With Halloween coming up in a few days I figured it would be a good time to take a look at my experience with scary games. I actually didn’t start playing “horror” games until fairly recently, probably five or six years ago. So this list will probably be missing a lot of classics but that’s mostly because when I was still a youngin’ playing on my Super Nintendo or PlayStation I stayed away from anything scary, movies and TV included. So without further ado here are the scariest games and gaming moments of my life.
Being Chased By Nemesis in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Nemesis seems to just now be getting it’s credibility back as a proper Resident Evil game.. It’s pretty poorly regarded in comparison to the more scarier tense early entries and it’s not at all like the action heavy recent entries into the Resident Evil franchise. Nemesis is sort of the weird step child of the franchise, but we’re not talking about good game play or comparing the games to the other’s in the franchise, we’re talking straight up terror. I remember being absolutely terrified as a 12 year old whenever the Nemesis showed up on screen. In fact, part of that terror was the frustrating gameplay mechanics of Resident Evil. There’s nothing scarier than a 400-pound Zombie Killer lumbering towards you as your character decides to ever so slightly mosey towards the camera like a narcoleptic cowboy with a leg injury. Nemesis was also my first interaction with the “stalker-type” gameplay where a creature chases you throughout a game, a mechanic that’s become popular in new games like Slender, Alien and about a thousand indie games (looking at you The Groundskeeper).
Closing Your Eyes and Hoping the Alien Doesn’t See You
So this is one of those relatively new games I was talking about before. Alien Isolation essentially puts you in the classic Ridley Scott sci-fi thriller except with a few more twists. I’ve said this before to friends that have taken me to go watch horror movies but after playing horror games I can’t find movies as scary. Once you’ve had to tip-toe past the Alien and pray it doesn’t see you or you had to sprint at full-speed hoping one of those weird androids doesn’t catch up to you, watching someone else make those decisions just doesn’t carry the same weight. The most frustrating things about horror movies are the characters always seem to make stupid decisions that you never would, (Don’t go to the dimly lit basement). So it’s a lot scarier to attempt to make all the right decisions your self and have those back fire than it is to watch “Becky” go hunting for the killer alone in her pyjamas. Enough about that though, just look at the picture below, tell me those androids aren’t just…creepy.
The Thing in the Sewers in Horrorland
Goosebumps has a weird place in my childhood lore. I didn’t read any of the books and I think I only watched like 5 episodes of the 90’s YTV show but I was downright TERRIFIED of Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy. I legitimately had nightmares of him being below my bed. Now of course my brother loved the books and even got a computer game: Escape From Horrorland, and I remember playing it with him and even playing a few times by myself but I always seemed to get stuck in the same spot. I’ve never gone back to play it but I still remember the monster that lived in the Sewers, the animation was all weird and sporadic like it was a shambling, crawling mess of arms and teeth. Watch the video below, listen to the noises A) The Sewer Gate makes and B) The Noises the Monster makes…NIGHTMARE FUEL.
Five Nights at Freddy’s…Any of Them
I’ve only played one of these games but I’ve seen enough of them to know they’re essentially the same game. I don’t understand how the concept of haunted Chuckie Cheese Animatrons has spawned a franchise as large as Five Nights but people love these games and I’d be lying if I said they aren’t scary. The concept is simple, you use security cameras and doors in combination to track where the haunted machines are in relation to you. If they get to you before you close the door you’re in for a scare. Five Nights doesn’t really put a lot into anything other than the jump scares but those are scary as all hell. There’s a vague lore but it’s pretty difficult to pay attention to any of it when your constantly checking your doors and cameras for possible animatron killers. I can’t play the game for more than six minutes because I’ll go into cardiac arrest but if you’ve never played it and you want a quick scare Five Nights is definitely the way to go. The controls are intuitive and the gameplay is centralised around just you in one room so you’re not worried about remembering 17 button combos or finding items or anything. This simplicity helps you lose yourself in the tediousness of checking the cameras right before a giant robot chicken forces your heart into your throat.
The First 12 Minutes of Outlast
I have only ever played the first 12 minutes of Outlast because the game is so damn scary, I wuss out every time. It’s a serious issue with how I play Horror games, I’m usually under the influence of several alcoholic beverages and I have 2-3 other people that are watching me play. That is to say, complicated horror games are unplayable for me. Outlast works to a point. Eventually in every play through I’m just too worried about surviving and too scared to go hunting for access keys and starting generators. I realise that’s sort of the whole point of the game, I’m just saying I am a giant wuss and I need horror games to be fairly simple otherwise I give up an watch something not scary so I can sleep that night. Outlast has everything else I could want, a beautiful game engine, creepy atmosphere and a setting that screams “Horror Movie”. This is one of those games I mentioned before where after playing it I couldn’t watch a horror movie and be scared anymore.
Who Slends the Slenderman?
This takes the scary cake as both the scariest and best horror game I’ve ever played. Slenderman is the boogeyman for millennials, his story born on creepy pasta forums and unlike other creepy-pasta stories, Slenderman managed to secure his place in a wider pop culture. This was due in part to the success of the Indie Horror Game Slender: The Eight Pages The game doesn’t blow you away with amazing graphics, it wasn’t until Slender The Arrival came out that Slender fans got to see the tall guy in all his properily rendered creepy glory. While The Arrival played like a legitimate game with a story, proper graphics etc. The Eight Pages gave you just the hits. There was no story, no characters, just a creepy atmosphere and a game mechanic that was built for jump scares. Normally I hate games that are built around one mechanic, but horror games are my one exception because of how they are meant to be played. I played Slender at a cottage, with the screen doors open and several friends after several drinks. What was incredible was how that game became a shared experience, we were all loud and obnoxious of course but everyone was still terrified, in fact that’s probably why we were so loud. While one friend played he jumped just by turning a corner and seeing a chair…yes a chair…That’s what this game does to you, it has some sort of an energy around it that just makes you feel like your watching a horror movie with your best friends and you’re still terrified. That seems to be what others love about the game too, take a look on Youtube, Slender playthroughs are more popular on there than Home Depot Do It Yourself Videos.
*Warning NSFW Language Below*
–Museum of WatchCraft: Fallout 4. Typical Fallout creepiness meets Witchcraft, No Thank You.
–Tumbleweed: Red Dead Redemption. Not only is it creepy in game but there’s actual ghost stories circulating around the internet about what other players have found.
–Man-Bat: Batman Arkham Knight. Arkham Knight is probably the creepiest of the Franchise, it takes place on Halloween, Scarecrow is the big bad guy and the game is riddled with jumpscares including The Joker and basically every scene involving Man-Bat.
–Chateau d’Onterre: Dragon Age Inquisition. Basically the fantasy equivalent of a Haunted House, complete with pictures with eyes that seem to just follow you around the room. It’s hard to get scared when you’re playing as a time and space altering wizard but somehow it works in this level.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the list and if you haven’t played these games I highly recommend grabbing a few drinks inviting over a few friends and collectively wetting yourself all in the name of scary fun.