Question of the Week: 8/7/16

<–Question of the Week: 7/31/16          Question of the Week: 8/14/16–>

The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same.  Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation.  Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all.  Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!

What game scared/scares you and/or what’s the most frightening thing you’ve even seen in a video game?

I held off a bit on the video game questions because one of my favorite retro gaming blogs The Well-Red Mage (with accompanying mages) was doing a month long mage challenge in July, which I highly recommend you check out if you are of the gaming variety (the link goes to the first question), and I didn’t want to replicate any questions that might show up on that locale and/or be redundant here.  Plus I figured once July was done, I could tag an awesome blog in my next video game related question.  I’m sure people are still answering the older questions, and discourse is never wasted.

Then today while perusing my WordPress reader I came across a post by another of my beloved retro gaming blogs I ♥ Old Games about Metroid since the game’s birthday was yesterday, and I thought that was as good a sign as any.

Mother Brain in the Metroid series was probably the first thing I ever saw in a video game that scared me shitless.  I was always creeped out by brains and skulls (ironically I went to school for psychology much later) and to have an antagonist that was essentially an evil brain in the jar was too much for my fragile sensibilities to handle.  Fast forward to Super Metroid where “she” has that horrifying form and I was so terrified I couldn’t even close my eyes to blink.  Seriously guys, I had to avoid the commercials for that game because they’d show a clip of the fight, and you just see this shambling, one eyed horror coming towards you.  I won’t even post a picture of it here, because it still scares me that much.  You can easily find it if you google “mother brain.”  The thought that in this endless universe that kind of abomination could exist throws me into my own existential horror.  Lovecraft has nothing on Nintendo in this regard.

Fast forward (I think) a few years to the game Life Force where you literally fight an alien from the inside (apparently the game was called Life Force only in Japan, but I recall that was the version I saw).

The final boss of the game is the alien’s heart similar to what you have to fight in one of the Contra.  I think it’s the combination of destroying a heart and the alien thing that made me want to hide under my covers forever.  It should also be noted that the Heart exhibit at The Franklin Institute scared the crap out of me, too.  Ah that incessant beating D:  I would take to going upstairs to my room whenever my brother and/or cousin would play these games and of course any of the Metroids.

Fast forward again to 1997 and Final Fantasy VII, my favorite game.  Now if you’d told me twenty years prior that I’d fall in love with a game that featured alien mental manipulation and an eldritch abomination trapped in a “jar” with brain matter branching out, I would’ve laughed in your face then hid under the covers.  I love FFVII passionately, but Jenova freaks me the fuck out.  When you get deep into it, it’s arguably the most terrifying antagonist ever (or at least up there with Mother Brain…OH DEAR GOD), because like The Thing it was certainly inspired by, it could look like anyone.

Jenova in Crisis Core

It has the disembodied, beating heart motif, too.  It’s what you hear in the beginning of Advent’s “Beyond the Wasteland,” or at the very least the song is conjuring echoes of that horror.  The drums and the bells of “Those Chosen by the Planet” pierce the very heart of this paradigm.

Finally there’s Dead SpaceI watched enough of this game to give myself nightmares where I’d be chased by disembodied body parts and floating fetuses *shudders*  But they don’t even hold a candle to the Brethren Moons.

I would cry, but my tears would do nothing to forestall the inevitable.

An honorable mention goes to Earthbound and Giygas whom many believe is the paragon of the Fetus Terrible.

When your enemy is so horrifying you can only defeat him by going back in time to fight him before he’s born and it’s still a brutal battle where prayer is necessary to win, more than heaven help you.

I believe the binding tie with all of these is the Body Horror trope, which fits within or aligns with the idea of the Uncanny Valley.  There’s something not right about seeing interior parts either outside or for the protagonist to be forced within in order to deal with these sentient, dangerous, and horrifying viscera.


What video game or aspect of one terrified you as a child and/or terrifies you now?  Is it a game that’s classified as horror or is it a dark part of an otherwise non-horror based game?

I look forward to your answers in the comments!

<–Question of the Week: 7/31/16          Question of the Week: 8/14/16–>

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19 thoughts on “Question of the Week: 8/7/16

  1. Pingback: Question of the Week: 7/31/16 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

  2. Thanks a lot for the mention! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Regarding the most frightening moment in my gaming history I would say the Buddhadoma in Kackie Chan’s Action Kung-Fu. I would also say the zombies crashing the glass in the interrogatory room in Resident Evil but Buddhadoma, without any logical reason scared the hell out of me for years…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course! I always try to mention where any ideas spark from or blogs that remind of what I want to talk about (because do I sure need reminders!), and it just seemed appropriate especially since it’s Metroid’s birthday 🙂

      Ah I remember Resident Evil the very first one! There were a couple of things with that. One, there was this placard that kept talking about “the gate of life opening.” Creepy and the crows didn’t help. Then I remember that plant that filled up the entire room that you had to kill by mixing poisons. There was also those diaries from the dormitory residence that eventually descended into them writing, “itchy, tasty.” I STILL think of that to this day.

