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Flames Rising Favorite Horror Game Contest!

Posted on February 14, 2008 by Flames

Flames RisingWe’re proud to announce the first Flames Rising Fan Appreciation contest. Some of you may remember that Flames Rising hasn’t always been a horror and dark fantasy webzine; it started out as a Live Action Role-Playing Site devoted to those dark and brooding vampire clans from White Wolf’s Mind’s Eye Theatre system. Through a love for gaming and other things that go bump in the night, Flames has evolved to its current incarnation, a horror webzine that shines the spotlight on up-and-coming authors, horror artists, game designers, and more!

To celebrate the new site launch, we want to show our appreciation to the fans who make Flames Rising possible by returning to our dice pool and pencils. Prizes include a variety of products from Abstract Nova, Apophis Consortium, Bob Goat Press, Cubicle 7 Entertainment, Eden Studios, Evil Hat Productions, Monolith Graphics, Neoplastic Press, Rogue Games, Snarling Badger Games, Talisman Studios and 12 to Midnight.

Tell Us About your Favorite Horror Game

In one paragraph (250 words) or less, tell us what your favorite horror game is and “why.” By “game” we mean role-playing game, card game, computer/video game, or board game. It may also be alternative platforms like a “Flash”-based game or MMORPG. Contest entries must be written in the comments for this post.

Guidelines and Format

We are looking for a bit of thought behind your post. We recommend the following:

  • Clearly state the name of the game, who published it, and what kind of horror it is. (i.e. horror comedy, dark fantasy, etc.)
  • Refrain from cursing, as this will automatically disqualify your entry.
  • Don’t “tell us about your character,” sell us on the merits of your favorite game.
  • This may be a game you worked on, but if you did please disclose that in your post.
  • You may provide a link to your game.

To ensure your entry is read correctly, feel free to use the following format:

Your Name & Location Lucifer Jones, USA
Game Title Horror Hounds from Hell
Publisher Scary Publishing
Type of Game RPG
Contest Entry 250 word post


We have graciously been offered items (games, CDs, books, etc.) from publishers around the industry. Prizes will be chosen from the best entries in the comments of this post and winners will be contacted via e-mail. Prizes include RPGs, eBooks, Posters, T-Shirts and more!


The deadline for this contest is midnight, Saturday, March 15th.


We need to dust out a few cobwebs with these disclaimers:

(1) Must be 18 years of age or older.

(2) Limit one entry per person, not per email address. If we find out you used multiple email addresses, we will ban you from this contest, and every future contest we plan on having.

(3) Please provide a valid email address as part of your comments. This information will be considered “private” and will only be used for contest purposes, unless you specify otherwise.

(4) All decisions of the judges at Flames Rising are final. We reserve the right to reject any entry, including those that fail to follow the contest guidelines.

(5) Entries must be posted in the comments of this post. Any other entry that is emailed to us directly or through the contact form will be disregarded.

(6) The winners will be announced no later than March 31st, 2007. Prizes will be postmarked within one week after the announcement of the winners, pending clear communication with the winners and a valid US mailing address.

(7) Flames Rising will be responsible for all US shipping costs related to the prize winnings.


Flames Rising would like to thank these generous sponsors for donating prizes to this contest. Stop by their websites to check out some of the products they offer to fans of Horror & Dark Fantasy entertainment.

Apophis Consortium
Bob Goat
Cubicle 7
Evil Hat
Snarling Badger
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29 Responses to “Flames Rising Favorite Horror Game Contest!”

  1. Matthew Haines says:

    My name is Matthew Haines from Melbourne, Australia. For me, horror is a genre that unveils the person I could become if my world became unhinged. I could be the guy who says to you “Stay here, I’ll go get the car. This will all be over soon. I’ll be back in a minute….” Or maybe I would be the guy who doesn’t run too fast and sure aint the slowest. They’re not gonna catch me first and who knows what’s ahead? It’s a voyeurs window to our inner struggles, writ large in broad strokes of crimson, punctuated by the things that crawl and swoop and hide but always find us. That’s why I play Fear Itself, the Role Playing Game of personal horror by Robin D Laws and published by Peregrine Press. Be afraid of what is out there but worry about who lurks within. 146 words.

