Outlast may be the scariest video game ever produced. IGN’s Marty Sliva passed along anecdotes last March:
Before my demo, the team at Red Barrels, which is comprised of ex-Ubisoft designers who worked on Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, told me about some of the crazy things they’d seen the brave attendees of PAX East do while playing their game. Some bolted out mid-demo, others stumbled out unhealthily pale, and one guy almost destroyed the entire booth in a fit of panic.
The game pares down the survival horror genre to a single visceral action. No other option exists in Outlast. If you see something intent upon harm, you have but one choice. Run!
The game takes place in a freakish asylum which you enter for reasons unknown. Once inside, a haunting atmosphere manifests. Lights start to flicker and die. Shadows begin to move. Voices dance at the edge of earshot. And the only way to reliably see what lies ahead is through a power-hungry night vision camera that’s always on the verge of dying. Needless to say, you soon discover that you’re neither alone nor at the top of the food chain.
I thought of Outlast after considering last week’s remarks by President Obama which he offered in response to the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Predictably, the president chose to amplify the narrative that the black community was somehow owed a conviction. The threat to liberty posed by our nation’s highest executive suggesting that a criminal case ought to be decided not on the facts, but to satisfy a subjective sense of racial justice, cannot be overstated. However, what specifically reminded me of Outlast was the president’s call to examine “stand your ground” statutes to determine whether they “may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case rather than diffuse potential altercations.”