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My name is Michel Sabbagh and I'm a game designer from Montreal, Quebec. I enjoy playing, designing, and blogging about video games (especially first-person shooters), crafting game design documents, writing game design/development articles and discussing video games with my peers and instructors. I also love liberal arts, which I think will serve as huge inspirations for my projects. I hope you all will enjoy my blog.

One of the greatest fiction authors of all time, H.P. Lovecraft, once said that “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” This tried-and-true adage has served as the bedrock of memorable horror works like The Shining and The Ring for several decades, and people are still finding ways to create that unsettling feeling effectively and innovatively. It worked extremely well with movies and books. What about games?

Michel Sabbagh Horror

Video games have untapped potential for effective horror experiences, and there have been many examples of games that have fulfilled, if not exceeded, that potential. Games like Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill, and Fatal Frame have taken Lovecraft’s template and repurposed it to unnerve the player in their own unique way, be it through the gameplay mechanics or the audiovisual presentation. It’s one of the greatest and most potent ways of immersing the active participant into the virtual experience.

Video games are special when it comes to depicting horror because the participant himself/herself is the one who has to bear the tension and eeriness that permeates the overall experience, and he/she is the one who has to face his/her fears and keep them in check. As a result, the game designer can take serious advantage of that immersive trait to craft a game that plays with the player’s paranoia. 

But evoking feelings of terror and panic in a fictional work is no easy task, and doing so in video games is no different. The game designer has to be extremely careful about how he/she wants to craft the game’s spooky ambiance and design the game mechanics around the ultimate goal of making the player feel uneasy and tense.

I shall prove my point by listing the five important tenets that all engrossing survival horror games should respect. For each tenet, I’m going to give you an example of a game that nails that design element. Read more here: Michel Sabbagh.

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