Video games are able to capture much of the emotion and feeling that comes with movies and other forms of entertainment. That being said, video games always seem to struggle with making people laugh and scaring them. I have covered games that actually made me laugh out loud in a previous post (I would like to add Saint’s Row 3 to that list), and today I am going to dig into games that actually scared me.
Even with these genuinely scary games, they still do not quite capture fear in the same way as movies. Maybe it is the fact that you are in control of the situation; I am not sure. Nonetheless, it is possible for a game to be scary, and the games on this list are the top of the heap for scaring the pants off you, at least in a few choice scenes.
If you check that post on the funniest video games I mentioned earlier, you will notice this game makes an appearance there as well. Of course, they were not funny on purpose, but they most certainly were scary by design. I will never forget the first scene in the hallway behind the dining room (that sounds like a game of Clue) where you first encounter a zombie. Sure, it has lost some luster due to the game’s age, but it is still a genuinely creepy moment.
What made Resident Evil so scary is the tension the game makes you feel. The scarcity of enemies actually made the game scarier. With the first Resident Evil, you never knew when a zombie was going to come, and that made it even more terrifying when one actually showed up. Sadly, the series has become more action oriented in recent games, but I still enjoy the scarier days of the past.
When I was a child, I actually had to stop playing Silent Hill because I was too afraid. As a grown man, I feel okay admitting this, but at the time, I was a little embarrassed. The game had a way of scaring that most other games are simply unable to duplicate (including later Silent Hill games). Your character in Silent Hill was not a badass Special Forces agent. Instead, he was just a regular guy, and this added to the terror in a big way.
The scariest thing I remember about Silent Hill is the ambient noise. It was so incredibly tense and off-putting that even going back as an adult I still feel a little uncomfortable playing it. Of course, I can keep make it through now, but I am still genuinely scared.
Condemned: Criminal Origins
The first time I booted up this game on Xbox 360, I immediately felt ill at ease. There are plenty of enemies hidden and sneaking up that give you a cheap “oh my gosh” moments, but that is not what impressed and scared me about condemned. It was the way the enemies get in your face and yell and scream. It felt so real, especially because this game launched so early in the life of the next generation consoles. It had visuals that were well beyond what I was accustomed to.
Besides being scary, there was something disturbing about smacking these human enemies with a lead pipe or other various object from in the world. The sound it made when it made contact and the groans from the enemies felt real, and that is scarier than any amount of zombies or enemies jumping out of a closet and scaring you.
Dead Space is just plain scary. Being alone on a space ship filled with evil monsters is usually a recipe for good scares, and Dead Space most certainly delivers. I will fully admit that is has many moments where the scares come from the enemies sneaking up on you and making you jump. I usually call these cheap scares, but in Dead Space, they are genuinely well done, so they get a pass.
Of course, there are plenty of mess-with-your-head scares in Dead Space as well. The feeling of being alone in outer space is enough to make you feel incredibly uncomfortable. You are in a constant struggle to keep enough ammo, and this adds to the tension in a way I have not seen since Resident Evil. If you are looking for a good scare from a modern game, Dead Space and Dead Space 2 are the way to go.
I wish there were more video games that were genuinely scary, but sadly, good horror is hard to find in the world of video games. Some other scary games worth noting are Amnesia: The Dark Descent, F.E.A.R, Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth and Alone in the Dark.
Now, I turn it over to our faithful readers. What video games left you shaking in your boots? Let us know in the comments.