HORROR GENRE IN RPG MAKER

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I'm wondering why horror seems to be so popular in RPG Maker games. Is there something about RPG Maker that lends itself to making these types of games or is it more just about the tastes of the people using RPG Maker?

I don't have an issue with it. In fact I find some of them very interesting. I'm just curious to hear others thoughts about it.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5177
Gonna assume it's more a side effect of RPGMaker being pretty easy to use than anything else. It's not one of the better platforms for most horror, being generally cutesy and simplistic, as well as generally having more visibility in its layout.
True plus from what I've seen the horror games seem to be easy to make in terms of programming but I could be wrong on that. The graphics and sound design seem to be where the bulk of the work would be for a horror game. But since I haven't made a horror game I could be wrong.
welp
most "horror" games there are seem to be actually dark, anime influenced adventure games. And item bassd adventure games are amongst the easiest thigns to be done with the engine -- far easier than an rpg. (of course, making a game is never an easy task at all.)

I am fond of quite a bit of them. Still want to try something in the genre but influenced by A Longing Ribbon and a few other early western jewels instead of japanese horror ones.
And do something a little mechanically heavier, too.
It may be because the RTP expansion for RPG Maker 2000 was mainly gore/horror themed. Otherwise, most "horror" games for unity and other 3D platforms tend to be just testosterone overdosed gritfests with zombies.
It's probably just ease of use. That said, there are quite a few good horror games that have been made with RPGMaker so I don't think it's a bad choice of engine to use, although I do think there are a lot of people who don't quite realise how to get the best out of RPGMaker when making a horror game, which can result in some hilariously bad games.

The way I look at it is, because of the limitations RPGMaker wrt. visuals and audio, making a horror game in RPGMaker is much more reliant on the writing/psychological/intelligence side of things than a lot of people realise. You can't take some adventure-based gameplay and throw in some spooky music/dark overlays and expect that to work, because an RPGMaker game is never really going to look or sound overly scary. It has to feel scary, which can make it hard for people who have the gameplay side of things down but don't know how to create a creepy setting or engaging plot or interesting characters.

For those who do know how to do those things, RPGMaker can be a brilliant engine to create a horror game in. A good example would be Backstage, which remains one of my favourite horror games despite the janky combat system, mismatched graphics and not-so-awesome mapping.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5177
author=LightningLord2
Otherwise, most "horror" games for unity and other 3D platforms tend to be just testosterone overdosed gritfests with zombies.


Hey now! Let's not forget the jumpscare haunted houses and Slender clones! :V
Ratty524
The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
13391
I'm pretty sure there was once a topic about this, and it pretty much comes down to what Joseph just said:

author=JosephSeraph
welp
most "horror" games there are seem to be actually dark, anime influenced adventure games. And item bassd adventure games are amongst the easiest thigns to be done with the engine -- far easier than an rpg. (of course, making a game is never an easy task at all.)
To be fair, you can do a true horror game in RPGMaker...I just haven't seen any that actually fit the bill. Most tend towards darker/stranger stories than outright horror (LISA, OFF). However if you want an example of an actual horror RPG from way back when that actually does a good job with the atmosphere and gameplay mixing, check out Sweet Home. One of the few games that even with a save-anywhere system, I felt nervous to keep playing for fear of getting my characters killed/making a mistake.

Remember kids: Good horror games make you nervous/scared to keep playing, not because of imagery, but because you're worried about what's going to happen next and you may not be ready for it.
There is alot of horror, but not a lot of REAL horror.

I tend to loathe the Yume Nikki genre of horror. I wind up wandering around, not being scared, so much as bored.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/10/11/25-things-you-should-know-about-writing-horror/

This, to me, is more accurate.

Horror is best when it’s about tragedy in its truest and most theatrical form: tragedy is born through character flaws, through bad choices, through grave missteps.


Fear is built off of understanding consequences. We can be afraid of the unknown of the dark, but horror works best when we know that the dark is worth fearing.


