Update: Unlimited Hyperbole is no longer available. There are two episodes preserved by the Thief community on Youtube which are linked in the episode index, however other episodes have since been lost to time.
When you’re talking about fear in games then it’s easy to get focused on specific topics, such as survival horror, but to do so is to ignore the wider context that fear has. If you’re going to examine the topic properly then it isn’t just a conversation about the fear we uncover within games, but also the fears we bring to the games we play. That’s something games journalist and arachnaphobe Richard Cobbett know all about.
In this week’s episode Richard talks about why spiders are used as default enemies in some genres, the methods he uses to overcome come his fear and why spiders are scary in some games but not others.
Unlimited Hyperbole is a weekly podcast about videogames and the stories we tell about them. The show is divided into seasons of five episodes, each with a topic that’s used as a prompt when interviewing special guests. This season we’re talking about “Fear Itself” – but for more information about the podcast itself, read after the jump. This week we’ve even got a little bit of bonus material!
As always, there’s a couple of interesting things to note about about this episode. It was, for example, the first time that Harriet and I interviewed someone together. It was also by far the easiest episode to edit thus far. Most of all though, it’s also the first time we get to include some bonus material.
I’m genuinely baffled about the continued use of spiders as a default enemy in games, because I honestly don’t see why developers do it. It seems to me that if the player isn’t scared of spiders then using them over other sorts of enemies generally has no benefit, while if they are scared of spiders then it can only cause negative or unintended effects. Sure, sometimes it suits the context – but if you’re creating a brand new world from scratch then why not just change the context?
It’s also been pointed out to Harriet and I that someone may have attempted to sabotage our iTunes reviews recently, by tagging reviews as unhelpful and reporting the show, etc. We’ve easily managed to rectify this with the help of a few listeners, but further reviews and subscribers are always appreciated if you like the show. It’s also really helpful when people share episodes on forums they use frequently – though I’d honestly be surprised if there was a forum just for arachnaphobe gamers.
Thanks to Richard for his time and supplying the survey for download