The Theater 2013 is an interactive horror experience based on a horror short story. If you’ve not played the game yet I recommend you download it and try it out. The game doesn’t require installation and only takes 5 minutes to play; then join me after the jump and check out my play through with a heart monitor.
The game design in The Theater is relatively simple, the player progresses down a theater corridor which progressively becomes more oppressive. At the very end the player is warned about an escaped creature which true to fashion is behind them waiting for the player to around and surprise them.
I played through the game wearing a heart monitor which you can see below. In the beginning the game isn’t very scary, but the tension soon rises as the lights go out, your vision is obscured and the loudspeaker crackles something awful. By the end of the experience your primed for your encounter with the monster which I’ve highlighted in the graph which caused a jump of roughly 20 beats per minute in my heart rate.
It would probably of been more interesting if I used a skin conductance sensor, similar to the Mama game I built, but I don’t have one handy at the moment (some assembly required with that). Anyways, that was a quick play through and presentation of some game related physiological data, I’m hoping to do some more of this in the future.
On a side note: I’m rather fond of The Theaters game design as it would make for a perfect sandbox to explore the effect of different horror effects on the player experience (both subjective and physiological). The corridor environment is simple enough to systematically test different effects in a controlled manner.