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Horror Games #blogtober

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Hi all, Dann here for another guest post.

Sarah asked me to, being that I run a video games website, write a nice, short piece on some horror games—about five, she said— for Halloween. I’m not that organised though, spooling off a list of about 25 games and starting to write out long segments for each rather than throwaway paragraphs. The deadline looms though, so here is the first few of the games from the alphabetical list.

It’s something I’ll gladly continue to compile if there’s a want for it,so if you (dis)agree with the list or simply enjoyed reading it then please let Sarah know and I’ll finish off the rest for ya’ll reading pleasure.

Alan Wake

Remedy are probably best known for the Max Payne series, or even their recently released Quantum Break. Regardless of how people know them however, anybody who has played any of their games knows that they always bring a cinematic brilliance to their games: from Max Payne’s Graphic Novel story and TV/Radio asides in game, to Quantum Break’s live action sequences and amazing visual finesse when deploying the protagonist’s time abilities.

Alan Wake, to me, is superior to both of those series. It merged the story of the ‘author-trapped-in-their-own-creation’ with a dark sense of humour, a game full of characters and moments far too ridiculous to be exist in reality, yet done in a way where you laugh and continue pushing back against the darkness.

My personal highlights in the title come in the form of the faux Twilight-Zone style segments which play out on the TV, the unrelenting FBI agent who continually slings insults at the titular protagonist while pretending not to know their name, and the foreshadowing delivered through the torn pages littered around the game world. Above all of those, however, is the fact that you almost always meet the villain of the ‘episode’ in the story, and when you face their possessed, shadowy form they often cite mundane and boring information in a haunting, jarred manner; the first haunts you along a path, all while talking about how healthy going for a brisk ramble can be.

While the game was definitely more of an action title than a ‘survival-horror’ there were times where ammo management was key, and if you hadn’t scavenged then you’d end up very short-handed. Strangely this became rarer the further you got along in the game, and not  through learned resource management… You see, the game is split up into chapters stylised as TV episodes, and your equipment is completely reset between them. It’s a very cool gimmick, but underlines the odd distribution of ammo in the earliest levels.

The best way to get ahold of Alan Wake these days is through the Xbox store as a download, as far as I know. There were some music licensing issues which saw the PC versions removed from select storefronts, but I’m unsure if this impacted all platforms.

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Contagion

Back in the PS2 era Resident Evil had a co-operative, multiplayer mini-series called ‘Resident Evil: Outbreak’. It had players make their way through various locations, working as a team and using their character’s unique abilities to solve problems within the levels. It was a truly amazing offering, and completely unprecedented — nothing like it had happened before.

As a big fan of the earlier Resident Evil games (Outbreak was pre Resident Evil 4, and so had the cool fixed-camera, tank controls of the earlier games) there was NOTHING that was going to stop me from playing this super-cool, co-operative Resi~ game with my friends from school.

Well, actually, there was. The PS2 Network Adapter was not properly supported in the UK. The interface was reportedly a clunky mess, the technology didn’t play well with our networks, and so—over here— it bombed hard.

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Oooh, tag yourself! I’m budget-Brad-Pitt!

ANYWAY. We’re not here to talk about Resident Evil: Outbreak, but it segues perfectly into what makes Contagion brilliant. Contagion is—at its core—co-operative, first-person, Resident Evil 2.

Slow moving zombies are the absolute business, and the game’s launch campaign took place in an overrun, locked-down police station. Enough to make fans of RE2 raise an eyebrow. Better yet, players had to make their way through the PD, scavenging bullets, not getting surrounded, and carefully moving from objective to objective, solving basic fetch-and-retreat puzzles.

It’s now four years from launch and the game has accrued a decent following. It’s gained a lot more modes and maps, including a few hold-the-fort/horde levels. Interestingly there’s also Steam Workshop support as well, although the vast majority of items there are new textures for weapons, player phones, and characters.