Horror works on three levels: mind, heart, gut. Our mind reels at trying to dissect horror, and good horror asks troubling questions. Our heart feels a surge of emotion: terror and fear and suspense, all felt deep in the ventricles, like a wedge of rancid fat clogging our aorta. Our gut feels all the leftover, baser emotions


I’ve long thought that the best way to create these things is to have characters you love making choices you hate. When you see a beloved character about to step toward the closet where the unseen serial killer is hiding, your sphincter tightens so hard it could break someone’s finger. We recoil at mistakes made by loved ones, and this is doubly true when these mistakes put their lives, souls and sanities in danger.


Unceasing and unflinching horror ceases to actually be horrific until we have its opposite present: that doesn’t mean that hope needs to win out. Horror always asks that question of which will win the day: the eyes of hope or the jaws of hell?


You can’t just jam some scary shit into a book and be like, “Boom, done, game over.” Slow down, slick. Come back to the story. You still need all the things that make a story great. Horror — really, any genre — ain’t shit unless you can commit to the page a story filled with great characters, compelling ideas, strong writing, and a sensible plot.


Speak to your own experiences, your own fears and frights. Shake up your anxieties and let them tumble onto the page. Because horror works best when horror is honest. The audience will feel that. The truth you bring to the genre will resonate, an eerie and unsettling echo that turns the mind upon itself.


If you want a horror, write a tragedy, then add creepy elements. Don't rely on creepy, or cheap scares. Write a horror like Stephen King does, use character development. Then destroy the the characters from the inside out. The sweet little girl is too sweet, and we find out the reason she is now a villain is because she got betrayed by people she trusted. You can in fact, build a horror with no monsters, and no obvious villains (technically a "thriller") just by milking character flaws to their creepiest.

We need less Yume Nikki and zombie horror, and more genuine yarns.
I had assumed the popularity of the horror genre was due to games like Ib, Yume Nikki, etc. Outside of those who already know about RPGMaker, these are the only kind of RPGMaker games that people really get exposed to. The first RPGMaker game I played was Ib, which led to The Witch's House, which led to me wanting to make a horror game (which I soon realized was not my forte).
author=bulmabriefs144
There is alot of horror, but not a lot of REAL horror.

If you want a horror, write a tragedy, then add creepy elements. Don't rely on creepy, or cheap scares. Write a horror like Stephen King does, use character development. Then destroy the the characters from the inside out. The sweet little girl is too sweet, and we find out the reason she is now a villain is because she got betrayed by people she trusted. You can in fact, build a horror with no monsters, and no obvious villains (technically a "thriller") just by milking character flaws to their creepiest.

We need less Yume Nikki and zombie horror, and more genuine yarns.

Sorry, but that is just boring. Seen it so many times it makes me yawn. A more interesting little girl character would be one that doesn't mind the dark and spiders because when she was younger she was locked in the dark cupboard with the spiders and webs when her mother had a date over. She's quiet because she was taught to be, and she's not friendly - she's more of a shadow than a real person. She'll follow you around but not interact at all, just stepping out from the shadows and watch as you go, but if you open her cupboard, the place where mummy says is just hers, expect hell.

Or the little girl who is grumpy and lazy and doesn't want to explore because 'effort'. She's like that because while her parents weren't cruel, they just didn't bother her and left her to do as she wanted - and she just preferred to sleep or play games all the time. She was neglected, kept at a distance from people. She doesn't mix well and she's not a perfect angel, but she is independent and she can solve puzzles well due to playing so many games. She doesn't get spooked easily, but she isn't stupid enough to go open that cupboard with the blood oozing out.

Much more interesting than little miss sunshine with a dark past.

