Vidjagame Apocalypse 134 – Lovecraftian Horror

VGA134

Our month of Halloween shows continues with five games about eldritch horrors from beyond the stars, as inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Then it’s on to talk about the decidedly less scary Minecraft: Story Mode and Dragon Quest Heroes, Star Wars season passes, and the times you injured yourselves playing games.

Question of the Week

What moment most sticks in your mind as the one at which a horror game stopped being scary?

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20 thoughts on “Vidjagame Apocalypse 134 – Lovecraftian Horror

  1. Couldn’t wait to hear it as soon as Henry plugged it on Cape Crisis. One of my favorite topics with some of my favorite people; Thanks for posting.

  2. Outlast lost all the atmosphere of fear and dread at the very end where I had to keep repeating the last checkpoint over and over. Previously in the game everything from a giant naked man with his dong flapping as he ran at you to the Doctor with the shears freaked me out multiple times.
    Even just the atmosphere was done right, a creeping dread and pressing sense of doom. Nothing will ever match some of the set peices and ambient dialogue that set the scene of a failed asylum.
    But that last section got balls tougher and replaying that part multiple times pulled me out of it all. Even the reveal at the end was soured by that immersion break.

  3. Half-Life 2’s chapter “We Don’t Go To Ravenholm” is one that stopped being scary for me as soon as the sawblades got introduced. That was the point when the game turned into a jiggly havok physics engine playground.

  4. Been waiting all day for this. Its going to give me company as I move to a new city.

    Haven’t made it all the way through yet but I hope Sunless Sea gets a mention. Fantastic game that not enough people are talking about. But its on PC so I’d guess it slips under the radar for a lot of people.

    1. I was hoping Sunless Sea would get a mention too, as that game has pulled me under these past few weeks. Not great for audio other than the soundtrack I suppose?

      1. That’s definitely true. I don’t think it would have made the best content for the list in retrospect. But I really would like the guys to dig into PC games a bit more. There’s so much cool stuff going on there that I’d love to hear their thoughts on. Its worth mentioning that I’m at a disadvantage having not owned a console in the 90s and early 00s so I missed out on most of the franchises they cover.

  5. QOTW I don’t play many scary games because I’m a bit of a wuss, I mean I still haven’t beaten Bioshock because it gave me the heebie-jeebies. But the game that stopped scaring me was Dead Space 2. When the Ubermorph is introduced the game basically wants you to run till the end of the game. All that speed killed the atmosphere for me. I no longer was surrounded by the unknown but looking for an exit and throwing stasis at everything. It worked though because I felt like both Issac and I had enough of this scary space station and post the eye poker we wanted out and fast.

    Also Tyler you seem down this episode so I want to say I don’t agree with a lot of your opinions but I love hearing them keep it up.

  6. If Bloodborne isn’t on this list when it literally name-checks several HP Lovecraft tropes, including using terms like eldritch and old gods, which regardless if it predates his novels or not were popularized by the Cthulhu mythos, I will be… Well nothing really, but if it isn’t it’s a large omission.

    As for my least scary moment in gaming, I will say any hide-and-seek horror game where you have to run from the monsters. Alien: Isolation, Outlast, and Amnesia are not even close to being scary, just utterly boring.

    Just like how people can’t stand games like GTA and Bioshock because they ask you to do awful shit in them (regardless of semantics, you’re a serial murderer on all of them at the LEAST), I have always had a mentality to confront my fears and having a game where I have to hide in a corner or under a desk like a bitch is so fucking lame to me.

    Besides, ask any soldier- just because you have a gun doesn’t mean a firefight stops being scary. They’re scared shitless and worried about death, and I find games like Fatal Frame get this fight-or-flight mechanic properly.

  7. I have played few games that can be characterized as horror. The games that I have played that had scary moments have always scared the shit out of me. I am a big wuss. The ONLY “scary” game that eventually became mondane for me is Dying Light. During my first real encounter with the Volatiles, I ran up to a buisness of them with an electrified katana that spat fire. After that, I felt safe.

  8. It probably didn’t qualify for the list due to being in Early Access (a release date is set for January I think), but Darkest Dungeon is easily the best Lovecraft-inspired game I’ve ever played. Seriously, play this game. It’s really good.

  9. Question of the Week:

    For me, the great level design and atmosphere really had me hooked into Gone Home. I was genuinely tense as I moved through the house, slowly checking each room. That tension dissolved, however, when I reached the kitchen. I picked up a butter knife, and my character’s hand glitched right the hell out, flailing wildly while clutching the utensil. My brain automatically filled in the character’s inner monologue with “Oh FUCK! A BUTTER KNIFE!” and I burst out laughing. The rest of the game was fine, but I couldn’t help but keep thinking of my character’s existential horror at cutlery with amusement.

  10. For me it was Condemned on the 360. To be honest I totally hated it. I only bought it to compete in a escalating achievement arms race. It only stopped being scary once I finished it and went back with a guide to mop up collectables. It’s a great scary game but I don’t enjoy horror games. When I get psychiatric help in the future I’ll blame it all on those bloody E penis points.

  11. Hah, Mikel fell for my Captain Bible ploy to get read this week. Though I’m a little embarrassed for my entry since it makes me look like a rageaholic, but it is what it is.
    And a response to Chris about Arkham Knight: I actually did get sort of refunded, but I bought a discounted key from Green Man Gaming instead of through Steam itself. I had to settle with $45 site credit instead of an actual money refund, and that credit is unspent to this day, so I still sort of feel ripped off. It’s my fault for not heeding WB Games’ horrid Mortal Kombat X PC port.

  12. Question of the week:

    When in Sim City 4 my bills and taxes stopped spiraling out of control and my population stopped threatening to murder me.

    But for a real answer, the first two chapters of The Last of Us had some super spooky moments, but the Winter and Spring Chapters didn’t have that scare factor, it just seemed like a bunch of big firefights.

  13. Question of the Week:

    Silent Hill 2! As a teen when it first came out, it scared the crap out of me just to listen to it. That game got eerie sound design down very well, to turn standard TV speakers into what felt like pseudo-surround sound. The only way I could sit through it was a few years ago with friends who were more frightened than me! Though, some of their shrieks added MORE to the atmosphere…

  14. Question of the Week:

    When my taxes and bills stopped spiraling out of control and my citizens finally stopped threatening to hang me.

    But for a real answer the first 2 chapters of The Last of Us had some really spooky moments (Philadelphia hotel basement anyone?), but the winter and spring parts didn’t really have the spook factor.

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