Posted by Alex (2153 posts) -
Shodan is watching you watch porn.

Horror-themed video games often aim to scare, but precious few leave a lasting impression. There is a reason why franchises like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Dead Space have endured--because those games tap into the primal emotion of fear via atmosphere, sheer grotesqueness, and spine-cringing tension better than most. We go back to a game like Silent Hill 2, for instance, because the terror inherent to that game is so gripping, so maddening, so utterly memorable that we can be scared by it over and over again. We remember the horrors contained with in, yet our capacity for shock vitally remains.

In honor of this day, the most terrifying of days of the year (I am speaking, of course, of Reformation Day), I went ahead and polled the Giant Bomb staff on what games left the most lasting scars on their brain, what games managed to bore into that deep, hidden space of uncontrollable fear with the greatest success. Some of their answers may surprise you, others may horrify you, and at least one will probably completely confuse you.

Enjoy, and on behalf of the Whiskey Media crew, I wish you a safe, happy Halloween.

Brad Shoemaker: System Shock 2

OH GOD STAY AWAY

Plenty of scary games get by on out-of-nowhere gotchas that merely startle your lizard brain. (Say what you want about its straightforward shooter design, but Doom 3 is still one of the most deeply atmospheric games I've ever played.) But for deep-down psychological terror, you can't beat System Shock 2. As I alone made my solitary way through the wreck of the Von Braun, I started to build up this creeping sense of dread when I discovered, person by person, the awful ways the rest of the crew had been consumed by the ambiguous bio-mass called the Many. The incomparable audio design--especially the ambient sounds that haunted the ship's decks--was a big reason I was often terrified of going around a corner and facing whatever was lurking there. And while these days too many games have used the found-audio-log device as a way to tell story, SS2 was one of the first and in my mind is still the best. I'll never forget the feeling of revulsion at hearing the log in which the captain describes his own transformation, with some truly horrific effects applied to his dialogue. That made it all the more meaningful and personal when you had to face the thing he had become, later on.

Fans have curated System Shock 2 for years, adding and upgrading new graphics and technology here and there to try and keep the game somewhat current. But I can't think of a better game that's ripe for a full remake, even just a visual one. The story, pacing, sound, and RPG mechanics are as close to perfect as I've ever seen.

Patrick Klepek: The Blair Witch Project Games

You know, just like the movie!

The Blair Witch Project was the first movie to deeply affect me. I was 13 when it came out, and it took me a long time to completely accept it wasn’t real. Even then, the sights and sounds continue to haunt me, and when I think about it too much, they still do. I spent an entire summer waiting until the sun came up before sleeping, finding it fruitless to try and sleep when squirrels and raccoon were snapping twigs and leaves just outside my open window.

Naturally, this lead to an outright obsession with everything related to The Blair Witch Project, including the trio of not-very-good games Terminal Reality-produced games that had players exploring the larger mythology behind the film, including Coffin Rock and Rustin Parr. Those games definitely got under my skin, too, but only because while I’d be playing them, I’d have the “shaken tent” scene or the murderous screams from the last, terrifying shots of the film running in my head. God, I’m not going to sleep tonight, am I?

Matt Kessler: Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

Could that hotel BE any more foreboding?

Most scary video games cultivate tension and dread over the course of an entire playthrough. The 2004 RPG Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines did that in just a single level. Troika’s final CRPG release may have been deeply flawed and buggy at launch, but it contained a perfect, bite-sized (Ugh) horror section within it; the Ocean House hotel. What begins as just an ordinary quest to rid a local hotel of a ghost becomes a atmospheric, distressing flight to get out, trying desperately to avoid the traps of the resident Poltergeist. All along the way, you’ll slowly pick apart the reason why the hotel became so haunted--concluding with my all-time favorite instance of the “Dear Diary, I’m Being Murdered” concept--which does a terrific job of creating a sense of unease and worry that transcends the game's other flaws.

And all of this from a CRPG, one of the last game genres you’d expect to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. As someone whose cowardice has been well documented on the Internet, I never expected a game like Vampire could make me want to keep the lights on in my room at all times. It was a perfect slice of anxiety-inducing scaritude, and as a result I approached every single mission that followed in Vampire with a measure of trepidation, fearing it would be just as terrifying as the Ocean House.

