As a grizzled old gamer, I used to love the survival horror genre. I played what is considered by many to be the progenitor of those games - the original Alone in the Dark - and loved series such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Although they spawned some decent (and not-so-decent) contenders to their grimy, blood-stained crown, the genre became less and less... itself... as time went by.
Take Resident Evil, for example. I'm not saying I don't enjoy later iterations of the series (RE4 is still one of my favourites) but it replaced its horror with guns-blazing action. I haven't played the most recent Silent Hill game, SH Downpour, but I'm led to believe it was a sub-par entry to the series.
But in recent years, there's been something of a resurgence for survival horror. Whether you like them or not, there's no denying that games like The Evil Within and its sequel as well as the most recent Resident Evil, RE Biohazard, are returning to the genre's roots. Of course, there's always been something of a cult following (pun intended) with the indie scene, but it's nice to see the return of a beloved favourite game type returning to the Triple A market.
So what caused its decline in the first place? Video games have unrivalled potential when it comes to sowing seeds of horror because of their interactive nature. Was it down to a change in what gamers want, and newer generations are more action-oriented? Was it because the horrors that once fascinated us have all been seen before in previous games, and no longer scared us? Or was it just that developers didn't want to take a risk on a genre that was never as much of a money-magnet as action games (at least here in the west?)
I think perhaps it's all of these things. But like the revenants of their subject matter, I believe they are rising again.