Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Horror and supernatural horror are two genres that have captivated gamers for decades. While both may send shivers down your spine, they differ in their approach to scaring players. Supernatural horror often involves elements of the unknown, such as ghosts, demons, and otherworldly creatures, while traditional horror focuses on human fears, such as serial killers and psychopaths. In this article, we will explore the key differences between these two genres and how they are portrayed in video games. Whether you’re a horror fan or just curious about the genre, read on to discover what sets these two types of games apart.

Quick Answer:
Horror and supernatural horror are two subgenres of horror games that differ in their approach to scaring players. Horror games often rely on psychological terror and suspense to create a sense of fear, while supernatural horror games typically involve supernatural or paranormal elements such as ghosts, demons, and other otherworldly creatures. Supernatural horror games often feature more fantastical and unrealistic elements, while horror games may be more grounded in reality. Additionally, supernatural horror games may have a stronger emphasis on exploration and uncovering the mystery behind the paranormal events, while horror games may focus more on survival and evasion of the terror.

Horror and Supernatural Horror Defined

Horror

  • Brutal, violent, and gruesome content
  • Realistic or grounded in reality
  • Focuses on human fears and anxieties

In the realm of video games, the horror genre is a popular and enduring one. Horror games are designed to elicit feelings of fear, tension, and anxiety in players, and they often rely on graphic violence, gore, and other disturbing elements to achieve this effect. Horror games can be further categorized into two subgenres: traditional horror and supernatural horror.

Traditional horror games typically feature realistic or grounded-in-reality settings and storylines. These games often focus on human fears and anxieties, such as the fear of being alone in the dark, the fear of being pursued or hunted, or the fear of the unknown. They may also explore themes such as paranoia, isolation, and the struggle for survival.

One of the defining characteristics of traditional horror games is their use of brutal, violent, and gruesome content. This can include graphic depictions of murder, mutilation, and other forms of violence, as well as other disturbing or unsettling imagery. The goal of this content is to create a sense of fear and unease in the player, and to make them feel like they are in danger or at risk.

Another key aspect of traditional horror games is their focus on creating a sense of atmosphere and mood. These games often rely on atmospheric sound effects, lighting, and music to create a tense and unsettling environment, and to build a sense of suspense and anticipation. They may also use jump scares and other shock tactics to startle and frighten the player.

Overall, traditional horror games are designed to tap into basic human fears and anxieties, and to create a sense of tension and unease in the player. They often rely on graphic violence and other disturbing elements to achieve this effect, and they are typically grounded in a realistic or believable setting.

Supernatural Horror

Supernatural horror is a subgenre of horror that incorporates supernatural elements such as ghosts, demons, and other paranormal phenomena. These elements are often used to create a sense of fear and unease in the player, as they are confronted with the unknown and the unexplainable.

One of the defining features of supernatural horror is its setting. Supernatural horror games are often set in a fantastical or otherworldly setting, where the laws of reality are different from those of the real world. This can include settings such as haunted houses, ancient ruins, and dark forests, where the player must navigate through a world that is full of unknown dangers.

Another key aspect of supernatural horror is its focus on the unknown. In supernatural horror games, the player is often confronted with situations that are beyond their understanding, and must use their wits and intuition to survive. This can include encounters with malevolent spirits, ancient curses, and other supernatural threats that are beyond the player’s comprehension.

Overall, supernatural horror games are designed to create a sense of dread and unease in the player, as they are confronted with the unknown and the unexplainable. By using supernatural elements and a fantastical setting, these games are able to create a unique and terrifying experience for the player, one that is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

Key Differences

Key takeaway: Horror and supernatural horror are two subgenres of horror games that differ in their setting, themes, and tone. Horror games focus on realistic fears and existential themes, while supernatural horror games explore the unknown and the supernatural, using otherworldly elements to create a sense of dread and mystery. When choosing a horror or supernatural horror game, it is important to consider factors such as gameplay mechanics, story and characters, and the desired level of immersion in the horror experience.

Setting

One of the primary differences between horror and supernatural horror in games is the setting. The setting plays a crucial role in establishing the atmosphere and tone of the game, and it can greatly influence the player’s experience.

Horror

In horror games, the setting is typically realistic and grounded in reality. The locations are often familiar, such as a haunted house, an abandoned hospital, or a creepy hotel. The focus is on creating a sense of fear and unease through realistic scenarios and relatable environments. The fear comes from the unknown and the unexpected, and the emphasis is on creating jump scares and suspenseful moments.

