Since the last game's release back in 2015, the Fatal Frame franchise has sat in relative obscurity. Throughout the years, rumors of a new game sporadically arose and then were just as quickly squashed. Now, fans of the Fatal Frame series finally have something new from the series, albeit in an odd medium.
With a recent uptick in the popularity of horror games and the 20th anniversary of the Fatal Frame series this year, fans had understandably been anticipating big news to come from the series. Now, a reveal has come about the series, but in the form of a pachislot machine. For those unfamiliar, a pachislot is a form of slot machine that was developed following the popularity of pachinko machines in Japanese casinos. At their core, pachislots are virtually identical to standard slot machines except that players have control over when each reel stops.
A short YouTube clip was posted showing Miu Hinasaki from the last game, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, wandering around an abandoned house until she comes across a pachislot machine. While it's hard to discern details from the clip, the Fatal Frame pachislot machine will likely display short jump-scare clips when players hit different reel combinations. Unfortunately, this reveal obviously fell flat among fans who were likely anticipating a new Fatal Frame Switch release.
Despite being relatively unknown to most North American fans, the Fatal Frame franchise has always had a strong, niche following. While the story changes from game to game, the general premise and gameplay remain constant throughout Fatal Frame titles. As players progress through haunted locations, their only weapon against the ghosts that live there is a camera. While some ghosts are passive, others ghosts in Fatal Frame are hostile and downright terrifying. Unsurprisingly, this unique premise was wildly popular among fans and the franchise has maintained a strong cult following since its inception.
In light of the circumstances, the pachislot reveal received a ton of backlash. After all, the 2008 entry into the series, Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse—the best selling title in the entire series—is a game that many North American fans have been eagerly waiting to be localized. While the pachislot may come as a disappointment, the overwhelmingly negative fan reaction may be enough to spur Koei Tecmo into a more serious development of the series, or it could still have a bigger reveal about the franchise that is yet to come.
Ever since Capcom revolutionized the genre in 1996 with Resident Evil, horror games have gone from strength to strength, largely thanks to improvements in gaming hardware that have allowed developers to create increasingly atmospheric, unsettling, and ultimately terrifying games than ever before.
Video games have the power to elevate horror stories to a level that books and films can't, as they uniquely put players in the shoes of the protagonist. This powerful selling point has led to the horror genre being flooded with games over the years, many of which subsequently go under the radar. This list will feature games that received praise for how unnerving or downright scary they were but didn't get the mainstream attention that they deserved.
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