with two other unique values you hold above all others of their kind...
...What you value as most important, above anything else.
...What you Wish for; more than anything.

These are not easy things to figure out. And sometimes, it might be better you didn't know.

Its a shame... that I figured out... what my true fear was...And I figured out just how pathetic I am...

In any case, feeling the effects these things have on you isn't hard. It just requires you to ask the question of what it is until something in your heart clicks, and you can't imagine that specific question digging deeper.

"What are you really so afraid of?"
 

Milanezi

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Zhukov said:
Meh.

The stuff about Dead Space was bull.

You know what isn't scary? Vent #37 bursting open with a necromorph. Or Suspiciously Intact Corpse #11 lying on the corridor ahead of you.

And even if it was scary, any sense of threat is undermined by the fact you're carrying a arsenal of guns in your pocket. When a monster jumps out at me in a DS game, I don't think, "Oh crap, I'm under attack!" Rather, I think, "Fuck yeah, time to try out by new upgraded kinietic blaster!"

Also, there was nothing slow or tense about the intro to either game. DS1 had necros popping up with, what? Five minutes? Ten? DS2 had one screaming in your face before you'd even got control of your character.
I believe Dead Space one was pretty scary at moments, however, as you said it, Dead Space 2 was not. In Dead Space 2 I wouldn't feel desperate but more "frustrated" because there were so many necromorphs attacking, simply put, many passages in Call of Duty would make just as tense, because just the same, it would throw a shitload of enemies on top of me. Dead Space 2 was a total letdown for me, I felt like going through the descending quality of Resident Evil all the same.
 

Some_weirdGuy

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I think many people fail to notice the transition Doom 3 undergoes as it plays out, where although they use the same mechanic (in this instance, the imps leap attack), it's not trying to achieve the same effect as it was earlier.

Early game, it's a jump scare, purposely made to be that and placed during areas of tension build-up as an unexpected shock, later in the game however, when you have many powerful weapons at your disposal, they use it as a way of letting the imp get in a shot at you since he's not likely to even get close otherwise.

After the 4th or 5th time they've specifically trained you to predict it coming up, that's why the focused shifted away from being placed in tension building/scary lead-ups to instead 'regular' areas that already just had a bunch of enemies, instead using it to chip away at unwary players health(or other times as a sort of 'booby trap' for players who try running away from existing enemies by sprinting up ahead), providing a sense of gratification and game mastery as you 'outsmart' the demon and avoid it's leap attack, a form of positive player feedback which is actually incredibly common in (good)game design.

As I said though, people don't seem to notice this and just go 'urrg, Doom 3, stupid jumpscares got so predictable'. They think they're actually the clever ones who just figured out the 'totally dumb' system that the 'silly' designers keep trying to pull over and over, and don't realise the doom 3 designers were leading them by the nose the whole time and building them up specifically *to* know better.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Toasty Virus said:
Wow, that was pretty good!

What effects processing did you put your voice through exactly?
Thanks! I love doing the Halloween ones and tried to make it special this year.

Effects were pretty layman-level. Just whacked the audio through Wavepad's Chorus and Flanger/Phaser effects until I was happy with what I had.
It was creepy and slightly annoying. But mostly creepy, maybe I'm just being bitchy cause it's early over here. Oh if your looking for a horror movie jim give a peak at sinister.

Well made, and honestly freaked me out alittle.
 

wolfyrik

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Lieju said:
Eternal Darkness is one of my all-time favourite games, and it used a jump-scare very sparingly (depending on your definition, there might have been just one), but to great effect; just as you're at ease, certain that there are no threats in the main mansion JUMPSCARE! that will put you back on your toes.
Eternal Darkness is genius, I wish the other games that cvlaimed to have insanity-meters did half as well as ED. It changed so much of the experience and was tremendously well done. Added to the overall suspense and anxiety of the game, while making replays more interesting.

