Survival Horror is a sub-genre of LitRPG books that has a lot of potential. From my experience writing Survival Horror, I can tell the fans are die-hard and that the sub-genre has yet to become overcrowded. In fact, the only other Survival Horror that I can think of besides my own Angel’s Nightmare Adventure is Headshot by Matthew Siege. Below I will discuss my experiences with this exciting sub-genre of LitRPG and show you how readers can get involved!
Survival Horror Readership
I have found that Survival Horror fans are harder to come by than fans of other, larger genres, but extremely loyal once you find them. For example, if you’re a horror author like me and wanted to promote your book using Robin Reads, you will notice that horror has the lowest amount of readers subscribed (around 49,500 people). The flip side to lower readership is that horror readers are more dedicated to the genre. There might not be as many horror readers, but they are loyal and willing to invest their money in their favorite authors, more so than fans of other genres.
Aspects of Survival Horror
When you think of horror, you think of zombies, vampires, and monsters, right? Horror is a genre that is supposed to scare the reader and we all know darn well that is something that is hard to do in today’s society. With enhanced graphics in today’s horror movies and super enhanced cut scenes in video games, the challenge to scare readers has increased two-fold. This is the fact that I believe lead to the birth of Survival Horror.
Survival Horror is reminiscent of Resident Evil, Dino Crisis, or Silent Hill. The MC(s) have to survive a bad-gone-worse scenario. The feeling of hopelessness or helplessness is prevalent. Tropes within the sub-genre include limited quantities of ammo, weapon malfunctions, areas which are closed off or only have one route of escape, and simply a sense of loneliness in a huge area. These books, and their game counterparts, tend to be slower paced than other horror reads because the characters have to manage the use of their weapons and be aware that chances to heal themselves are limited. Most Survival Horror stories only have one objective, and that is survival.
Good Survival Horror stories use problem solving and puzzles to enhance their plot. It adds a touch of challenge and suspense to the story that you usually don’t find in run and gun stories like LitFPS (Literary First Person Shooters). Personally, Survival Horror gives me more opportunity to build a detailed and slow-paced story, thereby creating a huge amount of suspense. Now, how does Survival Horror fare in the world of GameLit / LitRPG?
Survival Horror in GameLit & LitRPG
For me and other authors/readers, Survival Horror is a pretty cool genre to use in GameLit and LitRPG. Of course, the actual mechanics will vary from Scifi and Fantasy. However, based on what I’ve written and read, Survival Horror presents some unique features of its own. Due to the fact that the genre is slower paced and focuses on survival, it perfectly lends itself to Ammo Crafting. The MC can be forced to create his or her own ammo in hopes that they create the correct ammo for a particular situation or boss.
Another thing that can be implemented to keep the flavor is giving attributes to the MC that are very low. This causes a sense of urgency as the MC struggles to level up quickly in hopes of surviving. I personally haven’t tried this, but I plan too soon in my Survival Horror series.
Finally, another trope that can be used and has been used in survival horror is the use of puzzles and locked doors (video example). Puzzles can be used to make the idea of getting a key item or opening a door more rewarding for the reader. If done correctly, it can make the reader feel like they are trying to figure out the puzzle themselves.
Most survival horror games will use firearms, but some of the old DOS games such as Alone in the Dark have the MC use things such as knives and regular household items to complete challenges.
GameLit Survival Horror Community on Social Media
While there are plenty of horror groups on FB that I’m a member of and enjoy, there are not any groups that focus on Horror GameLit. So I started a group called GameLit Survival Horror where the genre is discussed. I’ve gotten some modest interaction for such a new group and have already discovered two authors who will be releasing books in the genre later this year! If you love Survival Horror games, come join the discussion on Facebook and keep up with the sub-genre!
Know of any other Survival Horrors? Have you ever read one? Leave your comments below so we can chat!
Author of LitFPS/Horror/GameLit. Representing the genre from the all-star island of Puerto Rico. Loves Video Games and Reading LitRPG!