The Games Of Christmas’ 10: Day 22

By RPS on December 22nd, 2010 at 1:54 pm.

Twenty two. No one likes that number. Get outta here!

On the twenty-second day of Christmas my true love erased my memory and dumped me into a nightmare hell-place of insanity. That was a fun gift.

It’s…. Amnesia: The Dark Descent!

Quinns: Let me tell you about my duel with the monster in the pump room.

I first caught sight of it when I entered the chamber. I mean, I didn’t actually see it- it was invisible, like many of Amnesia’s monsters. Some of these things, they’re little more than a bump in the night that wants to bump you off. The pump chamber was divided into a series of narrow brick walkways over a body of opaque, cold-looking water. Up on the walkways, I saw a telltale splash of movement. I peered down into the water. Something was down there.

As I made my way across the room, I heard the creature in the water stalking me. An angry splash here, a mad gurgle there. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other, reminding myself that the thing couldn’t hurt me. This was my way of getting through Amnesia. You tell yourself that the monsters can’t see you, even as they’re punching holes in the cupboard you’re hiding inside. You tell yourself that they can’t harm you, even as their mangled, leathery, searching hands find purchase and pull your head apart.

After picking my way down the length of the room I made it to the valves on the other side, the ones that would drain the nearby sewer and allow me access. With a twist of the mouse, I turned the valve. There was a sound of rushing water, providing me with the miserable thought that the water in the pump room would rise, bringing the creature up to my level. I watched the dirty water. It was stationary.

Cautiously, I picked my way over to a second valve, deftly dropping a raised walkway with a thrown stone. Again, I turned the valve, and again there was a sound of rushing water. Then came the third valve, which I activated with as little trouble as the other two. I was done here. But on my way out of the chamber… I don’t know. I stepped out where the bricks stopped, or something equally fatal.

My heart leapt into my mouth as I landed with a great splash, causing such a disturbance in the water that I couldn’t pick out thing’s footsteps. Oh, God. I was down there with it, and I was a bundle of matchsticks and no match for its hunger and hate. I waited, knee deep in the water, for almost a minute. Invisible monsters are usually blind, and it didn’t seem to have detected me.

Frozen, I planned my escape route. There was a bit of crumbled masonry that I could scramble up to get back on the walkways. With no other options I set off, my feet dragging through the water. Splash, splash, splash, and- oh Christ! No, no! I was hearing too much splashing! The creature had found me. With a maddened leap I flung myself onto the fallen stones, only to slide straight back off. The surface was too sheer. Knowing a second jump would have the same result, I stayed facing the rock and waited for the inevitable scream and boneslurp as the creature caught me.

Whole seconds, each of them fattened by fear, passed in silence. What was going on? I turned around to see a large patch of perfectly still water, and saw that I was alone.

I realised that there had never been a pump room creature. Or rather, there had been, but he lived in my head. I’d misinterpreted some signs and accidentally given birth to some shapeless horror that couldn’t survive an investigation. Shellshocked, I found a better climbing spot and left the pump room.

And that’s how Amnesia built an encounter for me out of nothing but running water and fear itself. Gaming doesn’t have all that many horror masterpieces, but this is one of them.

John: It’s funny how many clichés Amnesia gets away with. Just the titular one to begin with – a main character who has lost his memory! Lordy. Then a series of dark corridors in a spooky, haunted building. It doesn’t shout original. And yet it really is. Frictional’s first-person horror creates an environment of genuine scares, along with forcing you to play in a way that seems contrary to the theme.

You’re not charging around blowing things up with shotguns. In fact, you have no weapons at all. Your only tactic in a combat situation is to run and hide. Progress requires puzzle solving, whether that’s as simple as finding keys, or as complex as manipulating large machines through a series of physics puzzles. And all the time you must avoid contact with anything else alive, and do your best to stay in the light.

The use of sanity is really fun. Darkness leads to insanity, fear leads to insanity. But light is a very precious commodity, and can only be sparingly used. Lose too many of your marbles and you start slowing down, until you’re eventually dragging yourself along the ground by your arms. Progress will rebuild your mental confidence, so you just keep going.

