Clive Thompson says that video games do better at the horror genre than movies:|
Indeed, the endless potential for ass-handing is why games may actually be a superior medium to films for scaring the bejesus out of you. The horror flicks of the '80s always tried to generate a sort of proto-interactivity: all those terrified viewers, screaming "Don't go in there!" at the screen, wishing they could somehow reach out and personally guide the Final Girl to safety.The best game to do this, at least from my perspective, was Eternal Darkness. Why? Because it didn't just mess with the character - it messed with the player, making them think the TV'd done something odd, the console crashed, the controller become unplugged. Of course, playing the haunted orphanage level of Thief 3 around 3 AM during a thunderstorm was pretty crazy too.
In a game, of course, the fourth wall is obliterated, and you actually do have the choice about whether to go into The Bad Room or to run screaming. If you're a total coward (like me) this ability to control your fate induces considerably more suspense, because I head-game myself into a frenzy. I'll start down a corridor, hear something freaky up ahead, then freeze in panic. Maybe if I stay quiet the monster will go away? Shit, maybe it's already headed this way, and I should move! But if I move the monster will hear me ... so maybe I should stay quiet ... gaaaaah!