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The rise of VHS horror games

The introduction of VHS cassettes in the 1970s was a revolution in bringing horror closer to people. Two decades before, television became the primary medium for affecting public opinion, trumping newspapers and radio. This bore a generation eager to sit around a humming electronic box in their living rooms, allowing all kinds of foreign images to infiltrate their homes. But these broadcasts were typically newsreels and government-approved screenings—images under state control. VHS put more power to the viewer, who could decide what to watch and when, just by inserting a box-shaped pack of plastic into a tape player and letting its…

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The prison of the videogame camera

Techniques such as lens flare or liquids splattered on the camera (usually blood) have become so commonplace in videogames that we no longer pay attention to them. This indifference is a bit disquieting. After all, with videogames, we play two roles at once: the character on the screen, and ourselves in our own body viewing the screen. We act by pushing buttons and at the same time passively watch those actions performed by somebody else through the distancing filter of a camera lens. We accept this double perspective so wholly that in our minds it seems to become one. When…

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Amnesia’s Thomas Grip: "Right now we’re sort of in the slasher horror genre in games."

Horror games are currently in a rut with their slasher film mentality says Thomas Grip, designer of games that chickens like me stay far, far away from. Speaking with Rock, Paper, Shotgun about his upcoming title SOMA, he explained that scary games have yet to evolve from gory, cheap scares into a more psychological and terrifying type of horror. His words precisely:  Right now we’re sort of in the slasher horror genre in games. You’re just running from evil dudes or evil monsters. It’d be nice to move away from that and get into something more like Omen or Exorcist…