What I’ll most remember is the water sequence. Were Amnesia a AAA game from a major publisher, the water sequence would already be spoken of alongside Thief: Deadly Shadow’s Cradle and BioShock’s Fort Frolic. It deserves it. Pursued by an invisible monster that can only detect your location whenever you make a splash, the panic induced in trying to scrabble for dry surfaces, or dashing through water to reach safety, is heart-destroying. I end up laughing at myself as my fingers get all tangled in my frenzied attempt to jump back on a bookshelf, my heart racing, the game’s heart sound effect racing, the snurgling, growling of the invisible beast, and then the hideous red slash across the screen as I fail.

I also have a question about the save cannisters. They’re the same that appeared in the Penumbra games, and the same creepy thing happens – the white screen with the weird message. I think they scare me most of all, possibly because they’re in both games, and seem to exist outside the reality of both of them. What are they?

Sexyback!

Kieron: So, you may be starting to get the feeling that Amnesia is a little bit on the scary side. And you’re right. Yeah, some people will prove immune to its anticharms, but some people… well, some people get a special kind of frightened.

You’ll probably have seen this.

That is a special kind of frightened. And I don’t just mean “So scared that you start blurting out a series of absolutely meme-worthy lines” (my favourites are “that’s not traditional fire” and “Oh shit! I have a bag of milky waysOHWAHHHHH!!!!!”). I mean that it’s scary in that special kind of way that afterwards you think it’s a good idea to upload it and share with the world how absolutely gibberingly insane with fear this game drove you. That’s a deeply sincere compliment. You want to share.

With Amnesia, Frictional went for their big pop single, putting everything they learned in Penumbra into a tightly honed machine. It shows a consummate understanding of pacing, setting and writing, of how you can get so much from aspects which you may think overfamiliar. It’s lean, brutal – and smart enough to realise that if it pretends to be more brutal than it actually is, it becomes more intimidating (i.e. Scary) and generally one of the best games of the year. I can’t think of anything in first person that I enjoyed more, including the obvious one you’re thinking of.

Of course, the oddest thing about Amnesia is that I kept on forgetting its name and calling it something else. That’s its own kind of scary.

, .

85 Comments »

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  1. Vern says:

    If you view only 1 video to decide whether to purchase this game or not, dont make it that one. In fact, dont make it any of them, just download the demo and try it. I usually dont like horror games, but this one did it for me.

  2. Sam says:

    I felt the exact same way in the pump room. I spent a while just looking into water, looking for splashes or disturbances. Even when I convinced myself it was empty, I avoided the water as much as I could and sprinted through it, scared of my own spashes.

    • Premium User Badge

      Napalm Sushi says:

      Wait a minute…

      You mean there wasn’t anything down there?

      o_o

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Yeah, I could SWEAR there was something down there. I remember making a planned leap and dash through the water from one walkway to another. Guess that explains why nothing got me on the way

    • Vorrin says:

      No there definitely was something there, I remember without doubts the splashing pattern (steps) following me as I left, and possibly when I came into the room, or maybe not then… but well, I am quite adamant there was one of them invisible watermonsters at some point.

      Anyway, I agree, great game, amazing atmosphere, although.. .the heaviness of the atmosphere eventually pushed me to take a bit the piss with the AI’s obvious (and well, I think necessary) shortcomings… was still pretty damn thick scary :)

    • TheTingler says:

      Oh, I would love it if there wasn’t actually anything in that room. I was also absolutely certain that one of the invisible water monsters was in there.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      The game has some random elements. Some things are always in the same place (like the 1st water monster) but other times it’s different. I’m nit sure if the pump room is one of those places. I’m not even sure if there was or wasn’t a monster in it when I played. After the first, I just always assumed “monster” whenever I saw water.

  3. Nighthood says:

    Definitely one of my games of the year, and definitely the most terrifying. There are so many good moments packed into such a short game, but it’s one I’ll not be forgetting any time soon.

    Another thing it did quite well (I’d say) is the way the enemies look grotesque and scary even in daylight, and even when dead. They just look so weird, while at the same time being just human enough to be frightening.

  4. Sunjammer says:

    I thought it was interesting how Amnesia scared the shit out of me, but at the same time never crossed that threshold where I just don’t want to play it anymore, like Project Zero 3 did. There’s a fine balance between horror and reward that i think Amnesia gets, and a lot of games don’t.

