Social Utility of Haunted Dreams

Horror games can be interesting to analyse for many different reasons. They are able to stimulate almost every emotion, from fear to disgust, to happiness to suspence to relief.

I think its important to keep stimulating your emotions and to be able to experience something that isnt really happening to you. Horror games can give you this experience.

The social utility of my game is to allow you to experience something you never could in reality. Its there to give people the chance to be someone they shouldnt, to walk around when they should be sleeping, to do the impossible. I want to give people a space to remove themselves from reality, and just be invested into an experience without focusing on winning or losing; to just be.

In saying this, I want this game to be available to the majority of game players. Making the game have strong acessibility in society does mean that the quality of the experience I want to give them goes down a little bit. If I had considered this game to be Virtual Reality (VR), the experience would be much more realistic and immersive. However I am willing to cut that down a little in order to do what I can for the majority of the gaming society.

I understand that there are a fair few arguments discussing whether horror games are bad for us. That they stimulate the wrong emotions and can cause traumatic or emotional stress. What I found online were many people going onto question and answer forums, asking whether horror games and/or games in general can cause anxiety and high levels of stress/emotional instability as they were worried about how themslves or their partners were acting after playing intense horror games. (such as reddit and socialphobiaworld).

Most people do respond by saying it actually relaxes them but also gives them some level of anxiety. I think its important here to make a distinction between Acute stress and chronic stress. Most gamers will experience acute stress, which is basically an adrenaline rush. It will happen quickly and immediately pass. Chronic stress however is on going. It is when you stress about things you are unable to immediately react too. Chronic stress can lead to serious health risks, where as acute stress most of the time wont. In fact this rush of adrenaline from the acute stress can be seen as good for people in the sense that it keeps you alert, active and stimulated.

All in all, I think this game can do society good. I think that is an interesting concept for a game that can give people something new while also getting their adrenaline pumping. I would love to see someone turn my pitch into a real game and see the reactions people have from it.


5 thoughts on “Social Utility of Haunted Dreams

  1. I really like your analysis of Horror games and the experience it brings to us. It is a way of consuming us into a world we have never really seen yet dreamt about in some way through various horror films, lore’s or even gruesome crimes that have happened within the world. It makes your mind tick and go into the fight or flight resistance that is normally activated when in a time of need.

    I believe that whether you take on the path of a vertical reality game or just an immersive game place in your rules areas that state the best way to fill the experience. A lot of horror games now will outline before you play the best time of day and way to play with headphones in a dark room.

    I really liked that you have placed in the impacts it has created. We still do not know what games really do to our minds but depending upon the person and how they see the actions being made is really up to them to decide. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot watch horror films at all, but I actually really love horror games. I feel like they’re something I can play with several people (usually it’s necessary) and it’s like watching a really fun movie. It’s very much a group activity I think, something that everyone can do together and feed off each other’s adrenaline. The best Let’s Plays I’ve seen have been horror games, like Slender Man and Amnesia and Five Night’s At Freddy’s. There’s something really humbling about horror games, how anyone can be reduced to squealing like a child and scared out of their wits. It’s also really fun to watch people freak out.


  3. Yeah I’m definitely in agreements that the best lets plays to watch are horror/thriller games. Based on your analysis of the two types of stress, there’s definitely nothing damaging about the horror genre, if anything it distracts you enough with one type of stress that it almost calms/distracts from the other type for a short period of time.

    The reason I like games in general, particularly fantasy, but extending to this genre is exactly for the reason you said; it gives me a chance to do something I would not in everyday life, and focus on something else for a while, experience the impossible if you will.

    Best of luck with your game, sounds like it’s going to be great


  4. Hey Jess,
    You raise some really good points in your post. I’m a huge fan of horror games, and I hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into exactly why. They’re not as mechanically challenging as first-person shooters, they don’t require as much abstract thought as puzzle games, yet they still give me an immense sense of accomplishment when I progress in them. Your notion that horror games can cause anxiety and an adrenaline rush would totally explain that. I personally think this will be a very positive part of your game. Maybe some people would rather not experience any stress when they play a video game, but those people would know what your game is about and can decide if it’s for them, so I don’t think it can be in any way negative.
    I’m looking forward to reading more about it, keep up the good work!


  5. Hey jessicanaous. I think you make quite an interesting point. I have to agree that VR makes the social utility of “thrillseeking” via adrenaline inducing games significantly more pronounced than non-VR games. I personally believe horror games in VR make an excellent case for the affective nature of virtual reality, which in itself is a social utility. With this knowledge in mind, I believe VR’s affective capabilities can be used for countless things, including, but not limited to, allowing those physically incapable of experiencing things that they wouldn’t normally be able to.


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