Why Horror Video-Games Scare Us

It’s not until recently that I see the gameplay of Slenderman. But I’ve played Spooky Max, where a Slenderman is featured in one of the levels. Is Slenderman scary? He does not even have a scary face.

In order to be scared by games or movies, it is necessary to commit yourself to it. It means you have to use your imagination and actually “believe” you are the character from the game and that there is an actual threat. If your mind isn’t capable of abstracting from reality, you will only see the surface of the game, which means you will see some pixels moving around and hear dramatic music, nothing scary at all. The key word here is imagination, not courage or cowardice.

Immerse to the game. Dive into what you play. Imagine.

That thing that makes 8-bit video games fun when you were kids. You don’t need sublime graphics and special effects to be immersed. Hell, people used to get immersed in books, with no pictures, just words. Goosebumps deal with this perfectly. 12 years ago, upon trying one book, I got so scared that, even without any illustration, the story is horror enough to get into my nightmare. So saying that you need uber graphic to get yourself immersed just show us how shallow your imagination is.

In Pacman, you’re an astronaut trying to get rid of your imaginary horror friends by taking enough pills. Yes, you have unlimited background story to incorporate to what you’re playing.

I don’t see a point in Slender, nor did I see it in Mario back when I was 7. But that doesn’t stop me from imagining that I am a plumber trying to navigate through weird world and piping system that happens to over-flood with turtles and missiles and flying turtles and what else. In Slenderman, I’m collecting papers while avoiding a creepy pedo, in the dark, and I can’t climb the fence because he’ll butt*** me, so I got scared. Immersion and imagination. Even Spongebob can do it, what’s stopping you?



Update, 19 Feb: See this! 😀


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