You Don't Scare Me

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Scarriest? Had to be in Resident Evil 4. I didn't pick up the thermal scope for the semi-auto sniper rifle, so I had to try to escape Regenerators without it for the rest of the game. When I got done the night I played that part, I was actually light-headed and shaking.

There are three that I can remember, and they aren't even horror games.

1.) The original Max Payne. The nightmare sequences were so scary when I first played the game, I had to stop playing for, like, a week.

2.) The first Halo game where you first encounter the Flood. I flipped shit.

3.) The beginning of Bioshock when you get off of the first bathysphere.

Games that are supposed to be scary, such as Dead Space, have made me uneasy or made me jump, but I really haven't had a genuine "omg I'm scurred. D:" moment since the three I mentioned. It's kind of sad, to be honest, since I love to get scared when playing games. Maybe that is the problem, though. Maybe it is because I am seeking that thrill that I don't get it. It was so much scarrier when I wasn't expecting any horror elements in the game I was playing. I have played horror games such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dead Space, Condemned, and F.E.A.R., and none of them can produce that same, pure, terror.

I think more games need to take the Bioshock approach. (Whether it was intentional on their part or not.) Don't tell your crowd they're getting a horror game. Let 'em think it's gonna' be some good old-fashioned fun, and then lay a few crazy splicers on 'em. It makes sense if you think about it. A situation is a lot scarrier when you don't expect it to be, you leave yourself vulnerable to the scare.

Haven't really played that many horror games so the closest thing would be maybe one of the moments in Bioshock where a splicer would jump at you pretending it was a corpse. And even that wasn't much.

I shall be honest.

When I was a wee twerp of 12 years old, I had only had about two hours of first person shooter under my belt. So when I started playing halo, I really sucked. I was playing normal, and dying a lot.
However, this is due to my general sucking at the game. I was really into, however, my young brain enthusiastically enjoying what little immersion halo had.
So when the level where you released the flood came, I panicked. I panicked even further when I had managed to escape and was then teleported to the Library which was filled them.
That level scared me just short of losing my pants. It was intense, random firing death sprees that left me frequently with little or no ammo, and constantly twitching around.
Playing it again when I was sixteen, I realized how much of a fool I had been back then.

I've experienced a few unsettling gaming moments...

For one, The Mansion in Vampire: The Masquerade. A virgin flying around showing you the way? An enraged ghost with an axe, scaring the fuck out of you and throwing stuff at you? That's real poltergeist shit right there.

And then there's the first FEAR game. It's sad that the horror has focussed more and more on flinching as the various expansion packs and the sequel came out, because some of FEAR 1's mindfuckery really got under my skin and made me panic, even though I was well aware that Alma probably wouldn't kill me this time either.

Scariest game jumping out of locker in Silent Hill one. <.< i damn near had a heart attack.

Great Article

My scariest gaming moment

It was nightfall in the world of Tamreil, I had no magica to speak of. Escaping a cave and fleeing to town. All of the sudden... The fight music turns on, I get hit. Again. Again. I have no torches nor enough magica to cast starlight. I remember that I haven't saved since my last level up. I run for my life, but to no avail.

The night I was killed by a mudcrab

The one time I was most scared in a game? Oh, this needs a spoiler because no matter how old the game is, I can't rightfully out and tell people this if there's even a fraction of a chance that they'll play the game.

After reading several more of the responses, I have to agree that half-life creeped me out as well. So many moments of trepidation where you knew you HAVE to do something... but you just don't want to. Even at the beginning of the game, just push that sample into the stream. Just push it in, it's OK. All readings are normal. Yup, go ahead. Nothing unfortunate and ridiculous will happen.


Alma from F.E.A.R 1 creeps me out, i mean she never actually hurts you, but when you catch a glimpse of her running around out the corner of your eye, then turn to find her gone, or when she just APPEARS when you climb down a ladder and you're powerless to do anything except jump off the ladder to your death!!!

Yea, little girls in red dresses with a murderous streak fucking creep. me. out!!!

I never play horror games because I can't stand being scared but I experienced quite a few scary moments in gaming.
The best one would be

Startled the fuck out of me. It's a pretty tense game, actually.

Some may criticize, but F.E.A.R. genuinely scared me. Extraction point especially, when I had to go through the hospital and wound up in that Insane Asylum. I peeked in one of the doors to see who was inside, after a moment of getting a good look at the guy, a face popped up on the other side of the window and slammed the viewing window shut on me. I got jumpy and fired a round from my grenade launcher when I saw the face pop up, point blank at the door. Thankfully I didnt die.

