What was the first time a game scared you?

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#1 Edited by Tom_omb (1073 posts) -

Inspired by a similar question @ybbaaabby posed to @vinny in Six Crazy Frights - Ep 001.

What was the first time a game scared you?

I have the lamest answer. The first time I entered Big Boo's Haunt in Super Mario 64 it FREAKED ME THE FUCK OUT! Something about the sound design, the music and the atmosphere of that place was super effective on 11 year old me.

The thing this new 3D console was great at, which the Super Nintendo couldn't match, was immersion. You could have creepy 16 bit art, but you never felt like you were INSIDE the game world.

This was before I even encountered that piano from hell! It took me a while to work up the courage to finally play the level, but when I did it was one of the easiest in the game.

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#2 Posted by CrimsonJesus (313 posts) -

DOOM shareware. I was five years old when I played that game, it was the second level when you have to go through the dark maze near the chainsaw. I probably didn't beat that level on my first try or had my grandpa do it. The sounds of original DOOM and DOOM 2 still give me a little bit of nostalgic fear.

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#3 Posted by catoasapun (79 posts) -

I remember the spooky trees in the background of the haunted DKC 2 levels really giving me the creeps as a kid.

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#4 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5990 posts) -

Resident Evil.

Not the dogs that come through the windows, the dog that pops his head in through the front door if you try to open it.

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They went one step further in the REmake and the dog busts into the house iirc.

Also, Marathon, in general, was a very spooky game at the time. Probably my first memory of spooky atmosphere.

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#5 Edited by NTM (11871 posts) -

Probably RE2, but not really scary. I just remember that was the first time in a game I got a jump scare. I believe it was the moment you're walking in a hallway and a bunch of zombies' arms break through some windows. I was eight and watching my brothers play it when it came out. The first time I actually persistently felt scared in a game though is harder to tell because older games, even from last-gen didn't really have that much effect on me. I mean, playing Dead Space on Impossible the first time through was pretty intense. F.E.A.R. on hard was pretty intense too, but not because of Alma, but because of fighting the smart A.I. and knowing they could kill me quite fast. Maybe my memory just doesn't serve me well, but honestly, only recently have horror games been really effective to me in being consistently scary throughout most of the play time.

A few games have had moments of tenseness, or just jump scares, but nothing that felt harrowing almost the entire time. This year alone RE7 was pretty creepy throughout, even the more action focused sections, and Outlast 2 made my palms sweat in how relentless it ratchets itself up. I tried replaying Outlast 2 again and got to a point where I didn't want to go through that again so I uninstalled it off the PS4 (also because I wanted to play something with a little more action.) Oh, Clock Tower 3 on PS2 I remember being pretty creepy a lot of the time, but I didn't finish that game and hardly remember it. The first time a game actually made me want to turn it off because I couldn't handle the horror (while simultaneously still wanting to move forward) was P.T. That's recent, but it's the first time I felt I couldn't keep going.

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#6 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

Original Resident Evil; the first zombie you run into. Couldn't play it anymore; didn't get around to actually getting through that game until the remake on the Gamecube.

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#7 Posted by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

I've mentioned this couple times before but it was Ocarina of Time. The dungeons sounded really ominous and it was enough for me to not want to play it when I was a kid. I scare way less now and have played through games like Silent Hill 2 and 3 but being a scaredy cat as a youngster made me miss out on apparently one of the greatest games of all time...

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#8 Posted by Bowl-of-Lentils (1131 posts) -

I'm not sure what the first game to scare me was but it might have been Pac-Guy, a collection of Pac-Man ripoffs released for the PC. For whatever reason the game freaked me out as a small child, probably because there was blood and stuff.

It was either that or the piano from Mario 64.

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#9 Posted by Capum15 (6011 posts) -

I probably got scared watching someone play a Silent Hill game (2?) on the Playstation but I can only vaguely remember it. But the one I really, truly, vividly, remember?

