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Default Is Horror Subjective? (child of What games are you playing now?)

October 29th, 2011, 22:00
I've actually had several heated debates about Amnesia in the past. I just don't get what's so "scary" about that game to some people.

Not that it wasn't enjoyable, but I just never found it to be as nerve-wracking as some people claim. By comparison, I found the Dead Space games to have far more tension.

I guess I'm just envious that it didn't have the same effect on me.
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October 29th, 2011, 22:14
Being hunted by an invisible killer, without having any weapons to protect yourself, the sound of the water splashes is the only thing that tells you he/it is getting closer.. well, that's like a thousand times more effective than anything in Dead Space.

Dead Space is cheap scares, like in Doom3, can't sneak or anything and you never feel that vunerable either. I think Amnesia and Thief3 did a great job of being scary, making you feel really vunerable. Having a weapon takes away that effect completely. That's how it's done in the best horror movies too, the most unforgetable and intense scenes doesnt involve the protagonist being armed from head to toe.
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October 29th, 2011, 22:26
I find that 'scary' is extremely subjective and unpredictable.
I feel very comfortable with what scares others as often as others laugh at what terrifies me.

Because of that I never get into a game (or a movie or book etc.) expecting to be scared no matter what I've heard about it. I expect atmosphere, but other than that if it works it works… in any case it'd better not rely solely on being scary.

The only games that scared me enough to loose some sleep were 'The Lost Crown' and 'Scratches', both indie adventure games (where, interestingly enough, you can't die… so my character being vulnerable isn't what gets me) Amnesia hasn't really disturbed me quite that much yet, but it's still early and it seems much more determined to do so.

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October 30th, 2011, 02:20
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
Being hunted by an invisible killer, without having any weapons to protect yourself, the sound of the water splashes is the only thing that tells you he/it is getting closer.. well, that's like a thousand times more effective than anything in Dead Space.
You mean in your opinion.

Like holeraw says, it's extremely subjective. I'm not saying Amnesia isn't effective in general, I'm saying it wasn't effective to *me*.

The "haunted castle" style setting just didn't do much for me, and I actually found most of the sound effects more annoying than scary.

I did like the the invisible killer section though, in fact it was my favorite part. I just found the majority of the game to be somewhat forgettable. I played it only about 8-9 months ago, and I'm hard-pressed to remember anything about the plot or the primary antagonist.
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October 30th, 2011, 04:01
Played the demo to Amnesia. I'm not touching that damn thing with a ten-foot pole. Not that it's a bad game, but I prefer not to have that much tension when playing a game. I enjoy horror, but constant horror for hours on end? No, I don't enjoy that at all.

Despite all my rage.
I'm still just a rat in a cage.
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October 30th, 2011, 07:50
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
You mean in your opinion.
Not really, it follows the classic formula, kind of how it's always been done in horror movies and games effectivly. I could probably bore you with "scariest game and movie moments"-lists but i'm not gonna.. I do agree that it's subjective to a degree, i mean there are even people that found Doom3 scary, which i can't understand at all.
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October 30th, 2011, 07:56
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
Not really, it follows the classic formula, kind of how it's always been done in horror movies and games effectivly. I could probably bore you with "scariest game and movie moments"-lists but i'm not gonna.. I do agree that it's subjective to a degree, i mean there are even people that found Doom3 scary, which i can't understand at all.
Of course it's subjective. If someone doesn't find something scary, then it's not scary. For him.

No amount of "classic formula" arguments will change that.

I didn't find Amnesia particularly scary - but my main issue was more about gameplay. Not really for me, but I appreciate what it does - and think it deserves some credit for being good at immersion.
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October 30th, 2011, 12:52
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Of course it's subjective. If someone doesn't find something scary, then it's not scary. For him.

No amount of "classic formula" arguments will change that.

I didn't find Amnesia particularly scary - but my main issue was more about gameplay. Not really for me, but I appreciate what it does - and think it deserves some credit for being good at immersion.
Exactly.

