Studying Scary: Resident Evil
Resident Evil was a pioneering video game in many rights. Though it wasn’t the first scary game by any means, it did coin the term “Survival Horror” for a genre of games that were formerly categorized as Action/Adventure. It was the start of a successful series for Capcom and paved the way for numerous other fright-inducing titles. There are many reasons why Resident Evil is scary, most of which contribute to the overall weakening of the player. From its sparse item system to its weighty, deliberate control scheme, the game wants you to feel under-endowed. And why not? You’re trapped in a mansion filled with deadly puzzles and are the constant target of hungry hungry monsters. I think a bit of fear is in order. I’ve taken a closer look at Resident Evil’s parts in order to identify how they fit together to make one of the scariest video game experiences to date.
Note: I’m playing through the Resident Evil franchise from start to finish at the moment. For these articles, I’m focusing on the first game, though many of the elements discussed are prevalent throughout the Survival Horror genre as a whole.
1) Conserve or Die: Item Sparsity and the Ink Ribbon Saving System
2) The Sound of Silence: Sound Design in Resident Evil
3) Camera Obscura: Still Shots and Background Drops
4) You Would Cry, Too: The Fathomable Plot of Resident Evil