E3 2018: FIRE ESCAPE is a VR Horror Experience Perfect for Old-School Genre Fans - Dread Central
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E3 2018: FIRE ESCAPE is a VR Horror Experience Perfect for Old-School Genre Fans

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Fire Escape VR Experience - E3 2018: FIRE ESCAPE is a VR Horror Experience Perfect for Old-School Genre Fans

Regular Dread Central readers know I’ve been in the horror game for a minute, but I’ve often felt like there is a generational divide between genre fans who came of age in the 1980s & 1990s and the younger generation of cinematic thrill-seekers. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the arena of video games.

When I grew up, there was little significant crossover between horror and video games. Yes, horror movies have been adapted digitally since the 8-bit pixelated days, but these were anomalies; plus, the technology wasn’t yet at a point where graphics and programming could induce a legitimately harrowing experience.

All that has changed in the Internet age. Through PCs and competing consoles, horror has made deep inroads into gaming. The graphics, the level of storytelling, and the intelligence necessary to excel are now on par with what genre fans are looking for.

This was my first year at the E3 Conference in Los Angeles, an annual Mecca for gamers and developers, and it was illuminating to say the least. If you’re an old-school horror fan like myself, you may be wondering if this new wave of survival gaming is worth the investment—especially if you feel like you’re late to the game (pun intended).

The answer is “Yes”. Whether you’re a fan of violent confrontation or slow-burn insanity, there’s a worthwhile experience for just about every type of horror fan. I was especially enamored by Fire Escape, and interactive VR series from iNK STORIES. It’s basically a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, set in today’s New York City—and you’re James Stewart.

This was my very first experience with VR, and while it doesn’t deliver the kind of hyper-reality many horror filmmakers are currently experimenting with, it was completely immersive nonetheless. In other words, it didn’t feel like “real life” but I was completely absorbed in the experience.

While it might not seem like much, there was a point during my 10-minutes of gameplay when I actually wanted to get more comfortable by leaning against the fire escape I was standing on. When it wasn’t there, I literally took a stumble. So, while it may not be like plugging into The Matrix, it’s nonetheless completely immersive. I truly felt like I was inside this video game!

Another aspect of Fire Escape that will appeal to seasoned genre fans like myself is that there’s no urgency, no sensory overload from an onslaught of digital assassins, no combination of buttons to learn in order to perform a certain function. Simply plug in, and the story unfolds around you. Once you get your bearings, who you interact with and what you do with the knowledge provided is entirely up to you.

There’s so much more to gaming than first-person shooters, and VR experiences like Fire Escape are likely to seduce even stanch technophobes, as long as they’re willing to give it a whirl. Check out the trailer and synopsis below.

Synopsis:
When the clock strikes eight in Brooklyn, a suspenseful drama begins to unfold in real time—where you can interact and peer into the private lives of eight disenfranchised tenants entangled in a murder. Audiences must embrace their voyeuristic tendencies in this rich and unique interactive series to reveal a gripping truth.

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