Dear Later Levels – QOTM October 2018
This post is in participation with Later Levels and their Question of the Month: October 2018 Edition. The question set by Megan (and her geekygal blog) was: “In honour of Halloween, tell me what video game scared you the most. What is it about the elements, environments, music, or characters in the video game that scared you?”
Here is my response in a personal letter to the thing that scared me the most in a video game.
Dear Sudden Scary Scene,
I thought I made it clear enough that I didn’t want to play scary games by avoiding to play them. Yet it is you, Sudden Scary Scene, that keeps popping up whenever I don’t want you to. You know I love playing Metal Gear Solid and you use it to your advantage, freaking me the fuck out in an attempt to make me not enjoy my games. Whether it’s Psycho Mantis in MGS1, the underwater escort mission in MGS2, The motherfucking Fury in MGS3, or in MGS4 when you made me avoid a bipedal robo-raptor in a situation similar to the kitchen scene in the original Jurassic Park. But it wasn’t until the latest entry in the series when you succeeded and made me stop playing half-way through the game. I could not to this day finish Metal Gear Solid V – The Phantom Pain because of you.
MGSV is not a horror game. I know that sneaking through enemy bases without getting detected can be thrilling, however it is never bloodcurdling scary. Once I have obtained enough equipment, it becomes crazy fun to mess around with the guards and then send them off flying with a bunch of balloons.
If it wasn’t for the story missions that forced me into scenarios I’d rather avoid, I would spent most of my time screwing with enemies and petting my pupper.
Diving into the game, I knew I had to expect some unsettling tension in boss fights, but I could handle that. I managed to conquer the creepy singing AI in MGS PEACE WALKER. Never would I have imagined you would do me so much worse in MGSV.
I was really enjoying the freedom of tackling enemy outposts from any way I wanted even in the very first mission. I was tasked with finding out where the bad guys were holding my partner and free him. It was all fun, until you showed up. Yes, you, Sudden Scary Scene.
I was just about to board the helicopter and fly into the sunset with my best bro when the machine couldn’t land because of some sort of dust in the air. So the plan changed. I was to meet the chopper somewhere else and that’s when I ran into this shit:
What in the living fuck is this?
A group of distorted monster boys began patrolling the area and there was no way to sneak past them. When they detected me, an abrupt cut scene made me jump. The sound of an alarm kept blaring as the camera zoomed in on one of those creepy fucks.
Fighting them was pointless, they were too strong; so the only option was to run. But the zombified movements from before were merely a ruse. Suddenly those staggering assholes started jumping like an acrobatic boyband and even teleported closer and closer towards me. I was chased by them for longer than I could hold my breath. You nearly killed me, Sudden Scary Scene.
You didn’t do it just once either. You kept coming back, time after time, with that “Skull Unit”, forcing me to flee or fight. In every encounter you used that flashing, alarm blaring close up, showing me that the spooky squad not only detected my character, they fucking saw ME. I’m serious, these jerks were staring through the screen straight at me.
Even if I thought I could predict your encounter, the mood-change caught me off guard. The worst thing about this was that you ruined my favourite hobby in the entire game: screwing with enemy soldiers. Every time you decided to pop the Skulls in to my sight, the enemy soldiers turned into creepy husks.
The atmospheric quiet of the game, which lend itself to a relaxed stillness of tactical pondering, switched to horrific music that sometimes escalated, making me think something was about to jump out at me, and most of the time ending up only to be a bluff. You turned fun into anxiety. Suddenly this wasn’t an action and stealth military shooter anymore; it was survival horror. No matter how advanced my gear was, I was terrified to face you.
That’s not what I signed up for. You stabbed me in the back with a syringe of scares and filled my spine with dread. You ruined my chance to complete my love for Hideo Kojima’s last hurrah before he left the MGS series behind.
But I won’t be defeated, because I’m expecting you in Kojima’s next endeavour of a brand new IP. I’ve seen the trailers, I know you’ll be there. This time I will be ready for you.