It’s about to be the end of October, a time of year synonymous with several things, cooler weather, pumpkin flavored everything, and of course the favorite holiday of many, Halloween. When I was younger I only liked Halloween because of free candy and the excuse to dress up as my favorite characters, however, I despised the trip to my local Halloween store.
Why? Because I was afraid of nearly everything and also quite squeamish, and my fear and squeamishness always peaked around Halloween time. Not only was I afraid of scary Halloween masks and decorations, but if they were gross or ugly enough then I would vomit just at the sight of them. Because of this, I was even too scared to watch the beloved film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. I got over my fears and squeamishness around middle school, and as I’ve gotten older, Halloween has actually become one of my favorite holidays.
Halloween is a holiday where a lot our fears come into play and it may not seem like it, but fear can actually be beneficial to us is several ways. Smaller amounts of fear can be good for us and help us be safe, but on the other hand, too much fear can be detrimental to our health and can even be fatal. Fear can help tell us when we are in the presence of danger, although that danger doesn’t always actually exist. Our fear causes us to think certain things may be hard for us to deal with, but we become relieved once we get through it. Over the past few decades, many different forms of media have shown us various ways to help us handle our fears.
The Nightmare Before Christmas, shows us that the various monster in Halloweentown enjoy scaring each other on Halloween, but outside of this most of them treat each other kindly and just act like regular people. Many people regard The Nightmare Before Christmas as an amazing film, and this could be due to it helping them get over their fear of monsters as young children.
Monster’s Inc. also helps kids with their fear of monsters and shows them that monsters only scare kids because it’s their job and it produces energy for their world.
Shows like Scooby Doo, can help show us that our irrational fear of monsters can be nothing more than a grumpy old man in a mask. Except for those times that they’re dealing with actual scary things due to supernatural circumstances, such as in the movie, Scooby Doo on Zombie Island. These exceptions are beside the point though, which is that our fears all have a source and when we are really young, that source can be something quite ridiculous once we realize it’s nothing we should be afraid of..
One of my favorite games of this generation so far and of all time, Bloodborne, is classified as an action adventure game yet because of its setting, tone, enemies, and bosses, it can also feel like a survival horror game. As the player, your whole goal is to fight against the affliction that has taken over the city of Yharnam and work your way up to destroying its source. Not only is just about every living thing trying to kill you, but they are all creepy, gross, and even downright terrifying.
Except for these little guys
Some of these enemies, like the Amygdala, named after the part of our brain that controls fear and aggression, aren’t even visible to you at first, so if you happen to go into the wrong corner, you’ll mysteriously float up in the air and then die without even realizing what happened. In a way, it seems to symbolize our fear of the unknown. In order to actually see them you have to have a certain amount of insight, which governs the amount of inhuman knowledge you have acquired by exploring the game and defeating enemies.
One other thing that Bloodborne does well is keeping our fear and stress constant,and as we explore deeper into the game’s world, the more on edge we get about an enemy unexpected coming at us as soon as we turn a corner. Bloodborne does an excellent job of keeping us on our toes. In this case, our fear helps us be prepared for something we may feel will happen in the near future. If players get defeated by a strong enemy, Bloodborne allows them to travel back to the closest save point to that enemy, and when they succeed at defeating it they can progress further into the game. The player has to have the courage to face that enemy again, and according to an article by the Huffington Post, fear and courage go together hand in hand and fears have to be faced head on for us to get past them.
There are five other ways fear can help us improve ourselves as well,and Bloodborne happens to connect to all of them. The first is that fear can indicate that you are learning something new, such as learning enemy placement and weaknesses. The second is that it can help confirm that you are outside of your comfort zone. In Bloodborne, you are expected to die an overwhelmingly large amount of times, so much that in the beginning of the game they pretty much make your character’s death mandatory at a point. Once you have finally adapted to an area, you progress to the next one without knowing how far you’ll get before getting defeated again. By doing this, Bloodborne constantly takes us out of our comfort zone as we progress further into the game. The third is giving us creative energy and ideas, if we want to learn how to defeat an enemy or boss without looking it up on the internet, we have to come up with fight strategies ourselves and see what works and what doesn’t. The two last reasons go together and are that fear can be a sign that you are doing something important to you and can cause you to act on something you know is important. If you’re having fun playing a video game like Bloodborne, then it’s probably somewhat important to you, and when you finally figure out a way to defeat a difficult enemy or boss, that fear cause you to act and avoid getting defeated for the umpteenth time.
Fear is meant to keep us safe, although we not only feel it when we are in danger, but also in situations where we feel uncomfortable. When we understand the difference, our fear can actually help us. Improving oneself requires getting out of our comfort zone and getting into situations that may scare us or make us uncomfortable, but once we’ve adapted it can help lead us to improving the quality of our lives.