  2. Nathreee says:

    My favourite horror game is the boardgame called Arkham Horror produced by Fantasy Flight Games. In this game, based upon H.P. Lovecraft’s stories about Cthulhu and the other ancient ones, each player is an investigator who is trying to stop an ancient one from awakening. The players work together, scrounging for weapons and other useful items around the town of Arkham (and later in Dunwich in an expansion), defeating horrible creatures and entering gates to other dimensions in order to close them and keep the town safe. The game has a wonderful replay value because of the system of random encounters that it relies on. On top of that, the board and all the cards and tokens are pretty and in full colour. What makes this game so exciting, in my opinion, is that it’s a cooperative game. The players must work closely together to avert the evil that is rising. And that is exactly how to survive in a horror situation; work together. Paranoia is an important source of tension in a horror game, but it will always lead to someone’s downfall. Only together can the greater evil be truly defeated. 192 words.

  3. Ryan says:

    The first horror game I ever had the pleasure of GMing will always be my favorite. Kult 1st edition from Metropolis Games. I remember standing in the FLGS looking at the over-the-top cover with its depiction of a crucified angel, and the repeated admonitions between the covers that “This is not a statement of the authors’ beliefs. It is a game.” Just by looking at it you could tell that Kult would suggest to your friend’s D&D hating mom that you should be kept away from her child, her house, and her pets. It was just so…wrong.

    We vowed to start a game right away.

    Kult gave us years of fun as we turned our own hometown into a strange and supernaturally influenced hamlet in the Pacific Northwest. It was Twin Peaks spiraling out of control with no commercial breaks. It was three friends playing by candlelight (it was scarier that way).
    Back then it didn’t matter that the system was a simple d20 roll under, or that the book’s large section on martial arts seemed strangely out of place in a game about horror. Back then there were no forums where you could argue about Narrative games or Simulationist games; Kult was the most “indie” game we knew of. Back then it was just three friends scaring each other, grossing one another out, and having a great time with nothing more than character sheets, a freaky-looking rulebook, and a handful of 20 sided dice. That was great gaming.

  4. Amanda says:

    Your Name & Location: Amanda M. from Kentucky, USA
    Game Title: Silent Hill
    Publisher: Konami
    Type of Game: Survival Horror
    Contest Entry:
    I have been attracted to the Silent Hill series since 2002 when a boyfriend of mine introduced me to the second game. From then, I was hooked. Silent Hill relies on the concept of the ‘horror of self’, the evil we recognize lurks within each and every one of us and what we find when we look deep enough into ourselves. This is shown well in Silent Hill 2. The town becomes a purgatory, where lost souls and people with some sort of guilt are lead to, in essence, take retribution upon themselves. Everyone sees the town differently and in that town experiences his or her own private hell. Nobody can save them, nobody can exonerate them because they chose to put themselves there, consciously or unconsciously. The world around them mimics their own mind and this is what I find fascinating about the game and the series itself as a whole. It is more delving into the characters themselves, their psyches and their choices than it is about fighting monsters and demons. It is a fight against the self and a fight perpetuated by the self. Each new game also presents us with a new idea and a new look on the ‘horror of the self’, from Harry’s search for his daughter to Henry’s outsiders look into Walter’s own private hell. We must remember that when it comes to horror, the true horror always lies within. – 248 words.