@jim. Dood, Ghost Train. Ooohwaaaaaa! Loved that show. Jimquisition lately has turned into one part Critique, one part bizarre nostalgia trip. Enjoying it, greatly.
 

Cid Silverwing

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Jul 27, 2008
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Stop praising Dead Space for being scary, because it isn't.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is scary, because it's not just one stupidly telegraphed jump scare after the other, it's actual atmosphere and LACK of jump scares (read: minimal reliance) that get you. Not always going "BOO!" but most often just "Boo." too. Then the occasional "BOO!" just as you think you're safe.
 

Jobbie

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Resident Evil 2 / Police interrogation room + No Music. Licker jumps threw with a very loud crash. Worst jump scare ever.
 

ms_sunlight

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The best haunted house in videogames is explicitly so; the haunted hotel level in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. You're sent to investigate an old hotel where the building crew doing rennovations is refusing to work because it's haunted. There is no pretence about what is to come. As soon as you get in the front door spooky things happen.

It's full of jump scares, poltergeist activity and half-seen phantoms. It tells a story. It's absolutely fantastic. Buy the damn game, it's on sale! http://store.steampowered.com/app/2600/
 

GameChanger

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Hey hey Jimothy,

While I agree with you on the point that jump scares are not necessarily a bad thing, I do think that taking Dead Space as an example is not exactly a great choice. While the very first jump scare in Dead Space is really great and effective, the more you progress through the game, the less effective it becomes. Roughly halfway through the first one I could accurately predict when the designer thought to himself "I haven't put in a jump scare for two minutes now, need to fix that". Your point is that jump scares can be successful if they are executed skillfully, and I just don't think Dead Space does it very well. They just don't make me 'jump' as they were probably intended. It can only be scary if you don't exactly know WHEN something is going to jump out of the cupboard, and when you do know it starts feeling 'cheap'. Case and point.

I think Dead Space is an awesome game, but not for the reason that it is scary. I like the style and Lovecraftian themes in it way more than the fear-factor.
 

KiloFox

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i'm not big on "Jump-scares" they don't ever actually SCARE me, rather, they just surprise me. i jump, but i don't feel scared, i don't dread the next one, and they just get boring after a while. now i'm sure they have the effects Jim mentioned in his EP on SOME people, just not me personally.

now i've never been a big horror fan, hell i was scared shitless when my older brother played Resident Evil Directors Cut on the PS1, but c'mon. i was like. 8.

last thing i saw that truly scared me, was the needle-pit scene in Saw (Saw 2 i think it was) that's really the only way to really scare me now. play to my phobias (Bees, wasps, hornets, and needles)
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Well Most of the time, I find myself agreeing with Jim here, but im not sure that's the case today. It seems he's kicking some hornet's nest without any reason (Although DAMN I laughed with Scare FOE).....

Evidently there is room for jump scares in horror, I dont think anyone can deny that, but I find it is a lot easier to pull off an effective jump scare. A simple Gif image can give you an effective jump scare:
(stare into this spot and you will see the point change color........ BLAM!).
Of course it requires work as well but it can be done very methodically through Action -> prolonged silence/pause -> Frantic action, and it works just fine.

I pesonally don't care much about the scare itself, but MUCH MORE about the long lasting unsettling feeling. And this is why, when playing Dead Space, the same jump scares that were effective initially, grew tiresome the further I got invested into Isaac's story. And this is also why a game like Doom 3 for me holds little interest (and i'm not being smug as to say, its artistically inferior or whatnot as Jim implies), I'm just noticing that it relies too much on that temporary high that repeats itself with slight variations, but it doesn't really get me invested or give me an insight on fear.

This in general, is why when I watch straight up horror movies, I don't particularly enjoy them, since they generally strive to you disturbing Imagery, but often dwell on very generic stylistic clichès and can rarely take that seriously. On the other hand, suspense thrillers (although genres often blend and blur) generally focus on giving you frightening IDEA, with or without the media shock, and directs our thought towards what scares us individually. The difference is that this profound fear requires to be constructed diligently, while a jump scare can be effectively created in a single scene.

