A new video game by Keith Makse knows when you’re getting scared when playing it. The game is called “Bring to Light” and it’s a horror video game that takes place in a subway filled with many scary creatures. The game’s developer has incorporated heartbeat data from players in order to make the experience as scary as possible. In other words, your physical response to the game as you play it will determine your overall experience.
“Bring to Light” tracks your heartbeat using biometrics. The game tracks every physical response and tailors the experience based on your level of fear. The goal is to make things as scary as possible. For example, if your biometric readings show that you are not nearly as scared from the first few creatures that turn up on the subway, the game will automatically adjust to include more scary things until your heartbeat starts racing.
According to the developer, the idea of adding a touch of horror in gaming is designed to give people a chance to experience fear without necessarily putting themselves in any kind of physical danger. He believes that this is an easy way to allow people to get in touch with their fear emotions and interact with them in a near real-life experience.
Using biometrics to improve the video game experience is not a new thing. This was first tried in the early 2000s but the idea was not explored commercially until 2015. During this time, Erin Reynolds launched “Nevermind,” a horror video game that tried to use biometrics to amplify the level of fear. Since then, the idea has been picked up by a few other games.
The video game industry has a lot to offer. However, the horror niche is very small compared to other genres. There’s this idea that by incorporating biometrics into horror video games, there’s a chance that a lot more people will start playing them. In “Nevermind” for example, the game monitors your heart rate and there’s also a tool that checks facial expressions. If the game senses that the players are experiencing increased levels of stress or anxiety, a new obstacle or layer of difficulty that increases fear is automatically introduced.
But there are of course challenges too. For instance, fear is such a subjective thing. What might seem scary for one person may not be that much for another. In the event that a biometric sensor detects that the player’s fear level is not high, there’s really no way of knowing whether the next obstacle or creature to be introduced in the game will be enough to trigger these emotions. If anything, what the developer deems to be a scarier experience may not be that much of a scary thing for the person playing. In addition to this, the data from heart rate monitors is not really that reliable. The data varies from one person to another and cannot be applied uniformly to achieve the same result.