  5. Lon Sarver says:

    My favorite horror-themed game thus far is Don’t Rest Your Head, by Evil Hat Productions. I like my horror personal, surreal, and nightmarish. Don’t Rest Your Head brings that, and every aspect of the game reinforces it. Mechanically, the design is among the most elegant I have ever seen. No roll of the dice is wasted. Every time the dice hit the table, the tension is moved up a notch, creating a spiral in which the effectiveness of the characters is directly proportional to the danger they are in. The players are twisting the screws on themselves, wagering each increase in character power against their ultimate crash and burn. The Mad City closely resembles the city that haunts my dreams, making it very easy to get into the setting. The flavor text is hauntingly evocative, filling my imagination with oddly angled streets and distorted, echoy footsteps. And a horrid, implacable ticking.

  6. Ian Borchardt says:

    Name & Location: Ian Borchardt, South Australia.
    Game Title: Kult (First Edition, Metropolis Ltd).
    Type of Game: Tabletop RPG.

    Originally a Swedish RPG (by Target Games), Kult has been translated into a number of languages.

    It’s my favourite because of the sense of malefic horror that could be generated simply by reading the rules in bright daylight. Nothing else I’ve ever read has managed to unsettle me the same way. And the scenarios they produced were excellent and captured the essence of true horror. The mythic structure of the game resonates deeply with the player’s alienation with and in the modern urban environment. You got the sense that madness, dreams, love, and death were just in the darkness beyond your vision.

    And laughing at your futile struggles.

  7. Nick Wedig says:

    Name: Nick Wedig, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Game: Silent Hill
    Publisher: Konami
    Type of Game: Survival Horror Videogame

    Alfred Hitchcock famously made a distinction between surprising your audience with an unknown bomb exploding and keeping the audience in suspense by showing a bomb about to go off, unknown to the characters on screen. Though the suspenseful technique is by far more interesting and engaging, the technique of surprise is easier to manage and therefore more common. Survival horror videogames, in particular, have been lampooned as “any game where something jumps through a window at you”. This is an example of surprising the audience, rather than creating suspense, and therefore becomes tiresome quickly.

    Silent Hill is different, though. Though it does have some surprising moments, the game relies much less on this than it does on atmosphere and suspense. Early on in the games (and each sequel game, of varying quality) your character acquired a malfunctioning radio. This radio produces strange static as the horrible monsters of the game (possibly creations of your own psyche) approach. This, coupled with the oppressive fog and darkness that limits how far away you can see means that you know something bad is going to happen to your character, but not what this danger is or where it is coming from. This makes Silent Hill far more suspenseful than any comparable game. Though I love the horror genre, very rarely has it actually succeeded in creating the horror that is its nominal goal. Silent Hill succeeds at this, wildly, through suspenseful techniques and higher quality writing than is found in almost any videogame.

  8. Tom Gurganus says:

    I don’t play a lot of horror games. Yet. But so far my favorite horror game is Don’t Rest Your Head. The system is very well thought out and original. I think the balancing of Madness and Discipline lead to very interesting decisions. The Fight or Flight mechanic can result in predicament that are fun. And it is expandable. While they give enough background and NPC’s to run with, they also leave a lot for you to create yourself. Just the fact that part of the ‘dimension’ of the Mad City is called the Nowwheres and is left open for us to insert your own nightmare realm is very nice.
    And it’s The ’80’s Doom Patrol in game form. I like it. Sweet.

  9. Terry Bosky says:

    Name and Location: Terry Bosky, Lake Worth, FL
    Game Title: Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Type of Game: Third-person Psychological horror

    Eternal Darkness offers pure Lovecraftian horror. Alexandra Roivas is called to Rhode Island when her grandfather is brutally murdered. There she learns that her family is the current keeper of the Tome of Eternal Darkness, a blasphemous book which has been the center piece of a cosmic war stretching back 2000 years. As Alex follows the Tome’s history she sees eleven lives touched by eldritch horror. Some are corrupted, some are destroyed, and all of them are changed.

