Poll: Does a horror game need to be scary?

Ironbat92

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With Dead Space 3 coming out, and having a more action focus, it started to make me thing. A lot of people say that not all games need to be fun, which made me think. Does a horror game(or horror show or movie) need to be scary to be called a horror game?
 

thesilentman

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Jun 14, 2012
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ShadowRatchet92 said:
With Dead Space 3 coming out, and having a more action focus, it started to make me thing. A lot of people say that not all games need to be fun, which made me think. Does a horror game(or horror show or movie) need to be scary to be called a horror game?
?

Um, yes? Isn't that the entire point of horror games, being scary? Sure there's different shades of scary, but the freaking premise of horror is that it's scary.
 

mohit9206

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Oct 13, 2012
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well lets see. when i sit down to play a horror game or watch a horror movie, i expect it to scare me. and if it doesn't then am disappointed. its the same as watching an action movie or an action game. wouldn't you be disappointed if the action is barely present ? so yeah a horror game needs to be scary but it doesn't mean it can't have action or humor. as long as it scares me and atleast is creepy enough to make me think about it for some time then its a success.
so a horror game without the horror is like a body without a soul
 

sethisjimmy

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Not really. Games can be in the horror genre and not be scary. I think of Catherine, the Castlevania series, Dead Rising, etc. Those sorts of games are rooted in horror elements, but not necessarily jump out of your pants scary.
 

Tony2077

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horror has gone out the window for me other then jumping when something pops up when i wasn't expecting it. most of the time its either sci fi or fantasy elements now
 

Lilani

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May 27, 2009
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ShadowRatchet92 said:
With Dead Space 3 coming out, and having a more action focus, it started to make me thing. A lot of people say that not all games need to be fun, which made me think. Does a horror game(or horror show or movie) need to be scary to be called a horror game?
Oh dear. There's a lot of muddling of concepts going on here.

First of all, the "games don't have to be fun" argument exists because "fun" isn't always the most accurate word to describe how you feel when playing a game. When Aeris dies in Final Fantasy VII, Square wasn't aiming for "fun." They were aiming for "emotionally moving." This applies to movies, as well. One would think one would be wanting to have "fun" when watching a movie, but I don't really find myself having "fun" when Dumbledore dies in Harry Potter, or when Mufasa dies in the Lion King.

The most accurate blanket word that can describe those moments is engaged. You are invested in what is going on in the movie or game at that moment. Having fun is one way to be engaged, but it's not the only way. That is what "games don't have to be fun." means.

Now, your horror question is another one entirely. Horror is a very specific genre. The most divisive thing about it is the idea that there are different types of horror. There's psychological horror like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, there are jump scares and the dread of facing impossible odds like L4D, and then there's a horror of a much more...abstract kind. For example, sethisjimmy pointed out Catherine. Catherine could be considered a "horror" game not because it gets your blood pumping, but because it's a nightmarish incarnation of how bad relationship problems can get. It's scary in that it's a scenario completely out of your control, and the stress it puts in the character is incredible.

The same thing could be said about Minecraft, in a way. Imagine--you start out in a world all by yourself with nothing to your name, and the other creatures in the world either don't do anything at all to help you, or are trying to kill you. And there isn't anything you can do it except find a way to survive. No matter how big of a monster you kill there is no way to "win," and you will never have true company. If that isn't terrifying, I don't know what is.

So it really depends on how you look at it, and what kind of horror you are talking about.
 

NightmareExpress

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To the same extent that you would actually need puzzles for a puzzle game to be what it is.
"Horror" is meant to startle, unsettle and instill a sense of dread. If it's a "horror game", it would need to have those elements as a core foundation rather than little thematic bits of a section (think Ravenholm in Half-Life 2 or horror-themed levels in non-horror games).

If it doesn't fit the definition of horror in the second sentence there, it's at worst an action game with gore or at best a psychological thriller (which are awesome). To put a more concrete genre definition down, horror is something "that is intended to, or has the capacity to, frighten viewers". So the answer is just yes.
 

Assassin Xaero

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TheKasp said:
Milk said:
ShadowRatchet92 said:
A lot of people say that not all games need to be fun, which made me think.
Who the hell says that? That's ridiculous.
Why is that ridiculous? Gaming is not a mere childrens thing anymore, even though 'game' is used to describe this medium it is not only there to be fun but to engage which can result in fun, horror or whatever feeling the creator wants the player to get into.
If this site didn't play favorites, I'd make a really sarcastic (and probably rather mean) remark to that... But yeah, anyway, not all games need to be fun, but a game being fun is a childs thing? I'm sorry, but once you stop being a child you realize how much life sucks and then you are not allowed to have fun anymore? Or am I just misunderstanding what you said?

OT: No! Scary is relative and more of a reaction rather than a theme (which horror is). None of the Dead Space games were the least bit scary to me. I know a lot of people who were scared by non-horror games (example: Ravenholm in Half-Life 2). A non-game example would be Underworld (and other vampire, werewolf, etc. movies). Is it horror themed? Yes. Is it scary? No. Left 4 Dead is a horror game and there isn't even a hint of scary in it. Idiocracy is the scariest movie I've ever seen (because that seems to be the direction this world is going), yet it isn't a horror movie at all.
 

SnakeCL

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Apr 8, 2008
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Well, remember, "scariness" isn't really as objective as many people would like to think.

What one person might find scary, another might not. That's why I argue "scariness" isn't a prerequisite of the horror genre, because it assumes everyone is scared of the same things.
 

DoPo

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Jan 30, 2012
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SnakeCL said:
Well, remember, "scariness" isn't really as objective as many people would like to think.

What one person might find scary, another might not. That's why I argue "scariness" isn't a prerequisite of the horror genre, because it assumes everyone is scared of the same things.
No, not everybody is afraid of the same things, and indeed some things may not scare some, while others would freak out, however, we are capable of recognising horror themes and intent. A dark hallway full of spiders and you're only armed with a flashlight (which is a minute away from running out of battery) is one thing, casually fighting dozens of giant spiders with oversized weapons and flashy abilities, where the spiders drop various quality and quantity of loot, isn't. Horror themes and invoking horror feeling is distinct from not doing it. One might not be scared but can recognise what horror is.