5 Horror Games You Might Want to Greenlight
HorrorScope is a recurring feature exploring the horror genre in gaming and drawing attention to its elements, its tropes, and its lesser-known but still scary titles.
The newly created Greenlight program for Valve’s Steam online portal is offering some very cool opportunities for both players and independent developers, bringing new attention to games that might otherwise be released into relatively obscurity.
That’s the good news. The bad news is, there are already quite a few games on Greenlight, which asks the community to vote on which titles they’d like to see available for purchase through Steam; the program that at first seemed like a great way for less well-known games to get noticed is again filled with a lot of noise. There may be great games in there, but first you have to push past some games that may not be so great, or may be in categories and genres that don’t interest you.
Something that is very exciting about Greenlight is that it seems to be attracting a number of relatively new or as-yet-incomplete horror titles, many of which look very promising. We’ve been wandering the wilds of Greenlight, looking for stuff that strikes the appropriate tenor of terror. The following list contains, in no particular order, a few such titles that you might want to look into, and you may even consider giving the greenlight yourself.
You need a weapon. There’s a gun in the house somewhere in The Intruder, but you don’t know where you left it. But you know you need it, because the intruder, an unseen bad guy, is coming back — and you only have a limited amount of time to prepare.
It’s well established by now how much I like the Slenderman mythos, and The Intruder seems to be riffing on that idea, at least to a degree. There’s an unknown entity dubbed The Intruder that seems to be a bit Slendy-ish, and it’s coming for you. In fact, at the outset of the game, you’ve already encountered it, and that encounter has done some pretty terrible things to your mind and memory. You don’t know where your things are, and without those items, you can’t defend yourself. All you do know is that, eventually, it’ll be back for you.
According to The Intruder’s description on Greenlight, you’ll have several in-game days to prepare for the encounter and several areas to explore, but while you prepare, you’ll need to avoid accidentally setting off the entity early. You’ll also need to do things like eat and sleep to keep your strength up, because apparently “you may have to run real fast at unexpected times.”
The whole premise of The Intruder is about balance and sacrifices, like determining how long you can go without eating, what weapons or items are worth pursuing or ignoring, how long you can stand to sleep (or not) before it affects your preparations or your health, and whether fortifying the house is worth the effort. It sounds like it’ll build some serious dread while forcing you to agonize over whether your preparations are enough.
Check out the Greenlight page here.
Last time on HorrorScope, we discussed what about certain games actually makes them fall into the category of horror, and Game Front’s Ron Whitaker mentioned that if evoking emotions like fear and dread is the criteria, then the rogue-like space simulation FTL: Faster Than Light could be considered horror. In fact, Centration might not be a straight “horror” game, but it sounds like it takes a similar approach to FTL, except players take on the roles of the crew rather than commanding the entire ship.
In Centration, you’re a crew member working alongside with other crew on a ship or a space station. You have to deal with all the perils and pitfalls of life in outer space — keeping the station functional, dealing with things like meteor showers, patching holes in the hull and generally trying to stay alive. You can take on one of a number of roles, like playing as a doctor or an engineer, and the game includes a bunch of systems that you can manipulate, like airflow and electricity. Basically, imagine living and working on Deep Space Nine, but with more imminent death.
It all sounds very complex, but extremely interesting, especially when you start throwing in different game modes and possible iterations on the gameplay. In some situations, a crew member might actually be a corporate spy, for example. There’s an involved combat system that sounds very interesting, as well as an injury system that’s made to be extremely realistic and intricate. Underlying it all is the idea that there are the ever-present, chaotic dangers of everyday life in the void.
FTL definitely manages to touch a few nerves of spookiness as players flee for their lives, alone and injured, through the in-game galaxy. Centration sounds a great deal more localized than some of the ways that FTL works, but it also seems like it could take those feelings and experiences and make them more real and immediate.
Check out the Greenlight page here.