    With 12 playable characters, Eternal Darkness offers an experience unlike most platform horror games. Some of the characters are athletic, able to confront evil with a blade in hand. Others are scholarly and more adept at using Eternal Darkness’ deep magic system. What makes Eternal Darkness truly stand out is its unique sanity system. As the characters see skeletons rise from the dead or watch squamous creatures lumber towards them, their sanity takes a hit resulting a game which plays the player just as much as the player plays it. Eternal Darkness will trick you into thinking you’ve deleted your saved games or that you’ve hit the mute button on your remote control. The longer you play Eternal Darkness, the harder it is to tell what is really happening on screen and what your character is hallucinating and then the fourth wall shatters and you can no longer trust your senses either.

  10. Your Name & Location : Alexandre, France
    Game Title : Dread First Book of Pandemonium
    Publisher : Neoplastic press
    Type of Game : RPG

    Just imagine a skinny girl running away from a Demon possessing her father. She’s crying, she’s afraid, she can’t believe her father just killed her mom with a knife. Her world is falling apart.

    Imagine you are a war veteran whose nights are filled with nightmares and whose days are filled with guilt and anger. You know how the little girl feels. You know it because you were attacked by a demon too. But you were saved by a man who taught you to fight back.

    Now it is your turn to save someone. You kick the door open. One of your companions unleash the fires of hell on the demon and force it out of the father’s body. Before the foul beast can even move you blast it with your shotgun.

    That’s what a play session of Dread look like. Hunt Demons, save innnocents and kick ass before you kick the bucket.

    The rules are simple and easy to teach. The book has more than enough guidelines and examples to help you built your scenarios. And most of all, the writing is brilliant, you can almost feel the breath of the demons on your neck while you read their description. Same goes for the lenghty spells section. The demons grow in the shadows of our weaknesses and sins. In Dread you fight them with steel, fire and style.

    Dread has become my rpg of choice when I want to run a splatterpunk, horror action game. Highly recommended !

  11. Zach says:

    Your Name & Location Zach Welhouse, Wisconsin
    Game Title All Flesh Must Be Eaten
    Publisher Eden Studios
    Type of Game RPG (Generic Horror)

    Zombies. They’re slow, dumb, and not really that big of a threat. That’s not what Eden Studios would have you believe in the surface text of All Flesh Must Be Eaten, but that’s how it is. Modern science and its pal, the United States government, have done all that they can to protect its honest, hard-working citizens from the slavering dead. The real fear is lurking in front of the horde, grotesque in its commonality. It’s the people who encourage the lifeless scourge because it promotes their own agenda or targets people who they don’t care about. Fear is having to trust men just as desperate to escape the zombie-infested prison as you are, and knowing that they’ve done far worse things than the monsters you’re fleeing.

    The system is what makes All Flesh Must Be Eaten stand out as a horror game for me. The characters are competent enough that they can succeed if they’re able to do everything just right. They’re in hard situations, but the underpinnings of the universe aren’t stacked against them; they aren’t marked from birth for madness or automatically condemned to a joyless adult life. Those scenarios are scary, but on a detached level. The personal resonance is in knowing that the death of thousands could have been averted if our everyday hero was just a tiny bit tougher, smarter, or better. The game provides escapism because there are corpses exploding everywhere, but the ultimate message points toward something far more fragile. (248 words)

  12. Randy says:

    Name and Location: Randy Hanson, Bridgeport, OH
    Game Title: Parasite Eve
    Publisher: Squaresoft
    Type of Game: Third-person horror RPG

    Many people would as me why this game. It isn’t even all that scary. But it was my first, the first game I had purchased for myself that actually had me on edge afraid to see what could happen next. I played this before know what Silent Hill or Resident Evil was, and had it not been for this game, I probably never would have. The fact that the game was unique in terms of it’s gameplay and battle system intrigued me a lot. I was hooked and found myself staying up late with the lights out looking forward to scaring the wits out of myself.

