It might be Halloween, but Ben has a love-hate relationship with video games in the horror genre. Here he explains why he thinks of them like Marmite.
Halloween is upon us and so horror games once again enjoy their month in the spotlight. It’s a genre usually considered to be like Marmite – either loved or hated – but I believe there’s a much greyer boundary between the two extremes. From a personal perspective, my initial reaction to an announcement of a new horror title is to avoid them. The time I have available to play games is precious and I’d much rather be entertained with some rollicking action or by losing myself in an epic yarn than have the bejeezus scared out of me.
Then again, it’s also worth remembering that what scares one person doesn’t necessarily scare another. However it’s the games that frighten the majority that will ultimately succeed. This is where Marmite strikes again as some will want to try every release to see which scare, while others (like me) will just avoid them all.
As a result, I haven’t played many games that are considered classics of their type. Dead Space, Alien: Isolation, P.T., Fatal Frame, Five Nights at Freddy’s and System Shock 2 never crossed my path, all of which through choice. Does it make me less of a gamer? Of course not. Games, like any form of art (and they are art by the way – but that’s one for another day), will always offer up products that players will naturally love or hate. More Marmite moments.
That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the horror games I’ve played, despite my Marmite aversion. I consider Resident Evil 4 to be one of the greatest titles ever made; BioShock manages to blend horror, story and action seamlessly; and Dead Rising gave me an adrenaline rush like no other. Let’s also not forget the night Team Junkfish challenged me to get through Monstrum… watch my screams in the video above.
So I find myself in the grey area between love and hate. On one hand I avoid horror games, yet when I do spread some Marmite on my gaming toast I find I quite like it. I suspect I’m not alone.
Want to know something really scary? I’ve managed to get the word Marmite into every paragraph. Spooky.