Fear is a primal reaction. We’ve had it since sabertooth tigers chased us across the frozen tundra. But in this modern world, it is hard to capture that uncontrollable urge to hide your head under your childhood blanket. To capture that terror on a video game disc is even more of a feat of fear. Many games attempt to make you cower in the dark in front of your screen, but few succeed in delivering the jitters that make you nervously glance over your shoulder for the next few days.
Below is the list of the 10 scariest video games ever that will cause paranoia and brown spotted undergarments. Proceed at your own risk.
Siren: Blood Curse
Siren: Blood Curse is a 3rd person, over the shoulder survival horror game from Project Siren. Recently released episodically on the Playstation Network, the story focuses on an American Television crew in Japan looking for a lost village where supposedly human sacrifices took place. Whether solving puzzles, fighting or fleeing the undead, Siren: Blood Curse offers a blood curdling narrative with the most tense of atmospheres.
I’ve always wondered if the Moscow subway system is as creepy in real life as it is in Metro 2033. It isn’t just the darkness, or the hostile factions, or the strange creatures you’ll meet up with underground, it’s the things you see from time to time that really freak you out. What seems like a straightforward story of survival, soon turns out to be much more frightening than you thought it would be.
Part philosophical musing, part objectivist nightmare, Bioshock is a complex game that plays with your mind just as much as it plays with the hairs on the back of your neck. From the time you crash into the mid Atlantic to the time you embed a putter in Andrew Ryan’s skull and, with the help of some little sisters with big needles, take down Fontaine, you are cautiously creeping around corners. Each new room is fraught with danger from splicers, security cameras, and Big Daddies. In Rapture, everything is out to get you and soon enough you’ll start seeing Splicers in the dark corners of your room. There might even be a Little Sister under your bed just waiting to harvest some Adam from you.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
Stalker is an open world FPS from Ukrainian developer GSC. In an alternate reality, a second disaster in Chernobyl has caused widespread mutation leading to the creation of a race of mutant animals. You play an amnesiac (who saw that coming?) and you’re forced to search the post-apocalyptic wasteland to discover the strange truth about “The Zone” and why you are referred to as a “Marked One”.
Designed in the style of Japanese horror movies, F.E.A.R is a first person shooter that trades action and “jump scares” for psychological terror. I mean, just look at Alma, the young girl the game focuses on. If she doesn’t creep you out, I don’t know what will.
Left 4 Dead
You would think that things become a bit less scary when you aren't playing a game shut up in a dark room all by yourself. But, the frantic onslaught of zombies keeps things fresh and fun with three others who are just as scared as you. It’s a visceral threat to survival that makes Left 4 Dead so frightening. I leaves you all wondering if the creaking in your closet is a bloody monster or just a hinge in need of grease.
Usually when you’re given heavy ordinance, the fear factor in a video game lessens a bit. But, somehow, Doom 3 gets the mix of big guns and even bigger scares just right. Obviously a portal to hell or some such demonic plane opens up on Mars as usual, and you have to make it out alive. You main problem is you characters inability to hold a flashlight and a gun at the same time. This keeps you frantically fumbling for a weapon as a demon contemplates which horderve it would like to eat before your face.
Never before had a game messed with gamers more than Eternal Darkness. In addition to being atmospherically unsettling and your character being more or less defensless, this game had a few other tricks to mess with your mind. Let the sanity meter dwindle low enough and that game might start experienceing glitches. Errors with your saved game and booting up Super Mario Bros. are just a couple of the problems you might find. But, as always it would jolt you back to the world of Eternal Darkness leaving you wondering what the hell happened and that much more confused and scared.
The least gorey game in our scariest video games ever list happens to be one of our scariest. Your task is simple: wander the woods collecting eight bits of paper with information about the Slender Man. The wind whooshes through trees, you hear whispers as you come upon the secrets of the forest. But every time you turn around, the Slender Man is there. He is always getting closer. You can’t look away without him gaining ground, but you can’t complete your task without exploring. Look away at your own risk.
