I lean towards the screen and place my hand on the mouse. Before I can grasp it, I sneeze. Cat fur floats up as the scorching summer sun illuminates the room. My older sister smugly asks, “You sure?” It felt like the world had made way for this moment. The chatter from happy kids playing outside below my living room fizzles out while the buzz of A/C halts as my mother turns it off. I move the mouse through the maze. Filled with anticipation of how difficult this game should be, I quickly drag the mouse towards the finish line. Instead of a friendly jingle, a jpeg of an ugly hag flashes before my face as an ear-deafening scream plays and knocks me out of my seat. I look up at my sister trying not to choke as she cackles at my dumbfounded expression; I start to laugh.
Before this, I ran through decorated halls filled with clowns and ghouls screaming like the victims of the slashers from the movies. Yet there I was on the floor laughing at something horror related. Some say hatred is a strong word but its meaning is only as deep as the person using its feelings and younger me hated many things. I hated the horror genre so much that I would avoid even hearing about it, but this game intrigued me. My hatred of horror came from always being critical of the unrealistic events that happen and the dislike of being scared. During movies, I would point out small details like where the shark model ends in Sharknado or call the characters burned to death in the movie Battleship fired chicken to my mother’s dismay. I thought if I could remove the reality from horror, there would be no way to affect me. I avoided some of my new favorite games because I saw a little tag that said horror. I thought Resident Evil was scary. I made it hard to put myself into the setting and that’s why I couldn’t find enjoyment in anything horror-related up to that point but something about the video game medium put me at the edge of my seat. I loved video games from the DS to the Wii. I spent all my free time gaming as a child and sought out new content through youtube.
So with Youtube introducing me as a child to Five Nights At Freddy’s (FNAF) and the scary maze game, the concept of horror games in general, to my shock, didn’t scare me off. This scary maze game my sister forced me to play and FNAF introduced me to a whole new world. One of my favorite mediums combined with my least favorite genre at the time. I started to appreciate the craft and effort that went into making something scary and how there’s more to games besides how it feels to play them. I started to look deeper into video game creation and horror while getting more comfortable with exploring new topics. I loved art and I grew to learn that horror is art, too. Seeing how the creator of FNAF used audio and character design to create a thrilling experience made me want to see more. The audio is truly what made those games uncomfortable with the only noises being breathing, and a metal pizzeria mascot moving through halls while you sit there stranded while the fluorescent lights buzz. I was now more interested in finding out what else I missed from not only my hatred of horror but girly things and even books. There clearly was more to things to understand and perhaps experiencing things that I disliked may bring me there. Horror games made me realize that perhaps things I wrote off as a hassle had some worth to them, or else why do people like them? This question led me to understand that worth is hidden everywhere but it’s up to me to find it and keep looking for more.
I watched hours upon hours of content, stuffing my head with unheard-of concepts and ideas. I kept growing alongside the content being perpetually driven forward by a simple question like a train being fed coal. I’m now a 17-year-old who watches 10 horror games a week, makes her own art and is still trying things. I avoid experiencing new music, games or genres less often due to a little maze game and laughter shared between sisters. Horror is an art form that requires a lot of skill. It’s hard to make a person willingly go through something horrible and enjoy themselves. Without horror I would have no reason to face my fears. That day in the living room left me with curiosity and a heightened sense of confidence that led me to where I am today. Though my curiosity has not erased all my fears. I’m still scared of calling someone on the phone for business reasons but at least I can watch scary movies now. I have always wanted to make my very only murder mystery thriller horror game but I’m afraid to try just yet before I know: would people like this? I just hope that whoever views my future works can try to understand and find appeal like I did with horror, girly things, and reading.