I think it was great effort for a low-budget game, and I'd be interested in seeing what Frictional Games could do if they had a larger budget, but they definitely need to improve certain aspects of their design philosophy.
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October 30th, 2011, 13:43
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
but they definitely need to improve certain aspects of their design philosophy.
In your opinion

An again horror, or fear rather, isnt that subjective, its a basic instinct in humans so its not rocket science how it works and which things are the most effective to scare someone. But there's always varying degrees of phobias amgonst us, like fear for spiders, clowns or blood. So partially it is indeed very subjective.
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October 30th, 2011, 15:06
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
In your opinion

An again horror, or fear rather, isnt that subjective, its a basic instinct in humans so its not rocket science how it works and which things are the most effective to scare someone. But there's always varying degrees of phobias amgonst us, like fear for spiders, clowns or blood. So partially it is indeed very subjective.
While that is inherently true, we are also desensitized to repeated stimuli - that is also a basic proven fact. So something that might be incredibly scary or terrifying to a 10 year old who has never had exposure to horror movies, TV shows, and the news will not necessarily be scary to someone with experience in the genre.

Adhering to genre standards will therefore make something less scary to an older audience … like us

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October 30th, 2011, 22:59
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
An again horror, or fear rather, isnt that subjective, its a basic instinct in humans so its not rocket science how it works and which things are the most effective to scare someone.
By that logic, comedy isn't subjective either. Good luck trying to convince us about that.
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October 31st, 2011, 04:36
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
By that logic, comedy isn't subjective either. Good luck trying to convince us about that.
Like fear it's only partially subjective. We've been laughing at the guy who's falling on his ass since the dawn of man, no matter culture/race or upbringing. I could bore you with a lof examples.

txa1265: There are elements of fear that i think people, generally speaking, think loses its "fear factor" quicker than others. Like seeing lots of blood/gore, this might be scary to a 10-year old the first few times. Unpredictability and vunberability is generally more effective, this is seen over and over in the most well liked horror movies and stories.
Last edited by vurt; October 31st, 2011 at 05:17.
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October 31st, 2011, 05:55
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
Like fear it's only partially subjective. We've been laughing at the guy who's falling on his ass since the dawn of man, no matter culture/race or upbringing. I could bore you with a lof examples.
Oh I'm sure you could.

You sound like you believe what you're saying, so I won't try to convince you otherwise. Suffice to say, I've never found someone falling on their ass to be funny, but to each his own.


Back on topic..

I recently reinstalled The Thing. Speaking of horror games, this was released in 2002 for PC and consoles. I remember trying it back then and immediately uninstalling it. I wanted to give it another try after seeing the new film based on The Thing. I'm actually kind of enjoying it in a weird sort of way, probably due to wanting more of the franchise any way I can get it. Make no mistake though, the game is pretty craptastic.
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October 31st, 2011, 08:27
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
it's extremely subjective.
That's not the entire truth. There is a Base-Rate. When people are generally in some way it's not just subective, it tells us something regardless whether we ourself match the Base-Rate or not.

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October 31st, 2011, 08:48
I'm talking about per individual, and that has nothing to do with Base-rate.
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October 31st, 2011, 11:36
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I'm talking about per individual, and that has nothing to do with Base-rate.
But it started with you more or less saying "I don't know why everyone thinks it is scary". That in itself plays both sides - the fact that there are some core elements of a scare that are largely universal (until desensitized), and that there are individuals who based on brain activity and DNA makeup respond outside of the norm to various stimuli … on one side or the other.

Not that it really matters

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October 31st, 2011, 11:45
I find it amazing that this debate can start over every week

We all know that JDR is strange, but in this case - I have to agree with what he's saying.

If he said that he doesn't know why anyone finds it scary, it's just a way of saying that from his subjective point of view - he doesn't see the scary part. Obviously he understands that there's something there that works for some people, be it "universally scary" or not.

It's not exactly rocket science.

Just like something like Avatar, one of my favorite examples, which is a movie that "universally" appeals due to the nature of the story and the visual spectacle. Something which as a "recipe" should appeal to most people - and it certainly does.

Personally, I think it's a complete piece of shit with absolutely nothing that appeals to me, as an individual, in a way that makes it a worthwhile experience - but I also understand that I'm "strange" in how I don't think a movie is good just because it looks good.

It's the way of things.
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October 31st, 2011, 11:46
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I'm talking about per individual, and that has nothing to do with Base-rate.
If you only look at individuals you are missing out.

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An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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October 31st, 2011, 11:48
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
We all know that JDR is strange, but in this case - I have to agree with what he's saying.
You two are strange.
And you are very special. No simplifications makes you justice.
*hug*

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An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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October 31st, 2011, 11:50
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
You two are strange.
And you are very special. No simplifications makes you justice.
*hug*
You can be included in that and so we have a trio of uniques

*hug*
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