Is it me or is the "horror" genre tag being abused on new indie games these days?

Diretooth

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Yeah, but the point of the topic is regarding potential mis-labeling, which can be bad as a person seeking a horror game is met with something that is decidedly not a horror game, except maybe one instance of surprise creepy.
 

tofuman

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I've played a few games that have legitimately scared me before, some that you may consider horror, and some not. Pokemon's Lavander town arc was one of the most bladder shaking moments for me (i was 10, don't judge) and I remember almost bursting into tears when my bro grabbed me on the shoulder just as I was talking to the help lady telling me to ignore that hand on my shoulder. This is the more classic horror style that doesn't rely on cheap jump scares (I hate jump scares, seriously). It's both thematic yet it does induce that apprehensive afraidness of the unknown.

Another is a more unconventional type: Final boss Sephiroth in FFVII. With dat music and big spider monster badass who can destroy the solar system in a 30 sec cutscene and reduce my guys to 1 HP, gave me that "Oh my god, I'm gonna die" kind of fear. Technically it's not horror in a sense, but I would label this as "sense of despair" or something like that. Perhaps most developers want to induce this kind of feeling, eg in murder mysteries and can't think of anything to fit that mood, because tagging it as "despair-inducing" probably don't attract them players.

But I do agree that nowadays (sorry for the generalization) they just don't make horror as they used to. I believe its not about the graphics to provide immersion, there are plenty of horror games with cartoonish graphics (eg Corpse Party) that still immerse the player. Themes non-withstanding, the immersion into the horror game isn't present in many (not all) recent games. Sorry if this sounds rude, but I didn't appreciate the recent Five nights at Freddy's. The feeling of dread was there, and there's definitely a theme of creepy horror going on, but after awhile without completing it I was just "Nope. Nope. Screw this, I'm not playing anymore."

Some may say it was too scary for me, and it's true that I'm easily jumped and scared out of my wits, (and the jump scares, damn you all), immersion would cause me to force myself to trudge through the fear, and into more feelings of terror. A great example is the fatal frame series. Graphically, it doesn't beat many other games, and I nearly wet myself soo, so many times, the atmosphere and music just drew me in, and there wasn't a time I considered stopping due to feelings of terror, I was living it, not playing it. FNAF, in retrospect, was a tactical/strategy game with a bad jump scare if you fail.  Sorry for the rant, but the summary of this is that IMO real horror games will (metaphorically) suck the player into the game, and through all the fear and terror, the player will not even consider an option to escape the horror.

Yep, that's a rant by a total newbie to the scene, but I hope my thoughts will help anyone interested in making a horror game. Down with jump scares (No insult to anyone making games with jump scares, I just don't take them well)
 

_Shadow_

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@tofuman I also dislike an only-jump-scare-based horror experience.

I actually love hooror that involves psychological factors.

This does not make a jump scare game lame or bad in my opinion, still it's just not my cup of tea.

Other people might find it really scary and according to... everyone... different people find different things scary more or less.

Jump scares in a form of the classic maze game... are weak implementation in my opinion. A jump scare that contains more than that,

or being combined with another fear element, usually works nice... if it is used with measure.

[iF YOU GET SCARED EASILY AND DO NOT LIKE THAT, DO NOT READ THE SPOILER CONTENT!]

[Consider yourself warned...]

Gee I remember a psychological thriller, (don't know the title of the movie) that saw when I was 15. I had never colorophobia in my life. I still have no fear of clowns whatsoever. The movie involved a clown. No it wasn't "IT". It was about a clown at a kids party, then the kid the same night spitted blood, then the clown had something supernatural wasnt seen on cameras... sounds scary, but it wasn't really. What really did the trick was the end. In the end, the clown was dead, and the mother was with her son (blood spitting kid) having a pic nic to the river. The kid was looking at the river. Mother asked him to turn and go to her, but he didnt... after the third request of his mother, the kid turned his face in slow motion to reveal it was a clown face. NO jump scare music no nothing. And it was SLOW motion. THAT though... had the same effect of a jump scare, with a delay of 3 seconds... and it was even worse.
 

"Oh my god, I'm gonna die" kind of fear does nor really affect me anyomore, it's more like agony than horror in my opinion. But as I said it is about  personal taste. Kudos for mentioning Sephiroth as a scary fighure. Actually FF7 had really dark and scary moments before the end.  As for despair, well yes there are people that fear that, while other pokemon like me remain unaffected....

I do understand what you said though. As for the pokemon experience when you wee 10, I understand EXACTLY what you mean. 

"But I do agree that nowadays (sorry for the generalization) they just don't make horror as they used to. "

Thank you! That really hits the jackpot here. Indeed I believe that too.

