Night casts its shroud of cobwebs and gloom
Releasing the souls that are trapped in their tombs.
Through catacomb halls the wind wails and weeps
Summoning spirits from undying sleep.
The Living are fearful and fretful with dread
As the Spirits arise on the Nights of the Dead.
’tis the season of ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night, where we again watch “Nightmare Before Christmas” and hail to the pumpkin song. Once again, we here at Hero-U celebrate Halloween with you.
Halloween has always been my favorite season of the year. That’s why there has been a thread of eeriness running through many of my games. Shadows of Darkness explored all the tropes of Horror Movies with Vampires, a Frankenstein-like monster, ghosts, a haunted castle and monastery, and so much more.
Now Rogue to Redemption will have its Nights of the Dead to add an aura of spooky thrills to Hero University.
On the Nights of the Dead when darkness falls, the ghostly shades haunt the castle halls. Most of the friendly ghosts in the school are the spirits of backers who help bring this game to life. It’s the unfriendly ghosts you have to watch out for. It’s bad luck to explore the catacombs at night any time of the year – but the Catacombs are especially dangerous during the Nights of the Dead. You never know who – or what – you’ll meet there.
What makes a good scare is not a grotesque monster or something jumping out of a corner at you. It’s all about mood. It’s that sense of dread that builds out of the anticipation of danger. It’s the fear of the unknown countered by the lure of curiosity to drive you deeper into the darkness where monsters lurk.
Humor and Horror share the same elements. They both need a setup to lull the player into a sense of expectation. The player anticipates what is going to happen next . Then humor or horror breaks that expectation by surprising the player. It’s the juxtaposition of expectation with the unexpected that make something funny or scary.
There’s a lot of humor in our games. However, there are also a lot of scary bits.
Scariness is built by layers. First is the setting – an old castle with a tragic history or the cold crypts of the catacombs. Both locations form the foundation for a creepy experience. Just the sound of such places evokes an emotional response from the player. Then we color the setting in shades of cold blues or eerie greens to evoke a chill up the spine. We darken the halls and drape them in shadow. You can’t quite tell what hides in the corner or just out of sight.
Then we tell you there is danger. We let you know that you aren’t safe. No matter how clever or skilled you are – if you make a mistake, it might be your last.
Finally, we add music and sound effects to the scene. The music is mournful and disquieting. You can hear the creak of doors or the scraping of something of something just out of sight. Are those voices whispering in your ear the sounds of the dead or the illusions of your mind?
Emotional impact makes a game memorable. There should be moments of delightful treats as well as breath-stopping tricks. That’s why we love Halloween. We never know quite what to expect.