The impact of psychological terror in video games

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In this very special month where fear and terror find a place between us, we wanted to go further and focus on the impact of psychological terror within video games.

October is the month of fear, terror, suspense, mystery. It is the month where one of the most anticipated events by fans of these genres takes place: Halloween! It is clear that this day can be enjoyed in many ways, but video games are the key to having a truly scary time. For years, all the resources they have used have made the experience of panic more than rewarding, turning it into something truly eye-catching and getting thousands of fans to stick with these genres.

In this article we do not want to focus on that fear caused by scares, but rather that which focuses on emotions, a terror that goes further, the well-known psychological terror. That genre that uses all its mechanisms with subtlety so that apparently everything seems normal, but restlessness and impression invade us causing a real fear. Video games have been able to take advantage of everything in their power to show that emotions are their strong suit and psychological terror is too present. Continue with us and discover those incredible titles that showed that fear goes beyond a screen.

The subgenre of terrifying fiction

Since time immemorial, fear has been part of us, it has accompanied us at any time and has managed to create a defense mechanism for those who suffer it daily. It is such a primitive and ancient emotion that it has been very helpful in keeping us alive in dangerous situations. That is why various creators, whether of movies, series or video games, have wanted to take advantage of it to transmit these sensations and constantly transform our emotions towards a more unpleasant feeling. Along with fear, anxiety is perhaps the most prominent feeling experienced in video games. Unlike fear, which is a response to an imminent threat, anxiety is a response to a potential future threat.

But terror, and specifically psychological terror, goes far beyond what these video games claim. All perception systems worsen, an imminent threat begins that generates anxiety and increases our attention and sensitivity to potential dangers. This may mean that solving a puzzle in a game does not take away the experience of fear and danger. Psychological terror uses those resources so that in a neurological way we experience quite strong emotions. Naturally, our environment plays a fundamental and important role in the perception of fear and enhances all startle responses. In the right context and setting, our initial startle reflex shows an elevation toward an aversive stimulus. The subject of mental health is easily addressed by the horror genre because it relies on human psychology to generate an illicit response.


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