Does that mean though, that horror is accepted as a more general genre?

As I mentioned before... I ask about this cause I wanna know what counts as horror today.

As an old school gamer, I might be unfair on some thoughts about modern use, but it seems in general the meaning remains into a non so good defined framework but with a bunch of guidelines.

And yes I consider a successful horror game one that can get you into terror at least once!

Fatal Frame is one game I really wanna play. Don't own it yet though.

I really love that game idea.

Thanks for your feedback, I really appreicate it @tofuman.

Let's hope that what I am about to make... counts as horror... :p

I don't wanna give you more info on that yet... but a demo will come out soon, so people might tell easier if this counts as horror nowadays or not.

"horror" tag is something I would get annoyed if placed in a game that doesn't fulfill my expectations, so I really don't wanna make such a mistake. ;)

But to be honest, what you just said about atmosphere and music, makes me think that I am on a good path. ;)

Cheers!
 
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kartersaint

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Horror games are easy to make. I think Stephen King said similar things like this as soon likening horror games to horror films. Why? Um... it's better rather find his knowledge about that thing than explain myself.   

Anyway, it's quite interesting to hear you gonna make some game that is a horror. And I like your attitude toward horror games of nowadays. I was like you when I participate 2014 IGM contest, but my terrible English grammar seems spoiled many things. Ha. 

So I'll anticipate your work.
 

MyLordRobinson

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Resident Evil for PSX. The first zombie. That face has haunted my dreams since 1998.
 

captainproton

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to me, Horror isn't necessarily the same thing as suspenseful, tense or even scary. For instance, I have loved classic horror movies since I was in kindergarten. But something like the classic Frankenstein (with Boris Karloff), which is definitely a Horror movie, has always struck me as more sad than scary. Similarly, the movie Twister, which isn't really a Horror movie, scares the bejeebers out of me. (I live in the Midwest, where this movie plays itself out every year.)

Night of the Living Dead = Horror + scary

The Wolf Man = Horror + not scary

And Then There Were None = not Horror + scary

Believe : The Justin Bieber Story = DEARGODNO!!!

I have less experience with Horror games, having been a Nintendo player most of my life (and Nintendo games tend to skew towards the "family-friendly"), and just about anything "zombie" gets an immediate NOPE from me. I have never played a Silent Hill game and intend to continue that streak.

I think I've seen the RPG label misused more often.
 

_Shadow_

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Horror games are easy to make. 


Well not really in my opinion. I believe pure horror games are the hardest to make. Horror and comedy games.

Yeah King has issued a book named "On writing". Didn't gave me a lot of extra knowledge, but that little small tiny things I learned can make the difference.
 
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Diretooth

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On Writing helped me with writing in general, but it didn't give me much insight in horror. Horror, as stated before, is subjective.

More classic things can terrify a person, but newer things don't, while newer things like Jeff the Killer and SCP share the crap out of people, but make other people go 'What?'
 

_Shadow_

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"Believe : The Justin Bieber Story = DEARGODNO!!! "

[SIZE=13.63636302948px]Yes... that COUNTS as horror.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=13.63636302948px]@Diretooth, of course. "On writing" was never about horror storytelling. It was about more about... how the King was writing I guess. It was also a little inspiring. [/SIZE]

By the way, I stopped development due to work, but in a month I will continue. What I work on is two projects.

One is using RenPy as an engine ( I love this software ) and the other is using the RPG Maker VX Ace (non visual novel style).

I consider both projects being horror.

What I want is make people feel.

Feelings are what matters most in these experiences.

The first goal of mine, is using RenPy on minimum level to deliver a good horror experience based on pictures and music ambience. No jump scares and cheap stuff. A deeper kind of fear.

As for VX Ace, everything goes. The more stuff the better.

Both projects take place on modern day settings.

But I had a doubt. I mean, if people will not see something cliche, they say, nah it's not horror.

Gore is not the only horror way. 

And when people try to make horror games they forget about what the user feels.

For instance there was a great game in the contest, I will not tell which one, that had a lot of mistakes but what was breaking the whole experience, was agony.

Agony?

Being chased by a known threat is not a horror game anymore. It is an action game.

Especially when you can fight back. Then it is surely an action game.

Here let me give you a good example of what I mean:

Slender: You see Slender man, then he is gone. THIS is worse. THIS is horror.

You know nothing about Slender man. The worst thing is that Slender man has no face.

He is arrogant. If you got it, you are awesome!

You get NO information about the threat.

And if the threat finds you, it's game over in static.

And you don't know what is going on.

Slender man does not chase you. Slender man appears suddenly.