      I need to look up this Buddhadoma thing while it’s still light out. My fears have no logic sometimes or at least none that I’ve been able to easily explain.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You can easily watch Buddhadoma without getting scared. It was only a child fear, maybe it was also the music, I don’t know. By the way you can find it in the Playthrough section of my blog, Part I of Jackie Chan’s Action Kung-Fu…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yasss I love when people do that. I have a Cid kitty and my other friend has a great black and silver cat named Sephiroth 😆

      I can definitely see Doom being one of those games that makes you jump. I’m okay with the shock/suspenseful games. They don’t give me haunt me. It’s the nightmare fuel ones that keep me up at night.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Cid is obviously the quintessential Cid from Final Fantasy, and my friend with the Sephiroth kitty has another cat named Cloud lol. My other cat Kin-mei gets his name from the Japanese term for “gold eyes.” He’s eyes are more green now though as he’s gotten older. Cid was a toss up between that name and Cecil, but Cid seems to fit him. I’m listening to music from Zelda right now 😀

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  3. Have you played Metroid Prime? My first encounter with a Metroid in that game was quite a chilling experience… (pun intended) Let’s just say the first person didn’t help ease my fears at all. I never got far enough in Super Metroid to see anything scary. On a side note, I recently bought Metroid and plan to get Super Metorid again as well. It’s my mission to play beat those classic titles on their 30th anniversary year. Other memorable terrors for me include:

    -The majority of the Last of Us. Despite my fears, I actually couldn’t put this game down until I beat the main story (then I had to play a Mario game to cheer myself up lol). The overall theme was dark and depressing. Some parts were scary, but many parts were just plain sad. It actually had me in crying like a baby on several occasions. No game has ever pulled me in like that before. It was quite a memorable experience. I want to get all the trophies in it someday, but I’m still not ready to play it again yet.

    -Resident Evil 4 – The first time I met a Regenerator. There these quivering medical experiments that scare the hell out of me. The only way to take them down is by killing the Plagas inside of them with a thermal scope. This means running to the opposite side of the room, and praying you can hit them all before the shivering monstrosity gets to you.

    -A Hitman game I can’t remember the name of. I can’t remember the details exactly, but one of the missions involved a butcher. I found out the unspeakable things he did when I entered the freezer area… I’ve never played another Hitman title since.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never actually played any Metroid games! I’ve seen my brother and cousin play them, but after Mother Brain it was a big old nope. I wish I could though. Samus is such a bad ass, but I know if a SNES game can set my soul screaming, more defined graphics would be a horror fest.

      My gaming goal is to play and review all of the Final Fantasies. Well…more the older ones, but I do want to play FFXIII and if I play it I’ll review it.

      You want to play a poignant Mario game it’s Super Paper Mario. It’s going to sound ridiculous, but the end of that game had me in tears. It’s actually heartbreaking and worthy of the finest RPG accolades. I’ll have to check out the Last of Us…when it’s light out of course. I make it a point not to delve into scariness in the night. So I’ll be looking up Regenerator before the sun goes down. Have you ever heard of the game version of The Thing? My one friend whose been known to joke about Slenderman had to abandon that. I should’ve included it, but since it’s one I’ve only heard of but never seen or played, it didn’t seem valid.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lightning and Samus are my two favourite bad ass female game heroes. 🙂 I played FFXIII without knowing any of the negative feedback it was getting. I loved the whole XIII trilogy, despite what the internet says. Everyone is entitled to their opinions though, and I respect them. It just feels a little strange being part of the minority who actually like Lightning’s character.

    I have an unopened copy of Super Paper Mario. I should bump it up on my never ending list of games I have to play. Never heard of The Thing… I’ll try to find the courage to go check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard the negative feedback, but I decided even still I was going to reserve my judgment until I played it myself. You hear so many different POVs about Final Fantasy that you have to take them all with a grain of salt. I’ve found merit in all of them. I have a love/hate relationship with Squeenix. I haven’t been happy with what they’ve done lately, but I didn’t absolutely abhor XII in the least even though I thought the story and characterizations were quite a bit weaker. In making Vaan the MC, the player is forced to go through another filter for the story. I think concentrating on Balthier and Fran’s arc would’ve been much better instead of making us see the narrative through yet another set of eyes. Even still, it’s a solid game. I’m even okay with the gambit system

      I liked it, but I was upset with the change in the battle system. I prefer turn based RPGs, which is another think I’m annoyed with Squeenix about so you’re definitely not the only one in a minority. Most players seem perfectly fine with turn based going the way of the dinosaur, but I’m actually really bummed about that. It’s made my excitement for the FFVII Remake turn into resigned ennui, but I’ll always have the original.

