Many videogames are designed with conflict in mind, and thus revolve around intimidating, sometimes even frightening, the player. The survival horror genre has been crammed full of horrific monstrosities designed entirely to terrify their audience. Developers are so good at creating scary monsters and super freaks, however, that it seems they can't help themselves. In short, even when games try to be cute or otherwise non-threatening, they often end up even spookier.
In this column, we take a look at some of the scariest videogames characters that were never designed to be scary. Their creators wanted something adorable, or amiable, or at least vaguely likable, but instead gave birth to hideous, misshapen, nightmarish beasts that will break your spirit and claim your dreams. Read on only if you have nothing left to fear.
It's never explained what an EyePet is, but given the fact that the game is presided over by an unfunny man in a lab coat, one can only assume that it's the result of scientists playing God and birthing a rancid blight that stalks this Earth with an eternal hunger for human thoughts. Or, some Sony executives just brainstormed for ten minutes on what makes something "cute" and got it entirely wrong.
The EyePet is not "cute." Look at the thing. It's a short, hairy, fanged little vermin that has distinctly humanoid features without ever truly looking like a human. The EyePet reminds me of those old cuddly toys that had plastic hands and faces and could suck their own thumbs. Holy Hell in a handbasket, those things were demented.
Seriously, do a Google Image Search for "Chic A Boo" and try to tell me that's not absolutely horrifying.
In truth, there are dozens of Legend of Zelda characters that could have made this list, due to how disconnected and weird every NPC in Zelda seems to be. It would have been easy to use Tingle, but I refuse to believe his creepiness was an accident. Instead, I'm going with Agitha, the bug-obsessed little girl from Twilight Princess. Not the most obvious of choices, but since when were the forces of Satan anything but subtle?
And that's what I am convinced Agitha is -- a soulless fiend in thrall to the Lord of Lies. She sits there, on her own, in a self-contained saccharin kingdom pumped full of twisted child's music. She's filled her house with moths, just like Jame Gumb in Silence of the Lambs, and the way she talks about creepy-crawlies is nothing if not scarily fetishistic.
If you enter her sordid domain and try to leave while you have bugs, she will HISS at you and declare that she knows you have them. She knows! How does she know these things? Why is she hissing? Is she building an insect army like the one in The Mummy so that she can chew her way through Hyrule and claim dominion as the Cockroach Queen?
Obviously she is. She should have been crucified outside of her house the moment Link set eyes on her.
Shadow of Memories really was the best videogame that wasn't really a videogame. More like an interactive movie before Heavy Rain made interactive movies cool, it was a strange and compelling little title that is often remembered quite fondly by those who bothered to play it. That doesn't change the fact that its protagonist, Eike Kusch, is a total creep.
He resembles a female in every way, except he's not, and he's afflicted with unnatural mannequin eyes that somehow seem to be looking at nothing and everything at the same time. Topping it off are those nonsensically long scarecrow legs that make him walk like Jack Skellington.
Besides which, anybody who can sound that dispassionate and unfazed while talking about his own inevitable death has to be a monster.
The Tarutaru species from Final Fantasy XI share much in common with the EyePet, in terms of looking just vaguely human enough to be thoroughly unsettling. They resemble hairless rabbits wearing chemotherapy wigs, and that's pretty damn gruesome.
Their arms and legs are too small, their heads are too big. They look like midgets with local gigantism, which is the ultimate paradox and God's cruelest joke. Just imagine waking up in the middle of the night to see one of these maleficent miscreations staring down at you, naked, with its black demon eyes, licking its lips and whispering "You are an oiled cog in my infernal machine." Not only that, but you can't help noticing that its penis is MASSIVE. And covered in thorns.
Yeah, their little panic animations aren't so cute now, are they?
Everything in Animal Crossing is creepy in that "so cute it becomes horrible" way. From their arcane speech that is too random to be anything but a carefully constructed prophecy, to their fixed expressions of happiness that can only be hiding some grisly secrets, there is nothing to like about anything in Animal Crossing. Tom Nook, however, rules this furry limbo with an iron will and indomitable authority.
Possessed of no other emotion than greed, this creature sees and knows all. He is essentially the Sauron of the Animal Crossing world. Should you dare enter his store, he will follow you with the dogged determination of a T-101. He cannot be reasoned with, he cannot be bargained with ... well, he can be bargained with, but that's beside the point.
With his total lack of social awareness, disregard for personal space, and garbled devil speak, Tom Nook is every wrong with the world.