I had yet another Q & A with another well-known YouTube video gamer. This time it was with Mullet Mike. An avid fan of the survival horror genre, over the last year, he hosts the Creepy Gaming series on YouTube and is also the content manager of the Sticky Paddle Gaming Network. His personal channel has gained over 600,000 views and 26,000 subscribers, whilst The Sticky Paddle YouTube channel has garnished over 11,000,000 views and 132,000 subscribers.
Amidst my concerns over the survival horror genre, I wanted to ask someone who knows a lot more about them than I do, and who can probably appreciate them more than what I seem to be able to. So, in an attempt to at least change my perception of the genre somewhat, I asked him a few questions about them. But he had something to say first:
“Allow me to start by thanking you for this opportunity, This is really cool. It’s very flattering that you want to hear my thoughts and opinions. Thanks for having me!”
However, I think that it’s me who should be thanking him for the opportunity to quiz him about this. His reputation and viewing figures across YouTube speak for themselves, and to me, he represents a place that I one day hope to get to. The questions I posed to him, and the answers he gave are as follows:
I personally find that gameplay in survival horrors suffers for how much developers concentrate on making the game as scary as possible. How do you think a developer’s focus on scaring people affects gameplay overall; positively or negatively?
“It’s one of the developer’s many jobs to produce good scares, so I think that they should focus at least some of their attention on those frightening moments. Memorable scares should be the main priority, aside from gameplay. Without gameplay, you have nothing. That being said, I do, however, feel that developers tend to focus more on simple jump scares, rather than psychological horror.”
Having read his answer to this question, I feel relieved that I’m not the only one who thinks that gameplay should take priority. It is indeed the most important aspect of any video game, but of course, it is important to focus attention on horror in the right places rather than relying on either jump scares or buckets of blood. The trick is just to get the balance right between that and gameplay.
What is your favorite survival horror game?
“Hands down, without any hesitation, the Silent Hill Series (Mainly SH 1-4) Since you asked what my favorite was, and I had to pick, I’d say Silent Hill 2. I would elaborate more, but I might be covering it on Season 4 of Creepy Gaming.”
Since he revealed that he prefers to have psychological elements rather than simple jump scares, it’s easy to understand how the second is his favorite. I have ideas about how he could elaborate more on that, but I wouldn’t want to give anything away if he plans on covering it on Creepy Gaming. In any case, I’ve got to say I’m very much looking forward to season 4.
What is your least favorite survival horror game?
“I’d have to say “Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoirs” for the Nintendo 3DS. The game had a lot of potential but just fell flat. I’d rather play “Fatal Frame” any day.”
That he’d rather play Fatal Frame is perfectly understandable the way I see it. That game is without a doubt one of the scariest I’ve ever seen. I think if I couldn’t play Outlast in the dark, then I’d have next to no chance with Fatal Frame.
What is your opinion on the new generation of gaming?
“This is an exciting time to be a gamer. The video game industry is bigger than ever! There’s more content, more developers, more outlets, and more competition than ever before. This could only mean good things for us gamers. I’m looking to the future with hope when it comes to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC gaming. Something tells me “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
My sentiments exactly. This is indeed an exciting time to indulge in what this industry has to offer, and for him to express such optimism was very uplifting. However, my hope is that there doesn’t end up being too much competition created; just like what happened in the second generation of gaming, when consumers suffered from having too much choice. But I think if the Steam Machine takes off as predicted, and if healthy competition is maintained between Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, then there shouldn’t be a problem
What did you think of 2013 in terms of gaming and the 7th generation overall?
“2013 was a great year. E3 this past summer was one of the best we’ve seen in years. We saw the next generation of gaming consoles battle head to head. We also saw the release of GTA V, as well as many other notable titles. Yeah, 2013 was pretty damn awesome.”
After asking Necro VMX and delving further into what 2013 had to offer, my previous skepticism is starting to vanish after playing A Link Between Worlds, Terraria, and Tomb Raider. I haven’t played Grand Theft Auto V yet, however, but I believe that once I do, my cynicism will either be realized or withdrawn, as it was one of the standout titles of the year.
Are you excited for the future of survival horror titles such as Outlast or The Evil Within?
“Very much so. If you know me then I love a good horror game. I am always looking for the “next big thing” too. I’ve gotten to play Outlast on the PS4 recently, but I didn’t have much time to dedicate to it. From what I’ve played, though, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I jumped a couple of times… I’ll admit it.”