Supernatural Horror

On the other hand, supernatural horror games often take place in fantastical or otherworldly locations. These settings can include ghostly dimensions, haunted forests, or cursed castles. The supernatural elements are a significant part of the game’s world-building, and they can include ghosts, demons, witches, and other paranormal creatures. The focus is on exploring the unknown and the supernatural, and the emphasis is on creating a sense of awe and wonder alongside the fear.

Overall, the setting in horror games is designed to create a sense of fear and unease through realistic scenarios, while the setting in supernatural horror games is designed to create a sense of awe and wonder alongside the fear. The choice of setting will depend on the game’s theme and the intended player experience.

Themes

One of the main differences between horror and supernatural horror in games is the themes they explore.

Horror games often explore human fears and anxieties, using realistic scenarios to create a sense of dread and unease. These games may focus on common fears such as death, injury, or being trapped in a dangerous situation. They may also explore more complex fears such as the fear of losing one’s mind or the fear of being alone in the dark.

In addition to exploring human fears, horror games may also tackle more existential themes such as the nature of evil, the consequences of actions, and the human capacity for violence. These games often challenge players to confront their own fears and push their limits, creating a visceral and intense experience.

Supernatural horror games, on the other hand, explore the unknown and the unexplainable, often through supernatural elements such as ghosts, demons, and other paranormal creatures. These games may focus on the mysterious and the occult, using atmospheric settings and unsettling visuals to create a sense of otherworldliness.

Supernatural horror games often explore themes of good versus evil, the power of belief, and the struggle to understand the unknown. They may also delve into philosophical questions such as the nature of reality, the afterlife, and the meaning of existence.

Overall, while both horror and supernatural horror games aim to scare and unsettle players, they differ in the themes they explore and the ways they create fear. Horror games focus on realistic fears and existential themes, while supernatural horror games delve into the unknown and the supernatural, using otherworldly elements to create a sense of dread and mystery.

Tone

Horror and supernatural horror games differ significantly in their tone. The tone of a game refers to the overall feeling or atmosphere that it creates in the player. In horror games, the tone is often dark, gritty, and intense. This is achieved through the use of suspenseful music, creepy sound effects, and disturbing imagery. The game may also use jump scares and sudden loud noises to create a feeling of fear and anxiety in the player.

On the other hand, supernatural horror games often have a more mysterious, eerie, and atmospheric tone. These games often rely on suspense and tension rather than jump scares to create a feeling of unease in the player. The music and sound effects in these games are often more subtle and ambient, creating a sense of foreboding and unease. The imagery in these games may also be more suggestive, leaving the player to imagine the horrors that lurk in the shadows.

In addition to these differences in tone, horror and supernatural horror games may also differ in their plot, setting, and characters. Horror games often focus on a group of people who are trying to survive a terrifying situation, while supernatural horror games may focus on a character who is trying to uncover the mysteries of a haunted location or uncover the truth behind a supernatural phenomenon.

Examples of Horror and Supernatural Horror Games

Horror Games

Horror games are a subgenre of video games that focus on creating an atmosphere of fear and suspense. These games often involve the player navigating through dark and creepy environments while avoiding or confronting dangerous creatures or monsters. The primary goal of horror games is to scare the player and create a sense of dread and unease.

One of the most well-known horror game franchises is Resident Evil. The first game in the series was released in 1996 and was groundbreaking in its use of cinematic cutscenes and horror-inspired gameplay. The series has since spawned numerous sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations, and has become a staple of the horror game genre.

Another iconic horror game franchise is Silent Hill. The first game was released in 1999 and is known for its psychological horror elements and eerie, otherworldly setting. The series has also produced several sequels and spin-offs, and has been adapted into a feature film.

Halloween is another classic horror game that was released in 1978. This game is notable for its simple graphics and gameplay, but its creepy atmosphere and unsettling music have made it a beloved classic of the horror game genre.

Overall, horror games rely on creating a sense of fear and unease in the player, often through the use of scary creatures, creepy environments, and psychological terror. These games often feature complex storylines and memorable characters, and have become a staple of the video game industry.

