By: Chris ‘Fedora’ Muir
Because of my advocacy of games as an art form, it can be hard to find games meet the criteria I set before I play. My appreciation usually goes toward games with unique blends of exceptional storytelling, intuitive gameplay, and the complete immersion of the player. That said, I would like to bring up Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a survival-horror game from 2010.
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Screenshot. Courtesy of
I had never really been a fan of survival-horror, nor had I much experience with the genre. However, due to the amount of attention (and scares) it was getting out of players and my own curiosity, I decided to indulge myself in what many had told me was the scariest gaming experience ever created. As desensitized as I am to certain levels of fear, I admit that this game REALLY put my nerves to the test. Were it not for the thrill I find in being scared, I probably never would have finished it. Amnesiais played from a first-person perspective, intensifying the experience.
You play the role of Daniel, a young man who has given himself amnesia, supposedly to fulfill the upcoming venture without the burden of emotional trauma from circumstances implied at the start of the game. From there, the player is faced with puzzles and mazes full of traps and monsters. What makes this game so unique from other current titles of similar or the same genre is its ability to truly induce fear into the player on almost a primal level. Although there are monsters wandering the corridors and dungeons in the game, they are hardly ever seen. When they do appear, they are hardly looked at for long before the player either turns and runs in panic or meets a grisly end. What also adds to the experience is how the plot is very cryptic, which leaves the player as clueless as the protagonist himself. It goes from lost confusion to nervous tension to utter terror in a matter of minutes.
My playing of this game was a source of great amusement to many in my Hall. As many times as I jumped out of my seat, I really enjoyed playing this game and value its engaging and frightening nature on an artistic level. For anyone who loves survival-horror games, puzzle games, or just being scared out of their wits, I challenge any and all gamers out there to put their nerves to the test in Amnesia: The Dark Descent.♦