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Gameworld: Horror video games scare up record sales
Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:31pm EDT
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By John Gaudiosi
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - What do Jigsaw from "Saw," Freddy Krueger, and Jason from "Friday the 13th" all have in common, besides serial killing? Video games, if the horror stars' latest round of promotions are to be believed.
Horror video games are having a record year as zombies, monsters, demons, and chain-sawing wielding psychos fight against the consoles, making video games the new home of horror for some.
Michael Pachter, videogame analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, said about $147 million worth of horror video games have sold in the United States alone this year through September compared to $131 million in total for all of 2008.
Actor Kane Hodder, best known as the man behind Jason's mask in the "Friday the 13th" movies, believes scary games have an advantage over horror movies as disillusionment sets in with horror movie re-makes and recycling old horror themes.
"Whenever horror movies do well, Hollywood always rushes more into theaters and people get a little burned out on them," said Hodder, who has worked in the videogame industry.
"But with games, there are fewer choices in the genre and they tend to be spaced out better."
With Halloween this week, movies like "Saw VI," "Paranormal State" and "Zombieland" are luring audiences seeking a scare to the movie theaters.
Haunted attractions have also risen across the United States, with these increasingly high-tech venues doing everything possible to make a scary scenario seem real, which includes hiring actors to jump out at people and using theatrical sets.
HORROR IN YOUR HANDS
But actor Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films, said video games gave horror-seekers a different experience.
"Halloween gives fans the chance to dress up in costumes and celebrate horror, but videogames are the best way for fans to actually participate in these worlds," he told Reuters.
For those looking for virtual scares this Halloween, there are some new options. Konami Digital Entertainment and Zombie Studios just released "Saw" on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in tandem with the new movie that features killer Jigsaw putting his victims in deadly contraptions to torture them.
"The game, itself, is very "Saw"-like because you get to make a bunch of different choices," explained actor Tobin Bell, who plays Jigsaw in the new game and the six films in the series.
"Of course, the choices have consequences, which is very much like the films. What's interesting for fans is that the game is set between the first and second films, so it will be a new experience for them."
However the monster of the horror video game genre remains Capcom's "Resident Evil 5," which was launched on Friday, March 13, this year. Continued...
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