Horror in the Virtual World

I recently received a free Samsung Galaxy VR headset when I purchased my Samsung S7. I didn’t really know what to expect. I have always been interested in virtual reality, I have tried it many times in the past but it always involved a big clunky headset and horrible graphics in some mall demo or at a theme park. I never really imagined being able to have this technology so easily accessible. Home VR has arrived and it’s only getting better.

The Samsung Gear VR is not the top of the line when it comes to VR gaming, but it is affordable at around $99 (or free! For those of us that got in on the Samsung promo) but I recommend it for people who are interested in VR gaming, and it will satisfy me until the Playstation VR to drops in October.

Enough with the tech talk… let’s talk about the horror games. VR horror gaming is much of the reason I even bothered with checking out VR at all. Imagine being fully immersed into a horror movie, trapped inside a world that maybe for a split second seems real enough to elicit true fear. Like many horror fans, I miss the feeling of actually being scared by horror and VR horror gaming has rekindled that for me. You can always just take off the headset and call it a day but use your imagination and play along and let’s take a look at a couple of horror games that I loved on the Samsung Galaxy VR.

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First off I want to take a quick look at the horror experience Sisters. I can’t really call it a game because there is really no objective, it is more like a somewhat interactive short film than a game. It is billed as a VR Ghost Story and although the story is a bit thin, what it lacks in plot it makes up for with its spooky mood and setting. You spend the entire “experience” in a creepy room with unsettling props and a lightning storm for ambiance. I don’t want to give much away because it is a very quick 10 minute episode. It uses the direction of where you are looking to trigger events and ghastly apparitions. It is wonderfully eerie and has some very well crafted jump scares. Sisters is definitely worth your time. I also recommend Sisters if you want to laugh at your friends while they scream and move their heads around frantically like lunatics.

Next we have Affected: The Manor, and this one is a masterpiece in VR horror. Affected, unlike Sisters is a walkthrough maze, you actually have to navigate through the manor to progress. There are non-stop jump scares. Occasionally it does feel like it is trying too hard, but it makes up for it with the insane detail and attention put into the world design. It is visually striking and the sound design is chilling. There is a genuinely sinister atmosphere maintained through the entire experience. I was just blown away by how immersive this game was, and I can only imagine it is even bigger and better on the high end VR headsets. I have played through it 3 times and the scares are always a little different and I notice new aspects of the manor through each play through. This game is genuinely frightening. If The Manor is any indication of where horror gaming is going I eagerly welcome it.

Virtual reality gaming is now accessible to the masses, and appears to be a growing industry. Horror in the virtual world is just getting started and I predict we haven’t seen anything yet. I am just waiting for the day that I can be murdered by Leatherface or Jason in the comfort of my own home.

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