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Author Archives: Crymson Pleasure

Triggers: Mental Health & Gaming

I love Horror. I don’t think that’s a shock to anyone. I’ve avoided a lot of horror games for various reasons, mainly because I’m a bit high strung and anxious. Reason for that? I live with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (c-PTSD), it comes with anxiety.

When I started my stream with The Blair Witch game, everything was fine. I was a bit anxious because I was going in a little bit blind. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything important. I explored and got confused, but as I roamed the woods the main character loses sight of his dog and begins to have a PTSD episode.

Most people won’t think anything of it. It’s just a stressed moment for a video game character. However, to me, it’s much more than that. I was unaware that he had PTSD and if I were aware I wouldn’t have started playing it. I confirmed with the chat that he did indeed have PTSD and apologized to everyone and switched the game. Had it not been for Vanri sitting in voice chat with me (to help ease my anxiety) suggesting that I stop playing, I may have tried to force my way through the game.

That would have been a terrible idea. My anxiety was high from watching him have this episode and as I continued on to look for the dog, it was getting worse. The visual effects were wonderful because his panic attack looks and sounded like mine. If I had continued further I probably would have been triggered into a panic attack or worse. So I jumped over to State of Decay 2 for the rest of my stream. 

The next night I decided to try Alien: Isolation. I was trying to get back into horror games and I’ve heard amazing things. About 2 hours in, I was overwhelmed by the atmospheric noise. I could feel a panic attack rising and I had to stop playing. Was there anything wrong with the game? No! The problem lies with my mental illness. I stopped playing the game and went back to State of Decay 2

You see, I like to think that I can do anything, but I have limitations. We found one when I played through Layers of Fear, an amazing game that I will always recommend. The subject matter was a lot more closely related to my own trauma than I realized. I wasn’t even aware that my attitude had changed toward everyone around me, but they pointed out that I was extremely agitated and my anxiety was high until I finished playing the game. So from that point forward, we had to look for specific elements in my horror games. If it wasn’t a first-person game, Vanri would play the game first to make sure that there wasn’t anything triggering in the storyline.

I assumed that it was the only thing I had to worry about, but to be honest, I didn’t even check to see if that was present in Blair Witch. Now, watching let’s plays or streams of these games are fine, but playing them is different. It’s the difference between watching and experiencing. It’s more immersive. I’d watched Layers of Fear on YouTube and Vanri’s playthroughs of it. I knew the story, but experiencing it was hard. I am lucky it didn’t bring up anything worse, like flashbacks. 

So a little extra medication this week and a hard lesson learned. There is a reason I don’t play horror games in which I can’t fight back. I’m not invincible and I have very real limitations. I need to research these games more before I jump right into them because I don’t want to trigger myself, whether I’m on stream or not. I have to make sure that there isn’t abuse, the characters don’t have PTSD or other mental disorders that could trigger mine, there isn’t abundant (though very well done) noise triggering anxiety.

More than that, I need to be okay with stepping away. I need to be okay with setting down the controller (figuratively) and putting myself first, putting my mental state first. To drop the tough act every now and then to ensure better mental wellness for myself and those around me. At the end of the day, that is my responsibility. I never know if something could trigger me, but how I handle those situations speaks volumes about the progress I’ve made and my self-awareness. I’m also thankful to have such amazing support that helps me make these decisions.

Again, and I cannot stress this enough, I am not upset at any of these games. It is not their fault that I was triggered. I am 100% responsible for my mental health in this regard. I view it the same way as a food allergy. Ask before you eat, just in case. Does this have nuts in it? Does this have abuse in it? 

So from now on, I will look into my horror games more. If everything seems okay, then I will play it, but if I am triggered I will allow myself to step back and stop playing. My community and viewers will understand and at the end of the day, I am more important. 

Are there any amazing games out there that have triggered you or things you should watch out for? Better yet, have a horror game to recommend that is void of my triggers? Let me know in the comments, but for now, back to Prey!

Crymson’s Top 10 Mobile Games

Let’s talk about mobile games a bit.

I’ve played a TON (and I mean a TON) of mobile games. Typically, for my mental health. They help my brain by distracting it. The whole using the tools we have thing. However, they are also a TON of fun. Gaming on your mobile device has evolved to epic levels, you can now play Fortnite, PUBG, Don’t Starve and so many others. So, here are a few of the ones I play.

10. Pokemon Go/The Walking Dead: Our World/Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

I know a few of you are confused. Follow me. These are games made by Niantic and they are all “on the go” games, meaning you walk, find things and interact with them. So they are similar (not the same) games, but it depends on what you prefer. Want a game that helps you get out of the house? Something to do on your walks? These are the games for you! I’ve played all three because I love Pokemon, zombies and the world of Harry Potter.

