Koji Suzuki's groundbreaking Japanese novel, simply titled Ring, has inspired a multitude of likewise terrifying stories that have been molded into various multimedia formats. Everything from television and film to video game and VR experiences has been circled by Ring. Partly for the fact that the US versions weren't as well-received as the Japanese films, the Ring story (as a whole) has seemingly faded into obscurity over the past decade despite having a rather avid following in Japan.
The original story follows a journalist by the name of Kazuyuki Asakawa as he unravels the mysterious and untimely death of four youths, including that of his niece. After finding a strange VHS at their last known location, "Hakone Pacific Land," he enlists the help of his openly psychotic friend, Ryuji Takayama, and the two watch the demonic video together. Suzuki's novel doesn't simply stop there, as two sequels -Spiral and Loop- corral the entire saga into one masterwork of Japanese horror. The 2002 American film follows a similar premise and consists of one of the most terrifying sequences in horror filmography with the cursed videotape. Watch at your own discretion.
Two years before the American remake released, The Ring: Terror's Realm debuted on the Dreamcast. Though it might sound promising, it scored rather poorly with most reviewers. GameSpot gave it a lowly 4.6 out of 10, calling into question everything from voice acting and audio mismatches to awkward gameplay mechanics and overall mission structure. At the close of his review, Brad Shoemaker can't help but add, "Die-hard survival-horror fans might possibly get a quick fix from this game, but even that's questionable."
Terror's Realm did do something right, though, by putting an original and current events spin on the already well-known horror story. The game revolved around Meg Rainman, a CDC specialist whose boyfriend -along with a few other CDC workers- dies mysteriously and simultaneously at the hand of a strange computer system. Players control Meg as she not only attempts to escape the CDC center in lockdown but also uncover the malicious intent behind this enigmatic computer system coined "RING." While it may still be considered "unfavorable" by most gamers, it opened the doors to gamifying the world-class Ring horror series, despite little efforts to expound upon it in the future.
映画「貞子vs伽椰子」が面白かったので、つい「貞子VR」を試作してしました。貞子側の苦労体験ゲームです。長い髪をかき分け、呪いのビデオを見た人が現れたら電話をかけて、テレビから飛び出して呪い殺します。 pic.twitter.com/qVoycSsJvN— tatsunoru@DOFI (@tatsunoru) June 21, 2016
Though first-person horror may be getting old, one faithful fan and video game designer by the name of Tatsunoru decided to flip the switch by making a VR prototype that puts players behind the greasy black hair of the iconic young and terrifying little girl, Sadako (Samara in the US). The Japanese VR experience, titled Sadako VR, has 4 main rules:
"1. People who watch the cursed video appear and then the connecting video lights up. 2. Creep up to where the TV is. 3. Call the cursed people on the telephone. 4. Enter the TV."
With this crazy VR experience in mind, Sadako would make for an awesome horror movie villain addition to Mortal Kombat, yet it's doubtful she will ever make such an appearance. Ever since Terror's Realm, the Ring series has taken a backseat in the video game industry, and probably for good reason. The already surmounting disservice the Dreamcast iteration made, on top of the poor American film remakes, only gave the exceptional horror story bad credit.
On the other hand, a VR experience much like Tatsunoro's in line with a similar premise from Terror's Realm could make for an interestingly horrifying video game...