Wednesday, October 31, 2018

change the voices in your head, make them like you instead

Next up is Urban Legends, for whom they tell us:
"A Spooky Nightime Sim set around a Wooded Lake Complete with Forest Trails, Abandoned Asylum, Cemetery, Haunted House, Corn Fields & a Bog. Find 'Nessie', UFO's, Bigfoot and more! Limited Time for Halloween Only! "
Huh. That sounds like a lot of things.

There's an additional note on the notecard, handed out on arrival:
**Be Sure to Have your Sound Effects Volume Turned Up and Distance Setting to at least 520**
Yeah, that's not going to happen. But hey, if your comp can handle it, maybe there's more in the skies overhead.



Ghost dog. Fun.



Well, now. Okay, let's not get too close to that.



Okay, so...I find this really interesting. I've seen this build in two other haunts before, but this one...they actually treated it like an abandoned mental asylum. So no wandering patients, no ghosts, just dust-bedecked cobwebs wreathing every opening. Graffiti on the walls. And occasional odd touches, like this chair in an otherwise nearly empty room, and a TV. On.



On the next floor, this oddly archaic set-up, also...on...but the rest of the place is mostly still, silent...unoccupied...But the shadows are active.



This place is big. I mean, it's sim-size. I'm not even covering a quarter of it. And it's less a haunt than a year-round photographic sim, with eerie touches for the season. This is in the upper floor of a doorless cabin by the lake, and I really raised the gamma to make out what was hanging from the rafters. But when I walked in...all I could see what the gleam of red eyes in the dark.

Very effective.



That is a big pumpkin.

All in all, this one's worth going to, especially if you want some unnerving photo ops. There's more--a motel and a parking garage, at least, a crashed plane in a swamp, a vast cornfield...maybe more still. Go explore. Go look. Go see.

Happy Halloween.

I'll be guided onward down the road, down the road

The perpetual question arises--have I been to The Moors before? And the honest answer is, I just don't know.

Their blurb is fairly typical:
"Haunted Moors, something wicked this way comes. Haunted House Oct. 25-31st Dance on 30th and 31st /*Windlight Sky: "[TOR] HORROR - Asian red" Water: "Glassy "RegionOverride*/"
Right. Okay. Let's go see.



Okay, I like the lighting.



And I like the pumpkins.



Sat down and died. It's been a long day.



The floating ghost chairs are neat.



And that skeleton is neat.



I...didn't hate this one. The sounds are good and creepy, there are lots of places for photographs, the Windlight settings are awesome...just avoid the spider in the attic and you'll be fine!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I walk to the borders on my own, fall in the water just like a stone

I've been meaning to get to this one for a while. Ironwood Hills is an RP sim, based around the concept of a mostly abandoned township where the spirits outnumber the living. It's very well done.

When I arrived, I was told this by the wee ghost holding the HUD:
"[16:14] Ghostly Greeter: Welcome to Ironwood Hills. During October we are offering free self-guided tours. Just wear the tablet and follow the instructions. It gets dark out there, so be sure to wear the flashlight, then enter the church to start your adventure. If you lose your tablet just ask me for another one. Enjoy!"
Thank you, I intend to do just that!



Pretty little church. The coffin lying on the altar is an odd touch.



I remember this place. I don't remember the floating cargo container, though...



Since when was the Asylum this close to town? There have been changes.

And then...I crashed. And today, when I tried to log in this morning, I spent an hour trying to access the grid at all. Worse, when I went to the sim to finish the game, I could barely move. Thankfully, even with frozen-treacle lag, the HUD is still responsive, but I never found the woman at the theatre, only Mr. Woods.