While I’m a little bit disappointed with the lack of Workshop supplied maps, it’s definitely worth mentioning that the pathway through the game’s maps do vary; locked doors, blocked corridors, and other objects have their locations assigned as the map loads, meaning that you can never be truly confident that you know the way through the level.

£6.99 on Steam at time of writing, Contagion is an absolute steal.

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Tag yourself! I’m guy in blue shirt with a headache!

Contagion is only available on PC for the moment, and as far as I know only on Steam.

Deadly Premonition

Deadly Premonition is easily one of the most divisive titles I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying throughout my many years of playing games. It captures the ridiculous quirks we awkwardly chuckled at during old movies, and the strange, ‘secret-world’ moments of most of David Lynch’s works. As a matter of fact, if you enjoyed even a smidgen of Twin Peaks then you’re likely of the mindset where Deadly Premonition will, simply, click with you.

Players control an FBI agent sent to investigate a brutal, disturbing murder in a quirky, Pacific Northwest town. It’s not just the town that is quirky, everything is. The FBI agent talks to an invisible friend, and reads messages from coffee; even the most mundane, trope citizens have quirks and secrets, and there are hidden messages everywhere.

The game is especially feature rich as well, besides from the main story there’re a lot of extra jobs and side-missions which can be completed around the game’s open-world. Not only this, but each of the characters have a routine, giving the game a feeling more reminiscent of slice-of-life games or titles like Shenmue and Yakuza over the likes of GTA & Saints Row.

The biggest negative of the game then, is the combat. Combat is a mandatory section of the game, with clunky aiming and strange warping monsters bookending most of the game’s story missions. While the game has a PS2-era aesthetic, the combination of warping monsters and early Resident Evil style tank-controls is abrupt; it’s like if Resident Evil 4’s running zombies were to be faced off with Resident Evil II’s slow-turning and rough three-height aiming. It’s no surprise that it was added in late, and it’s a shame it was.

Despite this, Deadly Premonition is definitely worth experiencing for it’s strange setting and characters.

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Deadly Premonition launched on PS3, Xbox 360, and —later— PC. I believe it remains available on each of those as we speak.

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Dead Rising

The first Dead Rising (previously Xbox 360 exclusive) was an unforgiving game which both encouraged player death and questioned almost every zombie, horror game trope. At the start of your journey the game feels unfair, and it does a pretty poor job of teaching you how to get better—feeling over-engineered at best, and unfair at worst—until it all suddenly clicks.

Where previous games had equipped you with blades and guns, Dead Rising allowed you to use hundreds of items from around the mall. Where previous games had funnelled you down a set route with no timer, Dead Rising offered an open world but with timed missions mandatory for a main-story finish. Where previous games had put two-or-three zombies into a room to force you into a little combat before you navigate onwards, Dead Rising dropped hundreds-of-thousands into an open mall and taught you that even in dozens they were really just environmental hazards.

In fact, I might go as far to say that the first Dead Rising was very much the Night of the Living Dead to the games horror scene: If you were getting killed by zombies it was because you didn’t know the rules, or you were just really unlucky. That said, you will die. You’ll die to start again with your unlocks, or you’ll die against the game’s real villains, the psychopaths: people mad or driven mad by the situation on hand.

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signing off

Dann.

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Guest Post – Parenting Fails – Bringing up the Berney’s

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Welcome to the final guestpost in my series of Parenting Fails, Up next we have Becky from Bringing up the Berneys

I’ve had many moments as a parent when I’ve thought FML.

Many times I’ve questioned whether I’ve been the only one to fail so spectacularly at parenting, and then I talk to other parents and realise I am not alone in it!

To this day, this particular fail still haunts me, but I am 100% blaming it on pregnancy-baby brain. Okay, so there’s me trying to be really organised by having a calendar at home on my kitchen wall, and a diary in my handbag so I can make plans whilst out and about. It was going really well for a time, and I was loving life.

