It’s Halloween again! For a time before and even just after this holiday, gamers everywhere have long since developed a tradition around Halloween gaming, but that was hardly news to people a decade ago, and it definitely isn’t anything new now. This tradition is more informal, and largely left at the discretion of gamers.
Whether you have a classic game that you play annually around Halloween, or seek new like-themed experiences, Halloween gaming has a lot to offer gamers of all types, and it is an excellent time to own one of Sony’s black boxes (or a PlayStation of any shape, size, or colour).
The past couple of months have been quite favourable to Sony’s Vita, a system I maintain is far from dead, though you could argue that it’s a great place for the undead…*crickets* In all due seriousness, we have seen the localized release of not one, but two continuations of highly recommended niche Japanese series that tie in more than a little to the current holiday. I am of course talking about the excellent Corpse Party and Danganronpa series.
For the uninitiated, Danganronpa is primarily a murder mystery visual novel/point and click type series by Spike Chunsoft where 15 or 16 teens are trapped in some location and forced to kill one another or live out the rest of their days without any hope of escape. Ultra Despair Girls is a somewhat actiony spin-off starring the sister of the main protagonist from the first game, and one of his fellow survivors. The series focuses largely on the dichotomy of hope and despair, and while it’s not exactly scary, it does have an unsettling post-apocalyptic atmosphere for the current holiday, plus a handful of quirky Japanese style philosophy.
Corpse Party Blood Drive is the long awaited conclusion in an unsettling and depressing series of games, set largely in a haunted elementary school that has long since been torn down, but where the protagonists are transported via a botched occult ritual. In short, protagonists die, sometimes brutally, and the story is unpredictable so there’s an unsettling atmosphere throughout. There are legitimate scares to be had, especially when it’s unclear what’s waiting around the next corner or behind the next door. If you’re afraid to jump into the latest entries of either of the above series in fear of canon lock, the earlier games are available for download on the PlayStation Store and are highly recommended.
If Japan’s quirky style of games doesn’t appeal to you, the indie spoof on Oregon Trail, entitled Organ Trail, is now available for both Vita and PS4 owners. The zombie theme certainly reinvigorates the old formula those of us old enough to know the original Oregon Trail are oh so familiar with, but travelling from one end of the United States to the other in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with a party named after people you know is entertaining regardless of whether you know the original game or not.
Of course, if the new doesn’t appeal to you, there’s plenty of older titles available to owners of any currently supported PlayStation platform. As well, if you haven’t checked out the Sale of the Dead, which is currently in its second week, then you ought to stop reading this article immediately and do so with all due haste. Great AAA titles such as various entries in the Resident Evil series and The Evil Within, and underrated indie classics such as Poltergeist, are among the currently discounted titles, so be sure to snatch them up.
PlayStation is home to many more great titles not covered by the current sale or relatively new releases, so whether you’re looking for scares or a lighthearted nod to all things horror, there is plenty available of many different genres. There is even Halloween content for your year round favourites, so there is nothing stopping you from enjoying an old favourite for the billionth time on your PlayStation of choice. Excuse me while I go and narrowly avoid becoming a Jill Sandwich yet again.
As always, feel free to leave your comments below. Do you have an old favourite you dust off every year? Have you found a new favourite in the past year? Fans of all systems are welcome in this discussion.