As someone who loves being scared, my personal favorite way to achieve that sweet sweet adrenaline rush is through video games. I love the interactivity video games bring to the table, and with advances in graphics technology over just the past 10 or so years (just peep the difference between The Last of Us Remastered and The Last of Us Part I, eight years apart), you can get some seriously spooky, gory effects.
The Quarry, like its predecessor, Until Dawn, is a loving homage to ’80s slasher movies. It follows a cohort of camp counselors as they celebrate the last day of camp, only to have their party plans thwarted by a sinister force lurking in the woods. As with other Supermassive Games, it’s your choices as the player that determine which, if any, of the counselors survive the night.
And regardless of whether they survive (but especially when they don’t), you get to watch lots of spooky scary scenes of gore and suspense. Let’s not pretend you’re reading this article about a horror game for any other reason — you, like me, are here to get the pants scared off of you. First prize for spookiest scariest death scene goes to the beheading in chapter six, but the multiple times in chapter nine when a character can get their face shot off are close runner-ups.
I almost didn’t want to succeed, because the death scenes were almost more compelling than the scenes of escape. But ultimately, I did really want all of the characters to survive, because the greatest strength of the game is in its characters.
When I first bought The Quarry, I planned to play it completely blind, and accept the deaths of certain characters as a natural consequence of me just not being that good at video games. But then I met Ryan.
Ryan, as a character, is a carbon copy of my little brother. At any point in The Quarry’s plot, I could almost perfectly predict what he would do next just by imagining what my brother would do in that situation. And I got really, really attached to him. I was not going to let him die.
And then, in chapter nine, I forgot an important game mechanic, and got him killed. One of the getting-his-face-shot-off deaths, no less. And I replayed the entire game to get him back. Because Ryan — and, really, every single character — resonated with me that much.
The characters in The Quarry feel like real people that you know. They’re goofy as hell, and they’re all varying degrees of badass, and they find time to be concerned with their insecurities and petty squabbles even in the midst of a life-or-death scenario.
The Quarry is not without flaw: The seventh and 10th chapters in particular are weak and anticlimactic, and none of my ships ever got resolved, goshdarnit. But it’s exactly the kind of game I was hoping it would be, backing up my aspirations with gory effects and compelling characters.
RIP Ryan, you were too good for this Earth.