As Halloween draws near, we all start thinking about our favourite spooky-scary games and movies. The holiday is a perfect excuse to revisit some horror favourites or discover new ones. That is, unless you're like me, who goes as far as carving pumpkins but would rather eat a sickening amount of sweets and be in bed at a sensible hour.
It's no secret I'm not a huge fan of horror, in any form. I just don't like the feeling of being scared. The furthest I've delved into the genre is probably Bloodborne, which is full of nightmarish nasties, and even then I never finished it. I'm also a fan of the Last of Us series, with its human stories trumping the intense confrontations with mushroom zombies. These are on the outskirts of horror, though; I'm a big old wimp, and I really don't like the idea of playing something like, say, Alien: Isolation, or Resident Evil 7. It's not for me, and that's fine.
The thing is, though, over the last few years I've grown to have a more complicated relationship with horror. The genre is very popular with YouTubers and streamers, and honestly, I kinda get it. Watching someone else play scary games dramatically softens the fright factor. This arguably destroys the point of what horror games are trying to achieve, but experiencing them vicariously like this provides me a way to satisfy my morbid curiosity.
To give an example, I watched someone play the entirety of Resident Evil 2, the much celebrated PS4 remake from last year. By doing so, I was able to stomach the high tension and grisly scenarios horror titles often present. Could I have played it myself? Probably, but I wouldn't have enjoyed the sense of dread and the idea I'm constantly being followed by Mr. X. Someone playing it for me is like a safety net — their commentary provides some levity, bringing the intensity down to a level I can deal with.
I realise it's sacrilege to many gaming enthusiasts to experience a game in this manner, but I genuinely enjoy it. Watching someone play allows me to get a peek at some amazing games I'd otherwise ignore. I know I'm missing out on the first-hand experience, but I play games to relax, have fun, and be entertained, not have my nerves ripped to shreds.
I suppose there's a possibility that watching scary games might lead to playing them. It seems unlikely to me at this point, but maybe by next Halloween, I'll be pining for that Silent Hill reboot like the rest of you.
What do you think about this? Do you share Stephen's stance on horror games? Do you watch many games on YouTube and Twitch, or is that a big no-no? Tell some ghost stories in the comments section below.