Back In The USSAAARGH – Vidjagame Apocalypse 391

We’re closing out Spooptober 2020 with the grimmest, bleakest topic we could think of: horror games set in, around, and within the (sometimes literal) fallout of the Soviet Union. With history buff Jeremy King of on board, we’ll also dig into Watch Dogs: Legion, Ghostrunner, Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues, news from Nintendo’s final Direct of 2020, and the politicians and celebs you’d like to see stream a game next.

Question of the Week: What’s a historical setting you’d like to see more horror games use?


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5 thoughts on “Back In The USSAAARGH – Vidjagame Apocalypse 391

  1. QotW: I have a master’s in history, qualifying me to be a teacher or a museum tour guide and that’s about it. My research focus was on American culture during the early Cold War. I think there’s a lot of potential for horror set in that time and place. The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers was made during the 1950s and, intended or not, keyed in on the paranoia of McCarthyism. I imagine a cross between that and John Carpenter’s The Thing would be a terrifying, especially if you are also dealing with being a suspect of paranoid suburbanites.

  2. Fun Fact (stay tuned for QotW below): S.T.A.L.K.E.R. borrows ideas from a 1972 Soviet sci-fi novel “Roadside Picnic”. There is an edition with an afterword from one of the brothers that co-wrote it giving context about the publication nightmares brought about in earlier editions due to Soviet censorship and the ideal of the “Soviet man” represented in literature. I listened to the audiobook and it had this afterward. Worth checking out.

    QotW: Mid-1800s New York City, Gangs of New York era. That setting is already very chaotic, but the mystique of the tall tales that were told about the gangs and their key players would make for an interesting twist on the folktale style horror game –
    maybe blend in that flavor of American tall tales?

    Gangs of New York is one of those things I would recommend staying away from the book on, in the spirit of the fun fact. That thing is a slog, but a very interesting setting nonetheless.

  3. I would love to see a horror game set in the late 60’s/early 70’s based on or intersecting with the rise and fall of the counter culture.

    I’m reminded by a story from David Bowie about a time when he was smashed off his face on cocaine drawing a pentagram on the floor in a mixture of paint and bodily fluids thinking he was participating in witchcraft. The idea, not necessarily of something actually supernatural, but what should be rational people believing in it and participating in horrific practices is pretty terrifying to me. Set in the background of when people genuinely thought they were at the cusp of a cultural revolution of enlightenment, art , culture , and understanding, only to see if come crashing down around their ears as society took a hard pivot to the right.

    What I’m saying is that society is the real monster

  4. Recently read a book about the revolution in Ireland right after World War I. I think then would be a fascinating time period for horror. From the British perspective it almost was already horrific as patrols would go out into the countryside and just disappear. Or people would show up at someone’s house and take them into the night and they would just disappear as well. As the war went on it became true that this happened to both sides. Add that with all the crazy legends of the Irish countryside (leprechauns and faeries aren’t actually friendly) and I think you would have an absolutely chilling atmosphere for a game.

  5. QOTW: I would love to see a horror game set in the early days of space exploration. I remember learning years ago that Soviet Cosmonauts were issued either a pistol or shotgun in their survival kit in case they landed in a more remote region of Siberia upon their return to earth and needed to sit tight for a day or two before being recovered. Every since hearing this story, I thought that would make one hell of a horror game setting. Baring that, there’s also the Lost Cosmonauts theory (TLDR: Yuri Gagarin wasn’t the first man to enter space, he was just the first one to get to space and return to earth alive) that I think would make for a great new setting for a horror game.

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