15 Years of Fright, One Ghost at a Time


Fatal Frame is revered as one of the best horror games to have ever been produced. Beginning all the way back to the first game, simply called Fatal Frame, it was a surprising addition to the world of survival horror. Just what would make it different, though? Is it the haunting atmosphere, the idea that it is based on a true story? The story of horror and torment, of a ritual going horribly wrong?

Well, yes, but there is one more thing that nearly all horror games up to this time haven’t approached. You have almost no way to fight back your enemies, all of them being the tormented souls of long ago coming back for revenge for their deaths.


While most games find it better to arm you with a gun and instead restrict your amount of bullets and throw as many zombies/monsters/soldiers at you as possible, Fatal Frame is extremely simplistic. You only have a camera to fight off your foes of the spooky variety, ranging from a small ghost called the Bound Man, barely giving you more than a nudge, to the mysterious Broken Neck, one who will haunt you past the playing session.

Much like the old Native American legend of how the camera captures the souls of those that have their picture taken, this special camera, called the Camera Obscura, will slowly take away the power of the spirits with every picture taken. Once you have fully destroyed the spirit, its soul is sucked into the camera to be used to upgrade your camera.

Many have tried to capture this since Fatal Frame, mostly taking up the use of cell phones to where they can only see the spirits. What they lack, though, is the deep story to why you are searching for these ghosts, and why you are fighting for your life.

In the first game, for example, you are attempting to find your lost brother, Mafuyu, who had wandered into a haunted Japanese mansion in search of his role model author. You unravel the mystery of a ritual having held back hell itself, only to have gone terribly wrong. The atmosphere is haunting, and each new ghost can come without warning.

The original game was soon followed by two sequels for the Playstation 2, then followed by a Wii game that unfortunately did not leave Japan, released in 2008. Many were still hoping that some game was going to arrive to the Americas, to get another taste of the thrills. Then came 2015, and the Wii U and Fatal Frame franchise finally came together. Thus came Fatal Frame, Maiden of the Black Water.


Now with a fresh coat of paint, Fatal Frame is ready to scare once more. If you still are curious or not quite convinced about the Fatal Frame scares, take a look to the trailer of the latest game. Maybe you won’t look at that dusty old camera the same way ever again.

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