Supernatural Horror Games

  • Castlevania
    • Developed by Konami
    • First released in 1986
    • Players control a character who battles against supernatural creatures in a Gothic horror setting
    • Features RPG elements, exploration, and challenging combat mechanics
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
    • Developed and published by Nintendo
    • First released in 2000 for the Nintendo 64
    • Set in the land of Termina, where the protagonist, Link, must solve puzzles and defeat monsters to save the world from destruction
    • Unique use of a three-day time loop mechanic, adding an extra layer of tension and urgency to the gameplay
  • Bloodborne
    • Developed by FromSoftware
    • First released in 2015 for PlayStation 4
    • Set in the Gothic, Lovecraftian city of Yharnam, where players must fight against horrifying creatures and uncover the city’s dark secrets
    • Known for its challenging gameplay, intricate lore, and atmospheric environment design

Supernatural horror games often blend elements of traditional horror with fantastical or otherworldly themes. These games typically feature characters battling against supernatural enemies and navigating through dark, eerie environments. Examples of supernatural horror games include Castlevania, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Bloodborne. Each of these games offers a unique take on the supernatural horror genre, with distinct gameplay mechanics, settings, and narratives.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Game

Gameplay Mechanics

  • Some games may have more action-oriented gameplay, while others may focus on puzzle-solving or exploration.
    • Action-oriented games may include fast-paced combat, intense chases, and quick time events, where players must make split-second decisions to survive.
      • Examples of action-oriented horror games include the Resident Evil series and Doom.
    • Puzzle-solving games may require players to use their wits and critical thinking skills to uncover clues and solve riddles, often with a slower pace and greater emphasis on storytelling.
      • Examples of puzzle-oriented horror games include the Silent Hill series and Myst.
    • Exploration-focused games may allow players to freely roam through a haunted environment, uncovering secrets and unsettling details at their own pace.
      • Examples of exploration-focused horror games include the Fatal Frame series and Ghosts ‘n Goblins.

Ultimately, the choice of gameplay mechanics will depend on the player’s preferences and the desired level of immersion in the horror experience. Some players may prefer the adrenaline-fueled action of an intense horror game, while others may prefer the slower pace and psychological thrills of a puzzle-solving game. Exploration-focused games may appeal to players who enjoy a more leisurely pace and the freedom to discover hidden details at their own pace.

Story and Characters

When choosing a horror or supernatural horror game, the story and characters play a crucial role in determining the overall experience. Here are some factors to consider:

Complexity of the Story

  • Some games may have intricate, multi-layered stories that delve into themes of psychological terror and the human psyche. These games often feature twists and turns that keep players on the edge of their seats, as well as unexpected plot developments that challenge their assumptions about the world.
  • Other games may have simpler, more straightforward narratives that focus on classic horror tropes such as ghosts, monsters, and supernatural forces. These games often rely on jump scares and suspenseful moments to create a sense of fear and tension.

Depth of the Characters

  • Some games feature complex, well-developed characters with rich backstories and motivations. These characters may undergo significant changes over the course of the game, and their actions and decisions can have a profound impact on the story.
  • Other games may have more one-dimensional characters that serve as props to advance the plot or provide a foil for the player character. These characters may be disposable and interchangeable, with little to no character development.

Overall, the story and characters in a horror or supernatural horror game can greatly influence the player’s experience and level of immersion. While a complex, multi-layered story may provide a more cerebral and psychologically terrifying experience, a simpler narrative may rely more heavily on jump scares and suspenseful moments to create fear. Similarly, well-developed characters can add depth and nuance to the game world, while one-dimensional characters may feel hollow and forgettable. Ultimately, the choice between horror and supernatural horror games comes down to personal preference and the type of experience that the player is looking for.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between horror and supernatural horror in games?

Supernatural horror is a sub-genre of horror that involves elements of the supernatural, such as ghosts, demons, and other paranormal entities. It often includes themes of the afterlife, the occult, and the unknown. In contrast, traditional horror focuses on more earthly fears, such as psychopaths, serial killers, and other human threats.

2. How does supernatural horror differ from other types of horror, such as psychological horror?

Supernatural horror often relies on jump scares and frightening visuals to create a sense of fear, while psychological horror focuses on the mind games and manipulation of the player’s emotions. Supernatural horror often involves otherworldly entities, while psychological horror is rooted in the real world and human psychology.

3. Is supernatural horror always associated with the paranormal?

Yes, supernatural horror is often associated with the paranormal, including ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural entities. These creatures and entities are often used to create a sense of fear and suspense in the game.

4. What are some examples of supernatural horror games?

Some examples of supernatural horror games include Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and The Last of Us. These games often feature creepy atmospheres, frightening enemies, and intense action sequences.

5. What are some common themes in supernatural horror games?

Common themes in supernatural horror games include the struggle between good and evil, the battle between light and darkness, and the fight for survival against powerful and malevolent entities. These themes often create a sense of tension and suspense that keeps players on the edge of their seats.

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