Since the 2000s, indie video games have been on the rise, with some famous titles such as Minecraft, Terraria and Nidhogg, to name a few. But in the US, in 2012, a developer created something that would change everything: an indie horror game.
Indie games are video games created without the financial support of a publisher, and rely on money donated from websites such as Patreon, Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, or off their official webpage if they have one. They can be based on any idea that the creator can imagine; and in the case of horror games, the aim is at scaring users–and often times, damaging them psychologically.
Horror Games draw people in, and leave them wanting more. They manage to conjure up your worst fears and throw it right there in front of you. But why would anyone want this? It’s hard to say. Why do people like scary movies? It’s the same kind of idea.
To get a better idea of what these games look like, here are three of the most popular on the market:
Slender: The Eight Pages
This is a first-person “survival horror game” based on the Creepypastas of Slenderman, where you’re in a large park and are forced to collect eight pages from the Slenderman, a paranormal creature very slender in shape, without a face, who wears only a black suit. He abducts children and grows tentacles that change in size and shape. Oh, and he wants to kill you.
The creator, Mark Hadley, in an interview on how he conceived the idea (by levelsave.com), states, “When I wanted to learn how to use Unity, I was thinking of making a short game that would be easy to program for practice. I haven’t attempted to make anything scary for a long time, and I had recently seen videos of very short horror games like SCP-087 and SCP Containment Breech. I just decided to adhere to a few simple elements that I thought could make a decent horror experience: a suspenseful build-up, very few details so that the imagination fills in the rest, and as little scripting as possible.”
Slender: The Eight Pages can be downloaded online from its website, and can be played using a platform called Unity. The revamped version called Slender: The Arrival can be bought and downloaded from Steam.
In 2013, about a year after Slender came out, Outlast was released. Outlast is a first-person supernatural survival psychological game, where you play a journalist investigating an insane asylum, with your job being to try to uncover the mysteries of the place, until a unfortunate series of events occurs, and you need to fight for your life and escape the asylum.
Outlast gained so much popularity that it crossed to multiple platforms like PlayStation, Xbox and multiple other PC platforms. It as well earned a sequel “Outlast 2” that was released on the April 25, 2017.
Both of these games can be bought and played from Steam.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
When Indie games become popular they can create sagas, franchises, spinoffs, etc. A perfect example of this is the Five Night’s at Freddy’s saga.
A series of first person point-and-click survival horror games, they all revolve around a security guard (you, the player) working the night-shift at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, where you must protect yourself from killer animatronics Freddy, Bonny, Chica and Foxy. That try to come into your office and jump scare you for five nights. Remember to close the doors, shine the lights, look at the cameras, but don’t forget the power.
Five Night’s at Freddy’s was a new experience for a game, especially since there was no other game like it and it was quite unique, and this is why it became so popular. As the game grew more and more popular, Scott Cawthon created 4 sequels, 1 spinoff, 2 books, and has a film in progress.
In an interview by indiegamemag.com, Cawthon says that his inspiration and reasoning for making Five Night’s at Freddy’s was that he’d “made a family friendly game about a beaver before this, but when [he’ tried to put it online it got torn apart by a few prominent reviewers. People said that the main character looked like a scary animatronic animal.” He said he was heartbroken and ready to give up on game-making, but “then one night something just snapped, and I thought to myself- I bet I can make something a lot scarier than that.”
The Five Night’s At Freddy’s Saga can be bought on Steam, along with the spin-off game, and the books can be purchased in bookstores.