I left for a bit, went to return, and crashed. Three times in all, so that's when it hit me: I am not going to finish this haunt. Or achieve any of the goals. This makes me sad, but I still wanted to cover it, because there's still one more day for those with robust computers. The HUD is free.

where you won't see any rising sun

So this next one's in Serenity Lake, and their blurb is kind of hyperbolic:
"Halloween! Vampires, Witches, Zombies, ghosts, haunted house, Spider room Dance Club, Insane asylum,greedy game,Ouija, tarot,
vampire crypt,Ghost ship,bloodlines.
Beware & be welcome...Mature only!"
Yeah. The "bloodlines" bit worries me, because while the game's gotten a lot better, they're named "spampires" for a reason...but I've been protected for years, so I know I'm safe.

Let's go.



Burned pirate ship, check.



I don't think this is the haunt, I think it's just a dance club.



Okay, that's...new...And by 'new' I mean, really really old and we've stopped seeing them: a single-prim, full-bright, animated fireplace. Huh.



Right, because all vampires self-harm. Give me a break.



Apparently this is a 'diabolic pentagram' sex bed.



Haunted mirror. And...that's about it. Couple copyright infringements I didn't snap pics of, because I'm just tired of them. I think we're done here.

I'm also labeling this one with the Adult tag--it's on Moderate land, but if there's one sex bed, there are likely others. Therefore, best warned--you may go and run into people...running into people. So to speak.

no one here’s been famous in a very long time

This is going to be another strange one. Their blurb explains why:
"Anime, Shops, Town, Slink Mens/Fem Mesh, Toxic Design, Adam, Goth, Signature, Teiko Moxie, Cafe, Kawaii, Mesh, Maitreya, Gacha, MM Board, Kemono, Milos, Mens Clothing, Womens, Kashiu Halloween, Haunted House, Dating, Evermore, Belleza, Wedding Area."
See the problem? "Haunted House" is in there, but...in what context?

But I'm running low on places, so...onward.



So...where is this supposed haunt? This area has some little seasonal decor pieces, but it's mostly just stores (Lolita dresses, Kemono outfits and mods, a selection of Japanese accessory shops) and the dating agency, so...?



Okay, found it, but I had to cam the entire sim to do so, there's no handy transport link. Here's a more direct way to get there.



I dealt with a fair amount of lag; I have the feeling the 'dating agency' part of this sim (Adult, just FYI) uses a lot of scripts.



Why is there a morgue next to the foyer? It's like, walk in the house, turn left, you have your choice of afternoon autopsy or a cup of tea in the kitchen. This is bad house design.



Hello, mysterious floating skeleton.



And there are carnival rides in the side yard.

All in all, it's not terrible. I'd say, if you have a beefy computer, or just want to go through and keep your settings relatively low, go wander. It's mostly prefab action, but good prefab action, so I can't complain. Nothing is obviously Adult on the haunt, it's just the sim's rating.

Monday, October 29, 2018

oh, my god, I see how everything is torn in the river deep

I'm not sure about this one. The actual title of the haunt is --------{---(@ L a L --------{---(@ . Ooookay. And their blurb is buzzword-laden and confusing:
"Grunge,hobo,stormy,rainy,rock,underground,metal,urban,halloween ,vampire,clan,Türkiye,Turkey,Spain,Korea,Japan,Russia, Italia,electronic,freestyle,Brazil,dark side,haunted house,free items,Turk,Türkish,TURKEY,TÜRKİYE,Türkler,hunt"
The only think that's leaping out at me? It's Turkish. That's all I have to go on?



Not impressed already. Hello, Evil Within game rip. Great.



Oh, and hey, Patient Alice game rip. Didn't see you at first, you must have rezzed in after. Is there anything original here?



Walked in, and was immediately attacked by giant spiders making groaning sounds. Cue aggrieved sigh.



Kitchen area is actually blessedly empty of body parts, bloodspatter and rotten food. I'm somewhat relieved.



That's not terrible.



