Why Sci-Fi Horror Video Games Are The Best

“How come you don’t get bored playing games? After you finish a game don’t you feel like you haven’t achieved anything?”

No. Actually I feel like I did accomplish something, at least if I’m playing on the highest acceptable difficulty and succeeding. It’s the way the story is meant to be told, and I’m addicted to that. It’s about having adventures that the real world will never give you.

Ever experienced a horror game? Even if you know nothing will get you in the real world, the game’s atmosphere generates true terror in your mind. Even when you get used to it and get pass certain obstacles, it will again surprise you with something and either scare the shit out of you or make you feel like you’re going to die… That feeling of terror and desperately looking for a way to survive is what makes gaming awesome, especially horror and sci-fi games.

As an example, the game Alien: Isolation is the best sci-fi horror game I’ve ever played so far, getting you into the atmosphere of the original movie, and generating terror in your mind. You know when it happens, because the brain releases adrenaline.

True horror doesn’t come from jump scares. True horror comes from the terror of the chase and the need to hide. You’re probably not a fan of this, but I am. It’s what I love the most in games. The truth is that I feel right at home in these situations, as I felt the slow and silent terror of time during school and especially high school. I got so used to it that I can’t enjoy other things as much anymore. The one thing that the terror of time was missing was adrenaline. It was a true torture, as time passes you by so slowly.

But the games… They’re usually fast paced. It basically comes down to think and run to survive. In the real world survival is only up to you, your decision… And it’s more and more difficult to make the decision to keep going as the torture continues and the impending sense of doom overwhelms you.

So, like I said, games give you adventures you can never have in the real world. Life isn’t really an adventure and neither is whatever you do while you’re alive, unless it’s something that puts your life to the very edge towards death… That’s the only way you can truly feel alive. Video games make me feel alive for a little while…

Team Fortress 2


After a few years of playing the game on a daily basis, I can say that I wish they hadn’t made it Free to Play, because the constant rise in the number of kids playing this game ruins any kind of fun, and the only reasons why I keep playing it are boredom, to add points to level up my Strange quality weapons or to get achievements (because you’ve got hundreds of them to get).

Besides that, players just don’t understand the concept of team play anymore, even though the word “TEAM” is in the game’s name… and if you’re like me and enjoy playing as the Medic, you know how important team play really is in this game.

Even worse, with the rise of the taunts update, it seems that everything a player wants to do is just annoy all the other players and make them feel angry and miserable.

The game is about two identical teams of mercenaries, one wearing a pink red color, and the wearing a dark cyan color, who battle each other again and again, with various purposes like pushing a cart with a bomb to a destination (or preventing the opposing team from doing that), capturing each other’s intelligence (capture the flag mode), capturing check points on the map to win the match, and so on.

There are 9 classes available to play as, 3 for each category. The attack classes are The Scout, The Soldier and The Pyro, the defense classes are The Demoman, The Heavy and The Engineer, and the dedicated support classes are The Medic (the one I play the most as), The Sniper and The Spy.

Each class has its own abilities and weaknesses, like the Scout being faster than any other class, but one of the weakest regarding health, the Pyro being able to set things on fire, including enemy spies which are disguised as players of your team, Demomen setting sticky bomb traps or generally dealing a lot of damage in order to destroy enemy objects (or buildings, as they’re called).

The Engineer is able to build objects which help the team, like sentries to guard points on the map and automatically attack enemies (except for spies which are disguised as one of the other players from your team), dispensers which slowly heal players from your team and also supply them with ammo, and teleporters to help the team get to the point of action faster.

The Heavy is the one with the most health and can often act as a living turret gun to protect certain points or key players like the Medic.

The Medic, my favorite of all, although it is the weakest regarding both health and damage dealt when firing his primary weapon, is one of the most important for the team, as his secondary weapon isn’t actually a weapon at all. Instead it is a portable healing tool which also charges up to use a special ability (the “ÜberCharge”), unique for every kind of secondary weapon, from a few seconds of invulnerability to a few seconds of allowing the currently healed player to deal massive critical damage, or heal players much faster, in case the current situation doesn’t allow to fully charge for invulnerability or critical damage.

