Even since the Tokyo Game Show, I haven't seen much that was mindblowing in terms of console graphics. Sure, Bioshock gave me the chills, but its sub-aquarium art deco style and pitiless monster screams are working off the advantage of breath-taking art direction, and the echoes of the primal fear found, of all places, in a video game called System Shock. That's plain unfair.
To date, the System Shock games have been the only ones to scare the beejesus outta me, unless you count playing the marine in Alien Vs. Predator and facing hordes of wall-slithering low-poly xenomorphs with nothing but a desperate assault rifle and the para-sympathetic beep of an astigmatic motion detector throwing its hindsight into the dark of the tunnels. But that was fear, not the transformation of horror to terror you get running from Shodan's cyber-midwives birthing aberrated monstrosities while begging you to kill them. If Bioshock brings that feeling back, and under the new claustrophobic pressures of its ocean sunk carnivale screaming with rusting valves, leaking walls, and antique midways, well, it'll be a hell of a game.
Ok, so maybe I also jumped a bit at that first monster in Alone in the Dark simultaneously breaking the silence and the bookshelf I pushed over the suspicious hole, but c'mon, we were kids then. Regardless, that wasn't the kind of goosebumps I care for, and it still isn't today. No, the goosebumps I want are the kind I get when I watch this Alan Wake trailer.
From the folks who gave us the psychotic supercomic narratives of the loquacious Max Payne comes something of the same literary vein, a tale of a writer in Alaska with strange circumstances about. Let me tell ya, I've been there, and that is EXACTLY how Alaska should look in a game. It has all the isolation, the empowering and humbling expanse, and the sentient daylight that tricks the brain and tires the soul. It's gorgeous. And moreover, it drops my jaw without rockets, robots, aliens, or some iteration of WWII or Special Forces.