Faithful readers of the site should be very familiar with the humorous work of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw. However, what they might not realize is that he has also created a lot of serious, downright scary content. Despite the humorous tone, the story in that last link loosely ties into the subject of today’s article. While he has used horror themes in games like the 1213 series and Poacher, his most famous (and most frightening) games are the “Chzo Mythos” games (originally known as the “DeFoe series”). The games in said series consist of:
5 Days a Stranger
7 Days a Skeptic
6 Days a Sacrifice
Despite the similarity of the names, the series has nothing to do with the Cthulhu Mythos. This works in favor of the games, as they allow players to have a chance at a fresh experience that isn’t bound by any preexisting expectations or guidelines set by Lovecraft. As cool as Cthulhu and his ilk are, the familiarity that so many horror fans have with them takes away from the scares that can only be had from dealing with the truly unknown and unexpected. While H.P. Lovecraft was never able to create a full length version of the fabled Necronomicon due to the knowledge that it could never live up to the insanity-inducing reputation he built up for it in his stories, Croshaw can reveal the complete texts of the sacred books mentioned in the games.
But what about the installments themselves? Each one is a horror adventure game that deals with a thief named Trilby and his struggle against the agents of the pain elemental Chzo. Like his supernatural enemy, Trilby makes his presence known even in games where he technically doesn’t make an appearance. Trust me, that makes more sense when you play through the games (or read all the spoilers online). The original name for the series comes from John Defoe, a masked slasher who has ties to Chzo’s Order of Blessed Agonies and is also acts as a very important recurring element in the overall plot. Think of Michael Myers and the “Curse of Thorn” done right and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the basic undercurrent of the games. The series even features an “in space” installment that actually makes the concept work! The final two installments have also been linked to the Slender Man internet meme!
In addition to the entire quadrilogy being available for free download in a variety of languages, there are also special editions to boot! In addition to their having extended endings, the special editions have extra features like interviews, creator’s commentaries for each game character profiles and much, much more. If that isn’t enough for you, there’s also a creepy short story called “The Expedition” available on Yahtzee’s website that fleshes out more about Chzo’s methods and motivations. Although not a horror game, interested parties can follow the further adventures of Trilby in the spin-off game Trilby: The Art of Theft. Speaking of Trilby, his name actually has a horror connection! You see, his name comes from the Trilby hat he wears. Said hat gained its name after being used in the first stage adaptation of George du Maurier’s novel Trilby, which is best known for introducing Svengali to the world.
It’s also worth noting that Slender Man has turned up into other free video games, like Slender: The Eight Pages (that link features another familiar face for regular readers of this site). You can learn more about that game (and its upcoming sequels) here.
As always, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of downloading from any links given here. Attempt at your own discretion. Blah blah blah…