I tried a scary maze game today. One of my so-called friends sent me a link to try it out. I knew at once what it was going to be. Jump scares are the cheapest thrill ever. They’ve been employed since the beginning of time. I didn’t want to do it. I don’t like jump scares. Why would I want to play a scary maze game that is just going to make my heart palpitate?
Once I decided to stop being such a wimp, I went to the website anyway. I was determined to beat this thing. It wasn’t going to scare me. If I knew the jump scare was coming, it would hold no power over me. I was going to win.
The premise of the game was to move the cursor through the maze and not touch the walls. If you touch the walls, you have to go back to the beginning. Simple right? Just move the arrow keys and don’t touch the walls.
Not so simple. You have to use a mouse. I use a laptop, and I don’t have a mouse. So I was forced to use my touchpad. I was already on a losing path.
So the first screen pops up. It’s pretty much a straight forward thing. Not a maze at all. Those liars. I twist the cursor around the bends, and make it to the second screen. The walls are closer this time. Still, even with my touchpad, I was able to make it through. Though it wasn’t nearly as fast as the first screen. See, I was trying to go fast so that the jump scare wouldn’t get me. I had this feeling that it would happen if I was on one screen for too long.
Third screen pops up. Walls are even closer this time. My cursor is moving at a snail’s pace. At the end of the tunnel, the walls are so close it’s impossible to get through them without touching. But I tried anyway. Tongue out, brow furrowed, I leaned in close to my screen and maneuvered my touchpad slowly through the tunnel.
And then it happened.
The jump scream.
It got me. Right when I had forgotten it was going to happen. The little exorcist demon girl popped up on my screen and screamed at me. Of course I jumped back, my heart started racing, my pupils dilated, and nervous laughter began to trickle from my lips. I began to waggle my finger at the screen as if it could see me. “Well played,” I said out loud to the demon girl.
The genius of this game was that, even though you know it’s coming, it still gets you. It makes you forget that there is going to be a jump screen. Instead, you’re so focused on getting that stupid cursor through the impossible hallway, that the jump scare catches you completely off guard. Simple, yet effective. Now I have to find some other victims for this game. I can’t be the only one to do this.