The Darkness in Video Games

in gaming •  2 months ago

Well, hello there, dear steemians! Since I went back to university, I have been thinking about getting to write again, so here goes nothing!

I am fascinated by darkness in video games. It has many interesting purposes in our entertainment and I am going to take a glance at a few ways it has been used in games. On the top of my head, I can think of three main ways it has been implemented, and, ironically, I'd like to shine some light on my perception of these uses.

Firstly, darkness can represent a circumvention of hardware limitations. Many games on ye olde PlayStation had horrible draw distances, which they masked with either fog or darkness, making them feel more unsettling when you played them. Just think of Silent Hill as the best example of embracing this technique. Funnily, this technique was also used in Doom 3, but was touted as a feature. Yes, not being able to see the game was a feature, go figure. Still, this limitation of the engine gave way to a certain paranoia that you do not know what can lurk in the darkness, until you found out by listening to monster sounds.

This leads into the second form of darkness in video games: atmosphere. Yes, it is usually used in horror games to try and make them creepier. It is also used as part of the theme of the game, like the appropriately named The Darkness or Dark Souls. In The Darkness, well, you are playing Jackie Estecado who is possessed by a demon which...is strong when the host is shrouded in darkness. Pretty self explanatory, right? Let's move on to Dark Souls, where the world, in it's natural state, is shrouded in darkness, until a great soul sacrifices itself to start a new age of fire. Let's also not forget about Troika's magnum opus, the amazing Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, which is a game about vampires and conspiracies, taking place at night in Los Angeles. You can feel the weight of the night on the city, oozing dread,but also power, a power which is creeping into every nook an cranny of life itself.

The third way darkness can be utilized is as a game mechanic. This is mainly seen in stealth games, the dark acting as a protective mother for the player's character, shrouding them from danger, but also giving them the opportunity to either become a hunter, thinning the enemy ranks, or a ghost, never to have his presence acknowledged.

All in all, darkness seems to be quite a versatile concept in the world of video games, in the end, validating my fascination with its presence in different hypostases, either letting abominations lurk in its bowels, or hiding you from your foes.

Sources: cover, 1, 2, 3.


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