The Scariest Video Games You Need to Play
There are so many horror games nowadays that rely on cheap thrills and jump scares that we tend to forget what horror is really about. The scariest video games are the ones that create a haunting atmosphere and let the player subtly give in to the fears he didn’t even know he had. Games like Clive Barker’s Undying and Half-Life offer a great interactive experience with horror elements that enhance the story. Slender: The Eight Pages is there to show you how minimalistic a great horror game can be. Alien: Isolation and P.T. aim to show us just how great a modern horror game can be, while Silent Hill 2 stands as a monument of a nearly perfect horror experience with a deep, meaningful story and fear-inducing abominations. Check out this list.
Clive Barker’s Undying
Photo: EA Games
We’ll start the list off with something of a hidden gem. The 2001 video game called Undying brought one of the masters of the horror genre, Clive Barker, to the world of gaming. In his novels, Barker was known for gruesome descriptions and terrifying creatures but mainly rose to prominence thanks to the horror franchise Hellraiser, which he wrote and directed originally. The Undying has a lot of familiar Barker gore in it, but it’s the subtle creepiness that ultimately makes the game so great. You play as Patrick Galloway, an Irish paranormal investigator who goes to visit an old friend and his seemingly haunted family. Patrick uses weapons, spells and an extremely unnerving alternate vision to get to the bottom of the mystery. If you still haven’t played it, try it now. It has aged quite well.
Now, a game as legendary as Half-Life certainly can’t be qualified just as a horror game, but some of its elements are certainly there. You play as Gordon Freeman, a renowned scientist called to help out with a secret experiment in an underground facility. After it all goes wrong (obviously), you get to roam around the place with your trusty crowbar, bashing in the heads of various aliens and running away from the infamous “head crabs.” In case you don’t find all these creatures terrifying, there is always the unsettling sense of isolation with most of the facility’s occupants dead or missing and the ever-observing eye of the ghastly figure that goes by the name of G-Man. Considering all this, you can’t say that Half-Life isn’t really a scary game.
Slender: The Eight Pages
Photo: Parsec Productions
Fast-forward to some of the more recent indie video games, there’s Slender: The Eight Pages released in 2012 as a free, downloadable game. This is yet another game that features the infamous Slender Man, a tall, faceless figure that is said to kidnap children and traumatize people with his unnatural appearance. Slender: The Eight Pages is a game based on this expectation or, better yet, constant apprehension. You need to find the eight pages to get the full story, but the evil Slender Man could be waiting behind any corner and you have no way of confronting him. The only thing you can do is listen, observe and run as soon as you sense trouble. Here is what can happen if you decide to give it a try.
Photo: Creative Assembly
Do you remember what it was like watching the Alien movie for the very first time? The vast empty space of the spaceship, a handful of crew members and an alien creature lurking in the darkness, waiting for the right moment to slaughter them all. This idea was somewhat ruined in the sequels and the whole thrill of a true horror was gone. However, in 2014, an indie game by the name of Alien: Isolation tried to bring back that old sensation and it worked. In the game, you play as Amanda Ripley, the daughter of the protagonist from the original movie, trying to survive in an abandoned space station, constantly hunted by the uncompromising alien creature that can’t be defeated. The idea is to use evasion, distraction, traps and other methods to help you survive. It is a bone-chilling, but quite enjoyable, nostalgic horror experience.
Photo: Konami Digital Entertainment
Hideo Kojima’s last Konami game wasn’t actually a game, but only a playable teaser, logically titled P.T. Although Kojima had a fallout with Konami and the project was ultimately scrapped, it was so hauntingly beautiful that it quickly gathered a cult following and became a fan-favorite. In the demo, you play as an unnamed protagonist, who keeps walking into the same room, on a loop, except every time something is new. In a true Silent Hill fashion, there are ominous, unnatural figures, creepy sounds and the puzzling inscriptions that will constantly keep you anxious. Now, although this project was forgotten and abandoned by Konami, Kojima’s new upcoming game Death Stranding, seems to be its spiritual successor. So, if you enjoy playing weird horror games that encourage you to think, you have something to look forward to.
Silent Hill 2
Of course, no list of scary games is ever complete without a real Silent Hill entry and we feel that the best one among them is certainly Silent Hill 2. Why this game exactly? Well, even though all of the Silent Hill games have a psychological basis for their storylines, the second game in the series is perhaps the most emotional one. You play as James Sunderland, a young man who arrives at Silent Hill because he received a letter from his late wife. What he encounters there are sinister manifestations of his own fears as well as other people who are also lost in their own private hells. Thanks to the chilling storyline and amazing soundtrack by Akira Yamaoka, Silent Hill 2 is a perfect representative of a great horror game.
What is the scariest video game you’ve ever played?