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Real Men Don't Wear Fleece

DC has actually gotten a tad chilly, but I stayed warm for my first bus ride, I must admit: I put on a t-shirt (my favorite one; it reads "Lead me not unto temptation - I can find it myself") and a pullover white fleece, and made my way past the huddled crowds of schoolchildren and irritated, severe-looking men with cell phones to the bus stop. I also happened to be carrying au gratin potatoes in a casserole dish, much to the amusement of the other passengers, one of whom mysteriously resembled Elvis in his heftier years. I am not surprised with all of this gallivanting around with aliens and Amelia Earheart that Mr. Presley hasn’t had time to visit Gold’s Gym. What bothered me most about the sighting wasn’t so much that he was on the DC Metrobus, but the voraciousness on his face as he eyed the food. I ended up tossing him a peanut butter and banana sandwich to throw him off my trail. And just so no one thinks I make a habit of traveling with Pyrex, we all brought a dish for the work Halloween party today, and since I can’t get around with much ease right now, I made what I had in the house – which wasn’t much – and it accompanied me on the bus. It was either the potatoes or tuna helper, and I can only imagine the cool response that would have gotten.

I finally finished Otogi 2 and submitted my review to Inside Gamer Online, so be on the lookout for it. I was pleasantly surprised: I liked, but did not love, the original Otogi. It was dripping with personality, but I felt the combat was bland, which made for a somewhat shallow gaming experience. The combat hasn’t changed all that much for the sequel, but the entire gaming package comes together in a much more satisfying manner than it did in the original. The multiple characters, new enemies, and new levels are a blast, and I was pleasantly surprised by its fluid gameplay and hushed, violent ambience. Now, the current game on my plate is Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, and I am almost embarrassed that I have managed to play two great games back to back. RCT3 is everything we have been waiting for in the series: fully 3d graphics, fantastic new rides, customizable fireworks displays, a sims-y family manager, and all of the addictiveness of the original. After Leisure Suit Larry’s breast-fest and BloodRayne 2’s clunky but compelling production, it’s nice to get a few games that have kept my attention.

I have tried to get into the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve by recalling the frightful gaming experiences of years past, but none is as frightening as this:

As for the true scares, Doom 3 is obviously the best recent choice for a chilling experience, but some have complained that the scares are too scripted and cheap. I agree that there are a few too-obvious moments, but in all honesty, I was surprised that Doom 3 played better than the standard charity funhouse at the local mall. Still, it pales a tad in comparison to some of the great suspense games of years past, none of which is better than Clive Barker’s Undying. Undying is an underrated masterpiece of real scares conjured by a deep, involving backstory and told through journal entries, ghostly visions, and genuinely chilling enemy encounters. And as carolynmichelle reminded me a few months ago, no one can prepare themselves for the moment you look into the bathtub in Eternal Darkness to find – well, I won’t spoil it here, but it’s unnerving, to say the least. And when you think about it, showers and bathtubs are always ominous in survival horror games and suspense films, because that is where we are at our most vulnerable. Unless, of course, you find nudity somehow empowering, in which case I congratulate you on your buff, naked physique.

So what games chilled you to the bone? Do the pooches in Resident Evil render rigor mortis? Do the lumbering phalluses in Silent Hill give you the - er – willies? Tell me - I am prepared to shiver!