5 Halloween Games You Should Play

 

 

 

 

Outlast – I don’t get scared too easily by most video games. Unlike movies, where I can’t control what happens on the screen, games tend to let me feel like I can get out of any situation. The exceptions are games like Outlast, which don’t give you a way to fight — only run and hide. You will be legitimately unsettled while sneaking around a decrepit psych ward, looking through the lens of a video camera! This is perhaps one of the scariest games you could play! Google it for some terrifying screenshots…

 

Alan WakeA “darkness” is taking over humans, animals and objects. These enemies, dubbed the “Taken”, are murderous shadows that attack Wake, wielding weapons of their own, ranging from mallets and knives to shovels and chainsaws. The Taken are protected by a shield of darkness, initially rendering them impervious to attack; they can only be injured with a firearm after exposure to light, which burns the darkness away. Truly terrifying.

 

Resident Evil 4 – The story of Resident Evil 4 follows the U.S. government special agent Leon S. Kennedy, who is sent on a mission to rescue Ashley Graham, the U.S. President’s daughter, who has been kidnapped by a sinister cult. Traveling to a remote rural area of Europe, Leon fights hordes of violent villagers and mutated monsters. (Interestingly, this game pioneered and popularized the “over the shoulder”third-person view perspective in video games).

 

 

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Slender: The Eight Pages – Is well known as one of the scariest games ever conceived! You must collect eight pages in a forest. But beware, Slenderman is after you! He gets faster and faster… There is no escape!

 

 

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs – The first Amnesia game, The Dark Descent, is one of the scariest games out there, and one that’s easy to recommend every Halloween. Its new sequel, A Machine for Pigs, is a bit less scary but still very creepy, and is a great game to play with the lights out. It’s another game in which you have no way of fighting the things that go bump in the night, so it’s easier to fear for your life.

 

 

 

There are many, many more! Tell me about your favorite Halloween game in the comments!

 

 

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Is Gaming Good or Bad for Children?

There is huge media controversy as to the effects of console and PC games and children. Several different rating systems have been set up, by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the Pan-European Game Information board (PEGI) most notably.

But what is the truth about video games? Are they really so detrimental to children, or are the ratings much too high? Do video games in face do some good?

Negative Aspects

Generational barrier

If one were to Google the negative effects of gaming on children, many of the results would contain sentences very similar to this: “When I was a child, I used to spend all day playing outside.” They go on to argue that video games are taking that away from children. But surely while one thing is taken away, another is gained: Video games are merely an alternative form of entertainment. Yes, perhaps fitness levels could decrease if  children do not exercise as well as play games, but there is also an almost zero chance of getting injured while playing on a console.

I view this as purely generational: of course those born before mobile phones even existed are going to be biased against gaming. It’s like the hostility that met decimalization in the seventies.

Effects on fitness levels

This is quite easy to avoid, although it still must be considered. Certainly someone who plays video games non-stop will suffer from a lack of fitness and the problems associated with it (such as obesity). There has been a rise in obesity levels per cent in America since the advent of gaming, but only a slight one. Even a small amount of exercise per week will prevent someone’s fitness decreasing.

Also, hypertension (high blood pressure) can be caused by playing games that trigger adrenalin rushes, especially first-person shooters.

Social life

A common argument against video games is the way in which they affect a player’s social interactions with others. Scientific research so far has shown that actually there are not too many negative effects on children’s social skills, especially with the rise of multiplayer gaming. A lot of children even play games with friends on the same console, with a second controller, or with another laptop connected to WiFi. Interaction with parents is another matter, but it is not too badly affected.

Violence and Aggression 

The number of violent crimes in youths is at an all time low, and began to descend around the time when the first violent video games came out. Whether there is a correlation or not (many experts believe that there is), it is obvious that gaming is not linked to any rise in violence. Aggression is a different matter, and is certainly affected by violent games, but only if a lot are played. Any sensible child should not be affected by all but the most brutal violence in games.

Warped View of Reality

Children are very impressionable, and can certainly have their ideas of reality warped by games: but only if their parents do not explain to them the difference between reality and fantasy. In fact, the majority of children can tell this for themselves, and only those who are very insecure or lack proper adult role-models will suffer. It is important that parents participate in the playing of games with their children for this reason.

Positive effects of video games on children:

-Recreation

-Social Interaction with other gamers

-Development of skills: Instruction following, Spatial Awareness, Coordination, Responses and Reflexes, Perseverance and Motivation

-Simulation of Life experiences: Money management, Survival, Relationship building

-Keeps children off the streets/lowers actual violence

-Provides a way for children and their parents to play together, especially those whose parents go to work and are only free at evenings

-Release of Stress, A very effective anger-management option

Owain Bates 23/07/2013