Getting Some Play: Creeped out

Not-So-Scary Games and Halloween

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I’ve been quite naturally thinking about scary games. Since we already talked about Halloween/scary games last time around, however, I wanted to take a slightly different tact, based on this awesome Kill Screen piece about games that scared the pants off of the writer, despite not necessarily being “horror” games (aside from Fatal Frame, that is).

While I love horror in general (particularly film), I’ve never been the biggest horror gamer. Most of that boils down to the fact that when I was younger, and my general gaming tastes were forming, I simply could not get past the abhorrent control schemes associated with horror games. I’ve since remedied the situation, but it might be too late for me – given the predilection for action, most horror games these days just aren’t terribly scary.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been creeped out by games. Here are a few of my favorite freaky moments from titles that aren’t even “scary” games.

BioShock – creepy lady with her baby carriage
I remember being thoroughly creeped out by this magic moment early on in the game. Not long after starting out in the first main area, you walk down a corridor. Playing on the wall is the shadow of a woman talking soothingly to a baby carriage, presumably to an infant inside. Once you round the corner, she goes crazy and pulls out the “baby” – a tommy gun, and starts trying to rearrange your face with hot lead.

Heavy Rain – the creepy baby
For the record, I don’t typically find actual infants terrifying. But an early moment involving a suicide intervention and the feeding of a truly creepy “uncanny valley” baby scared me witless. I think it was the eyes.

Mass Effect 2 – first encounter with husks
I played Mass Effect 2 first (and then went back and played the first game in the series and 2 again, because I am obsessive and wanted a hot lady on lady romance with Liara). Going in, I thought this was a completely benign space shooter, but the first time the zombie-like husks came over and beat me/ate my face off and I died, I all but jumped out of my seat.


October has been the craziest month so far from a release standpoint, and that shows no signs of stopping as we close out with Halloween and start November’s entries.

One of the biggest releases of the season is nearly upon us, in the form of Assassin’s Creed 3 for the 360, PS3 and PC. The latest in the acclaimed series swaps out Renaissance Italy for the American Revolution, adds sea combat to the gameplay mix, and offers the most interesting protagonist yet – a half Native American, half English fellow by the name of Connor Kenway.

Speaking of cooler main characters, Assassin’s Creed Liberation comes out the same day for Vita, and offers players the chance to helm Aveline, the series’ first lady protagonist.

Speed demons have Need For Speed: Most Wanted, also out on October 30 for 360, PS3, PC and Vita. If you prefer to be a speed demon yourself, Nike + Kinect Training is also out on the same day, offering a host of fitness fun and, of course, Nike + integration. Get your running shoes ready.

If you prefer your sports a little less sweaty, there’s also Sports Champions 2 for the PlayStation 3’s Move controller, offering plenty of motion-controlled activities.

For fans of rock-solid Japanese game design sensibility, both the Zone of the Enders HD Collection and Okami HD are out on October 30, the former for the 360 and PS3, the latter for PSN alone.

Closing out the month of October – appropriately, on Halloween itself, is Blood Knights, for XBLA, PSN and PC. Gamesradar promises a “gory co-op action affair [that] highlights a pair of vampires who must work together in an adventure that looks a bit like Baldur’s Gate and even Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.”

For gamers who love space action (and adventure/RPG), and also love same-sex romance, look no further than Mass Effect Trilogy, out on November 6 for 360 and PC. Yours truly is currently knee-deep in Mass Effect 3, and my love for the series has only grown since it’s 2007 debut. Give it a go if you’ve never dipped in before.

LittleBigPlanet Karting is also out on November 6 for PS3, offering charming Sackboy/Sackgirl racing with DIY design elements.

Of course, the big game on November 6 is Halo 4, the epic introduction of developer 343 Studios on a brand new Halo title. The 360 exclusive has massive spaceboots to fill, but all signs point to good things for the series.

November 8 sees the release of Angry Birds: Star Wars on just about every mobile device (as well as Mac and PC), and Nintendo fans can get ready for the next big 3DS game, Paper Mario: Sticker Star on November 11.

Another monster release for shooter fans arrives on November 13, with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, for the 360, PS3 and PC.

Until next time, gaymers.