Matt Rorie: X-COM: UFO Defense

Dude, aliens are legit freaky.

It might sound ridiculous to claim that a turn-based game could actually wind up scaring anyone, perhaps especially if you view X-Com from the perspective of someone who's used to the graphical fidelity of Battlefield 3. It is, by now, an aged game, both in gameplay style and looks, but there were more than a few all-night gaming sessions that took place in my basement in the mid-90's, which is where the game is probably best experienced. (Well, a dark, quiet room late at night; not my basement, specifically.)

It's difficult to describe if you haven't played the game, but few games have quite managed to evoke the sheer atmosphere that X-Com laid down in bulk quantities. It was a game that played with your level of knowledge: you'd shoot down a UFO in a cornfield at 3 AM, but then you'd have to actually land a ship and attempt to find the sectoids and chryssalids through the pitch-black farmhouses and silos, never knowing when someone was going to pop up and take out a few of your soldiers before you could react. It's that helplessness that gives X-Com its atmosphere of dread: no matter how much volition and power you thought you had when your turn began, clicking that button that passed the action to the CPU-ran aliens was always a breath-holding affair, and one that, surprisingly enough, could actually generate jump-in-your-seat scares when an unexpected opponent appeared in a direction you thought had been cleared out. Tactically and strategically, X-Com is still a masterpiece of game design, and even if its visuals are approaching 20 years old, it also still retains the power to scare.

Alex Navarro: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Over my many years playing games, plenty have left me a quivering husk of jelly from sheer fright. Most of them, coincidentally, were Japanese. Be it Resident Evil 2, Silent Hill 2, Fatal Frame, or whatever else, the Japanese seemed to have a direct line to my terror bone that games made by North American and European developers simply couldn't quite counter.

I assure you that nothing good is happening here.

Swedish developer Frictional Games changed all of that with Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Arguably one of the most disquieting experiences of my young life, Amnesia is legitimately one of the first games I've had no choice but to quit out of out of sheer, sweaty discomfort. Its tale of an amnesiac man trapped in a castle with scads of horrible, disgusting creatures lumbering after him doesn't sound overly thrilling on paper, but it's in the mechanics that Frictional captures the true horror of the experience. Much as games like Silent Hill are far less about combat than they are the evasion of the terrible creatures bent on eviscerating you for fun and possibly profit, Amnesia eschews any weapons in favor of forcing you to hide in the shadows from that which stalks you. This is counterbalanced with a sanity meter that, should it drop too low (after witnessing numerous terrible things), begins tossing horrific hallucinations at you, the likes of which are of the utmost unpleasantness.

I recently remarked in a Screened feature on the John Carpenter film In the Mouth of Madness that it captured the spirit of Lovecraftian horror better than most films actually based on Lovecraft. I'd argue precisely the same thing about Amnesia when it comes to the realm of games.

UPDATE:

Another editor with a late entry! Woo hoo!

Ryan Davis: Friday the 13th (NES)

While I was terrified by even the thought of something like A Nightmare on Elm Street as a child of the ‘80s, my appetite for horror films has grown considerably, particularly over the past few years. Call it part of growing up, but the grisly disembowelment at the hands of some malevolent supernatural boogeyman that’s so terrifying to Child Ryan sounds like a pleasant vacation in comparison to the constant, low-level anxiety of mortgages and mortality that haunt Adult Ryan. There’s also a certain sadistic glee to watching horror movies with my girlfriend, who hates horror movies, but loves to hate them.

Just like the movie!

That appreciation for the macabre has never really translated to games, though. While I could wax philosophical about the difference between watching the victim and being the victim, and the impact that’s had on my ability to appreciate the likes of Resident Evil 4 or Dead Space, I’ll just blame the awful, terrifying NES classic, Friday the 13th. It’s a panic-inducing distillation of the Friday the 13th formula, putting you in the role of the Camp Crystal Lake staff counselors who must protect themselves and the campers from the relentless Jason Voorhees. While most movie games might soften up their antagonist, or give the player easier targets before ramping up to a proper confrontation, Jason is essentially as he is in the movies--invincible and murderous, with the ability to materialize anytime, anywhere--and his appearance meant either certain death for your counselor, the campers you were trying to protect, or both.

