Horror Games

Outside of IF, what Horror games have you enjoyed or are looking forward to enjoying?

I consider Bioshock to be horror. I played through it in a marathon session not long after having kids, and was thoroughly horrified by the ways the citizens of Rapture abused themselves, each other, and their children.

I enjoyed Amnesia (though not its sequel) and expect to enjoy Soma.

Funny thing about Amnesia - when I realised that, no matter how insane I got, I wouldn’t lose the game, and that losing just meant a quickrestore, I stopped worrying at all. I cranked my gamma way up, because I was tired of having my light sources controlled, and the insanity caused by the darkness no longer bothered me.

It may be a case of a mechanic taken too far. By the endgame, I had had enough, and didn’t really want to feel that way anymore anyway - the tension of managing light sources, sanity and health was… starting not to be my idea of fun.

Whereas in System Shock 2, that lack of resources actually plays right into the story and the endgame, and is even commented on by the AI. That I liked!

Oh, and Anna. I really enjoyed Anna. Though it lost a lot of its punch when I realised that a) I could lose the game by going too insane, b) there were not enough ways to regain sanity if I screwed up too often, and c) there’s an easy way not to lose any sanity when the statue-that-gives-you-jump-scares appears. That easy way is to move real slowly, which undermines the tension. Up until I realised that, I was perpetually tense; after that, everything was breezy-peesy.

I’m also curious about Masochisia.

Let’s see.

Amnesia is good; never played the sequel, but I heard the original is far superior anyway.

PT was amazing, and I will NEVER get over the tragedy that is Silent Hills getting the plug pulled.

I genuinely enjoy Five Nights at Freddy’s, fully embracing the jump scare as a valid mechanic. Although honestly, the jump scares really are not the only thing the games have going for them. They legitimately make you feel paranoid. I could wax philosophical about FNAF for ages.

I’ve enjoyed playing Monstrum, though I haven’t played it much lately. Procedurally generated escape puzzler with monsters.

I’ve also played a little Slender recently mostly at my roommate’s request because she needed help and was too chicken to keep redoing levels.

On the AAA side…

I’ve enjoyed both Telltale Walking Dead games quite a bit.

One of my all-time favorite console games is Catherine, which in its own roundabout way actually got me involved with interactive fiction.

I’ve been meaning to give Catherine a go. It seems intriguing.

Catherine is really delightful. My only complaint with it is that the plot itself stays the same on subsequent play-throughs – there are five different endings, depending on the choices you make throughout the game, but the scenes leading up to that ending never change. So some of the later scenes don’t make as much sense for the endings they lead to.

But aside from that, the story is great, and the puzzle/gameplay is absolutely addictive. I’m getting an itch to go play it again right now. Which is unfortunate because I no longer have an Xbox 360. Oh, woe.

I do hate console-exclusive games… I have a PS3, but not a working TV, so fat lot of good it does me!

System Shock 2 made me stop playing it at times, it was so scary when it came out. At least in the beginning before I was very powerful. Cryokinetic Monkeys does not sound like it should be scary, but … wow.

Clive Barker’s UNDYING is pretty great, and has awesome music, but is a little shooter-y.

PT was almost too scary. I could hardly bear to watch YouTube videos of it. The jump scares in that were ungodly, but just turning the corner and seeing different colored light or lights turned out or the refrigerator hanging…or even worse that shuddering ghost that just STANDS THERE put me on the floor. That said, there HAS to be a Silent Hill that employs that level of first-person photoreal terror.

I watched videos of SOMA and think I would have liked it. It’s not as mind-numbingly scary as Amnesia, and has a System Shock vibe.

I was scared all through GONE HOME waiting for the horror twist.

(I am a wuss about jumpscares though - I love horror, but hate when stuff jumps out and tries to startle me.)

I don’t play a lot of horror games in the Amnesia vein, just because they’re usually in a weird place on the time/attention demand curve for me; I tend to prefer either a more casual experience or something longer and mechanically deeper. But I did enjoy Amnesia. I also thought Layers of Fear was rather effective, what I played of it anyway (It’s in Early Access).

I played Amnesia in basically one solid chunk of time, back in the day when I could afford to devote 10+ solid hours to playing a game from beginning to end. I think it’s a lot better that way, but of course not very practical.

PT was so incredibly terrifying, man. I don’t think any game has nailed atmospheric horror and dread quite that well. It’s maybe the most intense hour of gaming I’ve ever done.

Growing up sucks.

Every now and then I come across a game that keeps me up all night–adulthood be damned!

I’m surprised¹ no-one has mentioned Leadlight Gamma, the ‘survival horror / interactive fiction / retrocoded combat RPG adventure’ game. It’s available for Windows, Linux, OS X, the iPad and the iPhone. I have only played the original Leadlight from the IFComp 2010, but I rather enjoyed it, despite it then being an Apple II game, which had to be played on an emulator. The new version seems like a nice upgrade, and even includes a soundtrack and a graphical map.

¹ Edit: Well, I really shouldn’t be surprised, as I now see that the original post begins with ‘Outside of IF’ … (Still, I do recommend Leadlight.)


I mean, I was freelancing at the time, so my schedule was much more flexible. Then again, spending long days playing games instead of working is kind of why I had to stop freelancing, soooo…

But still, man, sometimes it is SO GOOD to just settle in with a game and lose yourself.

I very purposely avoided opening Fallout 4 that weeknight it downloaded so I could make it into work the next day.


Horror console games are my favourite games. I liked when the survival horror style ruled, so I’ve got a backlog of games from the PS2 and Wii era that I’m still working through. I want to tell you allllll about my backlog.

