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Have You Played… Anatomy?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Anatomy [official site] is one of the most memorable horror games I’ve ever played. It took me days before I could shake off the unease it gently placed on my soul. So much horror is about manipulating our fears, but Anatomy is the rare kind of game that exploits our comforts — chiefly the feeling of being safe at home.

It’s a curious thing that Anatomy is so effective, because in reality it’s a pretty janky Unity game set inside of a small home that you simply walk around and explore. It’s one of several little projects by developer Kitty Horrorshow, but easily her most effective. It’s the kind of thing I sat down with after hearing of its reputation and thought, surely something as slapped together as this couldn’t possibly scare me? God, was I a fool.

But that’s just what Anatomy does. It’s innocuous enough you don’t think twice about inviting it into your life and your home, but then slowly it begins to play on that sense of comfort until next thing you know your skin is crawling and it’s too late to make it go away. I don’t want to spoil anything, because the less you know the better, but all I can say is this: If you play Anatomy, expect it to be a long time before you feel safe walking down the stairs into a dark basement.

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Steven Messner

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