A new study into scary console claims has named EA’s Dead Space 2 as the scariest game on Xbox 360.
The Vertical Slice study, published on Gamasutra, also drew a number of other conclusions about the nature of scary games and the most effective means of frightening players.
For instance, it claims that actual combat “is not as scary as the implied threat of combat”. And the first confrontation is always the scariest in the game.
Repeated failure is also another barrier to frights. The more players had to re-do a section, the more that fear was replaced with frustration. The implication is that weak design limits a game’s ability to induce fear.
The ability to dispatch more than one foe at a time is also detrimental to a game’s tension.
In addition, cutscenes are rarely able to scare players. Most seem to find them a respite from the game’s tension. Some casual gamers are an exception to this rule.
And speaking of casual gamers – the study claims that they are more scared by frightening games, but conversely enjoy them more. Casual gamers, too, tend to be more frightened by scripted, movie-like games, while the opposite is true of core gamers.