9. Food Fantasy

This game is IN DEPTH and not a quick-play-while-you-are-in-line kinda game. You are a chef in a fantasy land and have food souls that help you with your dream to have the best restaurant in the land.

This game has it all. There is a story, as well as side stories, missions, battles, guilds, catacombs, a restaurant to decorate, collecting, leveling… You know… I can’t even list everything that it has. With a very anime feel to it, this game offers you so much to do, all in one amazing place.

8. Gardenscapes/Homescapes

Everyone has their “match three” game and this is mine. Gardenscapes was the first. You inherit a large estate and, along with your butler Austin, you decide to bring the gardens back to their former glory. In Homescapes, you follow Austin back to his parents’ house and help them fix up their deteriorating property. These are great games when you are stuck waiting somewhere. On top of that, you get to make choices about the look of things, which is all I really want.

7. Hole.io

Ah yes, remember when all the .io games came out and it was the craze for… maybe 3 months? Well hole.io is my favorite and looks nothing like the other .io games. You are a hole in the ground that moves and must eat everything (reminds me of a webtoon I recently read). You have three game modes and three maps. You can compete (and eat) other players in this two minute match to become the biggest hole there is (there is a joke there).

You can play alone and try to eat everything on the map in two minutes (I have yet to get 100%) OR you can go head to head and be the last hole standing. Really, these jokes write themselves. Also you have your city map, pirate map and future map. PLUS your hole (stifle laugh) has different skins. I glide around as a flaming bat. *laughs way to hard*

6. Cooking Diary

Remember way back in the CD-Rom days, when Diner Dash was all the rage and you scooted around delivering food? Well this is the more advanced version. Your character wants to be an amazing chef just like their grandfather and make it in the chef world! You open different restaurants for different types of food. A burger joint as pictured above, a bakery for cakes, sushi/ramen, steak, pasta, and even an English breakfast place. You change some scenery options, upgrade your ingredients, add things to relax your customers and rush your way through the levels. This one has lasted the longest on my phone.

5. Merge Dragons

We all have a game about Dragons on our phones, right? I’ve had millions it feels like but THIS ONE has stood the test of time. It’s a plethora of different dragons, of course there is the element of merging three of the same type together it evolving to the next tier item. This counts for eggs, dragons, tress, flowers, you name it. They have frequent events for special dragons and regularly release new content to keep me interested. However, I don’t feel the need to log in every day so if I miss a day, no big deal.

4. Survival

It’s no secret that I love survival games. This is one of the few games that actually works on mobile and I’ve played many. It’s simple yet complicated and I’ve beaten it on all but the hardest mode. You are stuck in the woods and need to find your way through to survive. You will need to find food, shelter, warmth and all while you continue moving to find help. I may uninstall it from my phone but this is frequently downloaded again. If you are remotely interested in survival games, I suggest you try this free game.

3. The Witch’s Isle

This is a wonderful point and click type adventure on mobile. I did pay for the full version of this game. I adore the story, the pixel graphics, the multiple endings and even the character details. There is even a second story in the game. I really don’t want to reveal much but… you are part of a community that is trapped on an island by a powerful witch and you must break her spell before your lose your life.

2. BTS World

Don’t even act surprised. I love BTS, I love K-Pop and their game is like an amazing visual novel. You are thrown back to 2012 and it’s your job to get the group together and make them the amazing band that we know and love in present day. Not only do you get adorable cards of the members, but you take part in a visual novel style telling of being their manager. You level up cards, take place in events, make friends, play side stories for each member and learn more about the members. Win/Win!

1. Love Nikki

I have played this game every single day for well over a year now. Love Nikki is a visual novel style dress up game. Because you cringe at the words ‘Dress Up Game’ hear me out, because I used to think the same thing. They cater to just about every style. Want to be a Ninja? How about a Goth in Lolita dresses? Join the Navy? Traditional Chinese? Androgynous? Vampire? Ghost? Fairy? Princess? Pirate? They have them all. Your own house to decorate, a story to read, regular events, outfits to make from other outfits. You have Associations (think guild), friends, style competitions and so much more. This game is far past the simple dress up game and is full of fun things to do. I should know, I’ve played every day for years.

Do you play any of these games? Is there a game that you are SHOCKED isn’t on this list? Maybe a game you’d like me to try to add to a list in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: Stardew Valley (2016)

Developed by ConcernedApe
Published by Chucklefish
Released: February 26th, 2016
Avabile: Steam, XBox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PSVita, IOS & Andriod

Let’s chat about Stardew Valley.

