Five Non-Scary Games That Are Terrifying
Halloween and the month of October is over, so it’s time to wind down from intentionally scary stuff. We exchange the horror movies for family comedies about Thanksgiving and Christmas, and put away the zombies and shotguns in favor of family-friendly multiplayer affairs that can be enjoyed by all your in-laws coming over for dinner.
As you’re cleansing your palette however, you might want to look a little closer at these seemingly harmless games and identify the horrifying universes they contain.
Katamari is a series even non-gamers love for its fantastic soundtrack and absurdity. It’s fun to roll a ball around environments and watch it grow as it collects more items, but put Katamari in the context of its world and you see a universe we should all be thankful we do not live in.
Basically there is a gigantic unpredictable space monster destroying planets for no discernable reason, and he sends his lackey to collect our stuff in order to undue his mistakes. It’s not too far off from the relationship shared by Galactus and Silver Surfer.
Even at Katamari’s smallest level, you have a tiny alien creature rampaging through your house collecting everything you own, including your children and pets, and all you can do is stand by and watch in fear of angering the giant space monster further. Eventually, that little alien starts collecting entire buildings and vehicles with people inside, all so he can shoot his collection out into space to float around as planet stand-ins until the king accidentally destroys them again. And if you ask for an explanation, all you get is the insane, indecipherable ramblings of a giant colorful space monster.
On paper, Assassin’s Creed is the story of two immortal factions fighting a secret war across history. It’s a cool, but not a scary story. Where it starts to get scary is when you look at it from a privacy perspective. Having your identity stolen is scary, but what about the idea that 100% of your life – absolutely everything – could be viewed by basically anybody using Abstergo technology. Every life decision, good or bad, could be viewed like a film. There would be no secrets, and you wouldn’t even be alive to defend yourself. We don’t like the idea that the Xbox One’s Kinect can look and listen into our living room any time (a device we can unplug), but with Abstergo’s technology, nothing is obscured and everything can seen as it truly happens from your very own eyes.
Mega Man X
The world of Mega Man X is a colorful one where humans decided to start making robot versions of animals because they’re so cute! But at a certain point things went wrong, and while the colors remained, it’s unclear if any shred of humanity has been left behind.
Not all the robots have gone rogue (or Maverick as it is referred to in the world of Mega Man X), but many have, and it’s almost a guarantee that a robot eventually will given enough time. Maverick and non-maverick robots are constantly at war destroying cities, dropping air ships on important electricity factories, and generally making things terrible. All humans can do is sit tight while the robots work out their differences and hope that the blue robot with the big adorable eyes comes out on top.
In Angry Birds, pigs are kidnapping unborn children and sitting quietly in questionable structures, daring the families to come and get them. The only defense the birds can manage, is to fling themselves at these structures and hope against hope that their sacrifice will destroy the pigs’ homes while not killing their children. It’s a terrifying dystopian world, but at least it has a catchy theme song.
The thing about Maxwell, the protagonist of Scribblenauts and owner of the magic notebook, is he doesn’t realize the extent of his powers. He can summon anything as long as he can spell it. He could easily take over the world and any attempts to thwart his advance could be dealt with by jotting down a quick note.
Clearly the inhabitants of the world of Scribblenauts realize this, which is why they are constantly trying to distract him with menial tasks like, “I wish I had ice cubes for this drink!” Ice cube guy is perfectly capable of getting his own ice cubes, but when he sees Maxwell coming, he knows it his responsibility, as a means of preserving the world its inhabitants, to keep that guy distracted as long as he can.