Dark Hallways are Scarier in Video Games

Shot of the hallway in P.T.

Shot of the hallway in P.T.

Horror has been a prevalent movie genre since the beginning of film. Scary movies are oftentimes made when the director wants the viewer to be completely immersed in fear. In more recent times, directors have been looking for better ways to convey fear and have turned to video games to deliver their content.

Such is the story for P.T., a short horror game released in 2014 that captivated gamers all over the nation. The name P.T. stands for the “playable teaser” of the new Silent Hill game, a critically acclaimed and iconic horror series. The game is directed by Hideo Kojima (creator of the Metal Gear franchise) and film director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim). Even as a “teaser,” P.T. is widely regarded as one of the scariest, realistic, and immerse horror video games to ever hit the market.

In the context of the remix project, our group is aiming to create a supercut video where we plan to match up scenes from iconic horror films like The ShiningThe Babadook, and Saw among others, to P.T.’s gameplay. We aim to compare and contrast the use of atmosphere and ideas between both the video game and the horror films. The goal is to show how much scary video games take away from horror cinema, while also highlighting what makes video games such an attractive and unique medium for scary storytellers to immerse their audience beyond what film allows.

Here is an example of a supercut of some shots from iconic Stanley Kubrick films (thank you Kyle). Our group plans to match up shots from horror movies to shots in the gameplay.

To make this remix video relevant to class, we are drawing a lot of inspiration from Alexander Galloway’s “Gamic Action, Four Moments” chapter in Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture where he states that, “computers and in particular video games…foundation is not in looking and reading, but in the instigation of material change through action” (Galloway 4). With the remix video, we plan to show how video games can work as a way to tell a story like a movie, but with an interactivity that immerses the consumer.

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One comment on “Dark Hallways are Scarier in Video Games

  1. This gives me a clear sense of both the aesthetic you’re planning to use, as well as many of the raw visual materials, and the supercut is a good form for making these visual connections clear (as a remix genre that is predominantly focused on exposing connections and repetition). That said, I have some concerns: 1. I don;t get a strong enough sense here that you either have an argument, or how this relates to the course content. Because you’re focusing just on one game, it will be very easy for what you’re proposing to read as either a love letter to the game, or a simple documentation of the iconic visual references it makes. 2. How are you planning to visualize this “instigation of material change through action,” and how video games as an interactive media form might more effectively create a visceral experience of horror? Simply cutting between clips of movies and the game likely won’t make this clear, so you should collectively discuss not only how best to visually mobilize Galloway’s concepts, but how you’re planning to offer your own critical take/perspective on this.

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