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      Oozo says:

      Your mileage may vary, though. I absolutely have been wanting to play it since I read the Wot I Think, and finally bought it in the Steam Halloween sale. I frankly was even afraid of playing it, knowing that The Cradle scared the shit out of me back in the day (come to think of it, I never actually finished the level) – I gave it a try the other day, alone at home, in the dark, with head-phones on, and I got about 15 minutes in before I had to stop.
      It’s completely silly, since I even read Kieron’s piece Re: spoilers, but tell that to the lizzard part of my brain who completely refuses to rationalize it… damn, and I thought watching all those horror movies would prepare me for it, but, nada.

    • Sunjammer says:

      I think the story and delivery method is what did it for me, and also realizing early on that all you had to do to escape the monsters was to find a hiding spot and stick around until the music stopped being dramatic, and at that point in 9/10 cases the monster would simply not exist anymore. Mechanically it’s really not that intense. Just tons of delicious atmosphere. It reminded me of Dear Esther in a way actually, because after a while it just seemed like another way to deliver an audio book.

      Being a Lovecraft fan helps too.

    • Mman says:

      That kind of goes into the article about “mechanical spoilers” that was posted here a bit ago, considering that’s a massive spoiler for how the encounters work.

    • bob_d says:

      Huh, I find I can only play it for an hour at a time, as an unpleasant level of anxiety builds by that point…

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      It became a bit of a challenge for me, because it was so scary. I was peer pressuring myself to finish it. “You aren’t scared of a GAME are you!?”.

      I think it helped that the darkness and scares actually peak about halfway through the game in the prison level. After that (which I could only complete in three 5/10 minute goes) I found the rest a lot easier to cope with

    • Sunjammer says:

      MMan if you don’t see this mechanic staring you in the face after the first two encounters, you must be medicated. It doesn’t make the encounters less intense. It just means you get a nice relief after they’re done. I wish more games did this. If Amnesia rammed its sheer lethal terror down your throat at any and all times, it would be a much less enjoyable experience.

      It’s an adventure game first, running away from shit game distinct second.

  5. Rich says:

    Would “I have a bag of milky ways” be a good euphemism for soiling one’s self?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Definitely. Who do we write to to make this happen?

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      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I started playing the Amnesia demo, but then I had a whole bag of milky ways, and couldn’t finish it. I don’t dare get the full game.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      It should be “found a bag of milky ways”, I think. “But then I found a bag of Milky Ways and couldn’t finish it.”

    • anotherman7 says:

      I haven’t been able to finish Amnesia since I found a bag of Milky Ways so full that I chose to jump into a crevice rather than eat them. ;_;

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      phuzz says:

      Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase
      Beware, Spoilers.

    • Will Tomas says:

      Get in touch the the people at Oxford Uni Press (who do the dictionaries). That’ll make it official!

  6. Calabi says:

    I bought it but I’ve convinced myself its rubbish. I dont want to play it, its too scary.

    • Nighthood says:

      Play it, but also make sure you don’t let yourself press escape when scared. If possible, force yourself to play it somehow, that’s how I had to do it.

      I basically worked it so I only allowed myself to eat after I’d played so much of it, regardless of how scared I was. It worked actually.

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      phuzz says:

      I know I’d be whimpering like that guy in the video, so I’m not even going to buy it, just far to scary for me :(

  7. pkt-zer0 says:

    That video has to be fake. Either that, or the guy is mentally retarded.

    …”Dildobitch”, huh. A bit of both, I guess.

    • Premium User Badge

      dhex says:

      is this the same guy who did the doom 3 videos when that came out a few years back. i remember the zero to absolutely terrified reaction and the voice seems familiar.

      some folks are demonstrative in their fear. not everyone puts it up on youtube, though.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      It sounds just like the FEAR-video of a similar sort. I’m beginning to think that there actually are some people who get this scared from games :) However, that is a big compliment to the devs of said games.

  8. harmen says:

    I find Thief too scary to play, so I guess I’ll pass.

    • Sunjammer says:

      I think Thief is much, much scarier.

    • Muzman says:

      I find Thief very very tense, but not often truly terrifying. Garrett is a pretty powerful character. You’ve always got an edge (well, usually).
      System Shock 2 on the other and pushed me to sheer mortal despair the first couple of times I played it.

  9. bitbot says:

    Funny thing about that pump room, in some rare cases a real water monster will actually spawn after you turn all three valves. Didn’t happen to me but I saw it on a Let’s Play video on Youtube.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      happened to me for sure, which is why i was confused for a moment when reading the article.

