Action horror had its genesis in horror films, but it wasn’t long before video games took up the mantle. Unlike collaborative tabletop role-playing games, computer survival horror games have the luxury of focusing exclusively on isolating the player. These games are a wealth of material for their tabletop counterparts.
Alone in the Dark, one of the first survival horror games, in turn draws its lineage from the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Populated by deep ones, nightgaunts, and even a chthonian, Alone in the Dark featured puzzle challenges and monsters that had to be avoided rather than killed. Unlike Resident Evil and Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark doesn’t have nearly as strong a following, which is a shame. Still, walkthroughs can provide useful scenario ideas for Call of Cthulhu Keepers. It unfortunately was made into a movie by Uwe Boll.
Resident Evil, now a franchise juggernaut, helped establish the genre. Thanks in part to the popularity of the movie franchise, Resident Evil has created established several action horror tropes, including a creepy mansion, limited save points, and permanent death. It’s also a goldmine of ideas, even if not all of them are particularly original. See the Resident Evil Wiki for more info.
Like Resident Evil, Silent Hill was a groundbreaking entry in survival horror games. Unlike Resident Evil, Silent Hill focused more on psychological and body horror – more Clive Barker and less George Romero. Silent Hill was known for its omnipresent darkness and the fact that the player could often only hear enemies before he could see them. It also had a film modeled after it, which didn’t do nearly as well as the Resident Evil Franchise. See the Silent Hill wiki for ways to seriously screw with your players’ heads
These three games set the standard, but there are many imitations. Walkthroughs, official guides, and encyclopedias all provide maps, descriptions, and pictures that can be used in your tabletop game.
Your Turn: How have you used video game content in your tabletop game?
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