The second floor was completely empty save for this room. I'm not going to bother with the attic. I'm done here.

and when the rattlesnake hissed it in my ear, I knew you’d never get right

I won't lie, Enchanted Fantasy's land bio makes it sound like a store:
"Cemetery Ghost Tombstone Crypt Skeleton Dead Trees Grass Flowers Grave Yard Haunted Castle Fog Mist Raven Rook Animated Demon Spider Witch Rat Bat Fairy Witches Dragon Ghoul Cauldron Web Thorns Pentacle Woods Haunted House Swamp Spell Poison Candle Gothi"
I guess. What the hell.



We open with giant roaming spiders. Not a great start for some.



Yup, it's a store. Or at least a lot of things SEEM to be for sale...



This is a huge door. I mean, look, I know I'm short, I get that, but this is a really, really tall door.



I just can't tell. Is it an actual haunt? Is it a store? Why?



This house was so destroyed the wood of the porch was ephemeral.

Oh, and it's for sale.



I've got no idea. All I know is, I'm out of here.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

these folks here don’t come around, they’re so rigid and refined

"Memories of Salem", especially when followed up by the blurb given below, gives me a brain cramp, but I'm really running out of places to go. Cue beleaguered sigh.

That blurb goes thusly:
"Welcome to our Abandoned Haunted Asylum Grounds! The witches have come to stay, and play! Halloween Mini Golf! Halloween, Haunted House, Haunted Asylum, Scary, Haunted, Ghost, Witch, Salem, Witches, Zombies. "
Yep. Another asylum. Somehow tied in with witch-hanging. Great.



Welp, there's the hanging reference.



Effective little set piece, but what does this have to do with Salem?



And what does this have to do with Salem?



One room, four visible characters, I count two blatant game rips (as the three Alices are all the same character from the same game). Please for the love of all gods, can we move on from game rips? It's so boring.



And out of nowhere, an animated gif from Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows. I mean, okay, I love the film, I've made no bones about how much I adore how, in the two hours of that sequel, the main witch character does absolutely everything wrong with a willful cluelessness that is adorable...but how does she fit into the asylum set? And how does any of this fit in with Salem?



This was the first time I realized that I'd actually been here before, when it was a radically different haunt. As I recall--and the reason I'm not going to link the earlier entry, but it's likely somewhen around 2015--I wasn't much impressed with the first version, and surprise, I'm not much impressed with this one. As an average, everyday, haunted-asylum-and-cemetery piece, it might work, but with the added weight of the "Memories of Salem" title, the entire thing tilts to one side then simply collapses into nothingness.

I only have one question, really: where's the mini golf? I didn't see anything like that. Was it somewhere else?

home is the needle and thread for the hole in the lifeboat that it put you in

So, between one thing and another, if I continue doing two haunt entries a day, I'll need six more, plus this one, to finish out the month. And I already feel like I'm scraping the very bottom of the holiday barrel, here. It's kind of depressing. But I will soldier on, I just may drop to one haunt covered per day.



In other news...why? I mean, seriously, why? Does Flickr think I'm not a native English speaker? Because this would make sense if I were from France or Uruguay or the Congo. It makes no sense when I was born in the US, raised monolingually, and, for the most part (outside of a smattering of words here and there) remain monolingual? I don't understand.

In the meantime, we're doing PULSE's Hallows event! And...it's a strange one this year. From their notecard:
"You are an average office worker in the year 2037 living in the shining city of Neo-Innsmouth, Massachusetts. Recently plagued by nightmares and fits of insomnia, and a strange 'dry eye' syndrome, concerned higher ups have sent you to a Psychological Institute called Arkham. It is said they use experimental treatments to aid the afflicted. It is a busy center, or so they say. Even in the future, life is just as stressful...."




Just so everyone knows going in. There usually are disturbing images, disturbing bits of story, gore and the like in these events.



So, the game starts off by walking into the doctor's office, and sitting down for the exam. Next thing you know, you're...here, and nothing at all makes sense. And the game is on.



Why...why is there a goat? Why is the goat eating a fish??



WHY ARE THERE DEAD GOATS??



Every City Hall looks like this, right?



Why...why are you whispering? Why aren't you moving? What's going on?!?