You have nothing to fight this thing and you have no infinite power batteries on your flashlight.

And that game... was for free.... wow!!!

Here goes a Greenlight "horror" game now:

You are on almost the same setting. The guy ripped off Slender. "Slender man" appears but he has horns now, because making him a demon is cool. NO! Horns give identity of what this thing is. "Oh it's a demon, yeah I faced a lot of them as a gamer" and then.... you can throw gas on fire at him. You can throw him tires. You can throw him stuff to hurt him. I couldn't stop laughing....  :guffaw:   :p

He blew it on the same setting to deliver horror. This wasn't even a proper action game.

When I saw that, I told myself.... hey... why not? I could make a game that would be at least a little scary, but as I believe it should be.  :distrust:

And here I am asking about the genre. 
 

amerk

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So basically "horror" is now the overused tag much like "rpg" was over the past couple years? Nothing changed with how rpg's are tagged, so I can't expect "horror" being any different. After all, I lost count of how many space shooters I saw on Greenlight with the "rpg" tag, simply because the player is given a couple of options for enhancing their ship and guns at various stages.

My advice, ignore the labels. They're generally overused and seldomly reflect the kind of game you'll be playing. I've come across plenty of gems in genres I would have otherwise ignored, and plenty of stinkers in genres I pay more attention to. Research the game in question (trailers, reviews, and demos) and decide from there if it's the kind of game you'd be interested in. Once you've had a chance to play the game, you can draw up your own conclusion about the kind of game it is based upon the experience you had with the game.
 
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_Shadow_

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My advice, ignore the labels. They're generally overused and seldomly reflect the kind of game you'll be playing. I've come across plenty of gems in genres I would have otherwise ignored, and plenty of stinkers in genres I pay more attention to. Research the game in question (trailers, reviews, and demos) and decide from there if it's the kind of game you'd be interested in. Once you've had a chance to play the game, you can draw up your own conclusion about the kind of game it is based upon the experience you had with the game.
Actually I do worry about it, but not as a consumer but as a developer. I came up to a dead end to decide what people believe that really counts as horror. It is a request of opinions actually, so I will have a more solid point of view and not just mine. ;)
 

Cluly

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Youtube fooder I think the term is. I completely agree with "SOME Silent Hill games." 1,2,3 (and parts of 4 I guess) were great. The rest ... well, they got as messed up as the Resident Evil series did, really dumbed down and sold to a wider audience, it happens alot these days where the big companies are scared to take a risk and just go with "tried and tested shooters." It's backfiring though, they all feel stale and dead too me. Darkseed on the Amiga ... That was pretty horrific, bad game, but good horror elements.
 

_Shadow_

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Amiga back then had the sound mans to make really great horror games. I loved Elvira first person RPG Adventure games back then.

I really miss the good old days.
 

Clord

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I played a horror game recently that was made for Halloween and basically designed to be played with Oculus Rift DK and DK2.


Due this whole VR component, I ended up chickening by looking at floor, going backwards and stuff like that.


Horror games are rather easy to make and thus they are plentiful amongst free indie games.
 
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DeadCrescendo

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Absolutely.

A lot of indie developers are going with the horror genre and just using the same tired jumpscares and formulaic gameplay (Remember Slender? I remember about 800 versions of it too.)

But they're doing it because it's popular. And it's now an almost SUREFIRE way to get YouTube exposure, most Let's Players focus mainly on if not exclusively on indie horror titles.

Let me "Bores" you with some input here. "Jeez Game Designers, get with it" I bailed on my horror game idea because it's all been done at this point. You have to push the envelope so much and do SO much research to be original now. It's just a nightmare. (Ba dum tish).

I have high hopes someone will do something neat with the Mythos resource pack that just launched, though.
 
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Absolutely.

A lot of indie developers are going with the horror genre and just using the same tired jumpscares and formulaic gameplay (Remember Slender? I remember about 800 versions of it too.)

But they're doing it because it's popular. And it's now an almost SUREFIRE way to get YouTube exposure, most Let's Players focus mainly on if not exclusively on indie horror titles.

Let me "Bores" you with some input here. "Jeez Game Designers, get with it" I bailed on my horror game idea because it's all been done at this point. You have to push the envelope so much and do SO much research to be original now. It's just a nightmare. (Ba dum tish).

I have high hopes someone will do something neat with the Mythos resource pack that just launched, though.
You can say that again, I plan to have a horror themed area in my game (complete with a fight against Slenderman) but I don't try to advertise the game as horror.
 
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_Shadow_

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You can say that again, I plan to have a horror themed area in my game (complete with a fight against Slenderman) but I don't try to advertise the game as horror.
Suddenly you got my respect.
 

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