Posts Tagged ‘fear’

This post turned out a bit longer than I expected. Of course, discussion is always welcome. 

I forgot it was Friday the 13th.  When I was reminded of the date, the soundtrack for this game comes to mind. I’ll be mentally listening to theme all day.  As well as giggling at the butt wiggle/chicken dance arm motion of the camp counselors as they navigate the cabins.

I haven’t seen any of the Friday the 13th films, but played the NES game like mad. It was a lucky cheap find at a flea market. It also started a long interest in horror games, why they frighten us, yet are so appealing, and my ongoing battle to finish them. Often fright gets in the way of my goals.

(Although, I have been informed that moments of fright create excessive awareness which can help viewers connect with abstract art.)

I’m also reminded of my twisted childhood thought that it would have been fun to play Jason. To be the person preforming the violent acts.  My twin brother pointed out that no one wants to be the villain and he doubted that I could be one even in a game.

The reversal of being the monster rather than the hero is interesting; because for childhood me it meant that I wouldn’t be afraid. As the monster, I would be in control of what was happening.  Playing as the monster gives the player the opportunity to choose to act, the ability to choose gives you control and therefore power. You don’t have to hurt people and it would be very difficult for anyone to stop you.

Being older and possibly a bit wiser I’ve deduced that you have less control as the monster.

For one, you are always hunted by the hero, who becomes the monster’s villain.  Therefore you will be just as scared as the hero since you are constantly stalked.

2) The monster rarely wins (except in Japanese horror films). Therefore, you have no control over your own death.

3) The monster is rarely in control of its person, instead is controlled by instinct, compulsion, outsider stressors, emotion, obsession, craving, and etc.  They do not have the ability to stop themselves, to think rationally, and therefore have no control over their actions.

4) The ideal villain that is in control often has serious flaws such as arrogance that will force them to lose. The villain’s arrogance controls them.

5) The author and audience rarely want the monster to win**, thus making sure that they have no power/control to succeed as villain. However, the author will give the monster an option for redemption as a way out.

Even the more complex role of anti-hero lacks control. Anti-Heroes like Dexter Morgan are not in control of all of their actions. Dexter chooses to kill bad people, but he cannot control himself to stop killing. His craving for death will always control him.

Playing the villain means having to give up a level of control. Depending on what kind of villain you choose to play you will be at whim of whatever transformed you into a monster.

A truly rational and calculated villain has the potential to succeed, if they can self-reflect and rationalize why they are acting. A villain that can think and understand is a terrifying idea. I can’t think of a work of fiction where there has been a truly insightful villain. However, once we get into that gray area of rational villains we meet great villains such as Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes) and Magneto (Xmen). Even these rational villains are foiled by arrogance or are redeemed.

Heroes are also at the whim of heroism and their need to act. They choose to act out of altruism.

In the past, I’ve always argued that people can choose. If a gun is put to your head you do in fact have three choices.

1) You can choose to comply with your captor. (Results in short and potentially long life extension)

2) You can choose to fight back. (May result in death or life extension)

3) You can choose to die. (Immediate game over.)

However, instinct and trust will always make you lean towards option one, because you want to survive and for the most part, people will obey when you tell them to do something.

In real life and in games we have this illusion of openness and choice. But really we are programmed to survive and allow for primary systems to take control of us to make sure we get through to the next day, even if that means giving up control.

Even given the choice act or not to act, you are still at mercy of your emotions and background. All traits and instincts that make you as person will always have influence over what you decide.

So, is anyone is ever truly in control? Or is choice or control is always an illusion?

We have the ability to choose, but that doesn’t necessarily make us entirely in control of our choices.

**I attempted to watch The Ruins and immediately hated every character and hoped that what was in the ruins would kill all of them. I didn’t finish watching the film.  

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