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Wii U and the Next Gen of Horror

The state of survival horror games is not great. Sure, Slender and Amnesia have provided some good spooks, but they aren’t enough to satisfy a hunger for long, teetering-on-hopeless tales. 

Uhhh… Matthew. What about Dead Space? 

Uhhh… Imaginary Person. What about shut up? Dead Space was great, of course. However, 2 (and it certainly looks like 3) sacrificed scares for action-packed thrills. The blending of action and horror has slowly suffocated what we loved about survival horror in the first place. Regardless of whether or not you liked Resident Evil 4, 5, or 6, they aren’t anywhere near as scary as their predecessors. Why is that? I believe today’s survival horror titles give you too much control. Not moving when you aim, fixed camera angle – these restrictions created anxieties in former RE titles. Anxiety is necessary for survival horror. Perhaps these devices are outdated, but I’m confident new devices will come and breathe new life into survival horror. The Wii U will bring them.

People are crapping on the Wii U. Their arguments are warranted. The Wii sucked. We’re all a bunch of dopes who fell for the image of innovation and the Wii U can appear to be equally gimmicky. However, I think the second screen will be utilized to prevent you from easily doing what you want to do in a horror title. This is important. Think about it. ZombiU is just scratching the surface. When you need to use your inventory, you must take your eyes off the screen. Then them baddies get to creepin’ up on you. YEEPS! Prime spookin’ and I love it!

Backed into the corner in Resident Evil Zero with no way to punch a zombie’s head all the way to New Zealand.

Games will definitely use this to their advantage. I don’t know how. I don’t make games, but humor me. What if you’re running away from some dude with no skin and an unhinged jaw? You’re in the center of Spooksville, Country of Your Choice now. What do you do? Read from your Book of Satanic Phrases and Chants, of course! You have to stand still, pull out the book, flip to the right page, and read or highlight the correct words. Phew! You’re safe now. The gate to Hell opened and a giant, bloody phallic symbol with teeth swallowed ol’ skinless up.

Hopefully people will buy the Wii U. Then developers will certainly do cool stuff with the gamepad. There’s a powder keg of spooks in that touchscreen. I just know it.

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5 comments

  • I agree with the main point of the article about the WiiU and the idea of having to “you have to do two things that in real life you can’t do at once” point. However, I disagree with some of the criticisms you use to make that point stronger. You somewhat dismiss the Wii as gimmicky (agreed) but your defense of old school survival horror is based on similar gimmicks. Control restrictions and fixed camera angles.

    If faceless Chuck Klosterman is chasing me down the hall because I hated his latest incredibly insightful pop-culture article my “camera” does not suddenly change when I get to the stairs. Forward is forward. It’s a gimmick, if you prefer one gimmick to another than say so. Intentionally frustrating a player does not make something truly scary, even though we all may miss the old RE tank controls. Dead Space 2 used sound to great effect. Get yourself a nice surround sound headset, crank that shit and play the game again. This is also a gimmick, but it works. Some may not, but we are in a new phase of survival horror. Moving while you aim and other such changes are more realistic, and I think realism is the true key to scaring people.

    As I said, I’m not disagreeing with your main point, but we as gamers can tend to get stuck in these nostalgia bubbles. Remembering what it was like the first time we played a game and how that game may have changed our lives. The first time I played Resident Evil it scared the shit out of my dick, but if I’m constantly looking to replace that moment I’m alway going to be left wanting.

  • I couldn’t agree more with this post. I have been saying this for a while now, but I feel like the lack of limitation across all genres of our videogame universe could use more limitation.

    Limitation is a petri-dish for creativity. The greater the limitation (8 bit color or sound) the greater the creative solution needs to be.

    Devs tools are so advanced now and certain “formulas” have been found, now we just seem to recycle the same things that people will buy again and again (re4,5,6…Cod…halo).

    The indie sphere however lack the giant budget and army of talent to work on a game that the suits will approve. They are the ones that have all the limitations, and they make the most creative genre-bending games. WOOHOO FIRST NERDIST COMMENT FER ME!

  • i dont think the wii sucked and i still have yet to be convinced by the many things on the internet ive read that state that it does. perhaps im the only one. i like pointing the wiimote at the screen and seeing a cursor or crosshair where im pointing. this seems like a natural thing to me. much more natural than some dual analog situation with a bunch of buttons and triggers all over the place where the designers have to redesign the controller several times to be less cumbersome. Im the kind of gamer who has been consistantly playing since about 1985 and i feel like the wii controller is what the gaming world has needed for a long time. i preordered a wii u after seeing the zombiu trailers and gameplay vids. i feel like i can get my $350 + $60 worth of value just out of that game alone. “hardcore gamers” seem quite spoiled with the many companies trying to please them and are quick to shit on stuff and jump on bandwagons, but while theyre trolling the internet to post on messageboards, facebook, twitter or even perhaps writing articles, i will be enjoying my wii u killing the undead with unbridled glee and horror.