Rockstar London’s psychological horror game follows Daniel Lamb and his escape from Dixmor Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Daniel is an amnesiac and his journey brings him face to face with insane inmates and mysterious, deadly organisations. The gameplay centres on stealth combat and brutal third person “executions”. What makes Manhunt 2 a truly frightening game is the “horror film” setting which provides the perfect atmosphere to compliment the game's gut wrenching brutality.
Penumbra: The Black Plague
The Black Plague is the second instalment of the Penumbra series of first person survival-horror games. Penumbra is the spiritual prequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and both games are developed by Swedish studio Frictional Games. Penumbra follows Phillip and his unsettling journey through an underground research base. Much like Amnesia, combat mechanics are shelved in favour of puzzles, stealth and just plain running away to survive at all costs.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Indie developers really know how to scare the undergarments off of gamers. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is no exception. This game plays like a first person adventure game that has a bit less adventure and much more pants wetting terror on the menu. You obviously have amnesia and have to piece together what has happened while at the same time avoiding the supernatural horror dogging your every step. Unlike most horror games that show you a full frontal monster, if you catch a even the slightest glimpse of this beast, your guts will be on the floor and you’ll be staring at a game over screen.
Cry of Fear
Cry of Fear is a first person survival horror mod of Half Life utilising Valve’s source engine. You play Simon, another amnesiac who wakes in a dark alley in a twisted version of Stockholm. Desperate to find out if he has gone insane, Simon will confront horrific creatures to get to the truth. Although based of the source engine and maintaining Half Life’s stellar combat mechanics, Cry of Fear is a total conversion mod and utilises new tools and abilities, making for a chilling experience.
Set in a dark and distant future, mankind has the ability to “crack” planets: literally crack a planet open and harvest its resources. When a religious artefact related to a twisted cult is discovered on the planet Aegis VII, The Ishimura mining ship goes dark. Isaac Clarke, whose girlfriend is stationed aboard The Ishimura, is part of the engineering team sent to uncover what is really going on. What follows is, in our humble opinion, one of the best and most terrifying gaming experiences of the last decade.
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Combat in horror games range from nonexistent to controller snapping frustration. Tossing aside the presupposition that your character is an invalid who can’t shoot or attack unless standing still, Condemned: Criminal Origins breaks the mold and provides the most visceral hand to hand combat imaginable while managing to make you soil your undies around every turn. People have been losing their minds and someone or something has been brutally murdering serial killers. You’re tasked with bludgeoning anything in your way of solving the mystery. The enemies are cruel and smart, often hiding. Also, guns are a rare luxury and you have to desperately claw at the scenery in search of something to pummel your assailant into a bloody pulp as another one sneaks up on you.
Silent Hill 2
Atmosphere is the most important ingredient in any horror game recipe. Silent Hill is the most famous demonic town in all of gaming for a good reason. The dichotomy from the light and the dark made players feel completely helpless. The level of creepy attention paid to the town itself made you pee down your leg at the slightest noise. Not only was the town itself a character, but the evil things lurking in the darkness kept the bile rising in your throat. Struggling, shuffling, damned beasts contorting themselves into odd angles made you cringe and think about flipping the off switch. Even with your system off, you still glanced around corners looking for Pyramid Head.
Resident Evil 4
Undoubtedly the juggernaut of the survival horror genre, and one of the scariest video games ever, the Resident Evil Franchise has been terrorizing gamers since its inception. Resident Evil 4, without a doubt is the best game in the franchise. Transferring the game from cramped corridors to the eerie forests of Spain made the environment all the more unsettling. Danger lurked around every tree trunk. The constant searching for ammo and the plethora of things that want to rip your head off kept gameplay desperate. It was fun, it made you jump, and made you think twice about a camping trip in Spain.
Nothing is more terrifying than horrific events based on a true story. The mansion from Fatal Frame has a real life counterpart in Japan. Being the site of some grotesqueries, it would only make sense that someone would have used it to scare the pants off some gamers. Fatal Frame is a survival horror game that provides you with no weapons except for a camera. Through it, you can view the demonic and spectral entities flowing around the mansion you must escape. With only a bit of film that captures malevolent spirits, be prepared for a game that will make you feel helpless, alone, and absolutely paranoid about every little sound.