    The game felt poetic too, an opera singer burns down an entire opera house at Christmas by her voice and exciting the mitochondria in the room. I will never be able to get the scene out of my head of the singer belting out her voice as the entire place burns. The game left it’s mark on me and will forever go down as a favorite.

  13. Shoshana K. says:

    Your Name & Location: Shoshana Kessock, Brooklyn NY
    Game Title: Cthulhu Live! 3rd Edition
    Publisher: Chaosium
    Type of Game: Live Action Roleplaying Game
    Contest Entry: I’ve been a live-action roleplayer for nearly three years now and before that, have had upwards of twelve years roleplaying experience under my belt. Never have I played in a game that was so atmospheric and true to the horror genre than Cthulhu Live! 3rd Edition. With the elements of a streamlined combat system and amazing mythos to draw from, Cthulhu Live lets game masters (called keepers) build a world around you using atmosphere to cause mayhem and madness for all the players involved. There are few games that are so diverse as Cthulhu Live as well; I have been involved in games where I’ve been in Viking ice caves, underground in London sewers, in ancient Egyptian temples, and modern hypertechnological military bunkers, and each one bone chillingly frightening.

    The best part about the game is the gleeful way a person can dive into this world of monsters and madness for a few hours and totally get lost. The combats are brutal, the chance of survival a constant concern and considering the game encourages setting up an atmospheric game with props, costumes, and sets, a player can get lost completely. I will never forget getting the chance to play a Victorian era maid who was a serial killer, poisoning her employers, or an African tribeswoman meant to be wedded to a cannibal warrior. Then there was the sinister nurse in a sanitorium, serving up her patients to an elder god to produce its foul young. All in all, Cthulhu Live is the best out there for live-action horror.

  14. Crystal Mazur says:

    Your Name & Location: Crystal Mazur: USA
    Game Title: American McGee’s Alice
    Publisher: Electronic Arts
    Type of Game: PC

    I’ve played many games that have been great horror games. Game’s that pulled me right into the action, making me forget for a while that I was playing a character. But the one type of game that always twisted around in my mind the most was the one’s that played with my childhood. The Alice in Wonderland series has always been a favorite childhood fairytale for me. So to have that story twisted around, pulled in the direction of evil and reincarnated in the mind of a lunatic child who is laying comatose in an insane aslyum got inside my own brain as only American McGee can. All the key characters make an apperance in this story, only this time they are stark raving mad and dangerous to boot. You play the dark, stern Alice, who tromps around Wonderland in her blood stained apron, weilding a very large, very much used, kitchen knife, searching for the Queen of Hearts. Each chapter deals with more and more characters who you thought were your friends in the original story. In your new reality they’ve all been warped by the Queens new rule and you must now destroy them, or face eternal lunacy in a catatonic body.
    Personally, warping a story like that is more frightening then all the blood and guts stuff that is being produced lately. Scare tactics,soundtrack enchancements and special effects mean nothing when your childhood dreams are turned into a nightmare.

  15. Eric Nail says:

    Your Name & Location: Eric N., from Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Game Title: AState
    Publisher: Contested Ground Studios
    Type of Game: Tabletop Role-Playing Game

    Contest Entry:
    AState, published by Contested Ground Studios, is my favorite horror role-playing game. AState’s production values are invariably high, with every book well written and organized. Every AState book I have read teems with evocative detail. Through this meticulous attention to detail, the authors grant the reader deep insight into the post-apocalyptic world they have created, called The City. The City is a sprawling metropolis of brutally sharp contrasts, choking on the accumulated refuse and detritus of countless generations. Denizens of The City are forced to share The City with The Shifted, four races of unknown origin and terrifyingly inhuman motivation. No one knows where they come from or what they want. Anyone who tries to leave The City disappears in a flash of bright light. No one living remembers why this is, but theories and rumors abound. These types of mysteries are central to AState.

