Horror. It’s difficult to actually even define what it actually is, and it overlaps into so many other spheres that it isn’t really easy to define what it is not. I’ve talked about a few horror-themed games, and I’ll be talking about some more later, so now is as good a time as any to talk a bit about it.
Many of the masters of horror have managed solid efforts, without shocks, scares, or blood. When I think of horror, I think of it not as something that frightens us, but something that unsettles us.
Virtual Environment Sickness (sometimes referred to as VES or as Simulation Sickness) was first officially researched by the United States Air Force back in the 1990s after the unexpected deaths of two experienced Air Force pilots.
It was determined to affect between 20 and 30% of the general population, and is more commonly experienced these days in assorted video games, though not usually with any deadly consequences.
The Earth has become overpopulated. Cities just grow up and up and ground-level is something that most people — the lucky ones — never get near. Even the rundown and decrepit levels just below the clean, shiny, and urbane upper-city are the turf of the homeless, the hopeless, the diseased and the gangers. And things get just get worse further down.
But there’s something brewing. Something calling. A piece of the past that refuses to sleep.
Core Design, which was established in 1988, is a design studio I think of fondly, although the studio is essentially gone these days. The name is still the property of Eidos Interactive who acquired them as a part of CentreGold back in 1996. Core Design was responsible for Tomb Raider, but Project Eden was probably their finest PC game.
You can still find Project Eden in game-store budget bins for just a few dollars (skip the console version, the PC version is vastly superior, as usual). The game scored above average reviews, except for Computer Gaming World who gave it a miserable 1.5 out of 5. CGW’s influence was fairly widespread then, and coupled with some launch bugs and an astonishing lack of advertising, Project Eden barely sold through at retail despite shipping a lot of copies, making it one of the best games that you’ve never played.