So yeah, they are not the same, and in my opinion, one takes much more work to pull off psichologic long lasting fear efectively than a jump scare. And there is nothing wrong with that, noone is up in arms about it either...just different resources.
 

GamemasterAnthony

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I think one of the reasons jump scares don't work is once you reach a point where you expect them to happen, they kind of lose the fear factor and become just an annoyance. Fear tends to work best when you don't know what to expect...and it's that unknown factor that works best for horror and fear as it's your own imagination that creating the boogeyman. Jump scares just can't bring that because you know what to expect. Something is going to jump out of the closet going "Abloogy-Woogy-Boo", and it won't matter WHAT it is since you already know it's just going to give you a quick adrenaline rush...and that's it.

Personally, this is one of the reasons I hate haunted houses. After the first few jump scares I REAAAAAAAAAAALLY had to fight the urge to punch the next zombie in the face so I wouldn't get arrested. It just wasn't fun or even a good adrenaline rush...it was just a series of pointless annoyances like the current run of campaign ads. THAT IS NOT HORROR!

Don't get me wrong. If they can get the pacing right, I COULD see how good jump scares could work. But I have yet to see it because WAY too many people seem impatient to give the next adrenaline burst to their vicitms so they plie them on and so the tedium begins. What I prefer to see in games is true horror where you don't know what the danger is so at any time you could be doing something normal and then sudd
 

lead sharp

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It's about bloody time some one spoke out for jump scares! I'm a horror fan and I've seen good and bad. The Asian Shutter has GREAT ones in it and then there's everything after the first Paranormal Activity which just re-treads old ground. But they all get lumped together.

Game wise one of the scariest moments actually happened recently during Dishonoured, just before I went into the sewers to get back to the Hound Pits I had to break down some boards to go through a corridor or two. I could hear the weapers but not see them, that was unnerving. Checking all the way I got to the room with the sewer hatch all was silent, I turn around and there were four or five weapers doing a conga straight up behind me, I actually screamed like a girl. That was an effective jump scare and it was all the result of a bit of smart AI just happened to do the right thing at the right time in a game that isn't really a horror game.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Scare Tactics

Dr. Jonathan Crane accepts an invite to give the Jimquisition a lesson in fear.

Watch Video
Some fucking hard truths right here. I can see the hipsters preparing their barbed dismissals already.
 

csoloist

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Couldn't disagree more on Doom-3 and Dead Space.

Dead Space was *meh* because it telegraphed pretty much every single encounter in the entire game.

Doom 3 gets shat on because it's, y'know DOOM 3. Long overdue return of one of the most seminal franchises in videogame history. Trouble is it wasn't anywhere near as good as Doom, or even Doom 2.
 

HalfTangible

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Does anybody know which Jimquisition begins with Jim listening to his own self-help tape? I'm trying to find that one =/
 

Arnoxthe1

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Not doing what you want it to do is not the same thing as not doing what it was supposed to be doing. It wanted to be horror. It achieved it. It was a good game.
What I want it to do? I think you misunderstand me, old boy.

I'm talking about general genre and franchise expectations. Would you play Halo if 343 decided that jumping on colorful platforms to get gold coins was the way to go? Even if it was a good platformer?

This is exactly what happened to Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Rare wanted to make something different and I respect that completely. However, instead of injecting their ideas into a new franchise, they decided to inject it into Banjo Kazooie. A game that was not about vehicles at all. So, when it finally came out, everyone was very turned off, expecting another romp through huge imaginative worlds but instead, they got a bunch of vehicle challenges in vaguely different looking mechanical worlds.

