Maybe this coincides with the fact that I hate horror movies, but I cannot play through survival horror games. I've played the demo of Condemned, Fear for the PS3, Code Veronica, Fatal Frame, and even Resident Evil 4; I've beaten a total of 0 of these games.
With all the attempts to play a game in this genre, comes the inevitable truth that lies beneath: fear is not a gameplay mechanic that works for me. Always being low on ammo, using 2x4's that will eventually break, and the random dog that jumps through a window to eat your face is not my idea of fun. Although I'm surely not alone in this realization, there are at least an estimated 5.93 million people who bought the different flavors of RE4 who would tell me to stop being a punk and grow some. I've tried, really I've tried. I remember the day I picked up Resident Evil 4 for the Gamecube; January 12th, 2005 when it was released. It was my birthday and I decided that I was going to give this "fear for fun" thing another go. So I went to my nearest Best Buy, picked up the LE of the game, and quickly went home to play it. "I'm going to beat this game no matter what!"
Oh it's all fun and games until you poop yourself from fear.
"Wow", were my initial reactions because the game looked stunning. Surely I'll be able to make it though this one right? Of course not. I made it as far as the first boss before I came to the realization that I would not be able to finish it. The game was way too stressful and the anxiety of wondering what was going to run around the next corner was too much for me to handle. I play games to escape from the stressful task of my day and playing this type of game wasn't taking me to my place of zen.
Yes, I will kindly....
I did, however, enjoy Bioshock.
In my opinion, Bioshock is very much a survival horror game but a unique one. Rather than implementing fear by giving you low ammo and breakable objects, the game uses the surroundings in which you explorer to provide the suspense. One part that really freaked me was when you picked up the shotgun for the first time. I don't want to spoil it just in case you haven't played it yet but that part made me jump out of my chair. One main reason I enjoyed my time with the game is the story. There were enough twists in the game for me to want to see how it ended, even if this meant I would have a mini heart attack while getting there. I love when a game can engage me with its story so much so that I want to see what happens and continue playing it no matter what. The inclusion of super human powers and the ability to upgrade your weapons also gave me the sense of security when those "spoke" moments happened.
creepy little kids are scary
So, what drives gamers to play a game in this genre? Do they enjoy being scared or frightened but rather do it in the world of a videogame? Do they secretly want to be the savior of humanity or at least feel that way? Or is it just the fact that they get to blow zombies' heads off that gets their motor going? I honestly have no clue on what drives the fans of survival horror games. It drives me crazy to think that some people actually put themselves in these type of situations and actually enjoy it. As much as I want to play Condemned 2, I know I couldn't make it through the first level and I'm okay with that.