Fatal Frame Series
When a video game is developed and designed with the pure intention of providing the most terrifyingly horrific gaming experience ever, you know that it’s probably not something you should try when you’re alone in a dark room. That’s what the Silent Hill-inspired game was intended for and was lightly based on the Japanese horror film genre.
From ghosts that creep up on you to then reveal distorted faces to emerging shadows, jump scares to psychological fear: the Fatal Frame series is one that you definitely need to prepare yourself for.
Silent Hill Series
So many elements make Silent Hill the terrifying video game that it is. Firstly, there’s the fact that it’s inspired by the true story of Centralia, a place in Pennsylvania that is virtually a ghost town now that it’s been polluted by an underground coal fire that’s been burning for over fifty years. Secondly, it houses Pyramid Head – arguably one of the creepiest video game antagonists there is.
But overall, Silent Hill is just one big playable horror movie where you’re out to find your missing daughter. Every step you take will make your fingers tremble as you fumble through the mist and face the demons.
Amnesia: A Dark Decent
On paper, this PC survival game doesn’t sound too bad: find your way out, regain your memory, avoid enemies and solve puzzles. But put yourself in the dark and terrifying environment within the game and you’ll soon see why it’s got the reputation for one of the scariest games ever made.
One of its main gameplay features (and possibly the reason why it’s so creepy) is the fact that if you’re left in the darkness for too long, the protagonist begins to lose his mind. This affects what you can see and also lures enemies towards you. Equally, standing in the light for too long will draw the attention of the monsters. Not only does that make you feel trapped but the fact that there are no weapons within the game will make you as the player feel even more terrified.
Sticking to the PC survival game theme, Outlast is considered one of the scariest games ever made. Set in an abandoned psychiatric hospital, it’s inevitably going to be terrifying to play as it doesn’t get much creepier than that to begin with.
In a nod to Alan Wake, you don’t fight physically and have to rely on a camcorder to provide evidence and light. You can use parkour moves to escape situations or hide in lockers however, but when you are being chased, you can’t help but scream while performing these moves.
Based on the film Alien, Alien: Isolation is another horror survival that will make you want to hide behind the couch. While the plot is simple – you are 15 years after the movie and searching for information on your missing mother – it’s poisoned by a terrifying problem: there is a giant alien on the loose.
The surroundings aren’t particularly scary and sometimes it’s comforting to find other humans (despite them always ready to attack you), but the knowledge that your next turn could be right into the face of a carnivorous alien is enough to keep your palms sweating throughout.
Similarly to Alien: Isolation, Dead Space is set in a futuristic starship surrounded by dead crew members and aliens of various abilities scattered all over. While you are able to attack in this game, it doesn’t make it any less terrifying.
An element that adds to the fear of this game is that usually with most games, you can jump into your inventory or check out your mission map knowing that you’re temporarily safe from the nightmare. Not in Dead Space! When you enter menus via the 3D holograms, the game is still going and you could find yourself being attacked when you’re least expecting it.
Five Nights At Freddy’s
One way to give yourself a fear of cute teddy bears and Chuck. E. Cheese is by playing the point-and-click game, Five Nights At Freddy’s. The plot is simple: you’re a night watch security guard for a pizza parlor that features animatronic characters during the day to entertain the kids that eat there. However, the animals are malfunctioning and guess what? They want to kill you. Not only that but the restaurant holds a rumor that five missing children were murdered there…
It’s up to you to follow the security cameras to monitor their steps and stay alive. If you’re not a fan of jump scares then this is one to stay away from.
2005 saw the release of F.E.A.R (short for First Encounter Assault Recon) and we were hooked. You play the leader of the group on a mission to investigate the mystery of a creepy young girl and the paranormal activity that consumes her.
It works as an excellent first-person-shooter with smooth gameplay and intelligent melee that requires strategy and technique. You can even play multiplayer modes, such as deathmatch and capture the flag, if the campaign wasn’t enough for you. The fear in the game shows through its Japanese horror film inspirations and unsettling visions from Alma, the little girl. There are several Easter Eggs through the franchise that escalate the creepiness such as jump scares and eerie comments from the characters.
This year, we were treated to Sony’s interactive horror title, Until Dawn. The story revolves around seven friends – portrayed by an all-star cast – and begins with a getaway in a lodge in Canada, away from home. The happiness is short-lived when disaster strikes and two of them go missing.
The game is entirely interactive and while the main plots are pre-set, almost anything you choose to do will affect the story’s development where there are hundreds of potential endings, some decisions leading to drastic alterations.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Unlike most of the other games on this list, Eternal Darkness is terrifying for its psychological effects. The 2002 GameCube exclusive has quite a basic plot: investigate the mystery of the protagonist’s murdered grandfather.
However, it’s the elements of the gameplay that make it so scary. Time moves backwards and forwards as you complete missions and meet the characters. This means that the people you come across are from many different generations: from a firefighter attended the Gulf War to a slave girl from 1150AD. In addition to this is the ‘Sanity Meter’ – a feature patented by Nintendo that affects the camera view, causes shakiness and prompts whispers, cries and can even cause a ‘blue screen of death’ that makes the player feel like the sanity has gone right through to the console itself.
What do you think of the games on this list? Let us know in the comments below!
This post was originally written by Claire Pulpher.