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Survival Horror[]


Survival-horror is subgenre of video games that emphasizes survival, resource management, limited means and a horror based atmosphere, usually in third-person.

Throughout recent years, games such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent or Dead Space have caused somewhat of an identity crisis when it come to define the core gameplay of the genre. The point is that it put a focus on the direct avoidance of the death of certain characters.

- It can be a fight against opponents in which a negligent attitude to the available few supplies could leads to a probable death. (Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dino Crisis).

- It can be a stealth-based adventure game with hide-and-seek mechanics. (...Iru!, Hellnight, Amnesia: The Dark Descent).

- It can be a marathon along an overloaded terrain, in which life itself becomes a bet. (Resident Evil 4, Dead Space, The Last of Us).

It can also describe any games that contain some of the characteristics typically associated with the genre, while adding some twists to the usual formula:

- A change to first-person perspective (System Shock 1 & 2, Condemned: Criminal Origins, Metro 2033).

- An abandon of the usual horror tropes, while retaining an anxiety inducing atmosphere and/or the core mechanics of a classic survival-horror games (Bioforge, Hard Edge, Chase the Express).

- Or any games, adding or removing gameplay mechanics, usually/unusually seen in the genre (Parasite Eve, Gorky 17, Doctor Hauzer).


The term "survival-horror" was first coined during the marketing campaign of Resident Evil in 1996. Players were tasked to navigate a mansion skillfully, unlocking doors and killing enemies whilst slowly uncovering a hidden conspiracy.

Of course earlier exemples of survival-horror games exist in retrospect; games like 3D Monster Maze, Project Firestart and Alone in the Dark were premier examples of survival-horror from before the original Resident Evil came along.

In fact the origins of survival-horror games can be traced back to the early 70's with prototypal titles like Hunt the Wumpus (1972), Zork (1974) and Shark Jaws (1975).

Starting with games like The Devil Inside, Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space, the mid-2000's saw a shift towards action in the survival-horror genre.

Later with the release of games such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Outlast and Remothered: Tormented Fathers taking influences from older games such as Clock Tower, Hellnight, ...Iru! and White Day the genre saw another shift to a more passive play-style, stripping the players of any means of defense.

More recently, the genre saw a return of classical gameplay mechanics seen during the "golden-age" of survival-horror, coming either from AAA studios (Alien: Isolation, Resident Evil 7, The Evil Within) or indie developers (Lone Survivor, Fear the Dark Unknown, Them & Us, Lost In Vivo, Daymare 1998, Alisa).

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