Years ago, I had gotten a GameBoy Advanced and found a game called Harvest Moon. I was obsessed with it. I would sit on the couch and play for hours, ignoring the world around me. I never thought I would find something like that again. I played other Harvest Moon games, but they weren’t the same. In comes Stardew Valley.

I was so excited when I saw it was coming out that I squealed and told everyone. I wanted everyone to hopefully experience the same wonder that I had playing Harvest Moon, I prayed that it would be amazing and was not disappointed. It blew away my expectations. 

Now that you know I love the game, let’s talk about the actual game.

You start off, unfortunately, with the passing of your grandfather, who hands you an envelope and tells you to open it when you are at your lowest. Next, you are seen working in a cubicle at Joja Corporation and obviously hating your job. You remember the note and open it. It’s telling you that you inherited a farm in Stardew Valley. Obviously, you drop everything and bounce. Peace, Joja.

You arrive in town and meet Robin, the carpenter, and Lewis, the mayor. They show you to your farm and tell you a few basics. 

There are 4 seasons and 28 days in each season. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. You plant crops according to the season. You go fishing, cook delicious food, upgrade your house, get farm animals, and, obviously, earn money. 

What’s better is that you are surrounded by these amazing NPCs that have their own stories, hardships and personalities. You can date and even marry several of them, regardless of gender. You can make friends with everyone. 

Their stories unfold and you really get pulled in, wanting to help these NPCs in their struggles. It’s really touching and extremely well written.

Not to mention fighting monsters in the mine, the festivals, the secrets and so many achievements. Also, the addition of multiplayer means you can farm with up to 3 friends. 

With several different farm map options, no real ‘end’ to the game, and the ability to decorate and change your farm around as you wish, the fun can be endless. 

I feel like Stardew Valley has something for everyone. It’s only $14.99 and with no paid DLC, the game is a steal. I only have 13 farms and over 300 hours in the game to prove it.

On a more personal note, this game has also gotten me through really tough times, depressive episodes, and moments when I had no strength left. I could turn it on and disappear for a few hours and come out feeling better. It’s always had a calming effect on me. I’m eternally grateful for that.

Oh, and if nothing I said above is impressive, this game was made by 1 person. The entire game, all aspects. 1 person. Let that sink in.

Do you play? What’s your favorite farm type? Who’s the best spouse? Show me screenshots of your farm!

Review: FAR: Lone Sails (2017)

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FAR: Lone Sails
2017

FAR: Lone Sails is an exploration adventure game by Swiss developer Okomotive. Available on PC, Xbox One and PS4. Where you traverse a dried-out seabed littered with the remains of a decaying civilization. Keep your unique vessel going, overcome numerous obstacles and withstand the hazardous weather conditions. How far can you make it? What will you find?

Now that that’s been said, I’ve beaten this game 5 times in 3 days and got 100% steam achievements. That’s something I rarely do. It isn’t a long game so beating it several times will only take a few hours. However, this game is full of magic.

Let me explain. In this game, you have an androgynous character traveling a grayscale landscape with red being the only other color. The art style is beautiful. As you side scroll in your large land vehicle, the scene is ever-changing. 

You start in a small house/workshop after taking a moment to honor the passing of, what I assume is your father or mentor. After leaving the building behind you walk until you come across a massive vehicle. It reminds me of many things, reminiscent of movies about a dystopian future, you do everything you can to keep your vehicle operating. 

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Stopping to gather items for fuel, solving puzzles to upgrade the vehicle, outrunning disasters. All while a quiet story is told in the background. A story without words, which can be the best story there is. As I travel, my mind races to try to fill in the blanks. Wondering if it’s a comment on our current society and where we are headed or it’s just a simple story to be interpreted how we wish. This was magic to me. 

As I stated, I played the game over and over, hoping to grasp more and get all 14 achievements on steam. Each playthrough I noticed something different, something I was surprised I hadn’t noticed before. Honestly, these discoveries excited me and now that I’ve achieved everything I may slowly go through one more time to see if I’ve missed anything else.

This is definitely a comfort game for me and I could see myself booting it up after a long/bad day. It’s stunning, well worth the price and time. I can’t wait to see what else this developer has to offer.

TL;DR: Great Game, Must Play

Top 10 Video Games I played in 2018

I know what you’re thinking, it’s June of 2019 Crymson, this should have been up in January.

Well, I’m a busy person who also procrastinates (and Vanri totally didn’t even edit this for 2 more months).

Also, this list isn’t about games that came out in 2018, just what I played.