The Sniper and The Spy can deal head shots, and each of them has a special role. The Sniper’s most important job is usually to take out enemy medics so the enemy team can not deploy ÜberCharges or heal enemy players. The Spy, as mentioned before, can disguise himself as any of the players from the enemy team, can become invisible for a limited time so he can get behind enemy lines – literally, as one of his main abilities is the “backstab”, which literally stabs an enemy in the back, instantly killing them regardless of their health. Upon attacking, a Spy’s disguise is lost, and he is vulnerable to enemy sentries. He is also vulnerable if the enemy team starts attacking him because they noticed weird behavior.

Anyway, between 2011 and 2013 it was still well worth to play this game… but now it really isn’t. You’re more likely to get upset than to have any fun at all. Sorry. However, special events like Halloween might still be enjoyable, since every year they add new features to the game around that time (and also a lot of new cosmetic items, so you can empty your cash on this game from time to time).

P.S.: Speaking of getting achievements, you can view my personal Steam achievements progress for this game here (click).

Legacy of Kain: Defiance


I’m going to be honest: the most important thing required to play this game is a controller. Ten years ago I’ve played it without one, and trust me, it’s extremely frustrating, where as playing it with a game pad is a totally different feeling, like you’re playing a different game…

I have two complaints about the whole game: requiring a controller to play it fluently was a very, very big mistake. It is by far the best game in the series, but it’s ruined by this simple fact, and the camera makes matters worse. It becomes confusing when it’s facing opposite angles all of a sudden, and at times it seems made especially to drive you insane, even if you are playing it with a controller.

I’m a PC gamer and I don’t own any consoles, so I don’t see why I would have to own a joystick or a game pad to play a video game from a series that never really required one. Maybe I’m exaggerating…

Well, if you are not bothered by the weird camera and (I emphasize this again) you do have a game controller to play this game with, then you’ll be pleased with the story and atmosphere of the final and best game in the series.

Unfortunately, I can only give it a 8 out of 10, because of the frustration brought to me by the camera and controls. It’s still a game I recommend if you’re a fan of The Legacy of Kain series, though.


The Resistance

The image is called “The Resistance” and it’s copyrighted to Andrew Turnbull and his website. Click on it to visit the original post.

It is the page that now replaces an article he wrote about his experience with Windows 95, article which I had found on one of Ubuntu’s forums. Being a collector of old hardware and software, I really appreciated his views on using old technology on a daily basis, so I’ve copied the text as a quote to my own blog, not knowing that one day it would be of use for a bit of history.

Here’s what he wrote back then:

Why I Still Use Windows 95

The operating system I currently use on my primary computer is Windows 95 OSR2. Furthermore, not only do I use Windows 95 extensively, but I prefer it to Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, and Vista.

Yes, I am aware that this puts me in a position not shared by many other people today. I wouldn’t be surprised if the proportion of people still using Windows 95 on a regular basis is ½% or less. And, I am accustomed to getting strange or uncomplementary reactions from other people when they find out that I still do: “Are you insane?” or “Why the hell are you using Windows 95?!” are only typical. I can no longer count on most of the latest software being capable of running on this configuration. So, why do I still endorse a computer operating system more than ten years old?

First of all, a computer is a tool. It is a principal of mine that if a tool works well and satisfies my wants and needs, there is no reason to replace it; regardless of mere age. On that note, I have traditionally been the last using any given piece of computer software on occasions before: I used Windows 3.1x semi-regularly on my Gateway 2000 486 as late as mid-2003, when I had a practical need to turn to a newer computer for regular tasks and be capable of running 32-bit programs. Windows 95 is far more technologically sophisticated and viable than Windows 3.1x.