DISCLAIMER: I LOVED the vehicle building in BK:N&B. The core of the game was absolutely great. The rest of it, however, was lacking badly. And also, once again. Doom 3 wasn't a terrible game at all. Presentation of it all was great and the weapons were nice and beefy. Monsters were done well, etc. The constant annoying darkness and the horror though was what brought it down.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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lord.jeff said:
You are right in case of Silent Hill and Resident Evil, the jump scares do give you a feeling of dread with every door and corner but Doom not so much, jump scares requires a weaker character I never saw the creatures in Doom as much more then a target, having little more scare then a game of whack a mole.
Eh, the first zombie was done pretty well. The first baby encounter was pretty fucking creepy as well. Other than that though nothing was particularly special.
 

Nazulu

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the dark and jump scares usually work on me. I never heard of any one calling it cheap though. Guess I can understand why, since after being jumped out so much in Doom 3, it just wasn't as effective later in the game.

The unknown scares me a lot more. Like the Blair Witch Project, it took me awhile to get over. So it's understandable why people prefer to inspire that which I also think is more creative.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Arnoxthe1 said:
Would you play Halo if 343 decided that jumping on colorful platforms to get gold coins was the way to go? Even if it was a good platformer?
Yes I would. I like platformers, and frankly, that'd appeal to me more than a Halo FPS, because the Halo series is something I've been unable to get into yet.

Hell, just look at Metroid Prime. A Metroid FPS? TRAVERSTY! Except it's beloved. It's all about the quality, at the end of the day. Not your expectations of static genres.

This is exactly what happened to Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Rare wanted to make something different and I respect that completely. However, instead of injecting their ideas into a new franchise, they decided to inject it into Banjo Kazooie. A game that was not about vehicles at all. So, when it finally came out, everyone was very turned off, expecting another romp through huge imaginative worlds but instead, they got a bunch of vehicle challenges in vaguely different looking mechanical worlds.
But by all accounts, it was a good game. In fact ...

DISCLAIMER: I LOVED the vehicle building in BK:N&B. The core of the game was absolutely great. The rest of it, however, was lacking badly.
There we go. You LOVED the new changes, but the game failed you because you didn't enjoy the rest of it. But that was because you found it lacking, NOT because the changes ... which were the only bits you enjoyed.


And also, once again. Doom 3 wasn't a terrible game at all. Presentation of it all was great and the weapons were nice and beefy. Monsters were done well, etc. The constant annoying darkness and the horror though was what brought it down.
And again, you're pointing to matters of taste, not matters of the game failing on any technical level. The game did not fail because it was a horror game, it failed because you didn't appreciate its kind of horror and the dark palette. Meanwhile, I did, and feel it was a great success.

If you disliked Doom 3, that's perfectly fine, but you're applying a level of objective standards to it that it had no intention of applying to itself.
 

Mikodite

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Mikeyfell said:
Definitely, Doom 3 is the only game that ever made me shit my pants. (For the record I was holding one in while I was playing Doom 3 but still)

I don't even think the Jump scares need that tense of a set up.

I still have fond repressed memories of Youtube or Newgrounds videos that say "Cool Optical Illusion" then 30 seconds in BAM! scary face... or alternately pancake face, which is equally as scary.

There's no build up, no tension and to me that makes it even scarier.
Thus why jumps scares are 'lazy.' Jim overestimates the amount of work required to pull off a proper jump scare. A jump scare is literally a monster jumping out of a closet screaming "Abloogie oogie whoo" and that is all it is, and they can do the job without any real buildup at all.

Something I want to add to this conversation is that most of us confuse 'being scared' with 'being startled.'

Being scared is walking down a dark alleyway knowing there is a strong change that you will be jumped on. Its being in a bad situation and not knowing if you will make it out in good standing - or even alive. Its having to make an important discussion that is make or break, knowing that a 'break' might not be something you can recover from.

Being startled is when your concentrating on doing homework in the school library when someone taps your shoulder. Or when a cat jumps off the road because a loud shiny demon roared by very fast.

