Unnerving Voices

I was talking with a friend last night about the new game Control, from the makers of Alan Wake and Quantum Break. Alan Wake is a horror- or thriller-themed action-adventure game, depending on where your personal dividing line is between the two, and Control is a game in a very similar vein. In both of these games, there are whispering voices that are hard to make out that I find to be very unnerving. What was interesting to me was that these whispered voices are more unnerving for me than the disembodied voices from the game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.

Hellblade has received a lot of praise for its depiction of psychosis, including auditory hallucinations. These auditory hallucinations take the form, mostly, of voices in the main character’s head, some of them supporting her and others discouraging her or plotting against her. The game studio behind Hellblade worked closely with neuroscientists, mental health specialists, and people suffering from psychosis to properly depict it in the game.

So why the difference in how the two sets of voices affect me? The best I can figure out is that, specifically, it is hard to make out what the indistinct, whispered voices in Control are saying, whereas the auditory hallucinations from Hellblade are mostly clear and understandable. Apparently, I’m much more able to cope with someone openly and honestly plotting my downfall than someone who is whispering vaguely malevolent things that I can’t quite make out.

I’m pretty certain this isn’t a universal thing but I thought it was interesting to note in case I ever decide to make a game or movie of the horror or thriller variety :grinning:


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