80s style gore-fests: Stranger Things 3, Doom, and A Robot Named Fight

Apologies for the late post… there’s been a lot going on in life, and I completely forgot to get this up yesterday. I think I’m going to change my blog post day to Fridays going forward, to give me more time to think about what I want to write about.

I’ve accidentally found myself consuming a lot of media this week that takes me back to the 80s, mostly through gratuitous, horrifying gore. My wife and I have been watching Stranger Things 3, and I’ve also been playing through Doom and A Robot Named Fight. All three of these have definite 80s inspiration, including in their use of this over the top gore!

Stranger Things 3 is the strongest connection to the 80s from this list, being that it is a show set in, you guessed it, the 80s! I’ve watched that previous two seasons of stranger things with my wife, and we’re about halfway through season three so far. I’ve enjoyed watching the show up to this point a lot more than it feels like I should, considering that I don’t really like horror or gore in my media most of the time. I don’t think there’s anything in particular that makes the gross and spooky elements of Stranger Things easier for me to stomach than other pieces of media that I’ve rejected, it’s just that the 80s setting, and the fun that comes with that, and the sci-fi mysteries that are present along with the gore are enough to keep me going. I have found that in the past few seasons there has been more of the horror side of things while this season is leaning way in to the gore with exploding mounds of flesh all over the place.

I played a bit of 2016’s Doom years ago, but I didn’t get very far. After playing some of Rage 2 a few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to give this one another shot, and I’m really liking it again! I love how fast paced the action is, but the over the top gore is nonestop! Shooting an enemy from afar, then running in to stomp the heck out of their face in order to get some extra health is satisfying, but when you do that 86 times in a row it starts to lose its luster, and I start to wonder about what kind of childhood the Doom Slayer must’ve had in order to be so carefree about stomping on faces, even if they are demon’s faces. The gore and violence in this one is never enough to make me feel ill or uncomfortable the way that it can in Stranger Things, I think because it’s being filtered through the over-the-top action-video-game prism, but it still feels like it’s a little more that is entirely necessary. It is fun to look back at the original Doom and see how much the new game is a direct evolution of the violence there!

A Robot Named Fight is a game that came out of the Switch a while ago that I’ve had my eye on. It recently went on sale for a massive discount on the Nintendo Eshop, so I decided it was time to pick it up. In terms of gameplay, A Robot Named Fight is basically a Metroid game, except for that it’s a procedurally generated rogue-like, so every time you die you start over with a new version of the map and none of your abilities. I’m becoming more and more fond of rogue-likes lately, and this might be my favorite one yet! As far as the story goes, A Robot Named Fight drops you into the role of the last hope for a robot society that is been being invaded by a blobby flesh monster from outer space. It’s a fun reversal of the typical trope of humanity fighting off machines, and it allows the developers to put in enemies that are grotesque and awful throughout. Everything you fight in this game is some sort of pulsating flesh mound with a gaping maw, usually expelling some sort of snot or vomit or slime at you. Between the clear Metroid influence, the pixel art, and the bulbous horrors, this game is super 80s, and it’s ridiculous and over-the-top and awesome.

I don’t know why media that is made today to reference the 80s feels the need to incorporate crazy amounts of gore and flesh and awfulness, but I think I’m kind of into it.

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