And why is the doctor a hologram? She wasn't before...



There's still room for humor here and there. There are some puzzles, but solutions can be found, or in a pinch--the very first one, I had to use this option--you can join the in-world Pulse Games group and ask for help there. Nothing is impossible, just...arcane and mysterious.

The HUD to play--which is required--costs L$50, and lets you record both your game progress and keep track of where you stopped, if you have to restart. (By that I mean, it will remember game points, but if you port away and don't take a landmark back to where you were, you'll have to start from the beginning.)

But some caveats--Ivey, one of the game designers, usually throws the HUD free the last week, because she and her team really put their heart and soul into this. They want everyone who wants to, to go through. And there are tons of prizes to find, this year in the form of little fish. They are everywhere; I'm fairly sure I didn't find all of them, and I came home with 59 prizes! Everything from gowns to eyes to furnishings to tattoos. Mostly tilted female, but don't worry, guys, there are some male and unisex items, too.

But I won't lie, this one is...odd. I've gone through it one time all the way through, and ported back to start from scratch just to search for fish, and I'm probably going back at least once more, because I don't entirely get the story. When I say arcane, I meean arcane in the old sense--enigmatic, baffling, incomprehensible to mortal minds. I get the basics--I'm just lost on how exactly it lines up with why I, a lowly clerk, went to be examined in the first place.

But it is fun, spooky, eerie, rings changes on both cyberpunk and Lovecraftian themes, and challenging without being impossible. Do go if you have a couple hours to kill (assuming you want to find all the prizes). And leave no stone unturned--you'll want to explore everywhere you can get to. And I, at least, through a combination of climbing and leaping, was able to get to quite a lot...

Saturday, October 27, 2018

it pierces me slowly, pulling me through

Have I been to Slaughter Creek before? Name sounds familiar. Their blurb, not so much:
"Based on a Real Life Haunted House ...

Land"
Huh. Okay, guess I can check it out.



So, between going through and putting this up, turns out that yes, I have been here before. And the last time, three years back, it was horrifically laggy with a separate HUD for 'special effects'. This time around, they've improved vastly--no HUD, no lag-drenched landscape, so...that's good, I guess?

You'll start things off in a separate skybox that's effectively, if neutrally, decorated--fall trees, abandoned birdcages, a pentagram made of round white stones. Not terrible.



I already do, what's your point?



So the main house is...odd. There is enough lag present that every door I clicked would start the creaky, door-opening sound effect, and I was able to walk through the--to me--closed door, and about ten seconds after, the door would open soundlessly behind me. Kind of freaky, but unintentionally so, it was just a factor of minor lag.

On the plus side, this I thought was effective. No specific sounds associated, just the implication that something large and mostly unseen was going to crawl into the room. Nicely atmospheric.



This is from the second house, where there is another corpse with full-on male nudity, that reminded me this is on Adult land. I deliberatley did not raise the gamma on this, because it's just out of nowhere--after a mostly eerie landscape and a fairly effective first floor of the main house (I never found the way to the second floor, if there is one), this cabin seems a total 180 degrees in terms of tone.



Another out-of-nowhere moment: cute cat, yay, cute little coffin-shaped house, yay, bloodspatter vendor out of nowhere. Bwuh?



But hey, there's always time for cuddles.

it’s the pain of undoing the tearing in two

Why does Milena Doll Creations show up under a search for "haunted house"? For that matter, why does Athenaeum? At least Athenaeum has "Haunted House" in their land bio, but it's the 24th and 25th words respectively.

I went back and looked at Milena's blurb, and yep, "Haunted House" is there too, the 28th and 29th words respectively. Do they actually have haunts? I don't care enough at this point to check.

Grimly Fiendish Holiday Haunted Rides and Haunt...huh, what does their land blurb say?
"It's almost Halloween! Come and Trick or Treat on our street, visit the Evil Dead cabin, see the traditional Haunted House, and ride the Haunted Hayride! Afterwards take a date, the family, or come alone and ride the Tunnel of Love for a relaxing trip!"
Okay. I'll give it a shot.



