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Dark water and the things below give me the shivers

Oct 29 // Nic Rowen
SMB3 is one of the most wonderful and inviting games I can think of, an expression of the pure joy of gaming. Until you make it to World 3-3 and meet the Boss Bass that is. The Boss Bass is an evil shit. A nightmare hellfish that exists to brew horror and ferment fear. A big angry, overgrown Cheep Cheep that skims the surface of the water, snapping at you with his jaws whenever he gets near. The level you meet him on for the first time bobs up and down, always threatening to dunk you in the drink and serve you up as supper to his bucktooth maw. Not only is the Boss Bass one of the most usually aggressive enemies in a Mario game, it is by far the most unnerving to be killed by. Usually when Mario dies, be it by Goomba, fireball, or tossing himself into a spike pit, it's not a serious affair. He freezes with that shocked look on his face, bounces up to the top of the screen, and dies to the familiar jingle of failure we all know and love. But that doesn't happen if you get caught by the Boss Bass. He just swallows you down, bones and all. No funny little jingle, no shocked expression, Mario is just GONE. The big nasty fish circles around, making sure he didn't miss any bits and the screen goes to black, chilling. It doesn't even matter if you're Super Mario at the time, all that means is a bigger meal for the Boss Bass. [embed]283134:56141:0[/embed] Ever since then, I just don't care for being in the water with, things. I always found the Ecco the Dolphin games vaguely unnerving. I skipped any quest in Oblivion that involved going in the water and dealing with those big ugly angler fish. And the water monster scene in Amnesia? Nope, nope, nope, nope, peace I'm out. The water sucks and everything in it can die. Fuck you Greenpeace.
Spooky Mario photo
I'm not going in the deep end
If we're all confessing our gaming-related fears, I might as well share mine. I can't stand the water. More specifically, I can't stand what lives under the water. If there is ever a section of a game that will make me want to stop playing, it probably involves getting your toes wet and taking a little swim with, well, whatever. I can thank Super Mario Bros. 3 for this phobia. 

I think videogames made me hate funhouses

Oct 28 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]283099:56128:0[/embed] What should have been an interesting action-puzzler with a coat of hot branding ended up as unnerving. Looking back, it's mostly due to the music and sound effects. Hearing slightly warped circus music on a loop with interspersed pogo noises doesn't exactly make for a relaxing time. Adding an extra layer to the subtle creepiness was Krusty's mostly permanent toothless grin. That expression just stared back at you for the vast majority of the game. Even something was slightly off with Bart when he'd unflinchingly and sadistically crush the poor rodents one by one. Some cartoons end up being more distressing than anything else. That's the category that Krusty's Fun House fell into for me. And, it turned me off to funhouses for good. [embed]283099:56130:0[/embed] My first introduction to funhouses was in Mickey Mousecapade. Well, that's an overly specific statement, because it was also my introduction to videogames as a whole. I was just a wee lad when I got an NES, and Mickey Mousecapade was the first game I played. The initial stage in Mickey is titled "Fun House," although it's anything but. It's a level rife with spiders, snakes, and sentient brooms. Halfway though, there's a witch who's guarding a key that's necessary to exit the stage. It's tough to pinpoint exactly why this didn't sit well with me when I was a kid. The music's a bit abrasive, but it's right in line with all the other games of the time. More likely is that I didn't like the idea of mysterious birds swooping in to kidnap Minnie. When that happened, you had to find a special key which warped you to a different room, where you had to correctly guess which of four creepy statues she might be hidden in. In hindsight, Mickey Mousecapade probably wouldn't have had an effect on me if I hadn't played it at such a young age. Still, the juvenile action-platformer holds a very special, yet unsettling place in my heart. And, it's the reason I got off on the wrong foot with funhouses.
Funhouses photo
A lot of rodents
I don't like funhouses, although, I suppose I haven't given them a fair shake. I've never been inside one, but I'm pretty certain that makes no difference. You see, videogames trained me at a very young age to hate funhouses....

Earthworm Jim 2 scares me to this day

Oct 27 // Jordan Devore
[embed]283088:56125:0[/embed] Just watching this video puts me on edge, but I needed to make sure it was a decent representation of the hellish stage. It sure is. Getting a clip with mistakes was crucial. No one I knew ever played Puppy Love flawlessly; you'd slip up sooner or later and the worse you performed, the more unnerving it became. I can admit to being terrible at it. Shit is hard! You have the herculean task of catching puppies thrown out of a tower before they go splat, literally. Innocent, adorable puppies, and lots of 'em. Except, you aren't catching them -- you're continuously bouncing them off "the giant marshmallow o' love" (haha, this game) until they reach Earthworm Jim's pal, Peter, who is all the way on the right-hand side of the screen. It sounds simple, but Jim's nemesis Psy-Crow -- the jerk throwing the dogs -- times his tosses with such evil precision that you practically have to be in two places at once to save everyone. And that marshmallow you're using as a safety trampoline? Unwieldy on a good day. Once you miss enough puppies -- again, you will, eventually -- Peter freaks the hell out. He transforms into a monster who tears across the screen to slice Jim to pieces and the accompanying sound effect is unforgettable in the worst possible way. Just awful. It's a testament to how much I dig Earthworm Jim 2 that I was ever able to put up with Puppy Love. At least the level ends with a reassuring cow who says "Well done." I needed that. [Image credit: Hardcore Gaming 101]
Earthworm Jim is scary photo
Puppy Love
Leading up to Halloween, I've been wanting to write about horror games because that's what you do in October, right? I still might; I'm playing the oft-recommended Fatal Frame II for the first time now and am planning to revi...