343, Guilty Spark.

I was alone.

They were Devils. Monsters.

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I like the song now but that music traumatized me for a while. Still get twinges of it from time to time whenever I hear it. It was such a relief when you found that last group of Marines...and then the fucking Library turned out to be a thing.

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#10 Posted by cikame (2909 posts) -

I was out with my parents, 9/10 years old, we went into a game store where they had a big tv at the back running demos and it showed a clip from Resident Evil 2 of a guy being eaten, i found that really scary at the time, however my parents got me Super Smash Bros while we were there so it was a whirlwind of emotions :P.

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#11 Edited by fisk0 (6952 posts) -
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Hard to remember, leaning towards the 1989 shareware horror game Last Half of Darkness or possibly Hero's Quest (a.k.a Quest for Glory) or Space Quest 2, which had some nasty ways to die.

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I also remember feeling quite a bit of discomfort with Vette!'s "you drove your car into the harbor and drowned" screen, not sure I'd quite call that being scared though.

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#12 Edited by Cagliostro88 (1240 posts) -

This fucking thing

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#13 Posted by burncoat (559 posts) -

The first bolder level in Crash Bandicoot. It took me so much effort to get over the fear of impending doom.

After that, is has to be the moment where Otacon alerts you to the guys with stealth prototypes in the elevator.

I'm a very easy scare.

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#14 Posted by ichthy (1371 posts) -

See username/icon. Seriously fuck those things. Hated them since HL1.

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#15 Edited by BoboBones (284 posts) -

ReDead from Ocarina of Time. The first time I heard the scream, I got up, turned off the console, and put in Mario 64.

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#16 Posted by Kevin_Cogneto (1886 posts) -

Sinistar, holy fucking shit. Fuck that dude right in his giant flying face.

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#17 Posted by Novis (297 posts) -

Wolfenstein. Was watching a cousin play it when I was a child I remember it being super tense. Suddenly, an enemy just appeared from the bottom of the screen. Scared us both so much he fell out of the chair and I almost ran out of the room. It was a bit of a funny moment in retrospect.

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#18 Edited by Damodar (2185 posts) -

@fisk0: I wasn't really expecting anybody else to have already said my answer, but lo and behold! A screenshot from Last Half Of Darkness! Even though it was probably pretty dated when I played it around the mid-90s, it was still fairly effective!

If we're talking games that really scared us as kids, I can't not mention Silent Hill. I was way into Resident Evil, really loved the second game. Silent Hill was a fairly harsh lesson that RE2 was more just tense and startling. I still fairly vividly recall the palpable dread in my gut while playing Silent Hill. That game is absolutely my high watermark for feeling uneasy while playing.

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#19 Posted by Rejizzle (1135 posts) -
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#20 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (7838 posts) -

Medal of Honor: Frontline. I was a kid and watched my dad play it. I remember shaking from being so nervous. Bioshock and Dead space were the other two that I remember being super freaked out to play for the first time, but that was years later.

Edit: Now that I think about it, the first game that game me any spooks at all was Pokemon Blue. Lavender town is after you get through wandering through a dark confusing cave. When you finally exit you're greeted to a creepy chip tune song and have to go into the town's mausoleum where there are ghosts. I recall trying to leave the town as fast as I could so that music would stop playing. I replayed that game so many times, but I always hated that part. I was like 5 or 6 when i first played it.

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#21 Posted by OurSin_360 (6197 posts) -

Resident evil 2 when the dog jumps out the first time. The first legit game that scared me was the first silent hill, just the whole walking from normal rooms into gory rooms randomly was a good trick back then.

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#22 Posted by IVDAMKE (1824 posts) -
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#23 Edited by Moztacular (556 posts) -
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#24 Posted by Barrock (4154 posts) -

The underwater levels in Sonic. The music terrified me when Sonic is drowning.

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#25 Posted by dgtlty (1243 posts) -

Resident Evil probably.

