Foreword: This was originally written for Trusted Reviews for Halloween in 2018, but it was not published and I was never paid. Thankfully, Videodame decided to pick up the story and it was able to find a home (psst, always pitch your stories to Videodame). Here’s a short snippet:
One of the most thrilling aspects of horror games is to actively participate in your own scares. Grappling with the conflicting emotions of wanting to be spooked — versus our innate fight-or-flight response — is sure to get the ol’ blood pumping. So if you’re craving an adrenaline rush this Halloween, stare upon the unblinking faces of terror in these itch.io games. For an added challenge, play them all in one sitting — and perhaps go to sleep with your eyes wide open.
The “found footage” archetype of horror is terrifying because of how intimate it feels; it tugs the audience even closer to the experience, while rendering the fourth wall nearly invisible. In this game, you play as an unfortunate soul who chanced upon a lost phone belonging to the eponymous Sara. Her phone’s eerily intelligent virtual assistant, I.R.I.S., beseeches you to rummage through the device for any clues to her whereabouts — and that’s only the tip of the horror iceberg. Of course, the game is best experienced on your phone, which makes the experience feel both voyeuristic and uncomfortably lifelike.
Read the rest of the piece at Videodame.