For me, playing Friday the 13th was an exercise in helplessness as I watched everyone get murdered. Occasionally I got lucky and survived a Jason episode, but that was just staving off the inevitable, a dreadful meditation on mortality that no eight-year-old ought to be subjected to. That Friday the 13th was a really terrible game, with crude graphics (note the faceless, club-fisted counselors armed with fucking rocks) bad controls, and maddeningly vague objectives just amplified that helplessness.

--

And, of course, we'd love to know what your most terrifying gameplay experiences have been. Comment away, and tell us all about the times a video game managed to scare the crap out of you. Not literally, though. Keep those stories to yourself.

Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (2153 posts) -
Shodan is watching you watch porn.

Horror-themed video games often aim to scare, but precious few leave a lasting impression. There is a reason why franchises like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Dead Space have endured--because those games tap into the primal emotion of fear via atmosphere, sheer grotesqueness, and spine-cringing tension better than most. We go back to a game like Silent Hill 2, for instance, because the terror inherent to that game is so gripping, so maddening, so utterly memorable that we can be scared by it over and over again. We remember the horrors contained with in, yet our capacity for shock vitally remains.

In honor of this day, the most terrifying of days of the year (I am speaking, of course, of Reformation Day), I went ahead and polled the Giant Bomb staff on what games left the most lasting scars on their brain, what games managed to bore into that deep, hidden space of uncontrollable fear with the greatest success. Some of their answers may surprise you, others may horrify you, and at least one will probably completely confuse you.

Enjoy, and on behalf of the Whiskey Media crew, I wish you a safe, happy Halloween.

Brad Shoemaker: System Shock 2

OH GOD STAY AWAY

Plenty of scary games get by on out-of-nowhere gotchas that merely startle your lizard brain. (Say what you want about its straightforward shooter design, but Doom 3 is still one of the most deeply atmospheric games I've ever played.) But for deep-down psychological terror, you can't beat System Shock 2. As I alone made my solitary way through the wreck of the Von Braun, I started to build up this creeping sense of dread when I discovered, person by person, the awful ways the rest of the crew had been consumed by the ambiguous bio-mass called the Many. The incomparable audio design--especially the ambient sounds that haunted the ship's decks--was a big reason I was often terrified of going around a corner and facing whatever was lurking there. And while these days too many games have used the found-audio-log device as a way to tell story, SS2 was one of the first and in my mind is still the best. I'll never forget the feeling of revulsion at hearing the log in which the captain describes his own transformation, with some truly horrific effects applied to his dialogue. That made it all the more meaningful and personal when you had to face the thing he had become, later on.

Fans have curated System Shock 2 for years, adding and upgrading new graphics and technology here and there to try and keep the game somewhat current. But I can't think of a better game that's ripe for a full remake, even just a visual one. The story, pacing, sound, and RPG mechanics are as close to perfect as I've ever seen.

Patrick Klepek: The Blair Witch Project Games

You know, just like the movie!

The Blair Witch Project was the first movie to deeply affect me. I was 13 when it came out, and it took me a long time to completely accept it wasn’t real. Even then, the sights and sounds continue to haunt me, and when I think about it too much, they still do. I spent an entire summer waiting until the sun came up before sleeping, finding it fruitless to try and sleep when squirrels and raccoon were snapping twigs and leaves just outside my open window.

Naturally, this lead to an outright obsession with everything related to The Blair Witch Project, including the trio of not-very-good games Terminal Reality-produced games that had players exploring the larger mythology behind the film, including Coffin Rock and Rustin Parr. Those games definitely got under my skin, too, but only because while I’d be playing them, I’d have the “shaken tent” scene or the murderous screams from the last, terrifying shots of the film running in my head. God, I’m not going to sleep tonight, am I?

Matt Kessler: Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

Could that hotel BE any more foreboding?

Most scary video games cultivate tension and dread over the course of an entire playthrough. The 2004 RPG Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines did that in just a single level. Troika’s final CRPG release may have been deeply flawed and buggy at launch, but it contained a perfect, bite-sized (Ugh) horror section within it; the Ocean House hotel. What begins as just an ordinary quest to rid a local hotel of a ghost becomes a atmospheric, distressing flight to get out, trying desperately to avoid the traps of the resident Poltergeist. All along the way, you’ll slowly pick apart the reason why the hotel became so haunted--concluding with my all-time favorite instance of the “Dear Diary, I’m Being Murdered” concept--which does a terrific job of creating a sense of unease and worry that transcends the game's other flaws.