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  1. Five Nights At Freddy’s – This stress-filled horror game is enough to make me punch actual things. I beat 1 & 2 on stream and haven’t gone back for 3. I loved playing them but the amount of stress that came with each night increasing was a lot and I needed a long break. Doesn’t mean I will never return to the series, just have to forget the horror to actively relive it.

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  1. 7 Days to Die – Why so early in the list for a game I play often. Because as much as I love this survival horror game it can get a bit repetitive, I do love that they are always updating and adding new things, and right now my goal is just to make 365 days… if it weren’t for the bear apocalypse.

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  1. Graveyard Keeper – A fun game I started playing last year, with adorable Mixer integration on Xbox. It’s a graveyard sim with a story? Fix it, bury it, burn it, fish it, the game has a lot of it. My only problem is the Xbox is behind on the PC updates and I find it challenging to remember what all I was doing if I take long breaks because there is SO MUCH TO ALWAYS DO. At least I am never bored.

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  1. Overwatch – I just got into the game last year and love it. It, like everything, is better with friends and now have it on PC, the list of people to play with is greatly expanded. I still am not sure who I main and I don’t play it constantly as to prevent burnout but I still get joy with my salt when I do play.

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  1. Creativerse – I played this game A LOT. Free to play on PC, this is a Minecraft inspired building game. I love building new things, playing with blueprints and running from the corrupted zone. However, breaks are a plus with this game given that the creative juices can run out.

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  1. Dead By Daylight– Easily one of my favorite games. DBD always has something interesting coming and it feeds my need for horror and my lack of time commitment. I can jump in and play a few matches without having to get invested in a story or remember what I was doing last time. Also for a game that frequently goes on sale, it is cost effective. Allowing you to play on maps and be hunted by new killers, even if you haven’t bought the latest DLC.

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  1. Assassin’s Creed: Origins – I never said I had to beat the game. Origins competes with Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag for my all time favorite Assassin’s Creed game. I’ve love ancient Egypt since I was a kid and this brought all that wonder right back to me. I love so much about it that I’m disappointed I never finished it but it’s massive and there is so much to do and I must complete it all. The story, characters, it is all magic.

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  1. Murdered: Soul Suspect – A highly underrated game. I enjoyed playing this immensely and finished it before my trip to Salem, Mass. Which looks nothing like the game. However, I was highly entertained and invested the whole time. I even enjoyed the side stories and collecting achievements. If you get the chance, play it.

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  1. Stardew Valley – I know it’s been out for years and I play it very often. There is a reason. It is an amazing game that I adore. For me the replay value is priceless. I also still have a lot of people to marry. Currently, I’m streaming this on Thursday nights on RWoG channels.

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  1. Vampyr – I absolutely loved playing Vampyr. It had to be my favorite of 2018. It was almost everything I want in an RPG and when the protagonist Jonathan got a little dominate I nearly melted off my chair. I was a bit disappointed with the ending I got but that just means I’ll have to play it again.

 

Do you agree? Disagree? Is there a game I need to play? Let me know in the comments!

Top 10 Movies about Video Games

No, this list isn’t movie remakes of video games or movies inspired by video games. This list is about movies where video games are a major part of the plot of the movie. So no Doom, Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider. Sorry, I’ll save that for another list, or three.

10. The Last Starfighter (1984)

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Too young to recall this one? That’s okay, I watched it so you don’t have to. Our main hero here is amazing at video games and beats the game called The Last Starfighter only to find out it was just a test and he’s transported to another planet to help them defend an attack on their home. Thank you, IMDB, for reminding me of the plot. I did enjoy this movie, 30 years ago. I wonder if it’s due for a reboot? I’d be down for that!

9. Wargames (1983)

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This movie almost didn’t make my list. Why? I didn’t remember it very well. So I watched the trailer and OH YEAH. Now, it isn’t as video game related as most of the movies on this list. The initial intention is that he is trying to hack into a video game company to play their games early on and ends up hacking into the government and nearly starts World War 3, thinking he is merely playing a video game. Actually, the computer thinks it is a game. It’s an interesting one, to say the least, and isn’t a bad movie at all.

8. Tron (1982)

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This list can’t exist without mentioning Tron, a movie I saw once a LONG time ago. However, without it would we have video game inspired movies? The world will never know. A game designer is sucked into the very world he created. Funny how the original calls him a hacker, but in Tron: Legacy he is called a virtual world designer. Oh, how the times have changed.

7.  The Wizard (1989)

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The only thing terrible in this movie is the Power Glove. No, seriously, it was TERRIBLE. A young boy (not pictured because why would there be a usable gif of the main character when we have this jerk to look at) is a savant at video games. So, what is the natural thing to do? Ditch your parents and go cross country to join THE gaming tournament. Kids, DO NOT try this at home.

