This post is part of "The Sensationalist," a continuing series here at Experience Points in which we examine games' abilities to evoke emotions and sensations in video game players. Please have a look at the series' introduction as well its previous entries. As always, we welcome your thoughts on all the matters we discuss, and look forward to analyzing one of gaming's most powerful, yet intangible, abilities.
My latest post is up on PopMatters: Exploring Confined Space. While not conceived of as a Sensationalist post, I think the subject matters fits nicely into the series. I also want to maintain my habit of posting this approach to videogames with at least some frequency.
I have actually been meaning to write about Escape the Room games for awhile now, ever since playing Sagrario's Room Escape, which is one of the best of the genre. The simple white-washed room you find yourself in is deeply unsettling. It actually reminds me of the television show Lost, which features mysterious and sterile confined spaces. Also like Lost, most of these games have only the shred of an interesting story. It is a missed opportunity considering how much single-room experiences can offer.
Watching any of the films I mentioned in the article should convince you of the opportunities confined spaces can offer to game designers. Buried is not film of the year quality, but it is proof that a compelling and unique story can be told in terribly limiting circumstances. Some games do exploit confined spaces to evoke claustrophobia or other neat sensations. I mentioned Dead Space and Bioshock, which create an enclosed space that feels very confining. You could include a few levels from Halo in there as well. If you think of any others, definitely let me know. I am certain I am missing some fantastic use of a closet.