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Why Do People Play Horror Games – A Horror Gamer’s Perspective
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Let’s be honest. The horror genre does not appeal to everyone whether it is games or movies. The typical demographic is people in their late teens and early twenties. People enjoy horror games for very similar reasons that people enjoy horror movies. The difference in playing horror games is that the player is an active participant in the action. There are a number of theories out there and every player has his own reasons.

The most popular explanation is that these players enjoy the adrenaline rush associated with these games. They are no longer watching a potential victim flee for her life down a dark, gravel road (repeatedly falling of course). The player is the one fleeing or even deciding to fight back. Regardless of the choices made, it’s the adrenaline rush that makes players come back for more horror games. Some theorize that it is the sense of relief when the horror is gone that people enjoy and mistakenly take for enjoyment of the game. In horror games, there is a roller coaster effect where there is a cycle of building up fear until it hits a peak and then it drops off significantly after the player has performed some action that reduces the threat. This gives the player a brief break before it starts up again.

Some enjoy the ambience of someone else’s dark imagination. Let’s face it. Some people just get into gore and blood with a splattering of sadomasochism. There have been horror games out there where I wondered what black soul came up with that concept. We all can agree that all of those details add to the scary atmosphere that can turn a mediocre game to a great game.

For me, it has always been a way to meet and conquer fear. Games are structured for action, right or wrong. The player has to move and perform an activity in the face of something frightening and overcome that fear. The action does not always lead to the desired outcome, but outcomes can be improved later in the game. The rush that comes with knowing that a fear was met head-on and beaten has always pushed me to see what I can take on next.

In horror board games, the art and story background are becoming more and more involved and realistic allowing the people playing to get into the game. In horror video games, the soundtrack and the visuals become very realistic making the player feel that he is actually playing a part in a movie.

Playing horror games is not always for the faint of heart. I know that when zombies really do come back from the dead and want to eat my brain, I’ll be ready and can thank horror games for it.


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