I decided to try the Haunted Hay Ride. The truck is apparently transparent. Warnings to the phobic: the first area features spiders.



The farm apparently features aliens. Fun.



After a neat little monster concert I couldn't get good shots of, we fall back into the typical: carnival clowns, evil torture equipment. And they were doing so well.



IT's sewer scenes, yeah, seen it...



The next area was raining and overcast and I had no clue what they were referencing until I saw this. Oh, it's Sharknado. Okay, I'll give them points for clever, even if Sharknado was a truly terrible film.



And back at the Overlook. Yawn.

Overall, I can only comment on the one ride, I only did the one thing--they do mention more in their ad. That one thing isn't awful, just derivative, and there are some nice visuals along the way--the chiefest of which is the transparent truck. Sounds like a truck, sits like a truck, looks like a ghost. That is kind of neat.

Friday, October 26, 2018

never put themselves here, so undone at the seams



Ah, yes, the infamous Linden haunted house is back. This one has always bothered me slightly simply because of how gory and disturbing it is. After years of the Lindens telling us that blood, gore, viscera and intimated violence will always be classified as Adult, they throw something like this up on a General sim. Dafuq, to be blunt.



Though to be fair, I've always liked the ghostly TV.



All right, this is something I just don't get. There have been two major changes through the initial 'house' (slash asylum) portion that I can see: first, they seem to have taken about half the corpses and made them more shimmery, partially metalized (which I guess reduces the visual violence level? Not sure why, because the rest of the corpses and corpse sections are still bloody and visceral). The other big change I'm noticing is the addition of burping pumpkins and weird little eye insect monsters that sound like flies. Whuh?



Like, I don't...I don't understand it at all. Either you're a cutesy haunt and you have twee little haunted things, and it's all for fun and show, or it's a serious haunt with real horror. The Lindens seemed to have decided on both this year? That makes zero sense.



And it's not like the eye bugs aren't cute, they are...though the fly buzzing sounds around the piles of meat and former humans is disturbing...but...I just don't see why they had to be included. Toss in the burping pumpkins and the widdle monsters and the buzzing eye creatures and tone down the violence and blood? Great. Or keep the violence and blood and get rid of the cute touches. PICK ONE.



The rest was pretty much the same, with the addition of the weirdly cute touches, as noted: Freddy's basement, Carrie-Ann's house, IT's sewer. Not much has changed from that since last year.

I just don't get the burping pumpkins and the eye bugs. I just don't.

Rhodenwald's Haunted Hedge Maze

Briefly pondering a trip to the Naked Rocks until I caught the first two lines of their blurb:
"A celebration of spookiness and nudity! You must be nude here or the grim reaper will track you down!"
Yeah, no, that's not happening. Next.

Was considering going to the haunt at Commune Utopia until I caught their blurb:
"Please turn Sounds and Music on, use parcel windlight, and explore each room of the dilapidated home of Horny McPhee, who disappeared while trying to find the hot tub across the river. Gift upstairs!"
Ugh, nope. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood? I know I'm struggling not to get sick, and it has set me slightly off. But still.

Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns? Also nope.

A haunted hedge maze? Oh, what the hell.



Well, this certainly looks charming to start with.



I do like that the girl in the mirror reaches out of it. That is reasonably creepy.



On the surface, just a gargoyle on a column. But I panned up, and got the tree with all the little faerylights, and that was magical.



It's important to note that the makers of this maze are very clever: several points, like this one, look blocked. But the objects in the path are phantom, and a lot of times, fog or cobwebs or other effects will hide the passage behind or beside them. Very tricky and imaginative.



I apologize to any arachnophobes--this was the picture I left as dark as I took it, I didn't want to enhance it just in case. And even for me, I had to think hard about walking past all those...multi-legged things...lining the hedge.