The term 'jump-scare' or 'pop-up scare' are misleading as, even when done properly, they don't really scare you, they startle you. The difference in terminology is important.
 

La Barata

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I gotta say, I've never flat out disagreed with Jim before.

I can understand where he's coming from, but I really can't say that the points he makes can outweigh the cons of jump scares.
 

CleverCover

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The jump scare does work, but only when you don't really know it's coming or after a long period of waiting for it to come.

It worked in RE4 when the zombie of fire bursts out of the locker and made me wet myself, but the moment in the hospital with the doctor in bioshock scared me more because I was expecting something, end up building the moment up to epic proportions, get frightened of the goddamn shadows, and end up screaming and scaring everyone around me because I turned around and saw a body locked in a reaching out position going towards me.

A really great scary game has both...which is probably why Amnesia is so awesome... :D
 

Jimothy Sterling

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A positive booster video? I must be getting too jaded, I expect every video out there to be negative. I regret not finishing Dead Space. It was bad for my nerves. Was like "sort of enjoy having my nerves frayed but do not want".

Nice Scarecrow Jim! At first I thought it would be cringe worthy for all the wrong reasons but you did a good job with the look and voice work.
 

Zydrate

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My problem with jump scares is that they get very old very quickly. After the first few, the sting wares off.

The movie "Obsessed" employed them very badly. The woman was looking for the killer in the attic and the music gave us a spike several times. By the time the killer actually popped out, it didn't scare me. I was bored.
 

Aeonknight

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I see a common criticism for dead space being that because you could fight back, it took away the edge because they weren't a threat.

To that I answer:

Play it on a harder difficulty then.

You'll definately raise the tension a bit when you're running around the room desperately searching for anything you can possibly throw at the enemy to kill it, cause you're bone dry on ammo.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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That was a lot of fun :D

I absolutely despise monsterpops or jump scares. It's not that they can't scare me, it's that a lot of them are so horribly obvious that I get bored of it, quickly. Dead Space especially, did this. It felt forced and it happened way too often. The sequal had a nice go at it in the daycare center and that built up the tension nicely.
Jumpscares makes me feel embarrased to fall for them. I don't get a thrill, just dissapointment and discomfort.

AvP is what scared me the most in the past and I think I speak for a hell of a lot of gamers when I say that the be-beep of the motion sensor is one of the most dreaded and horrifying sounds in history.
The design of the xenomorphs is so perfectly alien(no pun intended) that they look like a literal nightmare and their biological design, the acid for blood, a mouth within a mouth, a razorsharp tail and talons make them undeniably and extremely deadly in a plethora of ways.
They're smart enough to trick you and create tactical advantages, while not being intelligent enough to be reasoned with, unlike the monsters in fx. Dead Space, which are all just skittering mindless creatures, not unlike zombies, whos only ability is to hide in vents and go BOO.

Also, Clive Barkers Undying was fairly creepy, especially when you saw your surroundings change and hint to the horrible truth about the mansion and its previous tenants.
It had a nice mix of jump scares, hints and atmosphere that left you creeped out but not bored.

The way I see it, in order for horror to really work, you need to have something to lose.
It doesn't have to be your life, but sanity, for example, is a nice mechanic. I think this is part of Amnesia, but I haven't played that.
It's used in the P&P Call of Cthulu setting, where you'd get insanity points for seeing various supernatural events.
Only it shouldn't be used as hitpoints, but rather it should dictate the direction or ending of the game. The more insane you are, the more disturbed your gameplay becomes and you suddenly see your allies as monsters and have new objectives, only you don't exactly know that it's happening.



..

One other thing. Is anyone else absolutely freaked out by flying heads or other stuff in games?
I get a near panic reaction, almost phobic, whenever I see them in games. My heart starts to pound and I feel almost paralyzed when I have to deal with them.
I'm not sure if such a phobia exists, a fear of something that's not real, but it scares the shit out of me.
Medusa heads in Castlevania makes me nauseous, but the ones in Prince of Persia 2 and flying heads in Doom 3 really scare me, to the point that I have to quit and calm down for a while.

