Great Board Games To Play On Halloween

Looking for an excuse to stay in with your friends and family, rather than heading on out pretending to be a ghost? Well we have the perfect menagerie of monstrous games for you to play this All Hallow’s Eve. Get yourself to a local game shop,although some of these certainly aren’t in print any longer. So grab your friends and family, get the Halloween punch ready and be afraid, be very afraid.

Looking for an excuse to stay in with your friends and family, rather than heading on out pretending to be a ghost? Well we have the perfect menagerie of monstrous games for you to play this All Hallow’s Eve. Get yourself to a local game shop,although some of these certainly aren’t in print any longer. So grab your friends and family, get the Halloween punch ready and be afraid, be very afraid.

These are the best, most entertaining games that you can play on Halloween.

Continue reading “Great Board Games To Play On Halloween”

Top 10 – Social Board Games

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Here at GeekOut, we really love getting together with friends and fellow geeks in a social environment; be it in a pub, or over at each others houses. But when we’re there, we don’t just sit down and immediately start talking about life and current affairs, because that isn’t what we’re always interested in. Not to say those don’t have their place in conversation, but we need something to sink our teeth into, something to have as a compliment to our conversation.

In this week’s’ Top 10, we talk about some of our favourite examples of a board game that helps to drive conversation, giving you a vocal point – A common, shared theme, to which you can all discuss further, or just use as a way to say “Oi, remember that time you were really crap at that game? I remember it.” This is our Top 10 Social Board Games. Continue reading “Top 10 – Social Board Games”

Blogversation – Atmosphere

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Atmosphere in gaming is one of these hard to understand concepts that you simply “Just get” rather than plausibly put your finger on.

I mean, atmosphere in a game like… Well, Atmosfear… Is all in the suspense, the drama and the excitement of what’s going to happen next. That sense of “When is it going to happen next?” “What is going to happen next?” and my favourite “Can we skip forward?”

"I am the gatekeeper!" - Gatekeeper
“I am the gatekeeper!” – Gatekeeper

I draw more upon the 2004 version of Atmosfear here, as that game added in the element of surprise. See, the original Atmosfear was brilliant: On your first playthrough. This was due to a limitation in technology. In 2004 however, Atmosfear was redone on DVD, meaning events could (and did) happen at random.

This is a major boost to the atmosphere of Atmosfear, as no more did you know when the next quotes would be said. It truly felt like each game was now different from the last.

So how did Atmosfear make the atmosphere? They had a narrator who set the scene, told the stories and yes: He told you what to do. He made you feel uneasy, as if you had to do exactly as he said to continue with the game. Perfection in atmospheric execution, right there.

In video games however, there are other means to set the atmosphere of a game.

In video games, you rely on the visuals, the audio and the rules of the game. Let’s take a step back in time to 1994 for a moment and all the way back to that lovely console, the SNES. A “psychedelic” hippy-like RPG video game was released, where you play as a kid who fights using a baseball bat. He goes on a journey with a girl who has the power of prayer, a boy who’s incredibly smart and a prince of a foreign land.

Yes, I'm talking about Earthbound!
Yes, I’m talking about Earthbound!

Earthbound throughout the game is quite fun and you get the sense of fun throughout… But the whole game, you feel something is a little bit off with the game. But you just can’t quite place your finger on what. Not until you fight the final boss.

You see, as you get to the final part of the game, you realise you and your friends are alone against what is basically the ultimate evil of the game. He makes his presence felt to you as he morphs around your screen, in full screen too!

WARNING: Watching the above video is riddled with spoilers about the end boss of the game (Because it’s basically a play-through of that event). If you’re okay with that, go ahead and proceed.

You feel as if you’re trapped in this horrible realm, where you and your friends are fighting not just for your life but for humanity, too. You get the idea instilled in you by the words of Porky Minch, then the music which follows. When you’re fighting Porky and Giygas, it’s not so bad – You’ve not seen the true form of Giygas and Porky is making the event amusing. He then turns off the devils machine and bang. You get hit with a slap of video game reality.

Atmosphere isn’t stuck to just one aspect of a game. It can be audible, it can be narrative or it can even be visual.

I’ve given you the narrative and the musical, so now let’s look at how the visuals can display something atmospheric!

For visuals, let's look quickly at Doom 3
For visuals, let’s look quickly at Doom 3

When Doom 3 came out, it was one of these games that you had no choice but to draw your jaw to. Hopefully, your jaw didn’t drop quite as much as our above zombie friend, but you get the point. Doom 3 looked amazing for its time and the whole scenario, the whole place, felt intimidating and threatening.

It felt cold and it felt like you truly were alone out there against the legions of hell itself. You were in charge of getting yourself to the next point and you were trying to help out by destroying the evils along the way. The lights turn off and hell breaks loose in the station. You see things raise in the dark, you physically see things go bump in the night. You know you’re in an imminent danger simply by the lighting alone.

From blood being splattered all over the walls to a broken crate that’s slightly out of place, you feel as if you’re in this damning hellish place on Mars. The metal grates makes Mars City feel cold and unforgiving, whereas the darkness gives the player a sense of hopelessness. The blood everywhere then instils dread into the player. Basically: You feel as if you’re doomed and you’ve got no choice but to fight for your life.

For this post, I’ve focused almost primarily on “scary” atmosphere, but atmosphere doesn’t lie with the scares in gaming. Join us again next week where Joel will be further discussing atmosphere in gaming.

What did you think of my scary sum-up of atmosphere in gaming? Can you list other scary games that really make you feel the atmosphere? As always, do drop us a comment as it means a lot to me and Joel.