And all of this from a CRPG, one of the last game genres you’d expect to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. As someone whose cowardice has been well documented on the Internet, I never expected a game like Vampire could make me want to keep the lights on in my room at all times. It was a perfect slice of anxiety-inducing scaritude, and as a result I approached every single mission that followed in Vampire with a measure of trepidation, fearing it would be just as terrifying as the Ocean House.

Matt Rorie: X-COM: UFO Defense

Dude, aliens are legit freaky.

It might sound ridiculous to claim that a turn-based game could actually wind up scaring anyone, perhaps especially if you view X-Com from the perspective of someone who's used to the graphical fidelity of Battlefield 3. It is, by now, an aged game, both in gameplay style and looks, but there were more than a few all-night gaming sessions that took place in my basement in the mid-90's, which is where the game is probably best experienced. (Well, a dark, quiet room late at night; not my basement, specifically.)

It's difficult to describe if you haven't played the game, but few games have quite managed to evoke the sheer atmosphere that X-Com laid down in bulk quantities. It was a game that played with your level of knowledge: you'd shoot down a UFO in a cornfield at 3 AM, but then you'd have to actually land a ship and attempt to find the sectoids and chryssalids through the pitch-black farmhouses and silos, never knowing when someone was going to pop up and take out a few of your soldiers before you could react. It's that helplessness that gives X-Com its atmosphere of dread: no matter how much volition and power you thought you had when your turn began, clicking that button that passed the action to the CPU-ran aliens was always a breath-holding affair, and one that, surprisingly enough, could actually generate jump-in-your-seat scares when an unexpected opponent appeared in a direction you thought had been cleared out. Tactically and strategically, X-Com is still a masterpiece of game design, and even if its visuals are approaching 20 years old, it also still retains the power to scare.

Alex Navarro: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Over my many years playing games, plenty have left me a quivering husk of jelly from sheer fright. Most of them, coincidentally, were Japanese. Be it Resident Evil 2, Silent Hill 2, Fatal Frame, or whatever else, the Japanese seemed to have a direct line to my terror bone that games made by North American and European developers simply couldn't quite counter.

I assure you that nothing good is happening here.

Swedish developer Frictional Games changed all of that with Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Arguably one of the most disquieting experiences of my young life, Amnesia is legitimately one of the first games I've had no choice but to quit out of out of sheer, sweaty discomfort. Its tale of an amnesiac man trapped in a castle with scads of horrible, disgusting creatures lumbering after him doesn't sound overly thrilling on paper, but it's in the mechanics that Frictional captures the true horror of the experience. Much as games like Silent Hill are far less about combat than they are the evasion of the terrible creatures bent on eviscerating you for fun and possibly profit, Amnesia eschews any weapons in favor of forcing you to hide in the shadows from that which stalks you. This is counterbalanced with a sanity meter that, should it drop too low (after witnessing numerous terrible things), begins tossing horrific hallucinations at you, the likes of which are of the utmost unpleasantness.

I recently remarked in a Screened feature on the John Carpenter film In the Mouth of Madness that it captured the spirit of Lovecraftian horror better than most films actually based on Lovecraft. I'd argue precisely the same thing about Amnesia when it comes to the realm of games.

UPDATE:

Another editor with a late entry! Woo hoo!

Ryan Davis: Friday the 13th (NES)

While I was terrified by even the thought of something like A Nightmare on Elm Street as a child of the ‘80s, my appetite for horror films has grown considerably, particularly over the past few years. Call it part of growing up, but the grisly disembowelment at the hands of some malevolent supernatural boogeyman that’s so terrifying to Child Ryan sounds like a pleasant vacation in comparison to the constant, low-level anxiety of mortgages and mortality that haunt Adult Ryan. There’s also a certain sadistic glee to watching horror movies with my girlfriend, who hates horror movies, but loves to hate them.

Just like the movie!

