As someone trying to overcome a fear of horror games I downloaded Pac Man: The 8 Pages.
It’s a riff on Slender: The Eight Pages, a game which scared me so badly I could only play it in broad daylight while eating a nice sandwich and STILL managed to drop my mouse out of sheer terror.
What you do in the game is pretty much what you would expect – wander a Pac Man-style labyrinth looking for pages pinned to the walls as a monstrous ghost (Blinky) pursues you. The thing with the game is that it isn’t scary, but I did really like the connection it draws between the collection/evasion in Pac Man and in Slender.
That’s because I struggle to understand what people get out of horror games so seeing how they connect to other experiences, albeit with very different tonal results, helps. Obviously there are big differences between the two games so it’s not an exact comparison. For one thing, generally with Pac Man there’s an element of strategising – you can see the whole map so you’re never lost, you just fall victim to bad movement choices – while with Slender there’s a lot of mentally trying to keep where you’ve already been and inadvertently losing your bearings.
But the connection between something I find fun and exhilarating and something which makes me so fearful I can’t actually boot it up is an interesting one. Have I projected too much onto a simple and entirely unscary game? That is a thing which might have just happened.
ANYWAY. If you’re intrigued by this, you should also check out Parasomnia.