|I love listening to Bing Crosby sing about the Headless Horseman, too.|
In 2009, or maybe 2010, I tried thumbing through horror anime. That was a total bust, since the only shows to illicit any sort of tension were either ruined with halfhearted explanations, or were just plain dumb from the get-go.
The first arc of Umineko no Naku Koro ni did a magnificent job of unhinging me, but this quickly turned to shit as things were repeated for different, incoherent scenarios. Then, I checked out Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, and it took things one step further with an entire season of terrifying occurrences that left viewers unsure of what was going on.
|This is terrifying in a different way.|
Other attempts at horror included Hell Girl, which also suffered from additional seasons of unnecessary explanation, though it did so with far more dignity; Gantz, a stunning anime that was too busy being badass to properly live up to its horror tag; and Kakurenbo, a one-shot with eight masked children running through a bunch of ruins to convey the negative effects of technology and development upon their games and happiness. It's a specific message, certainly, and one that I believe is skewed by the creator's nostalgia. Regardless of the environment, kids will find a way to have fun and make up their own games doing so... unless that environment kills them. That's the obvious exception I must still point out lest somebody else does so, because we can't be fucking adults who simply understand that common-knowledge exceptions exist in life, can we?
With Monster being the only exception, I realized anime was clearly not the way to go. Still, if you're curious, I will recommend Shiki, Yami Shibai, and Shinsekai Yori. They likely won't give you many chills, but each represents the horror genre in an interesting manner.
Since then, I've spent a few years casually looking around for tracks to add to my Halloween playlist, because I know Halloweenradio.net won't always be around to satisfy that craving, and I've started indulging in a handful of video games with appropriate themes for the season. Last year, I squeezed in Bioshock, though I never got around to typing about it, and, if you remember (or cared), I blogged about Dead Island the year before that. This time around, I've managed to complete a small assortment of games, despite having to run myself ragged trying to maintain the deli/bakery that currently lacks a department head. Six-day work weeks? Yep. Eleven-hour shifts? Twice, and neither with a moment to rest. Call-outs galore? Oh, most definitely! Still, I have found the time to not only play, but to provide you all (Me. Only me. I'm the entire audience of this site) with this needlessly lengthy post about them!
SOMA is well made, which puts it several notches above the bulk of indie horror. Most of those don't even have you interacting with other characters. At best, you'd end up with Spooky telling you a few things before floating away and having you run from a chasing enemy for another fifty, same-ish rooms. More often, it's just a terrible-looking monster whose only scare factor is to create a Game Over screen when you turn around. I'll give SOMA credit for creating real interest in playing. I just wish there was more to do than wander around empty locations and solving puzzles that seem out of place, simply because... well, would researchers realistically set something up like this?
|Maybe I'm overthinking it.|
And Satan. You're trapped in an arcade limbo of terrible programming, and the only way out is the rework the coding in your favor. It's not a challenging game. It's short. The achievements are not all that difficult to obtain. Pony Island is a strong, intelligent example of comedy horror. I didn't enjoy playing it enough to retrieve all of the achievements, but that's primarily because I had two more games I want to finish, along with this post, before October 31st, and there's also a pair of neglected handheld titles that I really oughta wrap up shortly after this. (Not making any guarantees!)
I finished up the month with two titles from Double Fine. Well, it's a title and a sequel to that title, so it's technically, TECHNICALLY, two games that are not all that different from one another, and the story between them is shared. One could bundle them and call it a single game, and there would be no hiccups in the transition, BUT this is two games, which is fine. It's fine x 2, so it's double fine, and there's the full circle. Not a moon circle, because I haven't finished Castlevania yet, but that's down the road... and it's not really a lot of fun going back and forth between rooms, killing the same worthless bunch of trash mobs to collect their souls, and realizing that the strong majority of those souls, even some of the extremely challenging ones to obtain, and fairly worthless. Konami really made that series into a grindy shit experience during the early 2000s, didn't they? A lot of people enjoy doing that. Those same people also enjoy collecting all 700 and something Pokemon repeatedly, earning the reputation of pirates by killing NPCs through the course of several months, and pooping into an empty snack bag they were too lazy to properly throw away. To each their own, even if it's wrong by definition of what I believe to be right, because that's the only definition that matters, so fuck you.
Don't judge me! There's even some challenge to it, as one of the achievements requires having candy corn participate in every battle. It's a passive costume that absorbs hits. A delicious shield. I strongly recommend giving both games a try. They're certainly the highlights of my October gaming, and one of them even offers an achievement for playing it on Christmas, so it's not even a bad idea to put these on your December playlist. If there's a third game in the series, it'll probably just end up revolving around a pair of morbidly obese children surrounded by a bunch of lazy adults standing near their cars in a local church parking lot to celebrate Trunk-or-Treat with slow-opening car doors revealing either a trove of sugary delights or a spoopy clown promoting the latest flop by a musician turned director.
|Looks like this adult chose 'Trunk'.|
|No wonder everyone else hates you.|