      God it’s such a good game. I’m with sunjammer on the delivery of story. It’s a terrifying game and you really have to do a little bit of digging to figure out what the heck is going on. Not too much but just enough to make effort and reqard satifying.

      Great game.

    • Cooper says:

      It did spawn for me. I saw it. Splashes. Coming my way. Thankfully I managed to clamber up some broken stone out of the way. Then it went… I think…

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Well now the more I think about it the more I am second guessing what I thought I saw and heard….

  10. gerafin says:

    The valve room was one of those places where they just really nailed the pacing. It’s shortly after the water monster, if I recall, and the one thing the water monster teaches you is DON’T MAKE SPLASHES!! And then it drops you into a level where you’re very definitely going to make some splashes. And it’s terrifying.

  11. 8-bit says:

    I bought it in a sale from impulse a while back but I am too busy to play it, no really I am not scared or anything I swear, just busy.

  12. Canape says:

    I only progressed through Thief safe in the knowledge that Garrett was kind of adept. He’d sort it out. He’s skillful and stealthy.

    The central character in Amnesia; is he completely powerless? Seems to have an inventory. But then, I’ve got pockets and this does not make me clever.

  13. Canape says:

    Right. Well, this would freak me out, just like The Void.

    I’ll choose Reccettear instead.

    • Mr_Hands says:

      Yeah, I feel like Recettear and The Undergarden are the only logical responses to playing a section of this game.

  14. MkHarris says:

    I wanted to play the demo at work where it is bright and busy and communal and safe.

    I ended up playing the demo at home. Alone. After the kids had finally gone to bed (i.e damn late and dark). Oh did I mention my damn desk is so I have to sit with back to the damn door and damn window.

    Yeah a great start for someone who used to freak the shit out over Thief’s zombies.

    I made it through a few rooms but the sheer terror of knowing that something would inevitably appear and that point was creeping inexorably closer grew too much.

    There is no way I am gonna be able to play this without putting ten years on my heart and a truly epic amount of swearing.

  15. Pijama says:

    Although I cannot gather the necessary restraint to play this game, I am glad it exists. Pretty glad, in fact, seeing it makes the so-called “scary shooters” look like a simple jack-in-the-box in comparison.

    But yeah, I am not going to pump one ton of raw angst due to sheer terror, thank you very much. :D

  16. Conor says:

    MECHANICAL SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!

  17. Cooper says:

    It’s there, in my Steam games list. I -really- want to play it. But. But. Just. You know. The things. The stuff. The scary.

    I last left it in a part where there’s think red fog. There’s a monster. I can hear it. Occasionally I get glimpses of it. I’m pretty sure I need to get past it.

    I can’t. I just can’t.

    Last time I loaded it up I sat in a tiny corner between a pillar and a wall, my back to the monster just -listening- to it for half an hour.

    “I’ll work out how much time I have” I thought. “If I listen, I’ll get an idea of how far away it walks” I reasoned to myself. “When I hear it’s far away I’ll peak out to see if I can ascertain where it is walking up and down.” “Maybe try and make a run for it.” Run where, though? I’d been following the outside wall because of this think fog, and had just jumped over a chasm I couldn’t back over.

    I didn’t peak out though. I sat there. 30 minutes. Unwilling to do anything, unwilling even to try and run away. I closed the game in shame.

    I’ve been beaten by games before. Stopped playing them because they are just too hard. Because I couldn’t solve a puzzle. Because I didn’t have the patience to master them.

    I have -never- before been beaten by a game because it has me so frightened that I just can’t bear the idea of loading it up again.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      That’s near the end, the red fog. You’re nearly there, you can do it! Plus the monsters can get a bit lost in the fog too, if they start chasing just run back way you came (I think…or can they? Damn, can’t remember. Maybe you just get eaten)

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      I don’t see anyone writing such fantastic stories as this about Call of Black God Blops War 4529. I find it equally hilarious as the video Kieron posted, that a game grossing $1 billion + sales cannot claim to have even a shred of the imagination displayed in this superb indie title.

      Bravo, Frictional. Now that you’ve released your Help!, where’s your Rubber Soul?

  18. MkHarris says:

    This game reveals the deep, repressed secret gamers have hidden from even themselves.

