Cross-post from DigitallyDownloaded.net.
“Joe’s Diner is scary.”
That’s a message I sent to DigitallyDownloaded.net’s editor-in-chief not long after starting up the game. It was late at night, I was home alone, and there was a weather bomb outside making all kinds of ghoulish noises. A brief opening had introduced me to the game’s eponymous setting, a diner built on a Native American burial ground. I’d been warned that two warring chiefs continued their feud in death, with one causing mischief in the diner to provoke the other into lashing out – and that if I was nearby when that happened, I’d be dead.
So I set about my first night shift at Joe’s Diner. I looked around for empty trays and other trash to clean up, as is the job requirement, but the atmosphere was too tense, my nerves too on edge for me to do my job. Suddenly, I heard a noise – the coffee machine – and I panicked, paused, and sent that message to the editor. “Joe’s Diner is scary.”
I went back to the game, found and turned off the coffee machine, and continued looking for trash. Then another noise started up, something I didn’t recognise. I looked around the diner, trying to find its source and failing, while a noise gauge at the bottom of the screen warned me that it was getting too loud. Still unable to shut off the noise, I braced myself for the inevitable jump scare. And then it happened…