Robert Tamayo


The Spooky Game of Halloween Season 2022

I'm looking around for a spooky game to play this Halloween season. I usually play one every year just to get me in the mood for Halloween, but this year I didn't have one lined and ready to play on October 1st. I was trying to get the first Dementium: The Ward to work on my 3DS, but since Nintendo stopped allowing eshop cards to be used on that platform to add funds, I'm out of luck there. I do have Dementium 2 on Steam, but I was hoping to play the pair in order. I might still return there.

The real reason I'm writing is that I discovered a fan-made Mario horror game called Another Princess is in our Castle. It's actually  funny how scary Mario 64 can be when the vengeful spirit of Princess Peach is stalking you through the darkened halls of the once-bright castle. The game exists only as a demo so far, but it's showing some promise. The gameplay of that game is pretty simple: grab all the trophies without getting detected by Princess Peach. Aiding you in your quest is the ability to hide in various treasure chests found throughout the castle. Since Mario has no way of fighting back, the game is technically more of a stealth game. Even though it's set in the colorful Mushroom Kingdom, I was surprised at how terrifying it was when the ghost finally caught me. Adding to the terror is the lack of saving - the player has to find all 8 stars without dying to finish the demo successfully. Because the best strategy was to conceal Mario inside a chest wait for long periods of time between each attempt at grabbing a star, I didn't try again after failing with 7 stars. But it was still fun nonetheless.

Playing a 1st person horror game reminded me how effective they are at making the player feel afraid. The formula for first person horror in games is pretty simple, it seems: dark atmosphere, the necessity of exploration, lack of visibility (such as turning blind corners or closed doors), and infrequent encounters with enemies all make for solid horror in a video game. 

I'm making Balloon Ghost, a 2D action game about a cute ghost who helps lost balloons find a new home. Although the game might have a spooky aesthetic, I don't consider it at all close to being a horror game. The reality is that I never thought of seriously making a horror game, as it doesn't really fit who I am. So for now, I'll stick to making action games about cute characters and robots.
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