Open or Shut?

One of the many perks of married life is always having a player 2 to enjoy playing video games with you. We play all sorts of games, but really enjoy playing the scary games together. It’s been a tradition of ours for years now to buy and play scary games at Christmas time when we both tend to have some more time at home together. It also helps that the days are shorter at that time of year because we have a rule that scary games are played after dark to experience the scariness of the game in full effect.

Every once in a while, we have discussions about what we might do if it were really happening to us, much like we do when we talk about tense situations in movies. There’s one discussion in particular that comes up quite often with video games. Would you leave doors open behind you or would you shut them as you go? Let me explain.

Picture this. Something has brought you to a building that you are not familiar with and has a lot of different rooms. There is some creature or evil presence, or perhaps numerous evil beings around you. They may or may not be tracking you and will definitely attack you if they detect you. When you are sneaking around trying to get through the building, would you leave doors open behind you or would you shut them?

We often have this option in games which is how the conversation started way back when for us. But really, there are pros and cons for each.

You could leave the door open and see where you have been, leave quietly or run out quickly if you are chased. But then, maybe you are leaving a trail for whatever you are running from to find you. They can see where you’ve been. How often do we really walk around large buildings that they use in games (hotels, hospitals, schools) and all of the doors are open? What if someone or something you are hiding from comes in while you are in the room? You’ve left the door open. Will you hear them enter? Will you have time to hide? Will they walk by and see you without even coming in because you are walking around the room reading documents and searching for your next move?

You could shut the door each time you enter a room. Maybe that makes you feel safe and contained where you are. Maybe that gives you warning that something is coming if you hear the door open and possibly gives you a second to duck behind a chair or desk. Maybe it makes noise and brings attention to you. And maybe in the panic of running away from the creature or crazed person you’ve created your own barrier and fumble over trying to open the door to run away and cause your own demise.

So which is really better? Do you leave a trail of open doors to see where you have explored or shut yourself in each room for a feeling of safety and cover?

I’ll update with which I think I would be more likely to do this weekend.

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S.L. Ember

Horror and dark fiction writer.

One thought on “Open or Shut?

  1. Tough call. In my line of work I have had to clear unknown buildings numerous times, in simulation and in real life. I, along with a partner, have left doors open to allow light to enter a hallway or space, but have also closed doors behind us. No rhyme or reason. Just did. It seemed that we left doors open in smaller buildings, such as convenience stores or private residences, and closed doors back in larger structures. I like your reasonings, though, as far as being alerted if someone came in behind you.

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