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5 Gameplay Mechanics in Horror Titles Nobody Wanted

Added realism or ridiculous annoyance?

Mia has seen better days. (Resident Evil 7: Biohazard)

I don't get people that are so adamant about making their horror games "realistic." I know if I actually encountered a zombie hoard, they'd be already picking my sinews out of their undead teeth. When it comes to survival instincts, I am quite useless. I trip over my own feet and (actually) I seriously run into doors. I play video games to pretend that I'm not the actual embodiment of a trash bag full of mashed potatoes.

We are on the edge of VR gameplay becoming the norm for experiencing games. Except not all of us have the disposable income for a $400 helmet or the bother to cleanup/have their calamitous rooms condemned. But there are some things we never needed in our gaming experience, especially horror games. Even the best ever horror games had mechanics that made no damn sense and make even less sense now. So without further ado, here are the five gameplay mechanics in horror titles that nobody wanted.

5. Limited Inventory

The only good thing Resident Evil 6 seemed to get right was an unlimited inventory; too bad the rest of the game was a pile of zombified crap. Its sequel (if I may use that term loosely) Resident Evil 7: Biohazard brought back the limited inventory of the original PS1 titles, 4, and 5. While the game itself was brilliant, gamers dismayed at the limited space and having to constantly return to storage chests to dump items. It's also ridiculous that picking up small items such as coins and herbs take up just as much space as weapons, ammo, and chem fluid. Resident Evil 4's attache inventory system was ingenious as far as limited inventories go; however, its successor, Resident Evil 5's inventory was infamously annoying, even more so when your moron partner's AI keeps filling the space you're trying to empty with useless flash grenades. And why does kevlar take up as much space as a shotgun, Capcom? Have you got toddlers coding your gameplay mechanics or is the cocaine trough getting barren?

Silent Hill 4 could have been in the league of its three predecessors had it not included an arbitrary limited inventory. This was especially inconvenient considering you could only dump your items returning to the apartment and that's a pain in the ass because same items don't stack. Large items like guns, golf clubs, and Eileen-only weapons also take up as much space as a health drink. To think this game was made by Team Silent's B-Team. Yes, James Sunderland shoving a humungous sword in his transdimensional pockets was a bit silly, but it's about game pacing vs practicality. If James was having to return to save rooms to drop off shit, it would have broken the whole "I'm in constant danger of being spear-fondled by a geometric titan" feeling and it would be ridiculous.

4. Save Points

In the days of the original Playstation and Playstation 2, save points were a necessary evil. Gaming consoles in those days didn't have their own stored data, you had to use 8MB to 32MB memory cards, and if you died after a long stretch of tireless level grinding, you would be shit out of luck. Listen to me, sounding like a grandmother talking to her grandkids. Back in my day... if you wanted to quick save, you had to walk five miles to a game store in the snow. There was no such thing as quick saving seconds before and after you beat a difficult boss. All you little squirts with your PS4, Switches, and Xbox Ones are spoiled.

Except... for the game devs that thought it was within some nostalgic taste for the retro that they included save points back into modern game titles. Resident Evil 7 integrated save points into its gameplay, even though Resident Evil 5 and 6 had autosaving. Just because it's classic doesn't mean it was wanted in the first place. Save points were a thing because they were necessary, but now they are needless burdens. In Silent Hill 3 (YES I WILL MARRY SILENT HILL 3, SHUT UP), the save points were at least intertwined into the main story. Each point was a cultic symbol of rebirth, meaning Heather is "reborn" at these points every time she dies. She even makes flavor text to the point of the rebirth process being painful, adding some extra tension to the game. However, save points being added to games like say... Cry of Fear, created a tension of a different kind, mainly hypertension because that game was about as stable as Michael J. Fox after five cups of coffee. (See, could have made another cocaine joke, but I showed restraint!)

3. Breakable Weapons

Things that can easily be broken by humans: Pieces of paper, glass, toothpicks, boards of wood, promises, hearts... hopes and dreams.

Things that absolutely cannot be broken by one average human no matter how many monsters/people/Republicans they used them on: Steel pipes, rebar, crowbars, Nokia phones, Chuck Norris's face, a Hillary-supporter's thick skull.

I can forgive a broken bottle, a knife, even a flimsy branch, but a great hunk of alloyed metal being broken by a human is absurd. Unless you're in Silent Hill and have a great fear of/killed a massive towering rock monster made of platinum, breakable weapons is an absolute garbage gameplay concept. You can't give me a beast weapon of brain-bashing brutality and then have it break like it was made of paper mache. If you're trying to teach me that my words are mightier than a rusty axe, I would be hard-pressed to remind you that words tend to ineffective when I have a demon tentacle making sweet, sweet love to my trachea.

2. Pain is red.

Who has ever been injured so bad that they started seeing things in grayscale? Besides brain injuries, I mean. The more blood on the screen, the lower your health is. What is your vendetta against health bars, game industry? I wouldn't even hate this system so much if it was optional. Silent Hill's workaround for health meters and immersion was a sensor within the inventory that got redder the more damaged the character was. There was even a red cross that would pulse in the corner to let the player know they were about to die. Filling my hud with blood and disorientation isn't immersive, it just makes it harder to avoid the final death blow long enough to use a health item. Surely in games where you can inject yourself with meds you found in a toilet, we could excuse a health bar mechanic, guys. C'mon.

1. Quick Time Events

This was also in another list I made, but it's all the more true. QTEs do not make a game better. It especially doesn't make a horror game better. Even button prompts insult me because it seems like you doubt my knowledge of how to press the action button. A game also becomes less scary and infinitely frustrating when you keep failing these bullshit timed button sequences. Resident Evil 6 was an all-around catastrophe, part of the reason was the constant inclusion of QTEs to do menial actions. To break this window, turn the analog stick counterclockwise while pushing the Y button. To shake free of this monster's gnashing maw, wiggle the analog stick, shake the controller, and mash the B button to the tune of Seven Nation Army while gargling mouthwash.

QTEs weren't cool when Shenmue did it. QTEs weren't cool when God of War did it. In conclusion, QTEs are NOT COOL. Quit putting them in games! You keep trying to make QTEs happen when it is never going to happen!

Ahem. Read my other stuff, yeah? Thanks for reading.

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