Every good horror story, film, or game has a story behind it. It doesn’t need to be intricate in order for it to have good atmosphere and be frightening…the premise just needs to be plausible. When a game tells you that the character had heard about a haunted mental hospital and, despite being warned, just HAD to go there… that’s not really the best way to start out. There isn’t even a reason given for why this character felt so compelled to go there. Also, saying that the character blacked out upon arrival and woke up later to find that he was in the exact same place he fainted in…isn’t really jarring information. But, as we delve further into the “mystery” of this game following HarshlyCritical, the story continues to hand us plot points that don’t quite add up.
The story follows pages in a nurse’s journal about a certain “eccentric” patient of hers that “makes [her] regret becoming a nurse.” First off: she works in a mental hospital. I’m sure most of the patients are worse off than just being “eccentric”. So why should something like that make her dread her job choice? Later on, when the patient turns “psychotic” (for no reason), is “dangerous”, and has “committed a horrible crime.” Surely, a properly functioning asylum would have steps in place for how to deal with a patient like that? But so far, the staff comes across as incompetent and seems to not care about the patients in their care. Not too much further into the game, we come across a doctor who says that the only two options of dealing with a patient’s psychosis are to fix one of his problems (HOW?) or to kill the patient “once and for all”. To quote HarshlyCritical “Why are those the only two options?!”
Now, all points aside, I would just like to make a statement: if you are going to include a story in your game, if this is the story in your book or your film, not only is it not believable but it’s lazy. All of these characters have a reason that drives them to do what they do. It’s your job as the storyteller to make us (the reader) understand and care about why they do what they do. And then, it’s your job to build your atmosphere, and any scares you have planned around a solid, believable story. If it’s not believable, then at least make it entertaining enough and logical enough for us to follow without trouble.
I’m not sure if the creator of this game really cared much about the story or if it was just an outlet to create an interactive game full of jump-scares. Whatever the case, here’s your Horror-Fail Friday tip for the week.
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