The ghoulish figure skulking behind your door. A foul wind blowing up from the basement. Your undead grandmother who wants one last visit before she begins her descent to hell. That insane doctor who burnt down the psych ward with all of her poor patients inside.
We know these haunts. It’s spooky but easily understood. It’s demented but distanced from reality. It makes for great smash and slash gameplay, but it doesn’t resonate with the soul!
Instead of once again spinning our blood soaked snow tires in the fields of horror tropes, let’s take a look at some ideas that could be truly… terrifying. A small list to straighten the spine and evoke the bleakness of everyday life.
These are 5 unused ideas in the horror genre that’ll make you call home for a moment of reassurance.
5. Chronic Unemployment
You’ve lost your job and know you’re on the hunt for that next paycheck. Your mailman keeps cramming bills into the mailbox just as your e-mail inbox gets another notification from your disregarded water company. There are few things as anxiety-filled as watching the bills roll in without any money to make them magically disappear.
In A Robot Stole My Job, you will scroll from page to page on Craigslist in the scariest horror game of 2015. Your character, Tracie Green, has been laid off from her 3rd service sector job; a newly trained robot army of workers is to blame. Manage your dwindling inventory as you struggle to allocate money and time into paying certain bills before you find yourself on the street. Make sure to maintain good relationships with family and friends — you never know when you will need to ask for a life-saving favor. Level up your will power as you go from interview to interview (both on the phone and in person!) to stave off the internal doubt that mutates and counteracts your in game progression. It’s so realistic!
4. Serious Accidents
Just the thought of being seriously injured makes the skin crawl with terror. Most of us are only a few accidents away from being completely bankrupt and in need of social services. Accidents, whether at work, in transit, or at home, can change your life in a matter of seconds.
Sorry, We’re Gonna Have To Let You Go is a true next gen horror game. You take the role of a lowly construction worker who’s just trying to put food on the family table, all the while living paycheck to paycheck. CLANK! CRASH! BANG! Those are the last noises you hear before all goes black. Waking up in a hospital bed, you now have to manage your pain with a variety of pharmaceutical quests. Get good at cranking out paperwork as you fill out disability and unemployment forms in this rogue-like pain game. Can you push away the hurt that haunts your daily life?
3. Getting Older
Are those my baby grandkids knocking at the door? Did they remember that it’s my birthday today? Is it my birthday today? What? Who? Umm…?
It’s something we all must endure — the inevitable crawl of time. Our minds and bodies beware!
In Geriatric Ward: Patient 0, players will embark on a truly monumental survival-horror game of mischief, canasta, bedtimes, and the haunting absence of your families voices. You must manage your dormitory of disgruntled geriatric heroes as you try and escape the 13th floor before time runs out. Will you wait for your son’s call to talk about your Sunday dance? Gather an ensemble of elderly friends, each with their own unique skills and talents, as you try and break free from the clutches of your apathetic oppressors, but don’t forget that dinner is served at 5… You’ll need all the strength you can get in this minute to minute scare-fest!
2. The Declining Environment
Dwindling resources, fetid air, sewage-ridden water… These are the crops we must harvest when we pass the Ecological Threshold: Last Stop
The first true horror/RTS blend, Ecological Threshold: Last Stop has you controlling an ill equipped and ailing population of survivors at the end of the world. You’ll need to manage more than just resources in this blood soaked strategy game of wits. With other bands of survivors vying for control of whatever passable land is left, you will need to determine what is important as the leader of your clan. Will you push for an aggressive birthing policy, possibly sparking a revolt if it goes too far? Maybe a path of least resistance and assimilation is the best route to victory. Only you can decide as the hellish landscape of a world in the midst of an ecological crisis grows bleaker and more dangerous by the day.
1. You’re Not Happy With Who You Are
Just look in the mirror. Look at what you’ve become. A shell of a human, a member of society that has no function, no purpose, no empathy, no life!
The days appear darker, the nights seem longer, and you can’t remember the last time you were proud of something you did. LOOK AT YOURSELF! — The Experience evokes those terrible feelings that scratch at your insides like a trapped claustrophobic in a coffin. LAY:TE is a “walking” game where you must go from room to room of your childhood house and see your once mediocre accomplishments paraded before you ad nauseam. Don’t crack under the intense pressure as you witness the years you wasted binge-watching your “favorite” episode of Friends for the 15th time. Realizing that life is fleeting, you must make a choice between continuing on the path of empathy or muster the courage to truly LOOK AT YOURSELF!
Do these ideas terrify the Soul!? Let us know in the comments below.
Gaming from the swampy flatlands of Florida since 1989, Alex D’Alessandro is always looking for a way to stay inside and escape the southern heat.