    Playing all those shooters have convinced ourselves that if the shit goes down and we are invaded by aliens/hell/orcs/acceptable-foreign-enemy-of-the-month we’d be OK.
    We know all about small arms, millitary tactics and the exact amount an AK47 recoils. We are hardened veterans of the FPS battlefield. Come that day each of our inner John Connors will emerge and we’ll form militia bands and save the day.

    But in actuality, at the first sign of something dangerous, we will probably freak the fuck out and collapse into a ball of mewling shame.

    • D says:

      This is true for every person, gamer or otherwise. We are constantly telling ourselves stories, and since the most important stories always involve some sort of conflict, we end up building our identity around it. What we would do in that moment of extreme pressure and importance, how we could overcome every difficulty and just kick ass. Most of us have completely fictional identities in this regard, and there are terrible consequences for those who have it shattered by assault, rape, violence. “Meditations on Violence” is a great book that deals with this and other stuff, I would recommend it to everyone.

  19. enshak says:

    So Frictional, I love this stone texture so much I made a game out of it, Games gets to be one of your christmas darlings but not the Void. Look forward to seeing Twin Sector tomorrow.

  20. Severian says:

    I enjoyed Amnesia and it legitimately scared me on several occasions. However, I *was* ultimately disappointed by the cliche, Lovecraftian story-line. It also started to not make much sense after I met that crazy dude who wanted me to cut his head off.

    But a different gaming experience and I definitely appreciated that there was no possibility for combat, which gives you a truly helpless feeling. Also, the puzzles were not that difficult – which, in my book, is a good thing.

    P.S. My favorite section was the torture area. The flashbacks and sound effects were astonishing and perfectly crafted.

    • Skyfall says:

      The story lost me at about the same place, I’m afraid. I think the sudden removal of isolation, coupled with some iffy voice acting, pulled me out of “immersed in nightmare” mode and into “playing game to completion” mode. (Especially since the objectives that follow feel more like traditional fetch quests than my suspension of disbelief could stand.)

      That being said, the game was a wild ridebefore that point, so I still got my (early Christmas Gift)’s worth.

    • Flakfizer says:

      I seem to be the only person on the planet that couldn’t get into this, which is a shame as it’s the kind of thing i should like. I just found the basic game mechanics too jarring that they pulled me out of any atmosphere they tried to instill. ‘So i can pick up examine and use everything *except* torches? They burn forever but lantern oil lasts *seconds*? Thanks for reminding me i’m playing a game over and over…’

    • T says:

      They’re not TRADITIONAL fire :V

  21. Canape says:

    enshak, i’m not sure what your point is. Do repetitive textures spoil the atmosphere? The Void was not released this year. Twin Sector is physics-based, but irrelevant.

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    stahlwerk says:

    “That’s not traditional fire!”
    I will wait patiently for an occasion to point that out to somebody.

  23. Navagon says:

    Definitely one of the best games released this year and easily my favourite horror game ever. Glad to see it included!

  24. Premium User Badge

    Gabbo says:

    My game of the year, and I still haven’t been able to finish the damn thing out of sheer terror. There is going to be something down that next hallway or at least I think think there will be, and it’s enough to keep Amnesia session lengths at around 30 minute each or until I die a horrifying death and lurch back from my desk cursing. That’s something no other game can claim about me.

    I once made the mistake of trying to fling rocks at a monster, just to test the combat worthiness of the character. That’s didn’t end so well…

    Frictional has earned themselves a ‘buy first, ask questions later’ status with me from here on out, and it’s all because I whimper like a frightened child playing this game

  25. RagingLion says:

    I watched the whole thing on a Let’s Play video as I knew I’d never be able to stomach playing it myself but I wanted to see what they’d done with it since it sounded like something special. Even still I think I forced myself to a level of emotional detachment so it wouldn’t affect me too much.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Hah, I am doing the same thing. I tried the demo, it frustrated me (it appears as if my PC is not fast enough to let me handle things smoothly) and I decided that I am better of watching Helloween4545 playing and commenting it for me. It’s like sitting next to one of your friends watching him playing it.

  26. dethtoll says:

    Amnesia did absolutely nothing for me, and I can’t figure out what’s got everyone so scared out of their pants.

