Horror games are very popular, as one could see by scouring Steam. The PC game storefront has piles upon piles of horror games. Such games are popular for YouTube Let’s Plays. Apparently, people love watching someone screaming and making silly faces. Thanks for that Pewdiepie and Markiplier. With so many games, there are bound to be repeating patterns. Horror games have many overused cliches and tropes. Cliches ruin horror due to their familiarity. Fostering familiarity will render the game not scary. Here are 5 annoying horror game cliches that need to stop now.
1. Flashlights Suck
Do the people who make these games not know how flashlights work? That’s not how flashlights work. The batteries last a very long time. Real ones can last hours and hours. Rapidly draining flashlight batteries are incredibly annoying. All it does is create artificial difficulty. Your more nervous about the batteries running out rather than whatever terror lurks in the dark. Speaking of darkness, these flashlights are lacking in the illumination department. Those are some weak ass light bulbs. Try turning on a flashlight in a pitch black room. You’ll see a lot more than just a narrow beam of light.
2. Its Too Damn Dark
Flashlights aside, some horror games are way too dark. Fear of the unknown is a consistent theme in horror. Darkness can contribute to that fear. The problem is that some games take the concept too literally. Dark equal spooky scary ooooooooooh! The pitch blackness is annoying instead of scary. Its laziness and requires no effort. Obscuring the surroundings would be more effective. Think of Silent Hill‘s fog. Using shadows and flickering lights can also be effective. Setting up the atmosphere is key in horror. Not seeing anything doesn’t help with atmosphere, just frustrating.
Jumpscares might be the laziest horror game cliche in the book. Making a loud noise or a monster suddenly popping up takes no effort at all. Why bother with atmosphere when you can throw a spoopy monster on screen and call it a day? Jumpscares prey on your natural instincts. Of course you’re gonna pop out of your chair. The effect of jumpscares wears off after a few times and becomes boring and expected. Any potential horror is ruined. Its just YouTube fodder.
4. Overused Settings
Why is it always an abandoned asylum or mansion? I get that its easy to craft a scary game out of that setting but there are other possibilities. What about an abandoned airport or factory? Those places can be scary too. Anything could be scary if your creative.
5. Collecting Notes
Who’s leaving these notes behind? Why would anyone do this? You have Slender to thank for this irritating cliche. So many Slender clones saturate Steam. Not collecting is a lazy method of story telling.