Just curious if anyone has experienced something similar.
 

Iron Criterion

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Good horror will utilize both. Dead Space was about as scary as a week old kitten because it only had one move. Out of the entire game I can only think of one moment which actually scared me; the Invulnerable Necromorph hunting throughout one level. Though on one of the later levels you could hear a weird cult-like chanting noise, which was creepy.

Whereas Silent Hill 2 built up an effective atmosphere using its soundtrack and unsettling imagery; only sparingly using jump scares. And I guarantee they got me, every single time. Because the jump scares were uncommon, there were moments when I was absolutely terrified that something was going to jump out on me, even if it never actually occurred; the Historical Society section being a prime example.

Compare the two games, and you'll see that the scares in Dead Space are mostly cheap and ineffective, whereas Silent Hill 2 consistently hits.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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DVS BSTrD said:
No Jimquisition? Talk about a Straw Man fallacy.

My problem with Dead Space is that the necromorphs didn't look scary: they looked ugly. And they got more annoying than scary.
And this is my problem Doom 3 and Dead Space. when something jumps out the fucking air vent for the 10th time, I know it's going to jump out the air vent for the 10th time, this is my first playthrough and I know exactly what air vent it's going to jump out of, and it's easy to deal with, there is a problem.

Yes, more subtle horror games use them, but that's the point, games like Doom 3 and Dead Space fail because I know I will beat whatever the fuck comes out of that closet when it does come out, I know that EVERY time, WITHOUT FAIL, well, at least in terms punctuality, because other than that these monsters do nothing BUT fail.

This is what makes Amnesia: The Dark Decent so scary, I know I cannot just beat the shit out of it with, I can't even kill it. And another thing, we have the technology, so maybe at least making the scares more random would help, make it so that necromorph jumps out a different vent each time, using a very powerful monster that shows up rarely, and at random, works far better than the standard easily killable dipshits that go down like fucking flies fighting fire. And that suspiciously intact corpse in Dead Space, didn't even scare me the first time, hell, it didn't even SUPRISE me the first time, I just shot it's limbs off there and then.

Meanwhile in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, I was actually scared when meeting the first controller, I didn't expect it, I didn't even bother staying to fight it and just sprinted to ladder out of there.
 

Boba Frag

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While I am a giant pansy and have only played Alan Wake, which many will flame me for referring to as a horror (I know, I'm slowly psyching myself up for Silent Hill 2... I just have to go into the attic to look for the PS2....), I'm finding myself drawn towards the genre lately.

Jim, I absolutely LOVED this episode!! You've outdone yourself! I sincerely hope you see this comment and consider doing something like this every Halloween- I'm just annoyed that I didn't see it last week on Halloween itself!

Loved the cues you took from Arkham Asylum- indeed those are my favourite sequences from that game. Shame there's only a handful of them.

I digress- I think Jonathan Crane needs to return to the Jimquisition next year, and basically freak us out again.

Well done on the costuming and the creepy Sam Raimi camera work at the start!!
 

Jimothy Sterling

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One thing he fails to mention about Doom 3, aside from you know Hell, is that I remember a lot of the basic game revolved around the player going to delta. Get to the delta labs, go to delta, yadda yadda yadda.

Then when you get to Delta, it's the most messed up place you've seen since. Instead of a dark, slightly smashed up lab, there's blood all over the walls and the floor and every damn place. People don't think about that stuff maybe, but they build it up and the pay off is worth it.

Then when you get to hell, the stakes are raised even higher. Seeing a few Hell Knights come out of the portal is one thing, seeing a hell knight emerge with a wall of fire behind it while the camera does a vertigo shot is something else.

I hope Doom 4 measures up when it finally rolls around.