30 Games That Made Me Who I Am: 2014

Nine years after they made F.E.A.R., a sizeable contingent of the devs from that team released a little indie title called Betrayer, and it’s the best horror shooter nobody’s ever heard of.

I have incredibly vivid memories of the time Betrayer came into my life, where I played it, and most importantly, who I played it with. It was my last year of college when I stumbled upon this gem of a game. I was an RA on the freshman floor of a UMass Lowell dorm (sorry, sorry — a residence hall), and my door was open all the time so my residents could stop by and chat if they wanted. That meant constant interruptions, but it didn’t matter because the moment my eyes were back on the screen, Betrayer sucked me in again instantly.

The real story to tell here, though, is that this was a joint experience. Early on in the game, my girlfriend had walked in while I was playing — and from that moment on we played the rest of the game together. We were the perfect team. I did the navigation and shooting — and if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s a first-person shooter. She sat at my side with an eagle’s eye, pointing out enemies hiding in distant shadows or directing me toward the subtle sparkles of loot that I never would have seen on my own. Together, we pieced together the mystery of Betrayer‘s lost colony, debated the merits of the game, and passed judgment on its morally-bankrupt characters.

As wonderful and different as Betrayer is — and it’s definitely one of my favorites from the last few years — it will always occupy a special place in my memory for introducing me to my videogame life partner. I don’t quite know what my we did together before this point, and ultimately we were never any good for each other, but playing and talking about games? We do that like nobody else.

I’ve never known anyone I’d rather play videogames with than this woman. We’ve since broken up and moved on in our romantic lives — but we still come together to be in love with games, to talk about them, and to play them. I still hold the controls, and she’s still my eyes and ears — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If we ever get real life sorted out enough that we get around to doing the let’s play show we’ve always talked about, Betrayer will be one of the first games we revisit.







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