August Game Challenge: Week Four (Super Fail)

until dawn dollhouse

Well, I really did try.

This past week was swamped with activity. I did what I could, but I didn’t beat Fatal Frame.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t play it.

Let’s start with the good news: I beat Pokemon X! I had such a lovely time diving back in to the game that I ultimately spent nearly 120 hours with it. That’s so many more hours than I ever thought I would spend playing my first Pokemon game. But I loved it. I loved so much about it, and I have no doubt I will dabble in it again from time to time. Now if I can just keep myself away from Sapphire or Ruby, I will be able to attain productive status with some other games.

I also played and “beat” Hatoful Boyfriend, one of the strangest games I’ve ever played.

And then there was Fatal Frame.

I love Japanese horror movies. I love Japanese folklore. I love the premise of Fatal Frame.

But those flingin’ flangin’ controls are doing everything in their power to keep me from enjoying the game.


I understand this game is from the PS2/Xbox era. That’s an era I largely missed out on, and I’m aware that during that time, developers were still getting control schemes figured out. But holy hell. I don’t know if I was ever this frustrated playing the original Resident Evil using the tank controls.

The main character you play as is Miku, a girl who is poorly dressed to explore a haunted mansion. What is worse is that when she walks, she is painfully slow. I’m not sure about anyone else, but if I was being chased by evil spirits, I’d walk a hell of a lot faster.

Her run is only a shade faster than her walk, which means both are infuriatingly slow. This becomes even more of an issue in battle when you need to gain distance from an evil spirit so you can “capture” it with the Camera Obscura.

And sure, Miku moves in the direction you move the analog stick, but because the camera angles change like crazy, it causes the movement to go wonky, sometimes walking back through a door you just came out of because of the change. I’ve tried to adapt to this, but I still struggle with it.

Then there are the controls of the Camera Obscura. There isn’t much to be concerned with there, except the “look around” stick is swapped with the usual “look around” stick causing even more nonsense. I sometimes feel like I’m playing inverted even though I’m not.

Basically, what I’m saying is, this game is doing everything in it’s power to keep me from enjoying what would otherwise be an intriguing experience. I’m super into the story, and I feel like with refined controls this game could be everything I hoped it to be. Instead, it’s a slog. I’m over halfway through but it’s not even enjoyable. My movement is so cumbersome that I end up taking nonsense damage from some spirits because I’m not able to move away and the camera angle changes suddenly. Then I am suddenly walking right back into said spirit. It’s maddening. I can’t recall a time I’ve said “Oh my god this is FRUSTRATING!” quite so much during a game.

I know I will finish Fatal Frame, but it won’t be before Until Dawn releases. And I’m giving myself a pass on this one. I’ve had Until Dawn on pre-order since it was originally announced years ago. Once I pick up my copy at faux midnight release, I’m playing the heck out of it.

So with that, I concede my second failure in a row. I’m also going to have to think long and hard about next month’s challenge, as I will certainly be playing Tearaway: Unfolded and The Taken King. But I also still want to finish Fatal Frame and get back to the Witcher 3.

It’s going to be a glorious, full month.

And with that, I bid each of you adieu. I have a game to pick up!

16 replies »

      • This Fatal Frame business sounds as though it should remain in the history books.
        Do you remember Matthew Broderick, in War Games? Specifically, when the computer asked, “Would you like to play a game”?
        Let’s tweak it a little bit, shall we?

        Well Miss Lang…

        Would you like to play Fatal Frame?

        Obviously not!

        Wonky controls are no go for me.
        It’s as if the automotive manufacturer’s swapped the gas, and the brake pedals. Something bad will happen, and it will happen in abundance.

        Back to the quote, “Would you like to play a game”?

        (That’s a moot point you are a game blogger.)

        Give your swears a much earned vacation. Run, don’t walk to the eject button, & hit it like that guy practicing Morris code on the elevator button. Finish up with an Amazon bound, Media Mail bubble wrap envelope.

        Gaming should be fun, & challenging; we’ve all stayed up way too late beating that one crazy hard level. But, we beat it. More importantly, it was fun.
        The way you described Fatal Frame for us, it sounds far from that fun experience.

        Tearaway anyone?


        Tearaway Unfolded any one.


        • First of all, Fatal Frame is worth playing (to me) for the story…but you aren’t wrong about the controls. They started out crappy and continue to be crappy. If I didn’t want to experience the story for myself, I would have put it aside long ago.

          If I could give my swears a vacation I would, alas, when I play games they tend to come out like a waterfall. I can only imagine what my neighbors must think of me.

          Are you going to play Tearaway: Unfolded?! I hope you do, genuinely. It’s such a beautiful experience. And thoroughly charming. I mean, the original was on Vita, and I can only assume Unfolded will be even better. Media Molecule is amazing at what they do.


  1. I love the idea behind Fatal Frame and have always wanted to try it out but never have. My husband has downloaded it on his PS3 so I really need to make some time to give it a go, although after reading about your experience with the controls I’m slightly hesitant just because I hate being that frustrated. Dang it though, that story sounds so good though! I hope you enjoy Until Dawn! :)

    <3 and harp strings,


    • The story of Fatal Frame is definitely engaging (at least for someone like me who loves horror movies in general and Japanese horror specifically), but that gameplay just ruins it. I keep trying to adapt but it’s just god awful.

      I highly encourage you to use a walkthrough if you play Fatal Frame as it eliminates the time spent wandering around encountering random spirits and wasting your precious supplies. I tried playing it the traditional way to start, but to expedite things I turned to a walkthrough and I can’t imagine not using one now. I want to spend the least amount of time in this game as possible. But I want to complete it.

      I am super enjoying Until Dawn! It’s fantastic! I played about five hours as soon as I picked it up at “midnight” release, and I wasn’t able to play at all today. I hope to complete it tomorrow! :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a good idea, if I get some time to try it out I will definitely use a walkthrough for it. My hubby hates using them but in certain cases I don’t mind, like if the game is a real pain in the ass or if I just don’t have the time to invest in figuring it out myself because RL sucks but I still want to play.

        I hope you’re able to finish Until Dawn today! :)

        Liked by 1 person

        • With so many games to play and time being limited, if I am really and truly stuck (especially in older games that tend to be more obscure with their puzzles), I have no trouble turning to the internet.

          Hooray for the people who create those walkthroughs!

          And thank you! I think I will. I’m excited not only to finish it, but to start a second playthrough.


  2. It’s so frustrating when you want to play through a game that seemingly doesn’t want to be played. I wish you luck in eventually completing Fatal Frame so that you won’t have to worry about it anymore. I also hope you have lots of fun with Until Dawn, it seems to be getting some pretty good reviews. I’m still not decided if it’s for me or not, I like the branching path adventure stuff but horror games/movies are just not my thing.


    • That’s the truth! I will totally finish it, but I have a feeling it will be in bursts of like two hours here and there.

      Until Dawn was so much better than I thought it would be. I already can’t wait to replay it. But I will wait because I need to get ready for my September game challenge.

      Oh, and the horror aspect wasn’t quite as I thought it would be. There were certainly tense moments in the game, but I didn’t think it had the jump scares many others did. There was one in particular that got me, but, oddly enough, it was the same one that I saw in the demo I played last year, and it made me start then, too! Go figure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.