That appreciation for the macabre has never really translated to games, though. While I could wax philosophical about the difference between watching the victim and being the victim, and the impact that’s had on my ability to appreciate the likes of Resident Evil 4 or Dead Space, I’ll just blame the awful, terrifying NES classic, Friday the 13th. It’s a panic-inducing distillation of the Friday the 13th formula, putting you in the role of the Camp Crystal Lake staff counselors who must protect themselves and the campers from the relentless Jason Voorhees. While most movie games might soften up their antagonist, or give the player easier targets before ramping up to a proper confrontation, Jason is essentially as he is in the movies--invincible and murderous, with the ability to materialize anytime, anywhere--and his appearance meant either certain death for your counselor, the campers you were trying to protect, or both.

For me, playing Friday the 13th was an exercise in helplessness as I watched everyone get murdered. Occasionally I got lucky and survived a Jason episode, but that was just staving off the inevitable, a dreadful meditation on mortality that no eight-year-old ought to be subjected to. That Friday the 13th was a really terrible game, with crude graphics (note the faceless, club-fisted counselors armed with fucking rocks) bad controls, and maddeningly vague objectives just amplified that helplessness.

--

And, of course, we'd love to know what your most terrifying gameplay experiences have been. Comment away, and tell us all about the times a video game managed to scare the crap out of you. Not literally, though. Keep those stories to yourself.

Staff
#2 Edited by Sveppi (128 posts) -

Nice article, we did a similar thing on the movie blog I write for (my entry was 'The Thing'). Games that have scared me shitless over the years include Doom 3, FEAR, Resi 4 and Dead Space. I'm not a huge horror gamer but I do enjoy the occasional scare.

Finally got the quest, tipped off by Alex's twitter :)

#3 Posted by Itrytobreathe (33 posts) -

Neat.

#4 Posted by DarkFury (369 posts) -

FEAR GAUNTLET!

#5 Posted by faxon (66 posts) -

very cool

#6 Posted by JakeTaylor (309 posts) -

System Shock 2 love. I approve.

#7 Posted by gbrading (2032 posts) -

I need more Fear Gauntlet!

I really want to play System Shock 2. It's so disappointing it's not available via any legitimate means apart from secondhand.

#8 Posted by Osaladin (2519 posts) -

Amnesia is fucking terrifying.

#9 Posted by Curufinwe (1265 posts) -

Hey, at least Fatal Frame got a mention.

#10 Posted by jorbear (2517 posts) -

Even though this is not a scary game, Morrowind easily had me on my toes at all times during some of the dungeons. I felt as though I was being stalked, or that I was creeping ever closer to my death.

#11 Posted by Lifestrike (482 posts) -

So, what?

Am I to believe Jeff Gerstmann is fearless?

Online
#12 Posted by rmanthorp (3946 posts) -

Man if only scary games were somehow being documented in a more frequent fashion on Giant Bomb... Maybe even as videos... Like Quick Looks only spookier... Spook Looks or something? Hmm, guy can dream.

Moderator
#13 Posted by bybeach (4826 posts) -

I know it is trite and well beaten, but I cannot stop saying what System Shock 2 did to set my standards for a good game. I am going to have to hunt around for one of these fan updated forms of the game, I saw one and it did not appeal to me, old graphics notwithstanding. But that was a few years ago.

Amnesia I keep re-starting but seems interesting, and vampire-bloodlines has some interest for me.

#14 Posted by L44 (559 posts) -

I love playing horror games because they keep you alert and on your toes. The scariest for me was Amnesia. One horror game that really failed to scare me was Condemned 2. Except for the bear level...

#15 Posted by Zelnox (389 posts) -

I still hate night missions in X-COM, even with flares. I think part of the dread stems from not wanting you soldiers to die. Mind control!

My most scary experience was actually just the CG cut-scene in Master of Orion 2, before the first Antaran attack against you.

#16 Edited by Liquidus (946 posts) -

I AM SHODAN!

.No...not really, I can't back that up.

#17 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

The original Alone in the Dark terrified me as a kid enough to never want to play horror games anymore.

#18 Posted by advocatefish (358 posts) -

Amnesia for me. I can't pull myself together to finish it.

#19 Posted by TimmyChaw (114 posts) -

Fatal Frame...

#20 Posted by admanb (225 posts) -

I'm too much of a wuss to play Amnesia, but System Shock 2 and that VTM level were both great picks.