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#26 Posted by James_ex_machina (1067 posts) -

Doom. Condemned scared my on the 360 but it was not my first scary game.

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#27 Posted by konig_kei (1032 posts) -

I was so scared of the child stalfos in Ocarina of Time that I would just wait out the night in the moat. The forest temple was the real deal breaker for me though, the master hands, the paintings, the music. It was all too spooky for me.

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#28 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4498 posts) -

I remember thinking Doom, Heretic & Hexen were pretty scary. Didn't have any problems with Wolfenstein 3d for some reason. Maybe because fighting humans felt less scary than demons? Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, was pretty scary too.

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#29 Posted by Stonyman65 (3812 posts) -

The one that sticks out in my mind is Fatal Frame, but I sure there are others before that that I just can't remember. Fatal Frame was the one were I said "fuck this" an turned the console off. That's the only time I've ever done that.

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#30 Posted by isomeri (3125 posts) -

I was maybe 5 or 6 years old when I played Quake on my dad's work computer, and some of the enemies in it were pretty spooky. And Descent, around the same time, was pretty bad for my sense of claustrophobia. The first time I really got scared by a game however was when I saw my friend play his copy of Resident Evil on the PS1.

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#31 Posted by poobumbutt (962 posts) -

I've only had one single copy of Nintendo Power in my life, and it was an issue that had a walkthrough for the first half hour or so of Resident Evil 2 (for anyone who forgot, RE2 had an N64 port). There was also an article on Pokemon that I would read over and over, but the issue was that it was one page over from RE2; I had to take care not to let myself see any pages from that, because I was convinced merely catching a glimpse would give me nightmares.

The grainy graphics, further distorted by a transition to tiny pictures in a magazine only heightened the fear, letting my imagination do most of the work. The Licker makes an appearance in one of the pictures and the last page has a "teaser" for later in the game, by displaying a full body shot of mutated William Birkin. Those two things, along with the generally oppressive and dark tone the whole article had, just totally did 9 year old me in.

Years later, I would come to regard RE2 as one of my favorite games ever. Funny how things go.

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#32 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2098 posts) -

Probably Resident Evil. But the first game to truly terrify me, like shake me to the bone goosebumps all over my body, a sense of dread deep inside me, was the Nursery level from ZombiU.

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#33 Posted by Nodima (2635 posts) -

There isn't even a relevant scene as my memory recalls it, but I used to have real trouble going to the restroom alone in elementary school because of a three hour period where my cousin put the disc for Resident Evil into the Playstation I'd rented from Blockbuster and I realized that videogames could be a whole lot more immersive than the Triple Play series of baseball video games.

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#34 Posted by ShaggE (9300 posts) -

Wolf 3D gave me my first gaming-induced nightmare (the skeletons in cages). I'm fairly sure that was the last time in a very long time a game would really scare me (as opposed to vaguely unnerve me)... discounting that one jumpscare in RE2, I honestly don't think it was until I played Fatal Frame 2 in, like, 2007. Or Penumbra that same year, whichever I played first.

True "I'm this close to noping out and setting this goddamn place on fire" terror? Amnesia. That first playthrough was something else.

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#35 Posted by Karmosin (379 posts) -

Harvest Moon.

Yes... I mean, a certain part of it. Nights in the game could get a bit spooky because all the music stopped and you heard your footsteps, but the thing that freaked me out was the first time you went down the underground to the gnomes. I couldn't read english very well at that time, so I had no idea what they were about. They seemed kind of sinister at the time, probably something that also has to do with this music:

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It was so intense and frightening to my young self. Never went down there again. =P

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#36 Posted by Zeik (5221 posts) -

Shining in the Darkness on Sega Genesis. Primarily because it is one of my earliest memories of video games, watching my dad play it, but it took me a long time before I had the courage to play it myself. Thinking about those damn hall crabs that are potentially lurking around any corner to slaughter your party still kinda unnerve me.