Second of all, for a variety of reasons I have a major aversion to Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and higher: I do not want to use it and I do not want it present in any form on any computer I own. With Windows 98, Microsoft needlessly integrated Internet Explorer 4.01 (or later 5.0) into features that were ostensibly parts of the operating system itself: The Explorer shell interface and Windows Help both display their contents in Internet Explorer windows complete with a browser-like throbber in the corner, with the browser difficult if not impossible to completely remove. This dubious practice has continued into all subsequent versions of Windows to date. By contrast, it is not difficult to completely remove or circumvent the preinstallation of Internet Explorer from Windows 95 OSR2, and the earliest versions (though less stable and less capable than OSR2) didn’t include IE at all.

Windows 95 is reasonably fast in performance, and is not compromised by the arguably frivolous animation and eye candy features in Windows 98 and newer versions: Sliding or fading menus, gradient title bars, “flat” toolbars, and menus that annoyingly take on the 3D appearance of command buttons when moving the mouse over or selecting them but to name a few examples. There are no “activation” schemes, and the OS installed takes up well under 500MB.

Currently there is no hardware or software I need or desire to use that is not capable of running on Windows 95. I can run even Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird in a pinch. Most of the applications I have found that do require Windows 98 or higher, meanwhile, tend to be incidentally plagued by having slow performance, a poor interface design (such as with the newest versions of Windows Media Player and RealPlayer), and/or no compelling functionality not present in an earlier version. In any case, the APIs of Windows 95 OSR2 and Windows 98 are virtually identical, and there is no good reason for any software capable of running on one not to work on the other as well. With my browser and e-mail client, Office 97, WordPerfect 7, and a few graphic tools I can be as productive as I like with Windows 95.

While I freely concede that Windows NT 4.0, 2000, and XP are much more stable than Windows 95, I also maintain that Windows 95 OSR2 is the most stable DOS-based version of Windows to be released, moreso than Windows 98 and especially the buggy mess that was Windows ME. It is substantially more stable and handles system resources more efficiently than Windows 3.1x as well.

I prefer to have as much native compatibility as possible with DOS applications such as older games I own. While it is possible to run these from Windows 2000 or XP either natively or (as circumstances may very well require) through an emulator, I prefer to have the real thing.

Finally, Windows 95 has an intuitive user interface I prefer to the IE-integrated monstrosities of Windows 98 and subsequent versions. Windows 95’s Explorer uses OS-native controls and menus, has all the most essential tools—such as file-delete and individual icon-view controls—on the toolbar, does not waste space with oversized toolbar controls or needless left-hand icon-and-caption panels, and doesn’t contain unnecessary Internet Explorer tie-ins such as awkward “back” and “forward” file navigation or a “Favorites” menu. The Start menu automatically sorts folders and files alphabetically automatically, and defaults to a multi-column view instead of Windows 98’s slow and inconvenient scroll arrows.

I don’t expect my reasoning to be representative for everyone, of course, and I have sometimes been tempted to switch to a different version of Windows myself (specifically NT 4.0 or 2000) or even abandon Windows entirely a number of times. However, I have justifiable reasons for my decisions, and will continue using Windows 95 OSR2 as my primary OS for the forseeable future until I can no longer run a relatively up-to-date web browser or absolutely must use a piece of hardware or software not compatible with Windows 95.

I got reminded of this while browsing some of my old e-mails and articles on my old blogs. I found an old e-mail I’ve sent to him in 2009, and his reply. As I recall, I’ve once sent another, asking about why he removed the article from his website, and his reply was that his points of view on technology were a bit different at the time.

This is what I wrote in my first e-mail:

from: Dumitru-Mihail Ionica
to: andrew.s.turnbull@gmail.com
date: Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 6:48 AM
subject: About your “Why I Still Use Windows 95″ tech post. Nothing negative, don’t worry.

Well uhm, first of all, hi. My name is Dumitru Ionica (Romanian for something like “Dimitri Johnatan”) and I’m 22 years old. I’ve stumbled across your journal a while ago but I didn’t get the chance to write you a reply to that post.

This may seem a little awkward but I wanted to say that I understand how you feel about the operating systems, if you really do use Windows 95 extensively. When I read that post I was searching Google for articles kind of anti-Windows Vista because I hated it so much that no matter how many times I’ve installed it, I’ve uninstalled it later on. Well now I have 7 which is more reliable than that atrocity called Vista… but I am running the current software just because I have a monster of a customised computer – I like to play video games.