Although I personally didn’t think much of Outlast overall, I think The Evil Within has potential; and the fact that Mike is very excited about the future of the genre makes me feel much more optimistic about it, too. I have to admit, however, though I didn’t enjoy the gameplay in Outlast, it made me jump more than a few times.
Do you prefer either the mainstream or the indie game scene?
“No preference. I think they both bring something unique to the table. I always try to keep my options open when it comes to video games. I never try to judge a game by its cover, if you will. I can say I have enjoyed both mainstream titles as well as indie games.”
What I like about Mike’s answer to that question is that it proves that he likes to keep things diverse, and I believe that is the best way to go. Especially as some analysts actually believe that indie games may be the bigger part of the future of the industry as a whole.
What are your favorite and least favorite non-horror games and why?
“My favorite non-horror games would have to be the GTA series. If I was left on an island with an LCD screen TV, the console of my choice, and a copy of GTA V… I think I’d be alright. There is just so much to do in those games. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tough choice because there are so many great titles out there, but I think I’d have to go with the GTA series. As far as least favorite goes, I really don’t know. That’s a tougher call than trying to decide my favorite game.”
Admittedly, after having read his answer, and with him talking about Grand Theft Auto V in that context, it does make me want to try it out more. But more importantly, Mike’s answer also emphasized his belief in the importance of substance in gameplay, which I very much share.
Do you explore horror in other media as well as video games?
“Oh yeah! I’m a big horror movie fan. I love any and all scary movies. Whether it’s well made, low budget B movies, Universal Classics, Japanese Kaiju, Suspense (a la Hitchcock), Thrillers, 80’s gore movies… You name it! I love my scary movies.”
In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve indulged in enough horror films, and I wouldn’t mind doing that more than playing survival horror games. At least with films, I wouldn’t have so many things to complain about, as with survival horror games, and I would find it much easier to appreciate them for what they are.
Who is your favorite horror character and why? Video game-related or otherwise.
“One of my all-time favorite movies (not just horror, but movies of all time) is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974. So if I had to choose, I’d say Leatherface. I don’t know why, but I’ve always enjoyed the idea of “the tragic monster”. Some good examples are Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera, and Leatherface. There’s something sad about them, but they can be badass when they need to. I guess it gives them more depth, versatility, and character development, and I appreciate that.”
I can see where Mike was coming from with his interest in the tragic monster or villain. That’s the whole reason why I believe Mr. Freeze is the best Batman villain because his intentions are innocent even if his methods aren’t. But I think the scariest character in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the Granddad by far.
If you can remember, what is the worse nightmare you’ve ever had?
“This is really creepy. I had this nightmare when I was probably 10 years old and it has stuck with me ever since. I can still visualize it perfectly. I remember standing in an all-white room. In front of me stood a woman wearing a white dress. She didn’t utter a word, but I knew she was no threat. She seemed very welcoming and inviting. As I approached her, I noticed that she saw something over my shoulder. I don’t know why, but I just knew she was about to scream, and she did! I’ll never forget it. It was one of the most blood-curdling screams I’d ever heard. I reluctantly turned around to see what could have possibly scared her to that point. Behind me stood, what I can only describe as some type of demonic creature. It was 9-10 ft. tall, with horns, and large wings on its back. The creature was partially covered in dark fur, in stark contrast to the all-white room. The demon then growled, showing its sharp fangs, before quickly snatching me up. It was then, I woke up, startled and scared. It was so vivid and seemed so real. I will never forget that night.”
In all fairness, that sounds like a particularly scary dream. The reason I asked that question was to get an idea of what type of thing can scare an avid fan of horror most. It just goes to show that ideas, subconscious or not, seem like the scariest things when growing up; as opposed to simple jump scares. And as Mike had this nightmare when he was a child, it must’ve been ten times scarier for him.
When He’d finished answering my questions, he added a closing statement:
“I want to thank you again, Steven. This was really cool, really flattering. I appreciate you having me on your blog. I wish you the best, and thank you for this opportunity”.
I, in turn, want to take the opportunity to thank him. It was exciting to read his responses to my questions and to understand his views and opinions on survival horror games and games in general, as well as other forms of horror. I appreciate him taking the time to answer my questions for the blog and I hope he enjoyed reading the full article. I also wish him all the best with the fourth season of Creepy Gaming, and with the Sticky Paddle Gaming Network. Be sure to like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and as the man himself says, keep it sticky, stay creepy, and peaceful. Here are the links to his channels and pages.
The Sticky Paddle