I would have to say Outlast. Back in the day it was Silent Hill.
White Day for sheer "oh fuck I have to stop right now" terror (solely because of that damn Lunch Lady ghost).
Amnesia for pure tension.
Fatal Frame 3 for that sinking "Oh god, what is that thing standing over there, and is it going to attack?" fear. (also, for when those little kid ghosts disappear on you in a fight, then show up right by your feet, looking up at you before attacking. Chills upon chills, every time.) Looking forward to playing the original game next.
I don't know. I don't want to sit here and be that guy who says "games don't scare me" because they do, but it's different. Watching a horror film is a lot more cerebral, a lot of me asking could and how. I think the line of questioning makes it easier to become jaded with horror flicks, and at this point it takes something really unique to bother me. Gaming is experiential. At its best, I am in that environment, performing those actions, and the stakes are real. I don't think the scariest games are the ones that have the creepiest monsters, harshest death penalties, or best graphics. It's something kind of intangible, the ability to pull you in. That's a combination of a lot of things, not the least of which is a willingness on the player's end to submit.
That said, I don't think it's a coincidence the games that I've been most scared by are probably the horror games I also most enjoyed playing. Alien vs Predator 2 was a good one from my childhood. It played on exactly what I thought was so great about the horror in the Alien films and put me in that situation. Dead Space, more recently, the first time through that game being completely unaware of what to expect was a fantastic experience, maybe not surprising that it draws a lot from the same sources as AVP2 did.
Context required: Friday the 13th: got it when it first came out for the NES I was 10 or so at the time. The game itself didn't scare me but the dreams man...the dreams. I got to experience one of those special nightmares that involved being chased by Jason and able to feel him hacking my arms off and then the inevitable decapitation that woke me up into a pool of my own sweat...I really hope it was sweat. Sold that fucker and never looked back, the artwork for the cart still give me chills.
The first Penumbra and certain parts of Code Veronica always stick with as games that were actually scary to play. I didn't really find Anmesia scary when I tried it, just got frustrated having to hide from that thing all the time but I gave up after a couple hours so who knows, that team does know how to make scary games that is for sure. Also the guy who hunts you down in Silent Hill 4 freaked me out a bit.
Through to the end? Dead Space. In fact it's the only horror game I've ever played to completion.
I can handle horror movies for the most part--though I don't really "enjoy" them--but I'm a complete wimp when it comes to games. I did play and finish RE5 multiple times but only in co-op (with my mom) and also it's not really a horror game.
Addendum: My mom is 50, and Resident Evil is the franchise that got her into video games. She's also played every Silent Hill and Clock Tower game.
Tomb Raider. Those alligators, man. First I got chomped in the water, then one was on land and sprinted at me.
And then you get to the Tomb of Tihocan, which is a giant water area with gators everywhere?
Fuck that, anytime I hit water for the rest of the game resulted in an instant pause, a "nope," and a level skip cheat.
Whole game: Dead Space.
Scariest individual section of any game: Ravenholm.
I'm guessing I'd be saying Amnesia if I'd actually played it myself. Watched Day play it and laughed at him screaming (like a marine) instead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5fmpMPnzd8
Resident Evil with Metro: Last Light as a close second. Resident Evil was the first time I've played a horror video game and at the young age I was at when I played it, it scared the shit of me. Metro Last Light is a game for people that aren't afraid of spiders. I am afraid of spiders. Love the game, but damn is it creepy with those spiders.
Fatal Frame 2 on Xbox. Dear Lord...
I bought it: too scary, didn't feel like playing it. Tried to get the girlfriend to sit with me and watch: it FREAKED her the f. out and she made me turn it off. Sold it: regretted it. Re-bought it: paid $50. Haven't gotten around to playing more than an hour: too scary, don't feel like it.
Ravenholm used to freak me out, until I ended up playing HL2 about 50 times.
The Stalker series was pretty terrifying until I started getting used to it, but you can at least shoot back which is the reason I played those. Bloodsuckers can still make me jump though. Invisible assholes.
Minecraft. It's easy to get into a very relaxed, zen-like state whilst caving. It's right at that moment you hear the characteristic sizzle of a creeper and many a time that's had me screaming out loud and panicking.
Seriously, worst jump scares of any game because they can happen almost anywhere at any time. Under the right conditions it turns me into a five year old girl.
Resident Evil 1 GameCube version, so much atmosphere...that game STILL looks amazing.
It got to the point where I couldn't play it alone before I started beating it over and over again and was no longer scared.
Outlast was pretty freaky as well, I haven't beaten it, but that's more cuz its not the greatest game ever.
I don't really know why, but I found most horror games to be a bit shit because all they set out to do is scare you. So to be scared, you have to be willing to be scared, and I don't want do that. But when a game does horror as a side thing, that's when I find it the most effective. That's why Dark Souls remains to be the game that scared the shit out of me the most. I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by each boss battle in the game, my body would just enter this mode where it would start pumping adrenaline into my blood stream and my hands would suddenly become these cold things drenched in sweat. Most of it has to do with the fact bosses are designed to be these big, scary bastards that have lived for thousands of years before you came in, and it helps establish the fact that you have little chance to kill them. And the music, oh the goddamn music. Just listening that makes my spine tingle because the sheer panic that set in the first time I fought that boss has forever burned into my mind.
I'm sure someone will say Demon's Souls is scarier but I haven't played it so I wouldn't know.
Cry of fear is the scariest game I've played though
How! That game is pure garbage! I think I can scare myself more by throwing paper about and pretending that their movement is due to a ghost!
Some of the monster designs just scare the shit out of me, like the silent floating ghost girl. The graphics might be dated, but there are lots of moments in the singleplayer that made me extremely uneasy compared to other games
This is going to be an outlier, and I didn't actually play it, but King's Quest- and I don't know which one.
When I was a kid my dad had his computer setup in our basement and would generally play with the lights off, and the computer area was around the corner from the stairs so there was no ambient light, just the glow of the screen.
King's Quest is silent 95% of the time as you walk from screen to screen, picking up apples and whatever the hell you do in that game. I still can't play it to this day that's how bad this messed me up. But there are certain screens where a witch or something would randomly appear and what would pass for sound those days would start CLANG CLANG'ing and freak the fuck out of 5-7 year old me.
So many basement-themed nightmares after that.
I guess Dead Space is the closest thing to a survival/horror game I've played all the way through. Laugh if you want, but there are some real scary moments in that game.
One of my favorite gaming moments ever was constantly repeating "oh fuck!" when running from one of the invincible necromorphs. Invincible enemies, for as cheap as they technically are, really get to me. And hey, at least you could slow it down with ammo, but that just led to you using up your limited supplies).
I started Silent Hill 2, but pretty much only got to the part where stuff started happening and never went back to it.
FEAR and FEAR 2 had their jump scare moments, and I also played those.
Does watching Outlast be played count?
It's a toss-up for me between Knock Knock (which, when played with the lights off and a set of headphones, scares the ever-loving shit out of me) and Dead Space--although I find Dead Space more stressful than scary, I suppose.
I also have a very vague memory of this game demo my older brother got called... D? Or D3? I don't remember exactly; it was a Myst-like interface but you were in a mansion with a bunch of shit that looked like it came off an Iron Maiden album cover.