    While it was the rich tapestry of details that originally drew me to AState, it is the game’s theme that keeps me coming back again and again. AState is fundamentally, and seemingly paradoxically, about hope. Although the player’s characters cannot reasonably expect to rebuild The City or undo a millenia of crushing social inequalities, they can make a real difference by helping their families, friends, and communities. In a genre that all too often seems to revel in the characters’ inevitable defeat or descent into madness/inhumanity, AState stands out as a thought-provoking game where you get to play a hero.

  16. Matt Forbeck says:

    Your Name & Location: Matt Forbeck, Beloit, WI
    Game Title Horror: Chill
    Publisher: Pacesetter
    Type of Game: RPG
    Contest Entry:

    For me, nothing beats the original Chill from Pacesetter. While Call of Cthulhu had already broken the horror ground for RPGs, it focused on eldritch, unknowable horrors. Chill, on the other hand, was a riff on the Saturday night horror shows I used to watch on TV, with monsters you could not only know but beat.

    The best part of the game, though, was the Creature Feature supplement, which provided rules for playing the monster, long before Vampire brought that to the fore. The cover showed a couple soaking in a hot tub while a werewolf in an apron and chef’s hat crept up behind him and winked at you, a shaker of salt in his hand.

    That tongue-in-cheek attitude toward horror—the blackest of humor—drove the whole game home for me. The game lacked angst of any kind. Horror, laughs, tension, but never hopelessness. It made an adventure out of horror, and it came up with good rationales for making a campaign out of it too.

    [Disclaimer: I wrote a small bit for the second edition of the game, and I’m friends with some of the former owners of Pacesetter.]

  17. Preston Postle says:

    My favorite horror game was Pacesetter’s original Chill RPG. In the mid-80’s I made my first trip to GenCon, and the company was set up in the dealer area. Many of the game’s writers were there at the Pacesetter booth, so I got the sales pitch directly from the horse’s mouth, as it were, and then the writers autographed my purchases [Jon Brunelle, where are you now?]. The game was classic horror with a modern twist — where else could you track down a zombie punk band playing the seedy music clubs of Cleveland, Ohio, USA (my home town)? And the adventures often required some serious insight to resolve, which made for a cinematic climax much more exciting and satisfying than the other games we were playing back then (unless you didn’t put two and two together, in which case the vampire or werewolf or whatever made mincemeat of you). There were a lot of adventures written for the game, too, which was helpful for those of us without the time to write our own. And those adventures — hoo boy! Whether we were tracking werejaguars in Mexico, destroying a Bradbury-esque haunted island carnival in a “large midwestern lake,” or solving the mystery of the Loch Ness monster, Chill provided real scares, some laughs, and many happy gaming memories.

  18. DemoRic says:

    Horror, it is a feeling of dread and suspense. It gives you a feeling of despair with only the slightest hope of surviving. The only thing about horror is that there is different sub-genres such as: Shock, Gore, Comedy, and Slasher. For me there has only been one game that is the master of all aspects of horror and that game is “All Flesh Must Be Eaten” by eden studios. AFMBE is a roleplaying game based on unisystem. The game is survival horror in which you must survive various types of un-dead, the enviroment, and other people with hidden agendas. AFMBE supports different styles of play (the different sub genres of horror) and even different genres (western, sci-fi, WWII, and many more). The greatest aspect about AFMBE is that it is a social game that allows everyone to be engaged in the horror. That is something that isn’t easily duplicated. For me “All Flesh Must Be Eaten” IS horror.

