This November, not long after Halloween, there’s even more horror to be made… in video game form! What am I rambling about now? Oh, just the fact that the Asylum Jam will be returning, once more asking aspiring developers to create horror titles without stereotypes. Not as easy as it sounds, but a little creativity goes a long way towards upping the overall quality of a game. Trust me.
Running from November 11 to November 13, the Asylum Jam wants to send a message: mentally unstable characters and institutions that aid these poor souls are not needed for a proper good video game scare. Such games are all over the darn place after all, and have been for years – let’s not add to it, alright?
Not thereby saying that all games which rely on tired tropes like asylums, characters – whether protagonist or antagonist(s) – or some such are bad. Because they aren’t. There are just, well, too many. Amnesia: The Dark Descent features a protagonist with a mental illness (amnesia) while Nightmare House 2 (a personal favorite) takes place in a mental ward. Both horror games, obviously, and both full of what the Asylum Jam isn’t about. But… also both great games.
This jam is to show that you can still create a great horror experience without using inaccurate stereotypes of those who suffer from mental illness, or the institutions that support them in diagnosis and recovery.
So riddle me this, dear reader: how the heck did we end up coming to rely so heavily on done-to-death horror stereotypes? Might as well go ahead and add zombies to the list while you’re at it. Imagine a world where no horror games had zombies, criminally insane characters, mental wards and so on? Imagine, for just a moment. Sadly, I don’t see that happening… ever. It’s become mainstream entertainment and the masses are loving it. Doesn’t mean we should define the genre by such things though – yet another reason for Asylum Jam to exist.
I may be repeating myself here, but: what happened to werewolves, vampires, mummies and other creatures of the night? So many things can be done with just one of those – or you could do something different and create a brand new persona for the source of said fear. I’d definitely play that, and something tells me a lot of other people would too!
So riddle me this, dear reader: will YOU be partaking in this year’s Asylum Jam,
on not long after the spookiest night of all?