What I wanted to say about the article is that actually Windows NT 4 was not as stable as you might think. I tried installing it several times on an older PC of mine and it just doesn’t want to work. My favorite two operating systems of all time have to be Windows 95 and Windows 2000. They’ve never dissapointed me, especially 2000 but sadly I had to upgrade to XP about 5 years ago because I was in need of running special software.

I must say that Windows 95 ran kind of flawlessly on my first personal computer despite how malfunctionning it was – hardware conflicts between the floppy drive and the sound card (I think it was an IRQ conflict but at the time I didn’t know much about that), it only detected a maximum amount of 16 MB or RAM out of 24 – which I found out I had later on because of some blue screens related to memory errors and many other things which I got over, though. I really enjoyed using it at the time, for about 4 to 5 years. Now I am collecting old PCs and from what I can gather I hope I will make a fully functional Windows 95 system soon… just for the fun of it, I am nostalgic about that OS. By the way I have it on a Pentium 1 laptop which a colleague of mine gave to me as a present. Working with computer hardware – especially older hardware is my hobby. I really enjoy doing stuff like this and it relaxes me… along with things like configuring CISCO routers or machines like them, all done in the terminal, I hope you don’t think I’m crazy for liking text-mode. 🙂

Oh, just for you to know, you’re not the only one who still uses it extensively for daily tasks. I have a neighbour who is in charge of calculating the water and natural gas consumption of the building and he does it all… on Windows 95. Which by the way, reminds me I’ve promissed him that I would download an older version of WinRAR and give it to him.

Well that is all I wanted to say. Hope I haven’t been trouble and thanks for your time.

I was surprized when I got a reply. I wasn’t expecting that, as my way of expressing myself is pretty awkward.

from: Andrew Turnbull
to: Dumitru-Mihail Ionica
date: Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 8:50 AM
subject: Re: About your “Why I Still Use Windows 95″ tech post. Nothing negative, don’t worry.

Hi Dumitru,

I’m finally catching up with my last week of e-mail… Thanks for writing.

In regard to the various versions, it’s actually been a long time since I last had the chance to use Windows NT4. I remember it as being a stable OS; though it wasn’t without its frustrations…particularly in regard to configuration issues.

Although I’ve never been fond of its interface, I have a kind of begrudging respect for Windows 2000: It was reliable, and functionality arguably plateaued with that release. Even today, I wouldn’t doubt that most current software titles would be capable of working with Windows 2000 if their makers gave them a chance.

Good luck with your laptop. I used to work quite a bit with older computer hardware myself; scrounging up various pieces of equipment on the cheap, observing how they worked, and continually pooling parts together and upgrading systems. Unfortunately, my interest in the topic began to wane six or seven years ago after various frustrations and unrelated distractions began to get in the way. Since then, most of the work I’ve done with computers has been limited to using them productively!

Take care,

Andrew Turnbull

Last, but not least, I’ve sent an e-mail asking if I could quote his old article on my blog, since it wasn’t posted on his website anymore, and he created the easter egg page instead. I don’t have the original e-mail I’ve sent to him anymore, however I have kept the reply:

subject: Re: Easteregg
date: Sunday, July 31, 2011 8:37 PM
From: “Andrew Turnbull”
To: “Dumitru-Mihail Ionica”

Dear Dumitru,

Thanks for sharing. I don’t mind you quoting my old piece, although I’d probably decide to emphasize slightly different points if I wrote a similar piece today.

Andrew Turnbull

I was tempted to use a spell checker on this post, but I’ve changed my mind, because I want to preserve everything exactly as it was. His little page about Netscape’s browser history had me a little intrigued. Because I like collecting and using old pieces of technology myself, I felt like I had to mention that here. He seems to be into weird nonesense, just like myself. I’d say he deserves a visit to his website every now and then, even if only just for killing boredom.

Update from 24.11.2018:
Sometime around July the 2nd, he said he still hates Windows 98. Heh. Go to the end of the page to read the article.