      The Thing is a 1982 movie by John Carpenter! But I’m pretty sure it’s based on a Lovecraft story, though damned if I can think of which one. It’s this alien monster that can mimic anyone so you have no idea who is actually a “thing.” When I first read about it, it was obvious that Squeenix had used this inspiration for Jenova since that’s one of its abilities *shudders* Although aliens mimicking humans is a really old trope (They Live uses it, too) and it’s played for laughs with American Dad hehe. I’m not sure what The Thing based video game is called. I’m assuming it’s the same title.

      I’d love to know what you think of SPM! I really liked The Thousand Year door, which had a really, really creepy ending tbh. Like I was shocked at how dark it was because Mario isn’t known for that at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The only Final Fantasy games I’ve beaten are VII,X, XIII, XIII-2, and Lightning Returns. The combat system in Lightning Returns really took some time for me to get use to. I did enjoy the ability to make enemies “extinct”in that game though. I definitely agree with your opinion on Jenova… That thing scared the hell out of me. Oh and Final Fantasy X had me in tears while the credits were rolling… The sad music coupled with the ending was just too much, lol.

        I played Final Fantasy XII. I made it far enough to see some Judge guy, then I put it down and forgot about it. I guess the story didn’t really captivate me. I do want to beat it. I might just wait for Zodiac Age and forget about my PS2 copy.

        I made it to what I think is the second last boss in FFVIII. For some reason, I just couldn’t beat it and shelved the game. I do plan to restart the game at some point. I’ve forgotten most of the story line now.

        Loved Thousand Year Door! Agreed. I remember “Possessed Peach”/Shadow Queen were really creepy for a Mario game.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve watched and reviewed I-III, I’m currently replaying IV, and I’ve beaten VI, VIII, IX, and X. Ironically though VII is my favorite game/story ever, I’ve never beaten it. I got stuck the first time because I never found the Key of the Ancients with the submarine, and the next time I attempted I just didn’t finish. I’ve seen the ending multiple times (even beat the Ruby weapon when my husband got his ass kicked numerous times lol), but I can’t claim to have beaten it myself. I obviously know the story backwards and forwards, but I still find new insights to this day.

          XII was okay, but again they filtered your experience through Vaan’s eyes instead of focusing on the real main characters. It was an odd choice. I got right to the end, but never beat it. I forgot they were rereleasing it!

          Omg yes Possessed Peach was so damn creepy. The Paper Mario Series really pushes the envelope and breaks the typical Mario motifs. I’m really surprised there isn’t more talk about that final boss. It reminds me of possessed Zelda in Twilight Princess.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for featuring us in your article! I’m so flattered I may never close this page! I would have to concur that Body Horror is some of the most frightening stuff there is. And for me, it’s like the proverbial train wreck. Once I start watching something with Body Horror, I can’t just turn it off. Carpenter’s The Thing is the perfect example. I don’t play many horror games, mostly because I find the cliches almost as nagging as those in anime (if everyone will pardon me saying), but I did play Alien: Isolation recently and I applaud it for being intensely frightening on the merits of its sound design, lighting and unpredictable AI. It was a wonderful experience in the dark, with headphones on, sitting right in front of the tele.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww of course! I’m happy I found your blog before I posted more game related questions.

      I’m so thankful for TV Tropes for giving me the names of so many things. I’ve always been freaked out by zombies and facial damage, but had no clue what it was called. Then the alien thing always terrified me. Put those together and it’s a horror sandwich even my cats won’t touch.

      Alien is one of those classic suspense horror movies. I can’t imagine doing anything interactive with that. I can’t play things like Slenderman, and ever since The Ring I can’t even watch horror films. I still want to write horror though hehe. Scary stuff dredges up deep emotions so it can be evocative! I’ll just make sure I watch kitten videos afterwards.

      Horror clichés are just as bad as anime ones lol. I found Dead Space to be terrify though despite. They perfected the jump scares and the overall story would give Lovecraft nightmares…which isn’t saying much actually since much of his work came from that source.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Question of the Week: 8/14/16 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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