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Video games are fun and come in all sorts of flavors but scary games in the horror genre rewire the fun factor. Scary games are not for everyone, but you love them if you are like me. I love them because they test my mental strength and tend to have a creative original story. From zombie infestations to paranormal phenomena and every other horrifying thing imaginable, scary games bring out the fears in all of us, and the experiences are a lot of fun.
SCARY GAMES INSPIRATION
I put together a curated list of scary games that I have played at the top of this post and on Horror Game on YouTube. Check them out if you are into watching gameplay videos or you are looking for inspiration on your next horror video game to play.
Resident Evil for the PlayStation One was released in 1996. I am 15 years old. I don’t own a PlayStation One but my cousin does and I’m spending the night at his house. I’m about to get my first dose of survival horror.
My cousin is a night owl who would stay up all night playing video games. My brother and I are spending the night and we fall asleep. At some point during the night, I wake up. My cousin is playing a video game. I crawl out of my sleeping bag and over to see what my cousin is playing. He warns me right away that he is playing a scary game. I shrug it off and begin to watch him play the game.
The first thing I remember is Chris running down a lengthy hallway. There are lightning flashes and cracks of thunder from a violent storm outside. The windows in the room cast shadows from the lightning. The house creaks and the footsteps of Chris echo throughout the hall. And then suddenly, a couple of zombie dogs jump through the windows and begin to chase Chris.
There isn’t a lot of ammo in Resident Evil so the best thing to do is run. My cousin directs Chris to run while these dogs pursue their prey. They run in circles and jump at Chris. They are barking and growling. The tension from the scenario is nearly unbearable. Chris runs and finally makes his way to a door where he passes through and the immediate danger is over.
I’ll never forget the experience. I nearly shit myself I was so scared. The 3-D graphics made the encounter feel so real. I had never seen anything like it. I was immediately hooked. I never went back to bed and I watched my cousin play the entire game that night.
Scary games invoke many emotions. Some video games focus on specific emotions such as psychological horror. Silent Hill 2 is known for focusing on psychological horror. Some video games combine many emotions. There are horror games that do a great job of exploring these emotions and others that or not. There are many emotional flavors available to anyone interested in horror video games. Let’s explore a few.
Psychological horror chills you from the inside out. Unlike jump scares and gore, it preys on your mind, exploiting anxieties, vulnerabilities, and the darkness we all hide. Imagine waking up with memories you don’t own, questioning your grip on reality, or facing your deepest fears reflected at you. Through unnerving atmospheres, unreliable narrators, and twisted characters, psychological horror burrows into your psyche, leaving you questioning what’s real, what’s safe, and maybe even who you are. It’s the kind of horror that lingers long after the credits roll, whispering its unsettling truths in the quiet corners of your mind.
Survival horror throws you into a terrifying nightmare, armed with scarcity and vulnerability. Imagine creeping through dimly lit halls, each creak and groan raising your pulse, while you ration ammo and health, desperately seeking escape from relentless pursuers. Resource management becomes crucial, puzzles add layers of dread, and the atmosphere itself chills you to the bone. It’s not just about blasting away monsters; it’s about outsmarting, evading, and enduring the psychological pressure of pure, chilling survival.
A fantastic example of Survival Horror is Resident Evil Village.
JUMP SCARE HORROR
Jump scares in horror aim to trigger a primal fear response with sudden shocks. Imagine a tense scene, quiet and dark, building anticipation. BAM! A loud noise and grotesque image flash on the screen, making you jolt. While cheap tactics, effective jump scares exploit our body’s fight-or-flight instinct, releasing adrenaline and creating a thrilling (or terrifying) experience.
A great example of Jump Scare Horror is The Mortuary Assistant.
Sci-fi horror blends the fear of the unknown with the unsettling technological advancements imagined in science fiction. Think dark, atmospheric space stations haunted by mutated crewmates, chilling experiments gone wrong unleashing monstrous creations, or alien invasions with body-snatching entities preying on human vulnerabilities. It pries open anxieties about the future, blurring the lines between scientific progress and monstrous consequences, leaving audiences questioning not just what lurks in the shadows, but the very nature of humanity itself.
A horrifying example of Sci-Fi Horror is Dead Space.
AS I SEE IT
You may have heard this Resident Evil story before. The experience is quite iconic when talking about scary games. Resident Evil was revolutionary and set the stage for future horror games while solidifying the survival horror genre. The scene with the dogs jumping through the windows is engrained is so many horror video game fans.
I love horror video games so if you want to chat about them, leave me a message on any of my social media accounts or find me on Discord. Game on!