I actually found the door at the heart of the maze, and guessed the right answer--but I didn't find the gift promised. But that's okay, this was actually neat to go through, and it frankly blows away most virtual corn mazes. (And maybe even a few actual RL ones, this was really fun to experience!)

My recommendation is to go. Take some time, take a friend if you like (there are 'traps' [non-RLV] in the maze for pictures and such), and just have fun. Nothing will scream at you, nothing will jump out and claw your face off. It's just well done, and enjoyably seasonal. Finally, something not terribly depressing!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

single-wides and ranches disappear before our eyes

Oh, sure, after the last few, how bad can it get? Let's try the Carnival of Horrors. The blurb's actually coherent until it descends into buzzwords:
"The Dark carnival, join us if you dare.The darks lost count of how many victims entered. No one ever kept count of the few that escaped. Carnival circus freakshow haunted house cemetary cornmaze swamp clown rides games zombie pirate apocalypse halloween"
Yep. Right. Onward.



Intimations of 'turn back now'. Huh.



I think I found the carnival.



Of course clowns.



Okay, this isn't terrible. Little bit incoherent, but I like the haunted mannequins/backstage seamstress area. The pipe gushing blood is a little bit weird, though, because it's so bright. It doesn't hit me as blood, it hits me as strawberry soda.



Really? I am so bored with this already.



And an asylum. Game and match, I can move on.

in these four blocks of rust piles and abandoned motels

Having a bad taste in my mouth from the last two haunts, I decided to try StormWind's Eerie Refuge. It's a good name, but their bio is buzzword central:
"Haunted house, scary, romantic, fun, halloween, entertainment, couples, things to do, friends, romantico, fantasmas, ghosts. lobos, hadas, wolves, fairies, breedables, teleport to store, garden, jardin, fotos, photos, club, casa embrujada, "
Yeah...not high hopes for it.



So...that's it, then? Plus a large invisible wall that made me have to skitter to the left until I hit the woods. Great.



Because of course the Crying Fountain is here.



Small cottage on the grounds, worth investigating, I thought. Lit with magenta light, even the clutter had clutter. I moved on.



Tiny graveyard, complete with semi-sourceless waterfall and mysterious lightning.



Inside the house, there were...well...furnishings. Not enough for the absurd size of the place, but...it was. Furnished.



So...that's a thing.



And yep, started with Alice game rips, ended with Silent Hill game rips, I'm done here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

he fired off a few hot rounds right into the sorry crowd

Okay, so that one didn't really pan out, what else...how about the POLTERGIEST ON ELM STREET !! haunt? (Yes, all upper case, spelled wrong.) Their bio is...odd:
"TRICK OR TREAT !
my house got possessed by the internet ; whatever you do DONT FALL ASLEEP !
haunted house,halloween scary horror movies
lounge , hangout ,spooky,"
Okay, then...



Marquee outside a normal A-frame home. Vaguely animated zombie things wandering around. Really bad overexposed Chris Sarandon cutout. Yeah, um...my initial reaction is "no", but...let's go see.



Floating chair. Floating cards. Carrie-Ann watching...Elvira, maybe? It was hard to make out.

Hanging basket bed, check. Fluffy sheepskin rug, check. Mysterious column of red light for no discernable reason, check. TV's playing Nightmare on Elm Street. Of course. And there's a door in the middle of the room...because that makes sense.



Oh, that's just...tacky.

Also...

[16:45] Emilly screams HELPPP I'm trapped !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No, I don't. Don't put words in my mouth.



There is way too much going on here. Sound too loud. Too many animated gifs. Stupid use of media on a prim. The whole thing is nonsensical.



And of course the door from the room of all the animated gifs opens into Gridworx' Overlook hallway set. Yeah, I'm done with this one.

I wouldn't recommend anyone go here, but...I guess if you really like being screamed at with sound and media, and otherwise, not a lot making much sense...feel free? Everyone else, just take my advice and avoid it entirely.