  19. Timothy S. Brannan says:

    Your Name & Location: Timothy S. Brannan, Palatine, IL
    Game Title: Chill: Adventures into the Unknown
    Publisher: Pacesetter (1st Ed) and Mayfair Games (2nd Ed)
    Type of Game: RPG

    To many role-players around my age their first introduction to Horror roleplaying was the venerable Call of Cthulhu, but not me. Mine was Chill. I had the Pacesetter version (1st Edition), which I remember quite fondly. The Mayfair version (2nd Edition) is of course superior, but it lacks some of the feel I associated with the game. Maybe it was the lack of the Jim Holloway art or the darker tone. Picking up a copy of the Mayfair version now I get the impression (true or not) that the makers of Kult saw it and thought, yes this is good, but what if the world was much, much worse?
    I liked Chill also because it had Midwest sensibilities. Pacesetter was from Wisconsin, Mayfair is in a suburb of Chicago than is not to far from where I live. It was while playing Chill that learned that the best horror was horror close to home. I don’t care really what Hollywood thinks is horror. How can a place that gets 350 days of sunshine a year know horror? On the other hand East Coast horror (Lovecraft) has a completely different flavor. It’s almost alien. Chill may have had a global scope, but the horror is home grown. Chill remembers that there is simple horror in the haunted house, or the strange creature from the Unknown. It is not about the bigger-badder-more horror of some games, where every game has to up the ante on the last game.

  20. Your Name & Location: Renato Ramonda, Milan, Italy
    Game Title: Don’t Rest Your Head
    Publisher: EvilHat Productions
    Type of Game: RPG

    Don’t Rest Your Head is a clever, small, nasty game: the mechanics drive the game naturally towards the spiral of madness and exhaustion that will underline the theme of the game. How much are you willing to risk to have it your way?

    The setting is highly evocative, and each group can dial the horror, weirdness and symbolism meters to suit their tastes.

    The protagonists are all inherently flawed, each with some deep personal
    problem, but they also become very powerful when they become Awake in the Mad
    City. They can make a difference, until their push finally breaks them.

    Mad City is all the more scary because it can be very familiar on its
    surface: it’s your hometown, it’s everybody’s city. But then weird things
    happen. Doors lead to the wrong places, Nightmares roam the streets… and
    it’s always nighttime.

    The players, creating their character, define the first scene of their game,
    and from that kick off the game makes it very easy for the Game Master to
    improvise: he only has to define how much Pain is each obstacle. The dice
    mechanics do the rest. Each time the dice are thrown the story goes forward,
    coloured in tone by Madness, Exhaustion or Pain.

  21. kyle says:

    i whant to go on this game alot beacause it looks pretty scary

  22. Joe Klemann says:

    While nothing in Computer Horror gaming can top a well done roleplaying game such as Call of Cthulhu, there is one that creates a sense of panic that I haven’t felt in any other games, Penumbra: Overture. Penumbra does exactly what its needs to, creates immersion and realism, while still providing a lingering sense of unreality at your prehpihreal. The game starts with an almost blurred, but realistic series of photographs, done over with voices as an introduction. The soft glare-like artwork gives you an idea that you’re playing a man who is living a dream, a game character on a mysterious journey which has gotten him in over his head. Its plot-features may be reminescent of the newest Doom game, but being unarmed and in the darkest levels I’ve ever played in, it has far more impact. Running from an undead dog hasn’t been this terrifying since the first Resident Evil game. The fact that killing monsters is almost not even feasible, creates a panic unlike any I’ve seen. I’ve gone through elaborate efforts to barricade myself in a room, only to have it dashed to pieces and then my doom been had by hungry jaws. By fixing complex real-world puzzles, such as fixing a gas-generator in near darkness, provides an effort of urgency and panic to an event that may otherwise be mundane. The fact that exploration can mean your death, means that every decision must be made soundly and not in vein. You cannot afford to check every room for supplies, when the glowing eyes of a demon dog may spot you in the gloom. Your best bet is to find information for a plan of action and run for it. That’s exactly how horror gaming should be done. In some instances, curiosity overcomes you, what was that rumbling sound from down the corridor? Like the tragedy Oedipus, you know the answer is “something horrible” but you look anyway, sometimes you even cheer as the worm swallows you…

  23. Christina Nail says:

    Name & Location: Christina Nail – Baton Rouge, LA
    Game Title: Vampire: The Masquerade
    Publisher: White Wolf Game Studio
    Type of Game: RPG

    Contest Entry:

    Whenever I’m in the mood for a good horror game, I take my first edition “Vampire: The Masquerade” book off the shelf. This was the first World of Darkness book published by White Wolf Game Studio. I still remember how excited I was when I bought my softbound copy in dealer’s room at an RPG convention. Only two minutes into reading the prologue, I was hooked.

