Seven Nights Ghost Creates a Powerful Connection Between Humor & Horror
Seven Nights Ghost is an exploration of an interesting side of horror. You’re spending seven days in company housing in this game. Unluckily, your temporary living space is haunted. While you spend many of your nights avoiding some jarring frights from your spectral roommate, there’s a throughline of humor in the game. The ghost seems to enjoy messing with you just as much as it likes scaring you. As it would turn out, humor and hilarity can connect in some unexpected ways.
So, you’re stuck here for a few days. It’s haunted by the ghost of a woman, and she isn’t keen to have you here. As you putter around during the first day, you’ll catch snippets of her. She’ll appear in a mirror. She’ll trap you in a room and climb inside. When you try to go to bed, she messes with the tv. All of this stuff feels like it’s leading into some terrifying encounter with her where you’ll need to keep her at bay. Avoid her until she loses interest in chasing you. Something like that.
Seven Nights Ghost feels like an average horror game at this point. It’s full of classic scare setups around locking you in rooms or having the ghost appear just out of sight. Everything feels like it’s leading to the game’s frightening elements. So, when you shut off the tv and a ghostly hand grabs your wrist, you know that the fear is about to kick in. You stare into the ghost’s eyes as she reaches toward you. Her hand twitches unnaturally. You can feel the big, scary moment coming. An unsettling wind and a droning song plays in your ear as you await your death.
But then your character offers her a donut. The music stops. She glances at the donut. Turns back to you. Then, in a quick motion, she takes it and disappears. And you’re safe. This moment caught me so off guard that I kept starting to laugh. It was like one of those awkward moments where you begin to laugh, but stop because you’re not sure if you’ll get yourself into trouble. I kept cracking up, but part of me continued to expect the ghost to lunge at me. It was only after she finally disappeared and the day ended that I chuckled to myself.
Now, giving a donut to a ghost is kind of silly. Not “laugh out loud” funny, but still pretty goofy. However, I was wound up from the frightening encounter with the ghost and everything leading up to it. I was emotionally tense while waiting for the scare. Now, I’d never much thought that you could use that kind of state to play with other emotions besides fear and panic. Being twisted up inside while waiting for a scare seemed to prime me for SOME sort of emotional release. I was expecting terror. Instead Seven Nights Ghost slammed me with a silly moment instead and had me laughing to myself. Well, once I knew I wasn’t going to die.
These moments would continue to happen over the course of the seven days you spend in the room. I don’t want to spoil them, but you have many scary encounters with the ghost that get broken up by goofy moments. Further on, you even find out that the ghost themselves has a sense of humor. While I’m used to having to run from ghosts through dark homes, I wasn’t ready to have to build makeshift chopsticks before my noodles got soggy (complete with a timer) because my ghost roommate decide to hide all of the utensils.
The thing is, Seven Nights Ghost doesn’t stop being scary the whole time. While your relationship with this ghost gets pretty silly, there are still many times where she’ll stalk you in the dark. The game’s store page mentions that she will never kill you. She’s perfectly willing to scare the hell out of you, though. She doesn’t even let up when you’re doing something nice for her. It’s not easy to fix a cat statue while a ghost keeps appearing all around you. She is still terrifying even if she has a silly side.
This keeps you from ever letting your guard fully down as you play through the game. In turn, this keeps you in that heightened emotional state that makes the jokes AND the scares hit hard. This makes it hard to be sure how to feel as you play. Is she going to scare me or pull a prank if she gets me this time? You never quite know how you should feel, which made both my screams and my laughs all the louder. It creates an interesting state where it could hit me hard in a variety of ways.
Seven Nights Ghost takes this scary, yet lighthearted connection and builds something oddly heartwarming over the course of the game, too. Using that same sense of fear and overwhelming emotion, the game makes you feel connected with the ghost. You can see a sweetness in their behavior as your own kindness to her begins to create a relationship of sorts. A weird one where she tries to terrify you, but still a relationship. By the end, it feels very easy to care for this ghost.
Seven Nights Ghost is a horror game that uses fear to connect players with several different emotions. While it does a great job of being scary, it uses that heightened emotional state to play around with humor and personal connection. In doing so, it makes some really silly jokes land all the harder. It also makes you care more about how the ghost ended up in this state. It was really neat to see how you could use fear for more than just scares, instead using it as a tool to open the player up to feel a deeper connection with the game and its characters.