#21 Posted by BenderUnit22 (1493 posts) -

I NEED to give credit to Thief: Deadly Shadows's "The Cradle" level. One of the most atmospheric, disturbing levels in video game history.

#22 Posted by LordLOC (186 posts) -

Amnesia was scary as shit at several points. I mean, shut the damn game off and go watch cartoons that are bright and happy scary! :D

#23 Posted by arab_prince (2053 posts) -

I would probably say Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. The parts were you explored in the house were terrifying. The atmosphere was great and my gosh the way they mess with controls/camera were excellent. It was the first time I saw anything like that.

#24 Posted by Airborne2I5 (3 posts) -

Crimson Butterfly

#25 Posted by Prince_of_Space (82 posts) -

I'm gonna second Morrowind, especially with regards to the endgame dungeons full of those Lovecraftian Ascended Sleepers

#26 Posted by RecSpec (3816 posts) -

Resident Evil 2. Mr X, aka the Tyrant, getting up after your first encounter. Emptying almost every bullet I had into him, only for him to get back up as soon as I left!? Fuck that.

#27 Posted by Deathpooky (1402 posts) -
#28 Posted by dudeglove (7841 posts) -

The Ocean Hotel scared the crap out of me, and I knew it would rely solely on jump scares, but I still fell for the damn things. One prime instance is walking down one corridor of the hotel to find it's a dead end. And of course, you think, okay - dead end, bound to be something behind me. And you turn around and there is something behind you, but it fucks you up all the same.

RE4's Regenerators, though, take the top spot.

#29 Posted by Willza92 (263 posts) -

When I was younger (9, 10?) my uncle let me borrow Resident Evil on the ps1. I got to the first zombie (you go into like a study or bedroom or something...?) and had to switch it off. Haven't been able to go back to tradional Evil games since (I tried a few years later with Code Veronica, same story).

Nice article, thoroughly enjoyed it :)

#30 Edited by Bakumatsu (355 posts) -

Pretty much the same that Kessler's. That horrible hotel in vampire bloodlines scared the shit out of me when I played it, mostly because I was not expecting it. I just wanted to play a vampire rpg, not a scary scene with a haunted house. After that (and because of the bugs) I didn't finish it. But I'm a wuss with scary games. I hated the Dunwhich building in Fallout 3 and even the caves and ruins in Oblivion made me feel uncomfortable (although that doesn't stop me of playing Skyrim in two weeks from now).

Also Patrick, I'm totally with you. When I saw Blair Witch, I was 14 and didn't sleep for 2 weeks, always thinking about what happened in the movie, mainly because there was a rumour at the time that said that the movie was real footage of a camera found in the forest. Still gives me the creeps thinking too hard on the final scene of the movie (where the girl is calling the dude turned to the corner).

#31 Posted by tynianrex (7 posts) -

@BenderUnit22 said:

I NEED to give credit to Thief: Deadly Shadows's "The Cradle" level. One of the most atmospheric, disturbing levels in video game history.

THIS.

#32 Posted by warxsnake (2650 posts) -

Thief Deadly Shadows: The Cradle.

#33 Edited by daggon55 (114 posts) -

Scariest moment in a game for me was in Thief: The Dark Project.

There's a level called "Return to the Cathedral" which made my physically afraid the first time I played it (chest pounding, sweating kind of fear). The game had this enemy called hammer haunts which were these undead warrior type dudes. Looking back they were kind of cheesy, they made the sound of dragging chains as they moved about and shouted "Join us, join us, join us now!" in creepy reverb voices. But they were really effective because if they did find you, you were toast. The weird clunky combat in that game made you actively want to avoid it and the haunts could beat you down in couple fast hits so you really really didn't want to get seen by one. The "Return to the Cathedral" level made good use of the haunts placing about 5 of them throughout the cathedral, which was mostly a maze of tight corridors so avoiding them got tricky, and scary. I can remember moving through a basement storage area and knocking over a box or something. The noise attracted one of the haunts and I cowered in corner thinking "ohcraohcrap don't come in here, don't come in here, crap its in here.... just ... don't ... move..."

The level also contains a really great moment, after you make it through and out of the cathedral you have to help this ghost who eventually shows you the exit of the level. However after completing a couple of his tasks he sends you BACK into the cathedral. It was a great moment because I had already scared myself badly avoiding the haunts and now, I had to gather up and go back in and face them again.

