What Creepy Video Game Sounds Do to Your Brain

If you want To know what it sounds like without digging around the bloody mess in someone’s chest cavity, a grapefruit will do the trick. Tear, compress and crush it in your hands. With a little tweaking on the audio side, the sour fruit is now a gag-worthy imitation of a gurgling death.

Sound designers in video games have mastered the art of turning everyday sounds into art of the crudest kind. The cracking of a walnut becomes the sound of bones breaking. Nickelodeon green goo splattered on the floor is a deadbeat for blood, vomit and spilled guts, while using a plunger to slurp through the same mess conjures up a variety of wet, squeezing scenarios. Occasionally, a developer will even choose to make music with a human skull. For genres like horror, it’s crucial to get the tone right – especially for evil effects – to combine sound with image and create a spooky atmosphere. A developer can’t just throw a player into a dark room and hope it’s scary. You have to sell it.

Motive Studio has recently been released Empty room remake does not shy away from this challenge. The developer even added a content warning at the beginning of their survival horror game: it features traumatic events and self-harm, in addition to blood, gore, impaling, vomiting, and more dismemberment than anything else Texas Chainsaw Massacre films combined. For horror lovers, it’s the kind of game that allows its audience to face the terrifying and alien from a safe, warm couch.

There’s a reason our brains react so strongly to things like body horror, even when it’s portrayed through a video game. Eric Leonardis, a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute specializing in neuroscience, studies human and animal behavior. His history of investigating horror spans the years 2022 contemptEbb Software’s first-person survival horror game inspired by the works of HR Giger. contempt‘s world is alien, full of flesh and metal, with many scenes of shattering bones and bleeding muscles. It leans heavily in the sound of terror; Creaks and pops are only compensated for by lots of wet squeezing.

“Body Horror explicitly posits the body as a central source of fear and concern for those particular stories that unfold,” says Leonardis. This often means “grotesque injuries or transformations of the body,” such as putrefaction, mutilation, or contamination. Humans have a natural aversion to what can make us sick or infect us (see also: all incarnations of The last of us). “There’s really a kind of survival aspect to being disgusted,” he says.

Strong sound design can activate parts of the brain that affect our physical response, especially when manipulated into the right context. Smashed fruit itself might not be bad, but combine it with the image of a chest collapsing and it redefines how we process that sound. The brain’s insular cortex, which helps us differentiate between ourselves and others, can trigger that wave of disgust we feel in response. Think of it this way: It’s gross to pick your nose, but not nearly as gross as seeing someone else pick their nose.

https://www.wired.com/story/game-horror-sounds-psychology-dead-space-remake-scorn/ What Creepy Video Game Sounds Do to Your Brain

Zack Zwiezen

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