Dropsy photo

Dropsy delayed until early 2015, hugs his way onto tablets

Look ma, no hands
Oct 23
// Rob Morrow
Ringmaster of the surreal Jay Tholen recently provided an update on Kickstarter with news on his creepy/charming point-and-click adventure game Dropsy. First, it's being ported to mobile platforms -- iPad and Android tablet...

Corpse Party  photo
Corpse Party

Corpse Party returns to its PC birthplace with upcoming XSEED release

I've...come...round...full circle
Jun 05
// Brittany Vincent
Corpse Party is one of my favorite horror series (even if it's a little tame at times) and I was thrilled to see it make its debut as a PSP cult hit back in 2011. Now, XSEED plans to bring the original Windows edition to life...
The Forest photo
The Forest

The Forest is available now via Steam Early Access

Over the years and through the woods, to the plane crash debris site we go!
May 31
// Brittany Vincent
Looking for something a little more intense to pep up your Steam experience? Give The Forest a try, fantastically creepy endeavor that's just hit Steam Early Access as of yesterday. While it's still obviously in its alpha st...
Caffeine photo

Updated Caffeine trailer shows off more scary corridors

Might wanna chug an energy drink to get through the trailer
May 28
// Brittany Vincent
Caffeine, the Kickstarter-funded sci-fi horror adventure created with Unreal Engine 4, has been updated with a brand new trailer. It looks the same overall, corridor after dimly-lit corridor, but with Oculus Rift support and...
White Noise Online photo
White Noise Online

White Noise Online wants you to scare and be scared with friends

Sounds like an MMO, but it's totally not
May 24
// Brittany Vincent
White Noise Online is an indie horror game from Milkstone Studios that wants you and your friends to be terrified together. Team up with three others via Steam to look for clues together while avoiding some type of creature ...
Silent Horror soundtrack photo
Silent Horror soundtrack

Silent Horror soundtrack is back from the dead and ready to download

Get the main theme for free
Apr 08
// Darren Nakamura
Back in 2005, a small team made Silent Horror, an independent film homage to survival horror, with obvious nods to the legendary Silent Hill franchise. Before he was Destructoid's Editor-in-Chief, Dale North composed the soun...
Home photo

Home announced for PS4 and PS Vita

Indie horror has new address
Mar 17
// Conrad Zimmerman
The indie games just won't stop coming to Sony's tent, and today we learn that Ben Rivers' Home will be arriving on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita later this year. Atmospheric and full of surprises, Home is a creepy ...

Caffeine teases a creepy space adventure about coffee

One-man developer working on atmospheric horror game
Feb 24
// Conrad Zimmerman
This is the latest teaser for an in-development space horror/adventure game, Caffeine, which will put the player into the role of a young boy who awakes on a seemingly abandoned "caffeine mining station." If that idea strike...
Daylight photo

Daylight will let Twitch users scare PS4 streamers

Kinda scaring me already
Feb 20
// Conrad Zimmerman
Atlus dropped quite a bit of interesting information regarding the first-person horror game Daylight today. The most important nuggets may be that the game is now set to release for PC and PlayStation 4 on April 8, price...
Muraski Baby photo
Muraski Baby

Creepy child dragging game Murasaki Baby coming to NA

That's North America, not Nipple Academy
Feb 11
// Steven Hansen
The dark, twisted game from Italian studio Ovosonico, Murasaki Baby, is coming to Vita in North America. You'll be tasked with guiding Baby back to her mother and away from terrifying nose monsters that are chasing her aroun...
NaissanceE release photo
NaissanceE release

NaissanceE: a scary space station without any necromorphs

Releases on Steam next week
Feb 07
// Darren Nakamura
Honestly, this might be more scary than an average survival horror game. It is not even clear if NaissanceE is supposed to be a frightening experience, and that just makes it seem even scarier. At least, that is my reaction ...
Zelda photo

Why I'm glad The Legend of Zelda's Hyrule isn't real

Oh hell no!
Jan 18
// Wesley Ruscher
I always wanted to travel to The Legend of Zelda's Hyrule, among other amazing fantasy worlds I've virtually visited; that is until I saw these amazingly disturbing pictures by artist Nate Hallinan. Seriously look at that skulltula... WTF! And I thought Australia had it bad when it came to eight-legged critters.  