#34 Posted by chiablo (929 posts) -

The Many sing to us...

Your song is not ours!

#35 Edited by ThePencil (390 posts) -

I remember loving and dreading every moment with Fear Effect 1 and 2, forever freaking the hell out with the Hell levels, but my most 'oh-god-I-crapped-myself' game was Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and I wasnt even playing it. First time that bastard appeared, I got up, swore at length at my mate (who was playing it) and got the frell out of his house. I havent touched a Resident Evil game since (not suprising though, I only recently got over my 16 year, childhood fear and mental scarring from the Hellraiser films)

#36 Posted by Landon (4143 posts) -

@Lifestrike said:

So, what?

Am I to believe Jeff Gerstmann is fearless?

Jeff Gerstmann: Any game with spiders

#37 Edited by C0V3RT (1377 posts) -

I got to the point where I'd only play Condemned: Criminal Origins with the light on. Even in full light, the game still managed to make me anxious when my character would accidentally kick a tin can or box. One time I was playing the game with my girlfriend (now wife) in the room and was in a subway tunnel climbing over a chain barrier thing which triggered a rabid hobo thing to sneak up on my dude and yell while knocking me down a nearby escalator. This caused me, for the first time ever while playing a game and only time since, to drop my controller, jump, and yell from being startled so badly. I still haven't lived that one down.

#38 Posted by CornishRocker (397 posts) -

The first game I remember playing is Doom, I think I was 5 at the time. That's easily the most terrifying experience I've had with video games.

#39 Posted by chiablo (929 posts) -

@BenderUnit22 said:

I NEED to give credit to Thief: Deadly Shadows's "The Cradle" level. One of the most atmospheric, disturbing levels in video game history.

The build up to this level was so incredibly creepy, that by the time I reached the entrance in the game, I quit playing; "fuck this scary shit," said I.

#40 Posted by Fubar (165 posts) -

I love X-com. I don't know how a turn based game could make me sit on the edge of my seat for hours, but it did.

So much tension. I tried to pick it up again recently, but I don't have the patience to play it anymore :(

#41 Posted by I_smell (3924 posts) -

When the colonel told me to switch off my PS2 in MGS2 I fucking switched it off.

#42 Posted by isles (232 posts) -

the polito form is dead, insect.

#43 Posted by PKHilson (205 posts) -

Jeff Gerstmann is the man with no fear.

#44 Posted by IAmNotBatman (644 posts) -

I own Amnesia, but have no way to play it! DAMN YOU, OUTRAGEOUS STEAM DEALS THAT I CANNOT SAY NO TO!!! I also completed SS2 for the first time only a couple of weeks ago and was quite impressed with what it had to offer. Definately one of the best videogames of all time.

#45 Posted by smitty86 (698 posts) -

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem and those damn Sanity Effect. From walking into a room with half a body to that damn game deletion trick. Stellar work.

#46 Posted by benspyda (2034 posts) -

Silent Hill 4. Couldn't finish that game just cause of that dick who continually hunts you down, he freaked me out too much.

Code Veronica back in the day did a pretty good job at freaking me out too. The Penumbra games were scary enough to put me off Amnesia, and I generally can handle horror games.

#47 Posted by golguin (3925 posts) -

Fatal Frame II and Silent Hill 3 were the first games that made me dive into the horror genre. Fatal Frame II was the first to actually make me scream out loud during the middle of the day.

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#48 Posted by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

Very cool article. Pretty much exactly what I want, staff talkin' bout my favourite genre of media.

As for my own frighting video game experiences... well it usually involves zombie dogs or ghost children. I remember being paralyzed by fear in RE4 when I got to the hedge maze (I used to be very sensitive to atmosphere, sadly not as much anymore). I recently played through that part again due to its re-release and even though I wasn't out-and-out scared I could still feel the unease of the past :p

Also, Fatal Frame games. Fucking ghosts man... I also remember a room in (the first game, I think) that had some ghost kids that really creeped me out.

#49 Posted by Maystack (906 posts) -

Kessler has risen several steps in my eyes now, because that is the exact same example I use whenever the conversation turns to horror games. I just bought it in the steam sale and will likely be just as terrified as five or so years ago.

#50 Posted by buhssuht (437 posts) -

f.e.a.r