chris-littlechild - February 29, 2012
Perhaps you know some oldies who were introduced to gaming with the highly user-friendly Wii remote. Or they might enjoy a bit of Brain Training, Su Doku or suchlike on the easy to fathom DS (XL model, naturally, to ease the typical OAP's tendency of squinting myopically at the screen like Mr. Magoo). Away from Nintendo's happy family approach, though, there's a world of video game experiences unsuitable for sensitive seniors.
One that springs to mind immediately is Dead Space. This is the adventure of Isaac Clarke, a spaceship engineer in the reasonably far future. The ship he's sent to appears derelict, but is soon populated by a range of hideous mutants thanks to the insidious influence of the Marker, a mysterious artifact from the reaches of space. The game is pure survival horror. From the gory combat to the traditional sneaking through ominous dark hallways, a distinct musty-yet-awesome odour of Resident Evil hangs in the air.
I can't emphasise the word gory enough. These creatures, known as Necromorphs, are all but impervious to the common spray and pray tactics. Dismemberment is the only way to dispatch these swines. Legs, arms and heads will all fly freely during the many action sequences of Dead Space, and it all looks every bit as ghastly as it sounds. It's the kind of horror show that exceeds all but the most grim slasher movies.
Added to this is an atmosphere so tangible you could take a bite from it. As an example, passing through a ruined hospital ward, you'll come across a mind-addled nurse. She is merrily hacking away at what was once a patient, but now resembles so much dog food. She's also smiling serenely throughout. The game, then, is an intense experience, even in its quiet moments. It's clear why the developer opted for the moniker Visceral Games. It's also clear that your gamer gran should probably sit this one out.
Dead Space and its sequel were released for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. A more recent App Store release had a brave stab at keeping the spirit of the franchise alive in handheld form, as you can see here:
Article by Chris Littlechild