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Tag Archives: Horror

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 13

The bantam-weight banterer of badassery battles in a bygone Britain ~

Lloyd Sabin, 8 January 2018

I obviously try to keep this column as light as possible, but some games are just heavy. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is one such heavy game.

Just be warned – I would not recommend playing for extended periods of time. Hellblade seriously changed my mood, and quickly.

Giving the player the opportunity to play as Senua, a female Celt, in Dark Age Britain, Hellblade is much more than a game of exploration or first person combat. These aspects are there, but Hellblade, first and foremost, is about fear…fear generated through mental illness.

Ninja Theory, the producers of Hellblade, consulted mental illness experts to create the game and state they wanted to make as accurate a portrayal of mental illness as possible, so that those lucky enough to live without it could have some idea of what it’s like. They did a fine job, because Hellblade is terrifying, confusing and infuriating, by design.

I found myself panicking, getting angry and frustrated, and finally having to step away from the game for a breather…about an hour of Hellblade is all I can really do before it becomes too much.

This is not a knock at the game itself – it’s awesome, well-produced, beautiful to look at and takes its content very seriously. Just be prepared to be affected. That’s the best way I can think of to describe it. Hopefully you will be able to see some of what I saw in the screen shots below. I also have to mention the audio design. The sound, maybe even more than the visuals, are the real terror drivers here. Play Hellblade for just an hour and you will see what I mean.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 2

The diminutive duke of danger is back ~

Lloyd Sabin, 9 October 2017

Alrighty here is the second installment of What’s Gus Playing? Covers Darkwood, why I pretty much sucked at it and why I am shelving it for now.

So it goes without saying that when summer ends and the weather finally cools, I get in to a spooky mindset.

You know me. Yes you. And that guy too. We’ve known each other for a long time. And you know that this time of year I love to scare the bejeezus out of myself. I mean, just look here at this thread – I didn’t even create it myself.

So it goes without saying that when summer ends and the weather finally cools, I get in to a spooky mindset. This season’s first attempt at PC gaming fear comes courtesy of Darkwood, a top-down perspective game developed with the Unity engine by Acid Wizard studios. Reading that last sentence, how could Darkwood NOT scare the crap out of most players?

Well I guess there is one way. Darkwood prides itself on not holding the player’s hand, and being merciless in its treatment of its players in general. I can corroborate this. I died, got hopelessly trapped and restarted the game…all more than once. This week, while trying to navigate Darkwood in the off-hours, was a rough one: long days at work, wife away, tons of chores and errands with the kids and I was also sick. So…it may not have been the best week to attempt a game that only wanted to crush me in its bony green fingers.

GrogHeads Reviews Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition

Revisiting a classic and telling new tales ~

Avery Abernethy, 4 October 2017

Gabriel Knight is a point and click adventure game. Gabriel attempts to solve the Voodoo Murders in New Orleans which are occurring in the early 90s. Psychological and physical horror abound. Gabriel is a slacker rogue who wrote several unsuccessful mystery novels and owns an almost bankrupt rare book store. Gabriel is also amazingly vain and attempts to seduce most young females crossing his path.   Gabriel is haunted by a terrible dream sequence which becomes more detailed with each passing day.

New Orleans itself is a main character. New Orleans history, geographical highpoints, and the history of voodoo are all worked into the story line. Gabriel visits the Voodoo Museum, Tulane University, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, St. Louis Cemetery #1, among other locations. All existed in the 1990s and most are relatively unchanged today. The idiot destroyers of history have not pulled down Andrew Jackson’s statue yet!

GrogHeads Reviews Pulp Cthulhu and The Two-Headed Serpent

A two-for-one look at the horror RPG ~

Avery Abernethy, 13 September 2017

Pulp Cthulhu is a rules supplement to the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition. Pulp Cthulhu adds weird science, psychic skills and much stronger player characters to the traditional Call of Cthulhu system. The rules focus more on pulp action and less on quiet investigation. The player characters have far more points to work with when building characters and have pulp talents allowing players to survive more deadly encounters.

Pulp Cthulhu resembles the “Indiana Jones” school of fighting the mythos. Characters have more talents, heroic archetypes, and a lot more fighting skills than your average Call of Cthulhu game. A major premise is fighting against cultist masterminds with lots of low level “mook” cannon fodder. Multiple secret cult societies are suggested to oppose the players.

Origins 2017 – Cthulhu

Our intrepid horror-gamer tackled a long weekend of Cthulhu-themed RPGs.  Did he escape with his sanity? ~

Avery Abernethy, 3 July 2017

H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and other horror stories were not very popular during his lifetime and he died a pauper. His heirs did not maintain the copyright to his works which made his stories and the world they inhabited common property for anyone who wished to use them. All of Lovecraft’s works can be obtained free in ebook format.
As Lovecraft’s works grew in popularity, many authors either wrote additional stories and books in this world or adapted his work into other series. Noteworthy examples are the Monster Hunter series by Larry Correia, Princess of Wands by John Ringo and The Laundry Files series by Charles Strauss.

Because the work is in the common domain, there are a lot of Cthulhu games, game systems, supplements and books. Two different RPG systems are based on the Cthulhu mythos (Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu). Many other game systems incorporate elements of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu world including Chill, GURPS Horror, and Munchkin Cthulhu to name but a few. For people who like a little horror in their gaming, there are a lot of options out there and Lovecraft’s mythos is probably the most popular influence.