I suspect that everyone has a phobia. Some phobias are for things that can be avoided or the chances of meeting the ‘object’ of that phobia are so rare that they don’t impact on a person. At the other end of the scale there are phobias like agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) that can affect someone’s life to a debilitating degree.
Somewhere in the middle is my arachnophobia. I’m scared of spiders and find it difficult to even have my hand on a page with a picture of a spider. I’m worst with the big hairy ones, like huntsmans (which are very common here). They’re not poisonous but their bite does hurt – those fangs are big! They’re also fast, and can leap. Normally they’re leaping away, but I’ve been unlucky enough to have a few leap at me/onto me for whatever reason.
So spiders in games, and it’s almost always giant spiders, just freak me out. In the earlier days of 8-bit graphics, I could handle it – barely. I could also (again, barely) handle the early isometric games which had giant spiders (the Ultima series comes to mind). The move to First Person Sneakers/Shooters was where it began to fall apart for me. I avoided certain sections in Thief: The Dark Project because it had spiders. Some parts couldn’t be avoided, as they were crucial to the story, and folks for streets around probably heard my squeals when a spider jumped on me.
Torchlight returned me to the isometric world, but with much improved graphics, and giant spiders. With the isometric view I could (again) barely deal, but I’m able to get past those sections.
However Dragon Age 2 (DA2) again dumps me in amongst huge, overgrown spiders. I’m dealing, but only just, and those sections do not make for fun gameplay for me.
I understand the fascination with having overgrown spiders (or really, overgrown anything that can scare people). It’s the whole nightmare/horror thing come to life. While I can deal with other “horrors” (and quite enjoy them in the right context), spiders are just a step too far for me.
What’s the solution then? I guess the most obvious one is just not to play these games at all. However I’m far too selfish to take that route. It also seems silly to miss out on a whole game for a fairly minor section of gaming.
I do wonder, though, if options couldn’t be added for the more common phobias, to replace one kind of enemy (in my case, spiders), with another kind. That way the challenge is still there, and you can’t just say “I have phobia X” and get an easier game than others who don’t use those options.
I am curious, though, as to what phobias others have that can affect their gaming time?