Eldritch expanding to The Mountains of Madness

Free DLC releases December 19
Dec 06
// Conrad Zimmerman
The endlessly creepy Eldritch will receive a free expansion later this month entitled "Mountains of Madness," based upon an H.P. Lovecraft serial of similar name. The original story describes an Antarctic expedition which me...
Creepy Baby photo
Creepy Baby

i Live is a creepy baby simulator for iOS

That settles it, I'm never having kids
Nov 18
// Conrad Zimmerman
Words cannot express how deeply unsettled I am by this video for i Live, a forthcoming iOS game from Italian developer LGD Studio. It has a room full of squishy, mottled, 3D-rendered baby things and tutorial instruction...
Sound design photo
Sound design

Dementium II HD sound effects provided by schnauzer

Developer diary reveals some!
Nov 18
// Conrad Zimmerman
A new developer diary for Dementium II HD has been unleashed upon an unwitting world. This time, sound designer Morné Marais goes over some of his approaches to creating audio for the game, always crucial to evoking the proper mood in a horror title.  Who knew such a cute little mutt could be responsible for so many horrible sounds?
Dementium II HD photo
Dementium II HD

Dementium II HD features high resolution rust

Somebody really ought to fix those railings
Nov 01
// Conrad Zimmerman
Progress continues on the PC and Mac bound Dementium II HD, a visually enhanced version of the highly creepy Nintendo DS game from Renegade Kid. A new teaser trailer, seen above, flits about from one filthy hospital environm...
The Dark Mod horror photo
The Dark Mod horror

Mod DB shares its top horror missions for The Dark Mod

Be scared!
Oct 31
// Joshua Derocher
If you are a fan of The Dark Mod, a Thief-inspired Doom 3 mod that is now standalone, you need to check out this list of scary mods to celebrate Halloween. Mod DB put together a list of its favorite horror-themed mods fo...

Creeped out by images from 3DS game My Little Baby 3D

Oct 24
// Dale North
Just in time for Halloween we get a press release for a 3DS title from Treva Entertainment called My Little Baby 3D. Sounds innocent enough, right? Wait until you see the images from the game. *hides under blanket* The idea i...

Murasaki Baby is strange and wonderful

Aug 22 // Dale North
Gently guide her with your fingertip and she'll follow nicely. Pull her arm too hard and she'll resist a bit.  And like a baby, the more you encourage her, the more bold she'll become. While you have to work to get her to follow your finger at first, she'll start to enjoy the walk on her own before long. Before you know it, she'll charge full speed ahead on her own. But when danger is just ahead, you'll have to use the touchscreen to slow her down a bit.  The entire game uses touch control. While you're usually using one finger to drag this baby along, there are times when you'll have to glide your finger across a gap to have her hop over it. And when strange things try to come after her or her precious balloon (you lose when the balloon is popped), you'll have to fend them off with a fingertip. I batted down strange insect-like safety pins that tried to attack her balloon early on.  Just like a baby, this one is always cautious, and scared easily. She's in a world that can change on the fly, so there are lots of opportunities for her to be scared. As her guide, it's your job to make her feel safe. This could mean that you have to move a hanging lamp into a cave to scare away bats, or flick away hanging tentacles.  Babies can change moods very quickly, noted Gianni Ricciardi of developer Ovosonico. Playing on this, swiping the back touchpad of the Vita can change the world for this baby. The baby, the ground, and often other elements stay in place, but the backdrop changes as your fingers glide across the back of the Vita. While strange, the look of these worlds is supposed to represent a baby's different moods -- happy, sad, scared.  When you come across another balloon in the game, it can be popped, adding another world background for you to flip to. Some of these worlds contain solutions to platforming puzzles. For example, one world had smog that blocked the baby's path. By switching to a background that contained a windmill, I was able to blow the smog away to progress. The world of Murasaki Baby looks like a sketchbook came to life, complete with scratchy shading lines a focus on black and white imagery. It's just as striking and beautiful as it is strange. Some really nice work has been done with shadow, light and depth. Screenshots don't do it justice.  Riccardi told me that in this early alpha stage they're trying to optimize frame rates to make play more responsive. The game played fine, though some jumps were slow to respond. The engine that powers this lovely art and animation is still new, and it's somewhat taxing on the Vita's hardware, so they're still figuring it out.  The first level I saw was definitely strange with its hanging tentacles, creepy creatures, and freaky objects. Ricciardi told me that the first level is called the "tentacle boy level." When I asked why he pointed to all the wriggling and dangling tentacles on the screen and sort of smiled.  Ricciardi explained that there will only be four worlds in Murasaki Baby, and that the player could finish the game in one sitting of about 4 hours if they wanted. He said that he is looking for a short and powerful experience, one that has players growing an emotional connection with this baby they're dragging around.  What's most interesting to me is that he chose to tell the story without words or narration. The baby's actions and the things you discover together tell the story. And with the particulars left out, Ricciardi hopes that each player will have their own interpretation of Murisaki Baby's story.  Murasaki Baby's dark charm worked on me. We'll see it's release on PS Vita some time next year.
Murasaki Baby photo
Vita's new baby dragging game
PlayStation Vita title Murasaki Baby looked to be pretty dark and twisted in its debut trailer at Sony's gamescom press conference earlier this week. Now that I've played it, I'd say that it isn't quite as dark as it first ca...

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