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Sknarp

Emotional scars from video games as a child?

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I guessed classic gaming would be the place for this post. The question is: was there ever a game that when you played it as a kid, scarred you/creeped you out, and if so do you think that it was intentional by the game developers? I'll share my experience to set the tone.
As a kid I was completely traumatized by Ecco the Dolphin. I think it had something to do with the plot and mechanics of the game- A dolphin is separated from it's entire family, you constantly are being forced to dive deeper and deeper, searching for pockets of air to avoid drowning in the unknown depths. I realize it wasn't meant to be creepy but to this day seeing the game-play still makes my skin crawl a little bit. Anyone out there with a similar experience, either with a totally innocent game or maybe with a game that you shouldn't have played at as young of an age as you did?

Edited by Sknarp

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Not me, but my son was freaked out by Dino Crisis on the PS1.  Granted, he was probably only about 6 years old and shouldn't have been playing games like that.

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"Scarred" might not be the right word, but I recall beating Fantasy Zone II and being sad because the final villain turned out to be Opa Opa's dad. My parents came home right after I won, and my dad was incredulous to see that I was choked up. "Did a GAME make you cry?" I spat out that the ending involved killing my own father, but I don't recall what his reaction was to this vital information. :lol:

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Well.. when I was a "child" I guess the video game I had at home was a Coleco Telstar Colortron, so not really :lol:  

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Dungeons of Daggorath on the CoCo. The noises the monsters made when they were close made me literally shiver. When a knight appeared out of nowhere, I genuinely screamed. I'm used to it by now but I still get nervous when I hear that metallic clang of the one-eyed knight.

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The NES came out in 85 and I was already 8 going on 9 into the next year so really no, no game has ever from back then scared me.  No game has since really either.

 

The closest ever to being scared, better said, freaked out, would be just the original of the Dead Space games.  That one doesn't play with audio, no asinine pop scares over and over, it plays off the degrading environment and just creepy stuff going on, so it messes with your head and gets you really uneasy about entering any space that in particular has darker areas or corners.  It's a true game built on uneasiness, and I'd imagine any kid would have issues with that one had they played it now or when it came out as it still looks, sounds, and plays remarkably well for a PS3 era title.

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Gateway to Apshai. Each room is blank until you walk into it then enemies suddenly appear.  Some of those enemies are super fast and the screen flashes when you get hit.  It scared the crap out of me as kid when I stumbled upon a Goblin or Mamba Snake.  Those 'human' type enemies like Giant, Priest, Lackey, etc also scared me.

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7 hours ago, bluejay said:

Dungeons of Daggorath on the CoCo. The noises the monsters made when they were close made me literally shiver. When a knight appeared out of nowhere, I genuinely screamed. I'm used to it by now but I still get nervous when I hear that metallic clang of the one-eyed knight.

I still get dreams and/or nightmares about Dungeons of Daggorath, every once in a while, all these decades later. One of the most stressful, atmospheric, high-tension games ever made!

 

I think it had at least as much of a lasting effect on me as, say, The Twilight Zone did. And the fact that they used your heartbeat as your health meter...

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Turning on Mario Kart on the SNES and seeing my save gone 😭😭😭😭😭

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10 hours ago, A2600 said:

Turning on Mario Kart on the SNES and seeing my save gone 😭😭😭😭😭

You just shook a traumatic memory loose from my brain. I loved Govellius on the Master System (still do). It was an action RPG in the Zelda(ish) style with a password save. Anyway, I was probably, I dunno, nine? Ten? The way the game worked was that, essentially, it was fairly linear, but you could sequence break (for lack of a better term) to a degree, as you could travel to most areas on your own accord (with some exceptions). For most of the stuff in the game, there were three levels of power or quality and whatever you bought was automatically equipped; there was no inventory system. One day, I was curious what would happen if I bought the best sword in the game (after a ridiculous amount of grinding) and then went back later and bought the second best sword. It crashed the game and I had to go back to whatever the last password was. I think I didn't play Govellius again for weeks.

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I really didn't like it when Dr. Mad killed Myau in Phantasy Star, the one time I handed him over to see what would happen and I have never done it again since.

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16 hours ago, A2600 said:

Turning on Mario Kart on the SNES and seeing my save gone 😭😭😭😭😭

What about saving a game in Simon's Quest right before Dracula and forgetting your password?

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On 3/19/2020 at 6:39 PM, thegoldenband said:

I still get dreams and/or nightmares about Dungeons of Daggorath, every once in a while, all these decades later. One of the most stressful, atmospheric, high-tension games ever made!

But that's what makes it so addicting...

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OHHH Yes if it's not content then I do have something. When my 5200 "start" buttons went bad and I could never play my games. Having my Joust cartridge in hand, watching the demo on the screen and not being able to play it. Now THAT was scarring.

