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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Oppressive environments

    I don't think I've ever played a game that made me feel dirty. And I don't mean an "I shouldn't enjoy this but I do" kind of dirty, but that disgusting, Buffalo Bill's-basement kind of dirty that only a master set designer can create. I just watched 's Frontier(s) and I think that film is a perfect testament to how a dingy, filthy environment can usurp the watcher's comfort and put them at ease. So when the trademark French hyper-gore gets rolled out, at least the viewer has some warning what they're in for.

    And let's get the obvious ones out of the way: Amnesia proved a master act at discomforting the player, and it wasn't even because of the actual foes that faced them. Dying was a fairly painless process, but the anticipation of dying was enough to make my heart pound and my hands shake. Pathologic proved oppressive in literally every possible way including, unfortunately, its actual playability. While Left 4 Dead doesn't get many nods for its atmosphere (or anything else) on here, the Heavy Rain scenario had a brilliant mechanic built into it. As the players progressed through the level better (faster) the Director automatically adjusted the weather to impair the survivors. And probably most obviously, the first few Silent Hill games that were literally designed to make the player feel trapped and helpless.

    I'm still waiting for a game that can shock me the way film does. I guess that games have a way of rendering mundane the most obscene violence, and that speaks to an entirely different issue altogether. I wish that today's "shock games" treated themselves as anything more than masturbatory attempts to display the most depraved images possible, without building up that morbid fascination that draws people like myself to these kind of games in the first place. That said, I'm glad I can say that while a lot of movies have cost me my fair share of sleep, Amnesia remains the one experience that I simply can not finish out of anxiety.

    Edit: And somehow I forgot Demon's Souls!
    Last edited by sabrage; 22-09-2011 at 05:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Activated Node Basilicus's Avatar
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    It's late, so all I'll say is Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl. It's the only game I've ever described repeatedly as "oppressive," to the point where I couldn't play for long stretches of time. The thing is drenched in atmosphere.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    System Shock 2, at least until you get to know it well and know that a few places are safe. Before then, the sense of vulnerability is quite harrowing.

    Some of the levels in the Thief games feel hot and claustrophobic and tense and oppressive and arrrghh. Especially the culty ones.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    I submit for your consideration the joyless, brown, cavernous world of And Yet It Moves. I don't spend any more time in there than I have to (to net a ticket for the Steam summer sale, for example). Pretty bleccch.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    SWAT 4 has some of the worst, but they work so well because they are surrounded by constructs of reality. No-one lives forever 2 (a game no-one expects in a thread like this) made me not want to be in that trailer park... Then it had me fight ninjas in the path of a tornado, a much needed release.

    Stalker for obvious reasons and minecraft when you fall down a hole but just survive, only have 1 torch but pockets full of diamonds, tense.

    There are others but I'm not sure about the cross section of scary and uncomfortable.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by icupnimpn2 View Post
    I submit for your consideration the joyless, brown, cavernous world of And Yet It Moves. I don't spend any more time in there than I have to (to net a ticket for the Steam summer sale, for example). Pretty bleccch.
    If you want brown and joyless you should try Gears of War. Badum-tshh

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sinister agent's Avatar
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    Look, this is just getting silly now. I'm quite tired of all these over the top, completely inaccurate claims that Gears of War is all brown.

    Gears of War is all grey.

  8. #8
    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    There's a off-the-beaten-path storm cellar in the FO:NV Lonesome road expansion I was playing tonight that made me literally cringe in my chair. Flies buzzing, body parts glistening, blood everywhere, you get the picture. For over-all game mood though, Basilicus nailed it with STALKER. Every single moment of that game just made me tense.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jockie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinister agent View Post
    System Shock 2, at least until you get to know it well and know that a few places are safe. Before then, the sense of vulnerability is quite harrowing.

    Some of the levels in the Thief games feel hot and claustrophobic and tense and oppressive and arrrghh. Especially the culty ones.
    I once hid in a chemical cupboard in System Shock 2 for about 5 minutes because I couldn't bear to face the shrieking psychic monkeys and 'kill me!' drones laying in wait outside. It was properly harrowing, but I was only about 14 at the time.
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  10. #10
    Network Hub Nova's Avatar
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    Definitely Stalker SoC. The whole game has a brilliant atmosphere, but the underground passages are even better.
    Plus it has quite a lot of derelict and oppressive architecture.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    The Sims has the most oppressive environment I know of, and itís entirely caused by me.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Bioshock had an opressive atmosphere to me especially in some areas like the surgery and Fort Frolic. Minecrafte mines always freak me out because I know that there is going to be a monster that is going to jump out at me and kill me.

  13. #13
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    i give stalker the win, something more than just atmosphere...
    some kind of existential nihilism that eats at your soul as you play.

    Pathologic is much more so, but is too horribly translated and unfinished.
    Still there is something very special about this game that could inspire new heights in true horror.
    The kind that leaves you doubting humanity, questioning what matters in life, etc..

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node westyfield's Avatar
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    Others have said it, but Stalker is good for this sort of thing.
    Stalker is good for any sort of thing.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ian's Avatar
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    As Heliocentric said, SWAT 4 has some belters. The one I'm thinking of in particular is where you're in the guy's house and end up in his basement. I found that far more nervy than most of the other missions I played in it because suddenly you're in a home and you know something awful is going on, and somehow knowing you almost certainly won't find a group of gun-toting gangland types makes the tension worse.
    A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far through the jungle, manling.

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeekthegeek View Post
    If you want brown and joyless you should try Gears of War. Badum-tshh
    No thankee I don't really.

    For And Yet It Moves, it felt like the same thing over and over to me. Finish one level of plummeting and rotating and avoiding bats... move on to the next. No light at the end of the tunnel. No real understanding of why the world is rotating. Make it through one level and be rewarded by another. Why is the dude black and white and sorta papery? It's just a world I wouldn't want to be in and not one I was having much fun with. It did make me feel trapped.

    zeek, it's a little weird for me to talk to you since I know someone who has used "zeekthegeek" as a handle since 1997 or earlier (including on AOL). And I don't think you are her.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by icupnimpn2 View Post
    No thankee I don't really.

    For And Yet It Moves, it felt like the same thing over and over to me. Finish one level of plummeting and rotating and avoiding bats... move on to the next. No light at the end of the tunnel. No real understanding of why the world is rotating. Make it through one level and be rewarded by another. Why is the dude black and white and sorta papery? It's just a world I wouldn't want to be in and not one I was having much fun with. It did make me feel trapped.

    zeek, it's a little weird for me to talk to you since I know someone who has used "zeekthegeek" as a handle since 1997 or earlier (including on AOL). And I don't think you are her.
    I hope I am not a her since otherwise this penis thing is just causing more questions. I've been going by this since like 2000 so I guess she wins.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Does SWAT 4: Gold have LAN multiplayer? It seems like the kind of game that would benefit from a close proximity and a communal beer pool.

    I've been holding off on the STALKER series until I have a slightly better computer, because I don't think the one I have now can max SoC Complete and I know it can't do CoP. Hopefully in November.

    Another one I thought of is the original Oddworld. You're trapped in a meat packing plant and EVERYTHING can kill you, and there's a lot of really precise platforming. It gave me a headache because I got so frustrated with one part.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    the original Oddworld.
    Ugh, yes -- so oppressive that I actually only played it for 15 minutes and have never been back! Because I keep remembering how gloomish and yucky it deliberately is.

  20. #20
    Lesser Hivemind Node Kodeen's Avatar
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    How about VVVVVV? Just started playing this and I love it to death, but these levels really seem to hate me personally.

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