Then a birthday invite was handed out. Fine, fine. I thought. I popped the information on the wall calendar and thought no more about it. I’d also written it in my diary, but here’s the catch…I’d written two different times down…And being *totally organised* as I was, I’d RSVP’ed verbally AND I’d lost the original invite. FML. So, with a 50/50 chance of getting it right, I took a punt and went with the time I’d written in my diary.

Can you tell where this is going yet?

I got Lily ready for the party, wrapped the present up and we headed off to the party! (Which, I might add, was at an indoor soft play.) I boldly walked in, and found all the children eating their party food. “Hmm, they’re eating first…They don’t usually do it that way round here, it’s play first and then eating. They must’ve changed it round this time.” I then wondered if perhaps this was a different party and walked up the stairs to see if we recognised anyone.

We did. This was the party alright… I’d only gone and picked the wrong bloody time and brought Lily to the end of the party! As the realisation sunk in, I could feel my face going red with embarrassment and then the awkward explanation of how I managed to mess this up so royally.

Lily still got a party bag and some cake (there’s always a silver lining) and I paid for her to have a couple of hours play. After all, we’d come all this way…might as well make a day of it!

A lesson learned from this, I have a special hook for party invites, and I have other mummy friends to double and triple check with now!

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Becky x

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Guest Post – Parenting Fails – Dad without a Map.

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Up next we have Adrian talking about his parenting fail..

The Day We Cried At A Bus Stop

Parenting is one long iteration of that pearl of wisdom ‘fail better’ but we didn’t know that when our first baby was only two weeks old. It hadn’t been an easy birth and we’d spent the majority of my paternity leave in shock but by the end of the second week, we had to get out of the house.

Also, my parents had arrived to see their first grandson. They were sensibly staying in a B&B not too far away and we agreed to meet them at a park halfway between us. It was going to mean a bus ride (we didn’t own a car at the time – fools that we were) but we were sure we could do it.

Packing the bag to leave the house for the first time ever with a baby must have taken us an hour, including rechecking everything five times as we were so sleep deprived. But eventually, we texted my folks to say we’d left and nervously headed out with our precious tiny bundle barely visible in the apparently massive buggy bassinet.
The bus ride there was mercifully swift and incident free. We met my mum and dad and went for lunch in the park cafe. This was all very nice and we started to relax. We chatted and cooed over our baby and passed him around and eventually we all decided it had been long enough and we should head home and see them again the next day.
It was only as we waved goodbye that we checked the time and looked at each other in horror.

“Did you feed him at the cafe?”
“No. Did you?”
“No.”
“Oh fuckety fuck.”

He had been asleep for ages as new babies tend to do but he hadn’t had a feed for nearly four hours, so he’d basically missed one. We had to wake him and crack on.
So, this was the first time we’d been out of the house and now it was going to be the first time Mrs B was going to have to feed our son on a park bench, in March.
He wasn’t happy. He wasn’t happy about being woken. He was even less happy about being woken up hungry. Cue much wailing and flailing arms and legs. After getting some milk inside him we hurriedly wrapped him back into his blankets and popped him back in the buggy.

Now we had to get home with a still cross newborn. I remember feeling so exposed as we stood at the bus stop. Like there were threats everywhere. And of course when the bus came the buggy spaces were taken so we had to wait another fifteen minutes. At this point our son decided to vomit all his milk back up. He’d eaten too much too fast on an empty stomach.

It was at this point, standing at the bus stop with a crying newborn, who was covered in sick, with everyone staring at us, that parental tears were shed. By the time we finally got home we vowed we wouldn’t leave the house again, but of course we did.
Nothing about this situation was funny at the time. Looking back with the experience of three and a bit years we can share a wry smile. When our second son was born we barely batted an eyelid taking him out for the first time, in fact we were more worried about managing his two year old brother. But we never ever forgot to feed a baby again!
Ends

Adrian

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Email: Dadwithoutamap@gmail.com 

 

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Guest Post – Parenting Fails

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This weeks Parenting Fail’s guest post is from The Lone Wolf Mama.

