Not very scary, huh? Making the "horror" part of a horror game work is very important. In my mind, there are two different schools on designing 'horror' in horror games. One: the horror of anxiety. And two: the horror of society*.
The horror of anxiety is something like what you would get from playing F.N.A.F., the anticipation that something bad might happen at any moment if you let your guard down. The problem with this type is that it often falls back on "if you fuck up something's gonna jumpscare you." Or even better: "if you keep playing the game something's gonna jumpscare you." In which case it's not even a punishment for fucking up, it's a punishment for participating... unless participating is fucking up, and this is your only way of communicating it like you're some kind of "I can only express myself through my artwork" douche**. So then the antidote is just turn your volume down/off. (except in F.N.A.F. 4, Scott, you asshole)
So what about the other kind? Well the horror of society is more akin to having depression, or finding out that something really shitty's happened like... err- your wife's been in a car crash, and is going to need surgery. You live in a country without public healthcare, and you're broke, and you just got fired. You're horrified by your situation and the thought of having to carry on through this catastrophe. In the real world, this kind of horror is much more common (unless you're a young child) and it's a real bitch to deal with. However in a videogame it's not as bad, because you can just stop playing, or start again, or stop giving a fuck. Your only option out of those three in the real world is the last one***. But when the main antidote to a horror game's formula is 'stop playing' then it's anywhere from effective enough to too effective, like constant unavoidable jumpscares. But because this kind of horror is less abrasive and obnoxious it can be force fed to the player at a much higher velocity without it seeming too serious, as long as they still have hope. If you take away all the player's hope then they will just stop playing with a bad taste in their mouth. But if you can convince them that as long as they work through the bad situation there might be hope, they'll probably keep playing. They'll probably pursue the light at the end of the tunnel despite the tunnel being a sewer that they have to wade through buck naked.
The way you keep the player from getting used to either kind of horror is give them a break. Of course, they could always take a break themselves, but that will break their immersion like a ceramic knocked onto a tiled floor, and make them not feel like playing the game again. Instead, you should make the experience bingeable (fuck you, English vocabulary) by giving the player those moments where they feel happy or at peace. The juxtaposition will hold them back from properly acclimatising, and you can therefore sustain le horror!
Well that's all on the subject of horror. Here's an image:

I got a proper domain for this blog ... because I can. I should start using it for some other stuff soon.

Also, from now on blog posts will be weekly, as I've got a lot less I can talk about now.
Thanks for reading,

*No I wasn't just going for the rhyme, that was seriously the best name I could think of. Maybe "the horror of reality" is better?
**Id est: me.
***Equivalent to passive suicide?

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