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4 hours ago, bluejay said:

But that's what makes it so addicting...

I'd replace that "But" with an "And", myself! No "ifs", though, we're sold out of those.

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16 hours ago, NE146 said:

OHHH Yes if it's not content then I do have something. When my 5200 "start" buttons went bad and I could never play my games. Having my Joust cartridge in hand, watching the demo on the screen and not being able to play it. Now THAT was scarring.

I have wondered what kids did in 1983 when their 5200 controller buttons would just stop working.  Sure, it was gradual process with having to keep pushing the "start" button harder and harder to work.  But there was no internet and I don't recall any articles in Electronic Games, Atari Age or other video games magazines of the day that addressed the carbon build-up or using the tin foil dot trick as solutions.  All these mags did was to highlight the non-centering aspect of the controller - never the required maintenance of them.

 

Other than asking your parents to buy another controller (which probably wasn't cheap and you certainly could expect some folks to say "no") a kid would basically be up shits creek with a useless 5200.  I know there were solutions (Wico w/keypad) but if it wasn't available at your local Sears or Toys R Us it wouldn't do you any good.

 

We've come a long way.......Thank goodness for my refurbished CX-52s with gold-plated circuit boards.

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17 hours ago, NE146 said:

OHHH Yes if it's not content then I do have something. When my 5200 "start" buttons went bad and I could never play my games. Having my Joust cartridge in hand, watching the demo on the screen and not being able to play it. Now THAT was scarring.

I had something similar happen to my 2600.  The left controller port stopped working so I had to set every game to two players and wait for the first player to die.  I was just a kid back so I couldn't fix it, but looking back on it I bet that some of the pins were just bent or something. Oh well...

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In my case the fire buttons on my 5200 were basically non-functional from day one (Christmas 1983, Pac-Man as the pack-in game). They required so much pressure, anything that needed them was essentially unplayable. (Oddly the Start button was OK, or at least I don't remember a problem.)

 

Within a couple weeks, my parents wisely picked up the Wico adapter to use a 2600 controller; without that, the whole console might well have gone in the garbage -- which would have been a shame, since I loved Zaxxon and Mr. Do's Castle and played the heck out of them once I had the Wico.

 

As a kid, the 5200's DOA fire buttons and Sssnake were the two things that made me realize that "conning the consumer" was a thing in video games. There's no excuse for a console that doesn't work perfectly out of the box.

 

And yeah, we had a controller port go bad on our 2600 too! My dad soldered up some jury-rigged solution with lots of loose wires, which worked for a while until we were able to get a replacement console.

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Interesting all the different experiences people have had. I wasn't expecting to hear so much about Atari controllers but it sounds like the stress it caused people was pretty severe so I say it counts as relevant to the topic. I was trying to think if there was some sort of glitch or hardware failure that I could recall as having a strong impact on me- but I honestly can't remember anything beyond having to blow into and reseat Nintendo cartridges what feels like a million times, as was the style at the time.
I also find it interesting how despite several of us having had some sort of negative experience with games, that we continued to be enthralled in the enjoyment of video games. I'm not really sure what it means, but it probably has some profound implications about the resilience of human spirit. It's either that or playing games is fun. :P

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Around school and favorite tv shows I had Final Fantasy getting slowly but surely wrapped up for months using my own way of it, then the maps in that NP guide they shoveled out.  Anyway, I finally took down Chaos, and I was just happy and blown away, then decided to do it again the next day after school.  I come home, and what I find is my dipshit brother who had blown it off (3yrs younger) and decided he hated it, that he wanted another try.  He erased my game and saved a new one over it, then decided it still sucked.  It was what 1990? so I was 13 at the time, and I went into a total rage and was going for blood, and guess who got in more trouble.  Me for freaking out because he had still then my mom wrapped aorund his finger as he was a fantastic liar and manipulator, full of himself, a brown nosing asskisser (eventually they caught wise thankfully.)  Ever since I have *NEVER* been able to finish the original 8bit NES version of the game.  It took the PS1/GBA remaster (specially the GBA) of the game to actually finish it after the smoothed up some rough ends and made it a bit less tight fisted on GP/XP hand outs with fights to do it.

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Does being 17 years old and getting a little freaked out at playing night terror missions in X-COM count? That's about as close as it ever got for me. In fact the demo disk I had of X-COM, which was just a Snake-men terror mission complete with Chryssalids, was what sold me on the game. 

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Dead Space. I played that when it came out exclusively in the dark, with a very good surround system on a big tv (The foot stomp would shake the room). I could play maybe two levels before I was a complete bag of nerves and had to stop. That game used to mess me up big time. ...I was 36 at the time.

 

I'm now 47, I still haven't plucked up the courage to play Alien Isolation.

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