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#37 Edited by tatsuyarr (249 posts) -

The first 2 legged dog like creature you encounter in Alone In The Dark (original one on PC) was really scary and hard to kill too because of the control which were less than ideal ^^

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#38 Posted by psykhophear (1277 posts) -

King's Quest VI. Generally it is NOT a scary game but as a young kid, the genie and the labyrinth used to scared the piss out of me. It was unlike anything I'd ever played before.

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#39 Edited by avantegardener (2381 posts) -

I think probably the 1st resident evil, or possibly silient hill 2, mind you I'm really bad with scary shit (jump scares particularly) and played through both of those games with a friend.

For me it was the improvement in visual fidelity, I loved the hell out of Alone in the dark games, 6 polygons stuck together is not inherently scary.

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#40 Edited by glots (4380 posts) -

Can’t remember for sure what would’ve been the very first time, but usually when I answer a question like this, my first choice is Ichthyosaur from Half-Life.

Another one that I tend to remember are those severed hands in Blood, crawling all over like spiders...which also reminds me of actual spiders in Dark Messiah, ugh.

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#41 Posted by void (282 posts) -

Half-Life, maybe? I can't really remember any game being particularly scary other than Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

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#42 Edited by Redhotchilimist (2971 posts) -

I'm sure there must have been something before this when I was like 3 or something, but Dead Hand is what popped into my mind, too. Not to mention the redeads in the ruins of Castle Town after the time travel. Was scary even the first time it became night and I was traveling across Hyrule Field, because suddenly all these skeletons were popping up.

Ocarina was a scary game for a kid! Lots of N64 games hold scary memories for me, when I think about it. Both Super Mario 64 and Yoshi's Story had these giant Cheep-Cheeps that would eat you in one bite if they got close to you, and that scared the shit out of me and my siblings. When we later played Banjo-Kazooie, that's the reason we took ages to even enter the proper area of Clanker's Cavern. You have to swim through a short tunnel, and at the end there's a giant mechanical shark. He's perfectly friendly, and a lot of the level is spent inside of him. But we were so frightened we just turned around and did other levels instead because we didn't wanna get eaten by a fish again. Not to mention the giant sea serpent in Super Mario 64....

In summary, screw zombies and water levels.

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@ivdamke said:
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#43 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4451 posts) -

Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I was too young with no memory pack to ever understand how to fet across the long field plains and knowing the imminent damgsr out there at knight just made me legitimately scared. It was a real fear, knowing only death awaited out there.

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#44 Posted by flagranterror (70 posts) -

I put down Ocarina of Time for like 6 months when I got to the Shadow Temple.

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#45 Posted by Tom_omb (1073 posts) -

I'd like to echo all the OoT sentiments and leave this here:

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#46 Edited by enemymouse (529 posts) -

Castle Wolfenstein for Apple II.

I encountered an SS guard for the first time. He screamed "Schweinhund!" at me as I fired bullets into him fruitlessly. He was closing in fast so I ran out of the room, back to safety and caught my breath. It was very startling; how was this seemingly invulnerable boss just pacing around this otherwise low level area?

At the very moment I'd regained my composure, I heard it again: "Schweinhund!". He'd followed me from the other room! He appeared in the doorway, still screeching and running at me once again. It was over pretty fast.

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#47 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -
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#48 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7649 posts) -

Resident Evil when the dogs jump through the windows and chase you.

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#49 Posted by Pezen (2388 posts) -

I wouldn't say a game has ever scared me in the true sense of the word, but a moment that stands out is from Dead Space. For most people you walk into this room and an alarm goes off and the enemies comes. And that is all well and good. But I managed to somehow time bumping into a box that fell over the same time the scripting happened so I was convinced I trigged it by not being careful enough.

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#50 Posted by BoOzak (2645 posts) -

Probably either OoT or Resident Evil. I was quite young when I played both games. Drowning in Sonic 2 was more frustrating than scary to me.