Scaring people is VR is the cool thing to do right now, but it's so rarely done well.
It didn't take long for some developers to figure out that you get a lot of attention in the VR space by scaring the crap out of people. Everyone watching the users freak out gets a laugh, and the person in VR does not forget that experience anytime soon. Google Cardboard quickly became filled with jump-scare apps, often promoting horror movies and the like. When Rift and Vive dropped, the promise of gunning down zombies and moving through Lovecraftian nightmares was enough to put a permanent grin on my face.
Unfortunately, few of the experiences I've run across in VR so far were truly scary. Resident Evil for PlayStation VR relies on a lot of the same loud jump-scare noises the previous games leaned on to make things scary. Edge of Nowhere was fascinating and weird, but as the player you're rarely close enough to the action to feel like you were in danger. Scaring someone, and I mean actually scaring someone and not startling them, is an art. And it's one The Brookhaven Experiment has mastered.
I've spent so many hours in the demo. I've introduced dozens of friends to the demo, and I have seen grown men walk away seriously contemplating their life choices after one or two rounds in the dark. When the whole game dropped, I assumed I was ready. I was wrong. Repeatedly.
Just remember to leave the light on in the real world when you jump into VR, and we should all be fine.
I'm not going to spoil any of the actual game for you, but at its core The Brookhaven Experiment is successfully scary because it's close enough to make you believe it is happening to you. The vibration of the controllers, the immaculate use of spatial audio, the ability to swing a kukri into the skull of your opponent and almost feel like it actually happened. Suspension of disbelief is so easy in this game, and it makes it incredibly easy to become overwhelmed and almost demand you take the headset off and return to reality for a few minutes to catch your breath.
We're going to see a lot more in the way of scary games for VR. I have no doubt that list is going to grow faster than many other genres, but as of right now The Brookhaven Experiment is the bar I'm going to use to judge most of the other experiences we're going to find this year. Just remember to leave the light on in the real world when you jump into VR, and we should all be fine.
Could of other things to wrap up the week:
- We wrapped up our first contest! Congrats to DaEXfactoR, can't wait to hear your thoughts on the whole VR package!
- I guess we should probably do an Oculus Rift contest next, huh? Keep your eyes peeled!
- Jen Karner and I have been talking PlayStation VR a lot this week, but concerns about nausea are high priority.
- Meanwhile Matt Brown has been dropping some knowledge for Vive users, and doing a great job!
- Planning another big VR meetup in Altspace for next week. What times works well for you?
That's all for now, apparently there's Pokemon to catch in the real world. Have fun!