6. Brainscan (1994)

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I nearly forgot about this movie. The only reason I remembered it was because, in my research, I came across the anthology Nightmares (1983). A movie about being sucked into a game. This stirred my preteen crush for Edward Furlong and BOOM I remembered this horror movie. A young teen wants to show a new game to his school’s video game club (crap do I feel old) and murder ensues!

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

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I will admit to 3 things: 1) I needed to consult with Vanri on this. It is a movie based on a comic and features a lot of video game like things, but does it fit this list? She said yes. 2) I like the soundtrack for this movie WAY more than I like the actual movie. 3) I rewatch this movie only for Brandon Routh. 4) HE’S THE BEST LOOKING SUPERMAN, FITE ME. (I know, that’s 4 things, give me a break).

Anyway, if you’ve been living under a rock, Scott Pilgrim is a horrible leading man (Haaaave you met Ted?) who does stupid stuff because he’s got a boner for Ramona. The best parts are the fights with the Evil Exes (“I’m BI-FURIOUS”) and the amazing cameos that you spot throughout the movie. Also, Beck put together amazing songs that I listen to often. Is there really any more to know? #TeamKnives

4. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

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Wreck-It Ralph is an adorable movie filled with lessons, video games, great characters, and mayhem. I happen to love it. It’s all about poor Ralph, who is treated poorly for being the ‘villain’ while not being a bad guy. He goes off to find people who will truly appreciate him. You know what, just go watch the movie. You don’t need to read this. If you’ve seen it, you know what a great movie it is and if you haven’t, you are missing out.

3. Ready Player One (2018)

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I haven’t seen the movie yet or read the book. Now stop booing and understand I was busy and broke at the time and with great movies coming out every 5 SECONDS. I MEAN COME ON, GIVE US A BREAK. I just haven’t gotten to it. I’ve heard very mixed reviews about the movie but we cannot deny how PACKED it is with video game references, virtual reality, and pop culture. I mean, I’ve only seen the trailer and I know. Look, that is Tracer from Overwatch running next to Chun-Li from Street Fighter. It’s on my list, I promise I’ll watch it soon.

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. – IMDB

2. Gamer (2009)

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Actually a great movie, I enjoyed it. I also don’t sit down and pick apart movies, was I entertained? Yup! Good movie. Now the initial premise is pretty easy and previously seen before. Prisoners can get out early if they win the game but is our main character really guilty of his crimes? The spin? The prisoners are controlled by a gamer. They are merely playable characters in a very deadly game. 300 wins? You go free and as the team closes in and gains popularity, things begin to go awry.

1. Stay Alive (2006)

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THIS IS MY MOVIE! Oh my October, do I love this movie. This movie even spurred several projects that, years later, I am still working on. I love this movie. An alpha tester got his hands on a new type of game and all hell breaks loose. Die in the game, you die in real life. It’s amazing, I love it. Is it the greatest movie ever made? Hell no. But it’s a great movie. There are some curious changes to the story of Elizabeth Bathory that are questionable, but the overall movie is amazing. I’ll still never get over several things that happened and I’ve watched it more times than I can count. I love it and if you love horror, you should check it out.

Is there a movie I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Staff Favorites: Horror Games

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Fatal Frame. I vividly remember the first time my brother and I turned out the lights while playing it… That didn’t last long.
– Oresan Fells

 

 

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I would have to say that one of my favorite horror games is Eldritch Horror. It combines two of my favorite things; the Cthulhu mythos and tabletop gaming. Players choose a character and then set off o try to stop the ancient evil from rising. Players are faced with many horrors and even if they win they will probably not leave the game with all of their sanity. Play if you think you are strong enough, if not when then “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” Happy gaming and always keep sparkling!
-Thia the Bard

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I love Alice: Madness Returns because it’s a twisted Alice in Wonderland. Everything is spooky, crazy, and wonderfully dark. You get to stab mobs with knives, smack them with a horse head or fire upon them with a teapot. Plus, you block with an umbrella. Not to mention the costumes.. Steampunk Alice is the best! -Azkadelya

 

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Damn it, Karen, stop writing on the wall

Layers of Fear is my favorite horror game. The story is engaging, the jump scares are minimal, the building terror is enough to make my skin all tingly, and it doesn’t make me motion sick since it’s basically just a walking simulator.
– Vanri The Rogue

 

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Growing up I got this board game called Nightmare. Very early 90s, mind you. A VHS board game and I loved every second of playing it. I made my neighbors play it with me over and over again. We recently played it on stream and I still love this game, no matter how old I am or it is.
– Crymson Pleasure