I’m a complete wuss when it comes to horror and suspense, especially when it comes to the suspense that likes to startle you for whatever reason. I startle easily as it is, so those kinds of movies and games make me jump out of my seat. Case in point, while playingMass Effect3, I really searched every system for assets, which meant pinging an RF frequency that the Reapers really loved. If you pinged enough times, the Reapers visited that star system, and you had to leave or get captured–and I’m assuming destroyed, as I never stuck around long enough to find out for curiosity’s sake. Whenever they entered your system, their intro music was a nice, loud blaring of the horns. I jumped each time they entered, without fail. The fact that I have to wear a headset when I play to keep the noise down at night really enhanced it. I fully admit this is one reason why I haven’t started my Renegade playthrough of ME3.
What does that I have to do with anything? Well, this past week I played through the first episode of The WalkingDead. My fellow podcasters have done nothing but recommend this game to me for its story, and they assured me it was as scary as BioShock. BioShock was more disturbing than scary, so I figured I could handle The Walking Dead. Yes, I know there are zombies in it, and I know that’s potentially scary, but since they made it sound like the zombies were really second-fiddle as to what was going on, I assumed they wouldn’t be so bad. Apparently, my friends have no idea what scares me.
It’s more than the fact that the zombies are present and I have to kill them or be killed; it’s how the game presents the manner in which you kill the zombies. If you’ve played the game, then you already know what I’m talking about. The Walking Dead took many of the interactive game mechanics from Heavy Rain and greatly improved upon on them, and as such, the player really feels the absolute panic that the characters feel in how they fight for survival. You are “forced,” in a way, to feel how scared they are and how tense every encounter truly is.
This is brilliant for the developer, but it’s horrendous for someone like me. Every instance where I had to fight zombies, I could feel my hands slicking up my controller with sweat. I actually sat with my feet on their tippy toes on the floor, because that was how tense I became with each encounter. When a zombie surprised the characters, it surprised me just as much, and I nearly played Hot Potato with my controller. I stayed up for an hour after I finished playing, reading shojo manga, just to get the images and intensity out of my head. The attempt failed miserably, and I had one of the worst nights of sleep in a long time due to nightmares.
Am I quitting? Nope, I’m too into the story to quit. I definitely can’t play more than one episode in the same week, something that I’m certain the developers and writers definitely knew when they decided to make the game episodic. I’ll just have to plan ahead for the weeks that I do play an episode and prepare for a restless night.
The worst part is, I’m already regretting some of the decisions I’ve made.