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.
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!
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.
Hello, hello! Incidentally, this is my 300th post on the Monstrum Chronicles blog and what better way to celebrate then with a good laugh. I’m going to be starting up a new weekly blog called “Horror-Fail Friday” in which we examine some tragic examples of horror gone wrong.
Today’s inaugural post is a video from Let’s Player HarshlyCritical. The game: Timore (which possibly rhymes with “Amore“). Yes, for all of you Dean Martin fans out there, you can start singing. In addition to a strange, unexplained name, we have a protagonist with no story who is wandering around an oddly constructed building with blood-covered (and I mean COVERED) walls. He’s pursued by Paintshop plus mannequins, licorice-flailing arms, and the diabolical flaming Timore, who looks like the bad guy from “The Final Sacrifice” with a red cloak.