Despite the fact that I can only play horror games in ten minute sessions before having to finding a soft kitten to squeeze, nevertheless I’ve always been a fan of them. Not just the triple A high production ones either – every few weeks I’ll delve into the depths of Itch.io to see what recycled assets have been cobbled together in Unity to make me jump.
As a result of this, a lot of people have recommended Dead Space to me. It has highly rated reviews, has apparently sold over two million copies and involves slicing limbs off grotesque aliens with some kind of laser saw thing – what’s not to like? Whenever conversations around the horror genre arrive at John Carpenter and The Thing, someone will inevitably pipe up and ask me ‘have you played Dead Space?’
No, I’ve tried Dead Space, But I can’t play it.
I can’t play it, because there’s a man in the way.
He takes up a third of my screen and no matter how fast I try and run, he runs just a little bit faster. No matter where I turn, there he is.
I looked in vain on the Steam forums to see if there’s a key binding for ‘politely tap on the shoulder,’ or ‘cough politely,’ but it looks like I’m stuck here, staring at the back of a big guy in a grey space suit. I want to play the game – I really do, but whenever I try to play it, even years after its release, I find myself fixated on the gigantic man taking up most of my screen.
It’s a very shiny space suit, I admit. Having a display indicator on the back of your suit doesn’t make much sense to me, but I suppose at least it gives me something to look at while I’m waiting for Mr Grey to lumber his way through yet another door, which might I add he has never once held open for me.
I hear from Dead Space fans that there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in front of him involving Necromorphs, planet drilling space ships and some kind of Hive mind, but I wouldn’t know anything about that, because a man in a space suit won’t get out of my way and let me see what’s going on.
You just know that a later section of the game will involve a supermarket checkout. I can see it now – Mr Big Suit has definitely got more than ten items in his basket and won’t even have his card ready to pay. No, it’ll be worse than that – he’s probably intending on paying for everything in incredibly small change, which he will then drop on the floor and take an eternity to pick up.
In some ways, Dead Space is the quintessentially British experience. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do or where you’re trying to go, your experience will always involve queuing.