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?