In previous classes at Davidson I have discussed different art themes, one of my most favorite being the theme of the Uncanny. I am a big fan of scary movies and games because of the rush I receive by playing them. This rush can be amplified to high levels especially through media like movies and video games. Especially Virtual Reality video games. In Death is a virtual reality game based on the premise that you have been transported to “purgatory” and you have to rid it of the creatures that live there, namely demonic archers and knights. It is one of the few games to have given me a true moment of fear by how well it can encompass the uncanny.
The first element of the Uncanny that players will notice about the game is how the soundtrack creates an immersive and eerie sounding world. The creaks of the castles you navigate, the sounds of arrows piercing flesh, and the sounds of souls rushing past you create a world that keeps you looking behind you for something evil. These sounds are complemented by a world that upon first glance looks familiar but you soon realize is anything but, a hallmark for the Uncanny. There are seemingly endless drops and spaces so dark you cannot even see your enemy, that both evoke fear of the unknown, another Uncanny characteristic. The enemies are also quite large, appearing at around 7 ft tall for some of them.
The Uncanny characteristics of In Death render the world an immersive and intense place, perfect for loosing yourself in a game. I wanted to hit on the danger of this, however. TASS a Russian news agency recently reported a case of a man dying while playing virtual reality games alone. According to the report the man tripped into a glass table and after cutting himself on the resulting broken glass, ended up bleeding out. According to PCGamer.com this is the first case of someone dying while playing VR. There are possibly many other dangerous situations regarding virtual reality gaming. The immersive nature of games such as In Death are spectacular sights to behold but need to be approached with caution.