Cinematic Horror at Gamescom

I just wanted to do a brief aside about two video game previews we had at Gamescom 2014.

First off we have the wonderfully scary and interesting looking P.T demo (which we played on the PS4) for the newly revealed Silent Hills from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro using the Fox Engine (it’s gorgeous). It’s a game myself and Peter were never 100% confident would ever exist, a new Silent Hill that actually looks like it has some money, care and sense behind it. Obviously, it’s important to stress that P.T was just a demo, and does carefully state that it will not have anything to do with the main game, this reminds me in many ways of the Quantic Dream tech demo that came out before Heavy Rain, way back when in 2006.

And secondly we have ‘Until Dawn’ from Supermassive Games, which uses the also new and shine-y Killzone Shadow Fall engine, and also boasts some big names in its voice/motion capture cast. I actually quite like that it has a slasher movie feel to P.T’s higher end quality. They are both very different takes on the horror genre.

Most importantly I wanted to talk about the cinematic quality. It’s a really interesting shift we’ve been seeing in the video game industry which I think is a great indicator of how serious the industry is now – the big titles haven’t been about kids and family fun for a long time, but about high end design and serious stories. I like seeing the motion capture and care and how they’re starting to get proper actor billing in games, such as in Beyond: Two Souls big casting, all of L.A. Noire and so on and so on. Both these games have this, with proper actors and people involved in making them who also make films. So we’re seeing games that are becoming more ‘Interactive Drama’ in the good sense – a fully fleshed out game that has had care taken with its writing and acting as well as its engine and game play mechanics – rather than one focused on at the expense of another and we pretend that that’s fine because it’s just a game, the whole experience is very well made because these things have such big budgets now.

So, that’s all I wanted to say for now, it’s very exciting to see these kinds of story and genre driven games coming out, and how much horror is still being a more popular genre.

NanoWrimo – I think we’ve been here before.

I…kind of get the feeling this whole, novel-ing thing isn’t for me. I’ve been dutifully going along so far with this year’s NanoWrimo after failing it last year. I have written about 12,000 words this time – which I’m pretty sure is better than last years attempt. And I do like the story I’ve written this year a lot more.

So, I wrote about a guy called Jamie Eltin, going to work in a seasonal Night Watch position in a forest/wood/hillside retreat called Stringham. I was having him doing the unsocial night watch, feeling ignored and undervalued by the boss as it were Nita Leavell, coming to nit picky blows with the handyman Allan, and finally meeting one of the guests Chritie. Jamie was generally unsociable and a bit of a loner.

During the course of the next few days Jamie is unnerved by the green tiled pool, the empty woods and bad dreams. Someone comes into his cabin and takes food. He finds muddy foot prints in the reception leading to the disused parts of the main retreat building. He feels watched and harassed – and then he finds a faded old blue note pad, which turns out to have belonged to someone who worked there before him.

The note pad described other buildings that used to be part of the retreat, but are now abandoned for some reason. Jamie investigates and finds one old building, but someone interrupts him and he hides – knowing he’s not doing his job. Later Jamie is pushed into the pool by someone during his watch, holding him down.

…Aaaand then I stopped. I played Minecraft, and the Sims 3. I watched Game of Thrones. I read through the Fifty Shades Trilogy. I read Eighty Days Yellow. How to be a Woman. The Great Gatsby. And I’m now just about to finally read The Casual Vacancy.

So, I’m thinking maybe loving to read, and even reading vicariously doesn’t at all translate – for me at least – into being able to write. Or maybe I’m just not in a good position to write right now with all the combined stress of a lot of stuff going on in the background. Who knows?

I’m not going to continue with this NanoWrimo then. I feel a little guilty, to be honest. I do know I could get through it. I don’t think it’s going to do anything for me. Right now. And maybe not ever. I’ll be keeping – like I did last time – what I’ve written to far.


NanoWrimo: Once more with Feeling!

National Novel Writing Month is nearly here, and despite being unsuccessful last year in finishing it, I’m going to give it another try this year. I already have a rough idea of what I want to write as well.

It’s going to be…a kind of horror story, I think. About a guy who works in a wooded retreat as a night watchman. I’ll just have to see how it goes! Also, this year Peter of Peter Reviews will be joining me in the attempt.



NaNoWriMo update 1

So, it’s day three of NaNoWriMo – I have 6023 words so far and will probably try and add another one or two thousand this evening with a little alcohol for encouragement. As far as I can tell a few people I know peripherally are also doing nano and seem to be doing okay.

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