By Wohn Dong-hee
Standing in misty half-darkness, our hero, Henry Townshend, finds himself trapped in his own cursed apartment. Blood is splattered around the shabby room, and from somewhere the annoying static from a radio can be heard. The only way out of the room is through a black hole in the wall. With no other choice, he crawls into a long tunnel that leads to alternate worlds and horrendous creatures to find out why he is trapped.
So begins “Silent Hill 4: The Room.” Released last week in Korea and Japan, the game opened up a season of horror for game players here.
For Koreans, the season for horror comes in the summer. A scary movie that sends chills up the spine and raises goose bumps on the arm is the perfect way for Koreans to cool off in the steamy weather. Marketers are now applying that idea to electronic games, especially since summer is considered the off-season for the game industry.
“We could have released the game a little earlier, but we waited until now because the horror genre goes well with summer,” said Kim Young-gyo, a publicist at Sony Computer Entertainment Korea. The company released “Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly” on Thursday for PlayStation 2 users.
By using a camera that can take pictures of ghosts, players fight against spirits and solve puzzles to unravel the mystery. The Korean-dubbed version of the game even includes four Korean ghosts.
The game “Guwon” (Salvation) was also released Thursday. Players must toggle between several characters to view different perspectives and wander around a huge labyrinth of a mansion to get rid of ghosts.
There are even mobile horror games that can be downloaded to cellular phones such as “Don’t Look Back” or “Mystery Express.”
“This year, there are markedly more horror games being released in the summer,” said Kang Woo-jung at YBM Sisa, a game distributor. “In the past, only small groups of fans enjoyed these games, but now they have become more popular. Enhanced graphics help make the games more real.”
Unlike pure action or war games, most horror games combine action with adventure and follow a storyline. This scenario is usually a suspense thriller or mystery genre that involves typical horror factors such as ghosts, zombies or other undead creatures.
“It’s like watching a movie, but more interactive,” said Park Jung-soo, a self-admitted horror-game maniac. “With other games, I usually play with my friends at PC rooms, but I play horror games at home. You can taste the true flavor of the game only when you’re in a confined space alone.”
from “Video games join summer of horror” JoongAng Daily. June 29, 2004