Watch out for the Darkness!

The evil henchmen lurk in the shadows while a halo shines over the hero’s white robes. Darkness versus light and good versus evil are common story themes, and I wish more games used darkness and light as both a game mechanic and theme.

Alan Wake is one example of a game that uses darkness and light well. You fight enemies and explore a dark landscape with flares, flashbangs, flashlights and more. When the forest around Wake becomes foggy, when the eerie music oozes out of your speakers, the tone is set for a battle between good and evil, darkness and light. Of course, you can also shoot enemies. Shooting is effective, but it’s also a bit of a problem.

See, I think a game could use all light-based weaponry to combat darkness. What exactly is a light-based weapon? I mean something that makes use of light to either stop an enemy or solve puzzles.
Leave the guns behind. They are in enough games. I propose, instead, that games should rise above mere guns,  explosions and blah, blah, blah, etc.

Imagine you play as a character who shines a light to save people. You turn the corner, not knowing what to expect, and break out into goosebumps at the next sight. You see the disfigured faces of a swarm of zombies moaning and groaning in the moonlit night. Your light frees these poor souls from their undead prison–and voilà–they become human again. That’s unexpected.

When we talk about darkness and light, we normally talk about a book or movie theme. Unlike a reading a book or watching a movie, you get to play with darkness and light in games. Non-gamers, who like a good story, might want to play just so they can take an active role when they experience this theme. And I, as game lover, would love something unique to play. So this is one game theme and mechanic that I hope see more of in the future.


What are some of your favourite games that use darkness and light in the story, gameplay or both?


Filed under Video Game Trends

14 responses to “Watch out for the Darkness!

  1. martianoddity

    Sounds like an interesting concept! I’d like to play that game.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I could have sworn there was a game where you use a flashlight or a camera flash as a ‘weapon’ against monsters. The camera one definitely sounds familiar. Think the plot was searching for ghosts. I do remember there was the eerie fog of Silent Hill for ambiance.


  3. I love being in the dark in games. I loved the concept of Outlast, holding only a video camera.
    I was hoping more from Destiny with the light and darkness thing, they went out of their way to introduce the concept of the darkness, and the light, but then didn’t really do anything with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed Alan Wake a lot, and I thought the concept was really nice. I agree with taking out the guns, and relying on other means to survive. This to me brings in a better horror experience overall.

    Outlast has been a more recent game that I enjoyed. You only really get a camera, which is used to see in the dark. You can’t kill, only run lol. The whole game gave me an adrenaline rush, which is what I want from these types of games.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Outlast springs to mind when I think of the way it utilised light and dark. Scared the crap out of me to great effect because of these contrasts!

    Liked by 1 person

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