they’ve advanced menacingly toward our camera lenses, hidden their faces when
we look at them or just sort of hovered aimlessly, ghosts have been a semi-constant
threat in videogames almost since the medium was invented. One of the great
things about games, however, is that they’re a way to explore unusual
viewpoints – and every once in a while, they give us a chance to see through
the eyes of these undead phantoms, and find out what it’s like to flit
insubstantially through an earthly plane that’s perpetually, almost comically
afraid of us.
a handful of games have actually offered a chance to see things from the proverbial
Other Side, but these are our favorites.
7. Ghost babies
Haunted the living in: The
a man and a woman love each other very much, they can go under the covers (or
into a hot tub, tree house, tent, or sarcophagus) and WooHoo, and sometimes
something magical can happen. In nine months (or a few days, whichever), they
have a baby! And if the man or woman was actually an undead specter, the
resulting child is, well… a ghost.
a ghost. In The Sims 3, you can not only control ghosts as playable characters
after Sims die, you can have a ghost bang another Sim (presumably through Whoopi
Goldberg’s body) to give birth to ghost babies. You can also drink a ghost
potion during pregnancy to turn the Sim with child into a Sim with ghost child.
Sims actually age like normal Sims, going through adolescence, maturity, and
all of the other stages of Sim life, and they eventually even die of natural
causes. That’s the only way, though – they can’t be starved, drowned, burned,
or killed in any other way. Ghost babies are just like normal babies, except
they’re transparent, impossible to kill, and remarkably horrifying.
6. Margaret, Edwin and Brice
Haunted the living in: AMBER:
underrated point-and-click adventure game from 1996, the ability to play as a
ghost isn’t portrayed as fun, cool or zany… just sad. And the three spirits you
possess as a paranormal researcher aren’t cartoon sprites or superpowered
monsters… they’re believable human characters who died in believably human
(though still horrifying) ways.
Margaret, wife of a soldier fighting in World War II, committed suicide upon
learning that her husband had been killed in battle. Edwin went sledding with
his teddy bear, but ended up drowning in a frozen lake after the ice cracked.
Saddest and scariest of all is Brice, a simple-minded gardener who grew
obsessed with his employer’s daughter, then murdered her, her family and
himself when she refused to accompany him on an imaginary trip to space.
AMBER: Journeys Beyond is about as realistic and grounded as the concept of
“playable ghosts” can get. What’s most unique and macabrely fascinating about
the game, however, is that these fates aren’t revealed at first. The ghosts
don’t realize they’re dead or remember how they died – it’s up to the player to
explore each life, put the pieces together and solve the mystery, thus helping
the confused souls accept their fate and move on.