Parenting Fail…

This parenting fail is about the worst morning ever, in the history of horrendous mornings:We get up. The children accept my offer of a banana as an early morning snack in place of their usual morning Party Ring (which I’m trying to phase out because how the hell did we get to a stage where the first thing they eat in the morning is a party ring?) and get dressed without fighting me. It’s going well. I’m winning at motherhood. They put their shoes on without a fuss (D’s are on the wrong feet but hey ho, you can’t have everything).

We go to the car and it’s here that things start to go wrong. I’m not going to lie: what I’m about to tell you isn’t pretty. If you’re of a delicate constitution I’d stop reading now.

Z decided he wanted to get in the car on D’s side and climb over to his seat. I let him. He’s scrambling all over the back seat while I’m strapping D in. I go round to his side. ‘Come on, into your seat.’ I say. Z obliges. As he’s climbing in, his trainer falls off. I reach down into the murky depths of the footwell, which is filled with empty crisp packets, rotting apple cores and biscuit remnants, and retrieve the trainer.

I feel something warm and soft. ‘What’s that?’ I wonder innocently. I look down at my hand, clutching the trainer. There is dog shit all over the trainer and all over my hand.

Oh. Sweet. Jesus.

I scrabble in my pocket for a tissue, wipe the worst of the dog shit off my hand and dump the trainer on the pavement. With my one clean hand and my elbow I manage to finish strapping Z in.

It’s at this point I realise the dog shit is, of course, all over the back seat of my car. I pick up the offending trainer, and the shit covered tissue and run back inside.

After scrubbing my hands (whilst weeping on the inside), I do my best job at cleaning the shit off the trainer, chuck it outside, grab a new pair of shoes, run back to the car, shove them on Z, clean up the shit covered back seat as best I can and screech off to the childminder’s.

A pretty shitty start, hey?

Oh it’s not over yet.

All the way to the childminder’s, I can still smell shit. I frantically clean my hands with baby wipes on the drive there and throw some back at the children but the smell persists.

We arrive at the childminder’s, I leap out and inspect D’s shoes. All clean. I inspect mine. All clean. I inspect the back seat. No shit left there. I go round to Z and realise he has shit smeared up the leg of his trousers.

So, if you ever think you’ve had a rubbish morning, remind yourself that at least you haven’t delivered your son to the childminder, covered in dog poo.

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To read last weeks parenting fails post, click here.

One Hull of a Dad
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Guest Post – Parenting Fails – My Girls and Me

Welcome to a my guest post series in which I ask other wonderful parenting bloggers what their biggest, funniest parent fail is! Up first we have a wonderful blogger, Her name is Becca and you can find her over at My Girls and Me.

My Parenting Fail.

My fail consists of lots of things being taken back and exchanged.. OOPS.

Through the rest of my pregnancy with Rosie, I LOVED the name Anna-Belle. I was in love. I would tell everyone her name was Anna-Belle and i was never going to change it. I would call her in while i spoke to her in the womb and i people would actually refer to her as Anna-Belle.

Well, i gave birth all nice and smoothly and the moment she came out i looked straight at her dad and said she does not look like an Anna-Belle. We sat for ages and tried to think of names we liked but nothing suited till the midwife said “Oh what lovely rosy cheeks she has.” and boom it clicked. We announced her birth and when it said “Rosie-Belle” everyone was confused (oops haha!) a few people even had to return gifts that had said the name on it. (Sorry everyone)

That is my most biggest parenting fail, even to the point where we had Miyahs name picked out and there was no way on this earth it was being changed because of Miyahs dad but people still refused to till i gave birth and she was actually names Miyah.
#Paretingnamefail

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Becca

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