[rant]Things I’m looking forward to from my backlog are:

Cursed Mountain (Wii)

Mountaineer encounters snowy mountain evils.

Obscure II (Wii)

Apparently the teen cast of this game are as obnoxious as the teens in the Scream films.

Haunting Ground (PS2)

A girl and her dog flee some kind of assailant.

The Thing (PS2)

Based on the film.

Ju-On: The Grudge (Wii)

Apparently this is a fright simulator mostly aimed at allowing teenaged girls to scare each other. One player can play while the other controls scares.

Silent Hill: Origins (PS2)

A Silent Hill I just haven’t caught up to yet.

Dead Rising (Wii)

Zombie horde-fending from the new school of fast zombies (sigh)

Things I’m facing from my backlog with a degree of wariness are:

Forbidden Siren 2 (the first one took / is taking so long, that’s all)

Project Zero / Fatal Frame 2 and 3 (the first one was kind of annoying)

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (I started this but got tired of the Wii controls)

Escape from Bug Island (Wii RSI!)

My overall top 3 are:

Silent Hill (PS1)

Fantastically scary

Resident Evil 2 (PS1)

Leon and Claire find themselves trapped in a police station during a zombie outbreak. The most George Romero-like Resident Evil game.

Eternal Darkness (Gamecube)

Play numerous characters through time all working against one Lovecraftian force.

I liked all these:

Fear Effect (PS1)

Mercenaries versus demons? A guy who worked on it said it’s not survival horror, but I just ignore him

Galerians (PS1)

Semi-ponderous sci-fi spread over 3 discs about psychics who can explode each other’s heads and such

Forbidden Siren (PS2)

Amazing game requiring ultimate patience. Shibito zombies and blood rain on a Japanese island. I should point out this is also a field day for narrative hijinks. The mission selection screen is a grid with playable characters along one axis and times of the day down the other axis. The levels are offered out of chronological order and as you complete them, colour-coded flowchart lines fly out and light up other squares on the grid, allowing you to play those bits (or not, depending on if you met certain requirements.)

This is an extraordinarily difficult game for any genre - just use a walkthrough. Execution is 80% of it, so using the walkthrough barely hurts the experience but saves months of work.

Rule of Rose (PS2)

Artisinal schoolgirl horror-fantasy about bullying. Wowserism in Europe and the British Press caused the UK and Australian releases to be aborted by distributors, though it was never actually banned.

Manhunt (PS2)

The gruesome violent crims executing-each-other action game. Becomes very repetitious. This was released with a rating in Australia, then local wowserism kicked in and it was re-reviewed and banned. It’s still banned. When Steam inadvertently made it available here years later and someone noticed, it was made unavailable. (Worth noting the original ban of Manhunt took place before Australia allowed its R-rating to cover games as well as other forms of media.)

Clock Tower (PS1)

Very scary point and click mystery with 10 endings. Hide in cupboards or behind things whenever Scissorman appears.

Clock Tower 3 (PS2)

In which Clock Tower keeps the hiding mechanic, becomes like Resident Evil and throws in time travel to boot

RE1, RE3, RE Code Veronica, RE Outbreak 1 and 2, RE4

Resident Evil, 'nuff said

Silent Hill 2 and 3 and 4

Both grotesque and psychological

Echo Night: Beyond (PS2)

Slow, first-person non-shooter mystery set in a space station about helping ghosts ‘get closure’

Bloodrayne, Bloodrayne 2 (Gamecube, PS2, etc.)

Gory, hyperviolent exploitational 3rd-person action in which you play a near-indestructible female vampire. Stealing phraseage from a famous review of Modern Warfare 2, I said about these: “The original BloodRayne was already the Citizen Kane of repeatedly dismembering people and drinking their blood.”

‘It were OK:’

Curse: The Eye of Isis (PS2)

Resident Evil / Lovecraft styled 3rd-person fantasy horror, set mostly in a museum, but just kinda drab and unvarying

Cold Fear (PS2)

Novel but pretty frustrating zombie game set aboard a ship in a storm

Obscure (Uh, Wii or PS2)

Teens versus Resident Evil type horrors. Offers co-op play.

Project Zero aka Fatal Frame (PS2)

Take photos of ghosts to defeat them. Often scary but often very frustrating

I did not enjoy:

Doom 3 (Mac/PC)

Doom jettisons fun and goes survival horror, but in FPS, and with middling results

Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (PS1)

Sort of a Res Evil clone with fiddly, frustrating everything, and scenes so large that details are often impossible to spot

Chaos Break (PS1)

One of the dumbest, worst-programmed RE clones ever.[/rant]

Good thinking. I’ve avoided buying it because I’m just too busy right now, but I know I’ll succumb to temptation very soon.

I’m not much into horror games, but I played “Alone in the Dark” long, long ago. And found it sufficiently terrifying (at approximately age 9).

[size=85]Those ghosts that start blaring, shaking the screen and chasing you when you touch them? And then you just fall down and die screaming when they reach you? Those things stayed in my nightmares.[/size]

Wade - I was wondering whether someone would mention Clock Tower. :slight_smile:

John Saul’s Blackstone Chronicles.

And I’m ashamed it took me this long to remember it.

The Phantasmagoria games are good, too. The first one is a bit too campy to be really horrifying, but it’s effective and enjoyable. The second one is a bit too weird, too alternative, but again it’s a good game.

Black Dahlia could be considered a horror game, I guess. It would be one of my favourite games ever if it didn’t have so many stupid, pointless puzzles, completely unrelated to the story. This is a story-heavy and story-centric game. I don’t know what those designers were thinking…