Metacognition: Boo or Noo?

We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series.  Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!

What is your opinion on the horror genre?

I tend to avoid it. The end.

That’s not entirely true. My college ex and I used to watch all manner of paranormal and psychological horror movies for our dates. I’m not sure why, because neither one of us wanted to walk across campus afterward, and after watching Untraceable I didn’t leave a room without another person with me for about a week.

Don’t judge. She did the same thing.

At any rate, when I am in a situation when I cannot hide my face, I really do avoid horror. Translated, that means I avoid horror video games, because it’s hard to hold a controller and peek through your fingers at the same time.

Or hide in a burlap sack. Whichever.

I’ve talked about what makes games spooky before, and even touched on types of horror and the great musical stylings of horror music, but I’ve never actually talked about my feelings about the different types of horror, or the “things” that horror uses to make itself scary.

One such thing is jump-scares. I hate these. Don’t get me wrong: they are necessary in order to release the tension built by the game, but when it gets to the point that the only thing that is scary about the game is the pending jump-scare, or when you are able to predict the jump-scares, they are just tedious.

Image result for jump scare fnaf

Let me be clear: my definition of a jump-scare is when something pops out at you that isn’t really potentially harmful. Like I said, they are good when used well, but I don’t think they should ever be the sum total of an experience (this is, of course, my preference and folks who like that sort of thing should go on liking it).

I ran into this a bit with Until Dawn. I was expecting pure psychological horror and so was a little disappointed when I started being privy to jump-scares left, right, and center. It made sense within the plot after I found out what was going on (see the review for spoiler-tastic discussions), but at the time I was sitting there thinking to myself, “Oh, you want me to (do this) or (do that)? Hm, I wonder if – Yep, and there it is…”

Which, to me, isn’t frightening. It’s the reason I’ve never gotten into Five Nights At Freddie’s, despite its apparently deep story and whatnot. Sitting there wondering when something is going to pop out at me just becomes irritating (to me) after a while. If that’s your thing, you go for it, but it’s really not for me

Image result for yawn.

I’m also not a fan of the gore-filled or “slasher”-type horror. Gore doesn’t “bother” me – I’m one of those people who can eat a bowl of cereal while watching medical documentaries – but I find no entertainment value in watching people get mutilated or murdered. I tolerate it to a certain extent if it’s purpose is to play into the “psychological horror” bits of the movie (like the above-mentioned Untraceable), but otherwise, I don’t find it entertaining or particularly spooky.

The horror I like is straight-up psychological horror, that illustrates in some way the depths to which humans can fall. It was the reason I eventually came around to like Until Dawn. The actual “gore” bits served to underline the horror of the situation, instead of get some cheap “ick” factors. And to be honest, if I’m going to spend my time with some horror, I want it to make me think about things, to be a little afraid even after I turn the television off.

Even if I have to sleep with the lights on.

What about you? Do you like horror games/movies? What’s your favorite kind? Do you think slashers are supposed to be scary, or just sort of gross? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!

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  1. I love getting scared, but I discuss in my article I posted today how horror video games aren’t my thing. They’re too immersive and I don’t sleep after I play them! Though I do love horror and frights, I, too, am really picky about the content. For the same reasons as you, I don’t like things with jump scares that don’t enhance the plot. And I hate gore and violence for violence’s sake. As a microbiologist, I can handle my blood, but the violence as a fear factor isn’t my thing. I also don’t approve of, for me, sexual violence as a horror element. I get no pleasure or entertainment out of hearing or seeing something like that.

    But I love psychological horror. Where the monster is never caught, the ghost never exercised. Or the deep fear that comes with mounting, building suspense and not knowing what or why something is happening. It’s one of the reasons I gravitate more toward thriller than horror, I think. But there’s enough psychological horror out there to make it fun for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, that! There are definitely topics that I tend to veer away from, as well, for many personal reasons like you.

      That’s a good way to put it: tending toward thriller rather than horror. I think that thrillers have a lot in common with psychological horror for it to be an easy step from one to the other and back again.


  2. Horror High Five, Athena. This felt like reading someone else describe MY preferences in horror. Checked everything off from “not particularly into playing horror games” to “preferring psychological horror over jumpscares and gore”.
    Only difference, I guess, is that I don’t get spooked by the darkness after watching a scary movie, so we can’t be super twinsies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Boo or Noo” …. 🤣 But yes, I am usually in the Noooo category, haha. I love the Resident Evil games for some reason, but horror isn’t really for me in general. Sometimes gore doesn’t affect me at all, but on rare occasions a horror element like that can really get to me, man. 😦 I won’t bring up Carnal Sins from the Witcher again… Honestly, I think I’d classify the Witcher 3 as a horror game based on everything I’ve seen so far. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yeah me tooooo hahaha

      You are still braver than me for surviving RE games at all. I remember a certain set piece in Hellblade getting to me, so I hear you. And I think a strong argument could be made for The Witcher, considering the amount of gross and/or scary things poor Geralt needs to deal with…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m terrified of them but still fascinated. I love what horror can bring out in terms of storytelling. Fear is so universal and I love when narratives play with that. I’m a big fan of psychological and existential horror like SOMA, even though I was messed up for a month after seeing the end of that game. It makes you think about the nature of consciousness in such a horrifying relief. I watched FNAF, well the first few ones, and then a whole bunch of FNAF theories lol. I want to read the book series now, but FNAF is definitely one of those that leaves me with a creepy feeling. Not all ghost stories/hauntings do that, but some of them get to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what’s funny? I love psychological horror, as well, but I’ve seen a few videos on FNAF and… there’s nothing that excites me about them. I know it’s supposed to be a deep story and who is Purple Guy and omg ghost of spoilers spoilers but… I dunno. Maybe I should give it another chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s this HUGE story about Purple Guy. I think what freaks me out about it more than the main game is the Atari like graphics. I don’t know why that makes it so much creepier to me, but it does. I think the deep lore is what makes the games interesting. I watched the Game Theorist’s 23 videos on FNAF over the course of a few weeks and it was a bit spooky.

        Liked by 1 person

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