  27. TimA says:

    Thanks for this post, I think Amnesia is a masterpiece. The environments are so beautifully crafted, oh, the relief when you emerge from the room with the water terror in to the well-lit foyer! The way things subtly change…

    I was one of the ones who was genuinely terrified by this game, to the point where I had to take the occasional break; I could not continue because I was physically shaking. The Choir was mentioned above, and I had a similar experience, not wanting to go on. Just the name gives me chills. I had to persist though. I really embrace this sort of thing, I search for games and movies that will actually frighten me because I enjoy the intense experience. It is unfortunately rare.

    This is the game that has affected me emotionally more than any other game in history, that’s why it’s a work of art and my game of the year. In fact it is one of my favourite games of all time.

  28. Paul says:

    I am halfway through it, just got to Sewers, but damn…I don’t know when I will get back to it. So. Fucking. Scary.
    The Prison section, the water section…best horror game EVER CREATED.

  29. Arizth says:

    Huh. I feel like I’m missing out, now.

    Games haven’t scared me the least bit since…

    Aha!

    The first Resident Evil game, and at that only the Bloody-Mouth-Zombie-turning-around-to-eat-you cgi sequence at the very start.

    Since then, all I ever get is a slight jump when something surprising happens. No “Omg scaries ahh”, but a calm “OK. Shit. Mob. What do I do to kill it, or escape?”

    Amnesia was especially bad for me, because literally every single thing that the game presented me with I’ve seen done in a more hair raising manner somewhere else.

    Fleshy walls? Go play AvP 1 Gold as a marine.

    Invisible monsters tracking you by your splashies? Salazar’s Right Hand was more of a pain, because you could actually shoot the fucker, and see him laugh at your futile attempts to not get clawed to bits.

    The mobs themselves? Pshh. I’ve killed scarier shit with a pocket knife in Eternal Darkness…no, that’s not the best example.

    On the subject of mobs that are scary because “They are almost human, but…”, I think that ever since Shadow Hearts had me turn into a demon and claw mobs that were naked women that stood on their hands while clutching a rusty spear that had their brains impaled on them between their feet, or smack giant frogs gods that became so by “devouring the rump meat of 1000 virgins” with a bible bound in human flesh, or shoot a mirror-bodied pregnant woman whose belly contained all of humanities’s evil, or that fucking doll house, or or or, I’ve been immune to scary mobs. Now, it’s nothing more then a clinical “Can I shoot it? No? OK, which way do I run till it forgets me and I can sneak past it?”.

    And besides.

    The patrolling mobs in amnesia despawn after one round.

    What’s so bloody scary about them?

  30. 1stGear says:

    I actually wish I hadn’t read this article for a variety of reasons: the description of the pump room, the picture of one of the monsters at the top, or the video that’s at the exact point of the game I’m at (having immediately exited the game after picking up the drill bit, possibly with a girlish shriek). So much of Amnesia is built up in the fear of the unknown, in not knowing what the monsters look like or what’s going to happen next. It’s a refreshing change from most horror games, which just cannot wait to show you what their abominations against God look like and thus remove a significant amount of the fear from it.

    And just so we’re clear, I certainly don’t begrudge RPS for loading the article with visual spoilers. Just my own damn fault.

  31. RandomGunnerGirl says:

    Though the immersion and the game are very well crafted (and vastly reminiscent of the case of Charles Dexter Ward to me), I was never afraid. Startled, yes, sometimes, but I always kept going stubbornly. I even had a name for the shadow : I called it ghoul.

    And even in that deep red mist, when I must have heard it coming for me at least six times, I kept hiding stubbornly, saying to myself : no you won’t get me, ghoul. You can’t feel my if I don’t watch you, if I’m not near you. So go away and leave me alone !

    Same in the pump area, where I happily barreled into water, just to check if there was a monster around. You know, pure scientific curiosity.

    For me games, are all about discovering universes, building things and solving problems, so I suppose that’s why I didn’t get afraid : I always knew there was a way out, I just had to find it. Besides, fear is way too personal to invoke efficently in a game. A far better tool is plain uneasiness, that creep on you little by little.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      You didn’t get afraid, but you did give a name to shadow effect/slightly gruesome wall texture, you did have to talk to yourself to get through the monster infested red mist, and you did need to test mechanics such as ‘will disturbing the water produce a monster’ before progressing with a level. So I think, therefore, this game affected you as much as me, who has never been more scared watching, reading or playing anything else

    • Vague-rant says:

      Hmm. From your description it certainly sounds like you were afraid. Reassured by the knowledge that this was simply a game with understandable and above all fair mechanics, but afraid nonetheless.