    The premise of the game is intriguing. Characters enter the game world as newly created vampires, often abandoned by their sires to discover their predatory instincts entirely on their own. Some don’t survive their first few nights, losing their sanity to the grim reality of undeath or falling beneath the stakes of vampire hunters. The rest must find their place in an ancient society fraught with political intrigue, supernatural mystery, and inhuman depravity.

    Each character takes an individual journey, discovering just how much of their morality can be preserved despite their eternal bloodlust. Their monstrous instincts constantly fight to be set free. The longer these instincts are denied, the stronger they become, until finally a vampire falls into a mindless frenzy of violence and feeding. The results are always horrific. Thus, every vampire must balance his humanity against his inner beast. The vampires themselves summarize this clearly, “monsters we are lest monsters we become.”

  24. R Wood says:

    Name and Location: R. Wood, USA
    Game Title: Kult 1st US Edition
    Publisher: Metropolis Ltd (now held by Paradox Entertainment)
    Type of Game: RPG
    Contest Entry: 244 word post

    My favorite Horror game of all time has to be the 1991 edition of Kult. The cover of the crucified angel stood out on the shelf and the flavor text on the rear cover cemented the sale. I had previous experience with other horror games but Kult made them insubstantial and childish by comparison. It is very much reminiscent of the work of Clive Barker or Thomas Ligotti but with a darker and more refined edge.

    This RPG took a refreshingly adult and personal approach to horror that I hadn’t experienced before. Nearly every character was flawed or tragic and the very horror of the setting was intrinsic tied to them. There were few happy endings and the game sessions were intense, rewarding, and often horrifying as they ran late into the night.

    The strongest part for me was that the world itself mirrored the development of the PCs, especially as the barriers dividing the false reality and the “real” world fractured. The PCs the potential to reclaim their place as gods but to do so, they’d have to conquer or embrace their inner demons and face some very frightening forces. The opposition was the stuff of nightmares and some of the most creative adversaries I’ve ever used.

    I still have my original copy of the corebook, all of the supplements, and added a mint copy of the newer edition in the past year. Kult that will always have a place on my shelf.

  25. S.D. Hilton says:

    S.D. Hilton from Kokomo, Indiana. USA
    Call of Cthulhu
    Let’s just call it as it is, Call of Cthulhu from Chaosium is THE horror game. Its spawned most of the games on the list above, it has influenced more horror games than any other (rpg or video) game, and it just flat out scares the pants off players when it’s done right. H.P. Lovecraft surrounded by the other luminaries in the Mythos circle are some of the greatest writers of our or anyone else’s time, and when you combine this with an incredibly simple system, a loyal fan following, and some of the best products that the industry has ever seen leads to them being the best horror RPG that I’ve ever played. If that had been all it would have been enough, but then their tentacled covered halls inspired the creation of Pagan Publishing and their monumental DELTA GREEN. D.G. stepped in, stepped up, and redefined a genre that had been redefined once by the company that inspired them. D.G. produced a new movement in horror RPGS and drove the modern Mythos to the forefront of the RPG world, and drove it in STYLE. Just when things are slowing down on the horror RPG front for Call of Cthulhu The Worlds of Cthulhu comes on the scene and raises the bar yet again for what a horror RPG can be and should be. Cthulhu isn’t dead. He’s just waking up.
    The game Call of Cthulhu is THE horror RPG for me in one Sanity Rolled masterpiece.

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