With the release of Dead Space 3 and Aliens: Colon. Marines, a lot of talk is undoubtably going to be had about being scard, the lack of being scared and how game design no longer makes anyone scared. But I disagree, and I'll tell you for why;
I love horror.
I love being scared, I love the fear of the unknown, I love the feeling of having to walk through a silent town at 1AM because you stayed too late at that girls house watching horror movies and now you're making every concious effort not to sprint home bawling like a child because Cenobites/Mad Axemen/Demons/The Great Satan/Kayako Saeki is probably behind you getting ready to cause a world of hurt!
The utterly fantastic thing about horror as a medium is there are so many wonderful ways to create it, I'm just as big a fan of the jump scare as the slow burn, sometimes it's as much about, if not more, what isn't seen or heard versus what is. It's one of the reasons why I think the Alien series (well the first 2 anyway) are so effective in making me drop a deuce.
Juxtaposition is also a useful tool, I will once again draw on Adventure Time as an example, especially the City of Freaks episode, where the cute art style is given a run for it's money against some horrific imagery (my favourite being when the magic man demonstrates his abilities on a bird).
As could be guessed however, my favourite thing about horror is the aesthetics.
Some of my favourite pieces of entertainment have come from the magical duo Penn & Teller, in particular the trick "Shadows" in which the pairs macabre comedy style is left behind for 2 minutes, lights are shut off, leaving only the silent Teller, a vase, a knife and a projector. If you have not seen it, watch the video I'm going to insert below, I STRONGLY recommend it. What you see and what you don't hear spark an incredible response for me, always producing a smile and at the same time a little touch of fear and if you can tell me, dear reader, that it did not make you feel something special, you might as well tell me that you eat raw puppies.
Every time I watch The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or Nosferatu I am in awe of how right they got it despite the time, the German Expressionist design on the sets of Dr. Cal. and of course the shadow of the beast Nosferatu ascending the stairs are images that will forever be referred to as classics in Cinema.
But what about videogames!? They have lost lost sight of what makes me afraid!.. Right?
Think again, friend. Amnesia, Metro 2033, Cryostasis, Grey, STALKER, I could go on but I won't, even if the mainstream seemingly loses it's grip on what you may think horror is, there will always be a bastion for you. By saying videogames have lost what makes them scary you are being wrong, because to suggest that there is a formula to be followed when creating horror is a stupid thing to do.
Videogames have their own defining moments just as cinema and literature before them, the one that will always stick with me (and I'm sure many of you guys) is the radio in Silent Hill 2, the moment that little fucker comes alive and blares what sounds like Bumblebee getting an enema at you,you crap yourself, and then you realise the fog isn't probably down to the weather.
And just as iconic is the killing of the first zombie in Resident Evil 4. Remember your first encounter with that Splicer that hides behind a coffin in Bioshock, I fucking do. Or your first glimpse of a Big Daddy. How about the Witch in Left 4 Dead, that's something that won't ever leave me, along with hundreds of images from Majoras Mask that have been seared into my brain. In years to come, people from this generation will point to things such as their first encounter with Slender in the woods, the first time they saw a person become a Necromorph and getting mugged by "monster closets" in Doom 3.
Just like the 80's enjoyed a terrible revival of horror films, we will enjoy a new revival of horror in the mainstream because, Dear Reader, horror never dies, it just finds a new basement to lurk in.