      I agree games are about discovering universes but a part of that wonderment from exploration is done by immersing yourself in the game, by forgetting its a game. Perhaps then you’ll be a little more afraid.

  32. RandomGunnerGirl says:

    If I talked myself through the mist, it was because the shadow was so bloody annoying in that level. You meet the damn thing every two minutes. Most times in the game, it’s genuinely surprising when it appears, but in there, it completly lose any sense of pacing : Mist check, Lovecraftian architecture check, annoying ghoul impairing your progression, check. It’s because the place is so void of anything but weird architecture and torture devices that it falls completly flat and false.

    I must admit it made me quite angry… Especially when I never even met it once in the next area.

  33. Pop says:

    I’m looking at the 50% discount on Steam, wondering to myself: do I really want this monster in my life?

    • Skyfall says:

      Yes, yes you do. Make a little space, let it curl up next to you and say “Hello.” You’ll be pleasantly, um, surprised.

    • Pop says:

      You make it sound like a little sausage dog that can speak, yet all the screenshots make it out to be a dachshund that’ll eat your liver while you sleep.

  34. laddyman says:

    Hmm, everytime I see someone getting the shit scared out of them by this game, I think of OverTheGun’s hilarious playthrough of this–sure, he jumps at parts, but the game doesn’t really faze him too much. It’s incredible.

    The ghoul will always be named Beardmouth for me.

  35. Carter says:

    The doors in this game frequently reduced me to a gibbering mess, I’d hear an unnerving sound or simply bash a piece of furniture into a wall causing me to drop everything and bolt for the door only to slam it further closed then in my panic swing it open and open it into my face then wildly swing it back and forth hoping I could just make it wide enough to squeeze through realise I could not and alt tabbed to the desktop ashamed my own imagination and a door had terrified me so much. In the end I made sure, on entering a new area, to make damn sure which way the doors swung

  36. MultiVaC says:

    If I hadn’t played the game I would say that guy in the video is just a moron, or faking it, but I having played the game so I know better. I felt the same way though most of the game. My personal favorite moment in the game in the game was when I was in the prison section. There was some kind of creature roaming around there and it spotted me and chased me into a dead end kitchen area where I slammed the door in his face and barricaded it as best I could, but I heard him pounding on the other side and knew he would break it down in just a moment.

    At that point I had never died in the game save for once in the water part of the demo, and as I hid in the far corner of the room for what seemed like minutes I decided it was just a game and I would have to have my first death at some point. So I sort of thew up my hands and accepted my fate for a split second. Then the door broke down and my ears were filled with the “monster sound” and I caught a tiny glimpse of him, at which point I shouted out loud “FUCK THIS!”. I jumped over a table to get around him and bolted for the door and down the hallway, having no idea where I was going, until my scrambling mind remembered the small hole in the wall that lead to the cave-tunnel I had originally entered the level from. I ducked inside and hid there until he was gone, quit the game and calmed myself down, then went to bed with the lights on feeling satisfied that I had just survived that tiny incident in the game.

    It was just a minor sequence of less than 2 minutes in the game that probably didn’t even occur that way for most people, and it was nothing more than a “monster breaks down door” scene that is a completely unremarkable horror staple. But the brilliant execution in every part of Amnesia kicked me into what felt like a real survival instinct for that moment, and it was awesome. So yeah, that’s just one of the reasons why I love this game.

  37. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    Bought it today because of all the praise it has received over the last months. Started it. Played for 10 minutes in broad daylight with speakers. Quit in panic.

    This game is clearly not for me. I’ll have another go at it with a friend of mine sitting next to me tonight. He can call an ambulance when my heart fails.

  38. JuJuCam says:

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I can’t stand to play more than a few minutes of this without deciding to quit and do something more life-affirming instead. Those of you who are still able to play this as a game and only experience the mechanics or the story and find either or both wanting, congratulations. I’m not that guy. This game sucks me in, makes me believe that I am the man walking those dank creepy corridors and makes me fear for my own safety and sanity, and puts me into its world better than I can recall anything before or since.

    It is an amazing piece of work, and I hope I shall one day be able to do it the justice it deserves and complete it.

  39. Skyfall says:

    . . . you don’t need your whole liver, do you?

    Surely, you can begrudge some of it?

    (failreply to Pop, above)