It's been nearly 40 years since the release of Stanley Kubrik's The Shining but the enduring quirks and stresses of The Overlook Hotel—a character in its own right—are anything but gone from our minds. The far-reaching tendrils of the film's influence can be spotted everywhere. And yes, that includes games!
If You Love 'The Shining', You Have To Play These Games!
While we have yet to be blessed by a truly Kubrikian video game, we've been gifted one hundred times over with #VideoGames that carry the torch of the Torrance spirit and everything that comes with it.
Here are a few playable adventures that any self-respecting fan of The Shining would be into based on what you love most about the movie:
If You Like The Style: 'Virginia'
The Shining's elegant cinematography—the work of John Alcott—was and continues to be one of its distinguishing marks of beauty. If you appreciated the deep reds, stark blues and isolating imagery of The Shining, a little game called Virginia will scratch that itch.
Virginia itself lies outside of the #Horror genre in the classic sense, but the unsettling qualities of the editing in The Shining—distanced POV and sudden cuts—replicate themselves here. Virginia is a game with a story that moves forward with or without you and you'll only see what it wills you to see. Even if you do all of the searching you want before the scene changes, it will always feel as though something is amiss.
Virginia is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac.
If You Like The Setting: 'Silent Hill 4'
There are plenty of games out there that will give you creepy house vibes for days, but few games are able to convey the character arc that lies behind the Overlook Hotel itself. One of the most memorable among them is Silent Hill 4: The Room.
Silent Hill 4 is a game about a man named Henry who lives in an apartment that is becoming progressively more possessed over time. His door is locked from the inside and the only way out is a hole in his bathroom that slowly grows larger everyday.
Apartment 302 might be small compared to the Overlook, but what it lacks in spatial similarities it more than makes up for with the horrors that pop up along the way. This is the playable Room 237 you've been searching for.
Silent Hill 4 is available for Xbox, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Windows.
If You Like The Characters: 'Resident Evil 7'
Central to The Shining's story is a family struggling to keep it together through a rocky patch. Jack, a serial rager and alcoholic, is losing his patience with his well-meaning wife and their son Danny. Jack becomes someone that Wendy no longer recognizes, snaps and tries to kill her. It's twisted, but it has certainly been done before.
Family members losing their minds and turning against each other is well-traveled territory in the world of video games. The latest and greatest story of familial torment can be found in Resident Evil 7.
A horrible infection destroys the quaint lives of a Louisiana family, the Bakers, right around the time you to decide to visit to retrieve your missing girlfriend. That's right—two families fall apart in this story. Pair that mess with the claustrophobic residential setting and you've got yourself one glorious sh*tstorm.
Honorable mentions in the "unreliable narrator with a disintegrating family" genre include #BioShock, Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill: Homecoming.
Resident Evil 7 is available for PS4, Xbox One and Windows.
If You Like The Story: 'Alan Wake'
The story of the tortured writer searching for inspiration and escape has been told in a similarly chilling manner in the Xbox exclusive, Alan Wake. In this psychological thriller, Mr. Wake has been suffering from a bout of writer's block for two years. He and his wife Alice decide to go stay in a creepy cabin in a Twin Peaks-ish area known as Cauldron Lake and everything basically goes downhill from there.
While there's a bit more action to fill in the silence with this game, the strong backbone legend of the writer gone mad helps Alan Wake gracefully toe-the-line between eerie creepfest and explosive light-based ghostbusting action.
Alan Wake is available for Xbox 360 and Windows.
Of course, there is something a bit more 8-bit inspired out there. Pippin Barr's lo-fi art game based on the film is playable for free right in your web browser. Playing through it really makes me wish someone would get it together and re-create this game for real. I think a combat-free walking simulator would do quite well... don't you?
Are there any other games out there that give you The Shining vibes?