Spiders Are a Popular Video Game Monster. They're Also an Accessibility Problem

Editor’s Note: There are NO images of spiders in this piece. Because this is a story about a phobia, we have decided to avoid including any imagery that might trigger it.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pkyxam/spiders-are-a-popular-video-game-monster-theyre-also-an-accessibility-problem

I’ve always considered myself lucky, because I have a phobia about a semi-common video game enemy (wasps), but it doesn’t seem to transfer to representations of them in games, not even realistic ones. Cazadores from Fallout: New Vegas come close to triggering it, but I still managed to make it through that game ok.

Regardless, I have a lot of sympathy for arachnophobes. Sucks to be playing, like, pretty much any fantasy game ever and suddenly have a giant spider in your goddamned face.

Even worse is when they’re used as the Big Terrifying Enemy You Can’t Kill. Yikes on bikes.


I never realized how common spiders were in games until I met my wife, who is an arachnophobe. I remember playing Dragon Age Inquisition and grinding through mobs when she had to leave the room because all the spiders on screen were creeping her out. From there I just kept noticing all the games where big spiders just come at you from nowhere. That’s gotta stop, if for no other reason than that it’s horribly cliché.


The way they instantaneously close distance and attack faster than you can react really does capture the primal fear I get when I see a wasp.


Coincidentally, the real life inspiration for Cazadores prey on tarantulas

[CW: real gross insect shit]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzmgVUQMVAU

I used to have reoccurring dreams about spiders hanging above me and then dropping on my face.

They’d always casually chat with me before they did tho. Dreams are weird.

My arachnophobia is extremely linked to the smallness of spiders, so most games don’t bother me at all. I can even handle tarantulas IRL, they’re too big to trigger it, let alone the five foot tall beasties in Skyrim.

But my trypanophobia? That is severe enough that even the zoomed out stab in the thigh some video games use for quick healing animations will make me flinch. Please god just put a bandage on.


(spider story from this morning) This morning it took me maybe an hour to muster up the courage to confront a spider that had been hanging out on my ceiling. I spent maybe 10 or so minutes just looking at it, then vaccumed my apartment so I could vacuum up the spider, and then vacuumed even more so I wouldn’t potentially see the motherfucker when I was emptying the vacuum out. My apartments now clean, sure, but my skin is still crawling and I’m constantly checking all of my walls and ceilings and I’m having trouble calming down. This is to say I appreciate this and hope more games consider things like this. Not only for the audience, but for the people developing these games too (as was referred to in the article)


I am extremely like this when it comes to roaches.
Luckily they don’t appear too often in games (exception being Fallout with their freaking irradiated super roaches :grimacing:)


I’m so sorry I told you to play Rain World

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Fuck me I cannot stand the casual use of needles in early 7th gen. Bioshock was an obvious culprit but Far Cry 2 had syrettes that - when used - accurately replicated the white-out effect that my vision ofyen gets when receiving an injection irl. Who thought that was a good idea? Just be Max Payne and pop endless pain medication. There’s nothing problematic about that!

There were definitely time where I needed a breather after some bad encounters, particularly (rain world spoilers) the underhang, but overall it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. (rain world spoilers) The daddy long legs move around like octopus so it was a little easier to abstract what they are!

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