I didn’t get to try Playdead’s first game, Limbo, until well after it had released. I still fell head-over-heels in love with it. Everything from the monochromatic environments, to the ambient soundtrack, to the simple side-scrolling puzzle platforming… Limbo remained one of my favorite games to play for several years and the Limbo soundtrack, composed by Martin Stig Andersen, is my absolute favorite writing music (even though there are only six tracks). When I heard that Playdead was developing a new game, the mysterious INSIDE, I knew it would be just as atmospheric and somehow even more intense than its predecessor. I couldn’t have been more right.
Utilizing splashes of red here and there while keeping mostly to greyscale, the game features an unnamed boy as he creeps through woods, farmyards, water, and industrial locations, all while hiding and being chased by an unknown faction of people. The game hooks you early on by showing this group taking a van full of people away in the rain to an undisclosed location. You’re then sent into a pulse-pounding chase as you’re spotted and forced to flee, dodging gunfire and snarling dogs.
Who here is afraid of haunted houses? They are a quintessential sub-genre of horror, one that never gets old, never gets tired, and can always be improved upon. Over the last year or two, I’ve dabbled in the haunted house genre with pieces from my last book, Memento Mori, my current WIP “The Collection”, and my upcoming untitled sequel series. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of inanimate objects possessing human qualities. It makes them incredibly frightening, and the same applies toward locations, particularly places of residence. I have a fabulous book written by Allison Lurie called “The Language of Houses” which has some amazing insights on writing about architecture and locations, really fleshing them out and making them just as much a character as your protagonist.
I digress. The point of all of this is to bring into focus this wondrous indie game called “Anatomy” created by Kitty Horrorshow. In the game, you play as an unnamed protagonist who finds a tape player and cassette in a mysterious dark house. As you explore and listen to the entries left on the tapes, you are slowly drawn into a frightening psychological mind game. You begin to fear what’s around every corner, what’s hiding in the shadows, and what horrible insights you might hear on the next cassette.
I am very particular about my horror. I’m not always a fan of gory films, books, and games. I usually avoid many of the cookie-cutter slasher types, and the bad excuses to parade around guts and blood. I do, however, really enjoy a good psychological horror where the protagonist isn’t entirely sure that everything their seeing is real.
I was introduced to a game called The Cat Lady a few years ago, made by Harvest Games, and immediately fell in love with the story, the protagonist, and the overall feel of it. Not too long after, I discovered their first game, an indirect prequel to The Cat Lady, titled Downfall. It follows the story of Joe Davis, a troubled man who has taken his wife, Ivy, on an impromptu romantic getaway to the Quiet Haven hotel. After a falling out and a twisted dream, Joe awakens to discover that Ivy has disappeared and that Quiet Haven is not all that it appears to be. That’s where the game gets really, really good. The game follows Joe through the mysterious rooms of Quiet Haven, into places that seem more nightmare and dream than real. Behind it all lurks the mysterious entity of Sophie, a creature who Joe must kill four memories of in order to save Ivy.
HAPPY NEW YEAR (a bit late) and welcome to the Monstrum Chronicles blog! Here’s hoping you all had a fun and festive holiday season and a wonderful start to the new year. 2016 promises to be an exciting year! I’m looking forward to making a few changes in my writing career as well as here at the blog and in my personal life as well.
First off, I would honestly like to be able to attend a few more shows this year in lieu of the fact that they are the best way to get my books into reader’s hands. 2nd, I’d like to focus on trying to market my books to a few more brick and mortar businesses here in Maine. I’ve been a salesperson for several years and yet it’s always so much harder when you are trying to sell something you’ve created yourself. This fear has made it difficult for me to take those steps forward. Not this year though. I’m going to give it my all here.
Read on to find out what 2016 has in store for the Monstrum Chronicles blog!
Imagine you live in a world where all of the women and children have ceased to exist, where the land is teeming with gangs of men, some depraved, some violent, others just trying to find a place to hide, and remember the world the way it used to be. This is the world of Olathe in Lisa: The Painful RPG, created by Dingaling Productions a.k.a. Austin Jorgensen. In the game, we follow the story of Brad Armstrong, a down on his luck ex-martial arts teacher who has survived in the post-apocalyptic land of Olathe alongside his childhood friends. One day, he comes across a baby lying on the ground, but not just any baby; a baby girl. Realizing the implications of finding the only girl left in their world (and trying to atone for a mournful event in his past that involves his loathsome father, Brad brings the girl home and raises her. Eventually, word gets out about Buddy (the girl’s name) and she is taken from Brad. He sets out to find her and therein begins the strange, beautiful, and often times, perverted story of his quest to find her.
It’s been several months since I’ve done a proper update blog, so I wanted to just sit down, listen to my Haddaway, and give you all an idea of everything going on now. Yes… I’m listening to 80’s music. Don’t judge.
BRAND NEW WEBSITE! Yes, if you haven’t been over to the website in a while, go check it out. I’ve changed the domain name back to www.monstrumchronicles.com and have simplified the layout. It looks cleaner, it’s easier to find information, and it looks much more professional. I’m pretty satisfied with it. I’d still like to get a character page up for some of the main characters in The Monstrum Chronicles but that may take a little while.
I cannot say enough good things about this game. It’s just…kind of perfect. The artwork is phenomenal, the atmosphere is grim and depressing, the characters multi-faceted and intriguing, the plot easy to follow and engaging, and the music…is absolutely divine!
While Tormentum: Dark Sorrow isn’t strictly in the horror genre, it does have some dark fantasy elements to it and definitely features some horrifying plot-points and imagery. It tells the story of a nameless protagonist who finds himself caged by an empire set on making people suffer for the sins they’ve committed, often through gruesome torture. The protagonist doesn’t remember what he’s done, nor does he remember his life before being captured. In addition to seeking an escape from his captors, he seeks to understand what led him down this dark road, often encountering tests of his morality along the way.