Try something new with your horror games. Aim for creepy as well as scary, build with sound and suggestion to make the player feel as though they might make the wrong choice at any moment. Make your deaths make sense or at least show that there's a chance of death. To quote myself from a video review of a 'horror' game:

author=Liberty
When making a spooky game, it's as much what you don't show as what you do. It's a keen balance of mystery and building up tenseness (sic). You get the character tense by making them expect something and then pull it away from them. So make them expect something to happen, and when it doesn't, they're like, "Wait, that didn't happen like I thought it would, so now what?" It gets in their heads and makes them think, "OK, so I was wrong about that, what else am I going to be wrong about?" That tenses them up because then they don't know where the attack is going to come from. That makes them think nothing is safe.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
It is really not that popular I would say. Probably less than 10% of games made in RPG Maker are 'horror'.

Although it can be difficult to classify: horror is a word often used both as a 'genre genre' (as in science fiction, fantasy, etc) and as a 'gameplay' genre (ie RPG, action etc).

Anyway, my answer amounts to what Sated said: ease of use. RPG Maker is the best tool currently available (that I know of) to someone with my limited skillset to make a horror video game.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5177
Honestly, the subject matter in horror doesn't matter so much. The main drivers of horror are mystery, lack of control, and (usually) threat. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference what your plot is about or who the characters are, so long as you can keep the player guessing at what's going on, unsure of the characters' safety, and offer them only a limited amount of control over what happens.

If you combine all three of these things well, you'll get tension, which is the real draw for most horror. Feelings like "What's going to jump out next? Will it be here, or am I safe?" or "Oh no, what is making that noise? What am I going to see when I open the door?" or "Why is this person acting so strangely? What threat do they pose?" are the result of successful horror games.

(It may also be valuable to think about what kind of horror you're wanting to make; a lot of games fail because they're a bit too muddled and try to combine gory horror and psychological horror ineffectively.)
author=Max McGee
It is really not that popular I would say. Probably less than 10% of games made in RPG Maker are 'horror'.

They actually might be the most popular genre of RM games right now. Just look at the most downloaded games on this site, they're mostly horror games. It's probably because some mainstream YouTube channels have done Let's Plays of them.
I suspect toxic masculinity - if an LPer (or almost anyone really) refuses to play a certain horror game, they'll be insulted for being too weak to stand such a game, which they'll do to prove the haters wrong. Not to mention the internet's general obsession with grittiness and whatnot.

So those games being LPed over others (save for Pom gets Wi-Fi) is no coincidence.
I suspect that JRPGs just aren't as popular with a casual audience as horror games are, which means the latter get more exposure than the number of them would suggest.

Furthermore, because JRPGs are usually a lot longer and they usually require more investment to work out whether or not they're actually worth playing, traditional JRPGs probably don't fit the YouTube LP format as well as other genres.
I've never tried to make a horror game, but wouldn't the gameplay parts be pretty challenging, event-wise? Of course, RM is a user friendly engine, so I understand that non-RPG developers are drawn to it.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5177
I think it's less a question of length or masculinity (honestly, YTLP style seems a lot more geared toward making oneself look like a buffoon than a cool guy) and more one of variety and possible reactions.

JRPGs are a whole lot of repetitive combat sequences in between entertaining story bits, which is just not going to be that interesting to spectate.* By contrast, most horror-style games are designed to be faster-paced and have a feeling that something could happen at any moment, which is extra engaging if you're watching LPs to see some dork freak out (or pretend to) entertainingly.

* I've seen people speed up or cut battles for time, though at that point it becomes a question of time management: is it worth it to spend all that time playing and editing one game, when you could be playing more spectator-friendly games?
author=LightningLord2
I suspect toxic masculinity - if an LPer (or almost anyone really) refuses to play a certain horror game, they'll be insulted for being too weak to stand such a game, which they'll do to prove the haters wrong. Not to mention the internet's general obsession with grittiness and whatnot.

So those games being LPed over others (save for Pom gets Wi-Fi) is no coincidence.


As Sooz said, from what I've noticed it's not about masculinity at all (the audiences are all about shrieks and being terrified), but about being easy to react to. People apparently like watching people being extreme and it's easier to play up fear in reaction to a game than to play up other emotions. In fact, it's one way that people do 'comedy' - they use the overreactions to make people laugh. It's a cheap comedy, sure, but it works for the audience I guess.

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