Hints and Tips for Survival Horror Fun

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Survival Horror games are some of the most prevalent nowadays, with almost every game system having multiple titles that come under the 'Survival Horror' banner. This entry touches on some of those games, and offers some tips for heightening the enjoyment of a session of suvival horror fun1.

Survival Horror - AKA 'Monsters Crash Through Windows'

'Survival Horror' games are a genre of video games, affectionately (or sometimes not so) known to people as 'Monsters Crash Through Window' games. This is more often than not due to the overwhelming propensity of monsters to, well, crash through windows, pretty much scaring the bejeesus out of the unwary player - quite often to the amusement of any spectators in the vicinity.

Games in this genre are often less about killing and hacking your enemies than they are simply about getting out of a horrific situation with all limbs intact2. The main protagonists are generally 'normal' people who have been thrust into terrifying situations, armed with little more than their wits and a healthy fear of the ravening creatures attempting to devour them alive.

With multiple arcs combining to make up the main storyline, most SH3 games will present a different story in response to how the player manipulates their character during the playing time. Silent Hill 2 is an excellent example of this, offering five potential story endings depending on which courses of action you take, whether you avoid all enemies and keep your health high or whether you display decidedly suicidal tendencies and run headlong into danger, amongst the other choices that are available.

Fun For The Whole Family!

As with any horror 'tale', be it a movie, book or simply a story someone's telling you, the atmosphere when you play a SH game is important in getting the right feel. It's easy for anyone to scoff and laugh at zombies shambling toward you at noon, but it's another thing entirely when playing at two in the morning with only the moans of the undead and the sound of your rapidly beating heart to keep you company.

So with this in mind, let's look at some ways to get the most out of your SH experience:

  • Time- As mentioned above, it's one thing to run around splatting zombies at full midday, with the sun shining and birds singing. It's another to play at some wee hour of the morning, when the world is silent but for the gunshots and moans of the undead out for your brains. Which brings us to the second point...
  • Lighting- As bad as it is for your eyes, playing in the dark is highly recommended by this researcher. In the flickering light of the television, looming shadows suddenly gain a wonderful malevolence that helps immeasurably in creating atmosphere.
  • Company- This researcher has found that the tension created by the game is often improved if shared with another. From a strategic standpoint it can be good too. The other party can keep an eye on the screen, perhaps picking up items, enemies or puzzles that you, the player, misses in the course of playing. More than one spectator is ill-advised, however. The conversation between non-players can prove distracting, and detract from the overall experience. Not to mention that people tend to laugh at you if you jump and/ or scream when a killer creature jumps or lurches out from somewhere.
  • Sound-
Work In Progress
1In this researcher's humble opinion, anyway2Hence the title 'Survival Horror'3'SH' in the context of this entry refers to 'Survival Horror', not 'Silent Hill' which is a Survival Horror game.

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