While its hard to beat a classic horror movie for thrills and chills, video games offer some of the most unique and interactive experiences when a good scare is what you’re after. Here are 10 games that seriously deliver on the fear factor:
1. Resident Evil
First released in 1996, Resident Evil proved to be a pioneer in the “Survival Horror” genre. While the original was set in a zombie-infested mansion, the franchise has spawned numerous sequels and spinoffs, encompassing multiple gameplay styles and mechanics
2. Silent HillAnother major franchise spinning out of the popularity of Survival Horror, psychological terror waits in the rural and perpetually foggy town of Silent Hill, where the dark and malevolent aspects of the human psyche seem to manifest themselves through the delusions of those unfortunate enough to visit.
3. OutlastOutlast – Outlast is the first-person narrative of Miles Upshur, a journalist trapped inside a mental hospital overrun by maniacal killers. Unlike many weapon-heavy games however, Outlast puts you squarely on the defensive, and the resulting tension is enormous. Try not to breathe to loudly…
4. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Okay, it may be difficult to create something genuinely frightening in 16-bit graphics, but Zombies Ate My Neighbors is classic, good old-fashioned fun. Protagonists Zeke and Julie must run and gun across their entire suburban neighborhood rescuing residents from, well, basically every type of horror movie monster ever conceived.
5. Five Nights at Freddy’s This indie point and click adventure became a huge overnight success story, spawning 3 subsequent sequels in just 13 short months, and a film adaptation reportedly in development as well. Do you have the fortitude to survive overnight in a child-oriented pizzeria overrun by fuzzy yet deadly animatronic robots?
6. Alien: IsolationMuch like Outlast, Alien: Isolation embraces the stealth aspect of survival horror. Invoking the spirit of the first film of the Alien franchise, the goal here is not to engage the Xenomorph, but to avoid it at all costs. Trust me, you won’t enjoy what happens if you fail.
7. The Evil WithinThe Evil Within is directed by Shinji Mikami, creator of the original Resident Evil, so in many ways it’s the true spiritual successor his original vision. Mikami drags police detective Sebastian Castellanos through a nightmarish gauntlet of horrid locations and gruesomely disfigured enemies.
8. Until DawnOne of Sony’s sparse platform-exclusives in the latter half of 2015, Until Dawn is an exploratory, quick-time event-heavy interactive title that plays out like a cinematic experience. Picture a remote cabin and eight friends trapped in a classic horror film scenario with multiple possible outcomes.
9. Costume Quest
It doesn’t have to be all screams and scares, right? Double Fine’s Costume Quest (and subsequent sequel) are very mild role-playing game fun for the whole family. Candy hoarding aliens and a kidnapped sibling make for one hilarious and fun night of trick-or-treating in this bona fide entertaining adventure.
10. Slender: The ArrivalFeaturing the titular horror icon born from an internet meme and known simply as “Slender Man”, Slender: The Arrival (and it’s freeware predecessor, “Slender: The 8 Pages“) utilize limited vision and a sense of helplessness to instill genuine tension and fear as you are perpetually stalked across abandoned landscapes.
11. Bonus: P.T. –
Although only meant as a teaser for an upcoming installment in the Silent Hill franchise, P.T. was critically adored and lauded as one of the best gaming experiences – let alone horror releases – of 2015. The catch? The game was cancelled and the demo completely removed from the Playstation Network. If you’ve never played P.T., your chance to download it yourself has come and gone, so find a friend who still has the demo saved to their Playstation 4, because it absolutely should not be missed.