I'm going to say F.E.A.R as well. The way that they built up the tension, not just pop up scares really got to me. Scarriest moment of the game was when I was running down a corridor, then the roof starts bleeding, when I reached the door on the other side, it disappeared, then I turned around to come face to face (literally) with one of those ghoul/demon/scary floaty things. I jumped out of my seat since I was waiting for something bad to happen but didn't expect to see the ghoul/demon/scary floaty thing an inch from my face. Throughout the entire course of this game, many bricks were shat. I swear to god I was petrified of little girls in red dresses for a month.

No mention of the Cradle in Thief3 or the Ocean-Side Mansion on Vampire:Bloodlines? Those scenes are the scariest in the history of gaming, and the best thing about them is that for the first half of the former and the entirety of the latter;

Yet you are completely and utterly terrified the whole way through and a level that could take minuets running takes hours sneaking. Quite literally nothing to fear except fear itself.

The point is driven home later in bloodlines in the abandoned hospital, creaping through, seeing the sings of struggle from the TV crew being attacked by the unknown horror, only to find it's a friendly NPC who addresses you with the line:
"True Terror is not the sight of death; it is the fear of death."

"My beloved Silent Hill series really shows off this problem from time to time, as do the early Resident Evil games. The game is always disturbing and dripping with atmosphere that awakens a profound sense of dread in the player."

Shamus, I could kiss you just for these few sentences. I too remember being in that dark mansion with a crushing sense of dread whenever I turned a corner or opened a door. I wish Resident Evil was still terrifying and not just action scene after action scene. Beside my sadness at the loss of RE, I think you make some very valid points in this article.

My scariest moments have to be the entire first playthroughs of Resident Evil and Silent Hill on the PlayStation. Anyway, thank you for sharing and keep gaming.

The Oven man and the guy who jumps out at you just before that in re4. Also, those dogs in the garden.

Thank you Mr.Young. I've long felt the same way about "survival horror" games too.


My scariest game moment was in FEAR 2 during the first level in the room with the pool. I just opened the door to the room and saw Alma run inbetweem some potted plants. I rounded the potted plant to see where she'd gone, but she'd already vanished. So I turned around to see the little girl in red standing not even a yard away from me. Needless to say I fired several SMG rounds at her.

That moment still freaks me out even when I know it's coming.

Many moments in Bioshock also freak me out. But the scariest for me was when I found the secret room in the Fort Frolic level. Once you open that room several of the statues found around the area come to life and attack you. The worst part is that these statues are basically mute spider splicers, so you don't hear them coming...

I couldn't return to Fort Frolic for weeks after that.

Not scared but very immersed in the game world was many years ago playing the original Diablo. Game music coming out of 4 sets of speakers. Doing our best not to die. Then the most immersion breaking thing happened. Someone got a ICQ message complete with "Oh-O" sound effect.

In the beginning of Resident evil 4, it really was more of a horror game, in the sense that the design and atmosphere, coupled with the fact that your enemies were powerful, would ambush you, and your guns were weak enough to force you to make every shot count. It emphasized conservative, slow paced progress while putting you under a lot of tension, and it really scares you when Dr. Salvador charges you in the beginning of the game, you are really too weak to fight him, but you have to anyway and try to make a final stand against what looks like an unbeatable boss.

My scariest moment however, was again in RE4, when fighting the Regenerators in the lab. The spooky buildup, the fact that they were really hard to kill, and just wondering when they would pop up really was a scary thing
(Although on the second playthrough when blowing them away with a tommygun in a gangster outfit, they werent quite so scary.)

Part of what I find unsettling about the Silent Hill games- and I guess I'd have to say it's more "unsettled" than "afraid" in the "oh my gosh I'm going to die" sense- is the things you can't fight. Oh, there's those incredibly creepy zombie-things in SH2 that scuttle like stop-motion crabs, and mannequins, and nurses, and all the rest- but while you can happily stomp the bejeezus out of everything, the thing that's tormenting you is beyond your reach. Beating the bosses doesn't take away that sense; you're not so much victorious as released. There are still arguments online as to whether the "hero" of SH2 ever actually leaves the town in any of the endings.

I've said so elsewhere, but my one real "Okay, I have to stop playing" full creep-out was the aliens attacking your windshield in "Rescue On Fractalus" back when I was ten or so.

All I can think of is Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (for those unfortunate enough to be unaware of this game, It contains a mechanic with which to measure the sanity of your character. As your character witnesses "unsettling" sights, your sanity is deducted from an invisible meter. The clearest result of this is that your character will begin to hallucinate, hear voices, lose motor functions, or simply put his gun to his head (assuming you make it far enough to receive a weapon. Don't count on it). It sets up an atmosphere that places you deeply in the characters mind, to the point of seeing through his traumatized eyes.

Great article.

Scariest moment huh? I haven't played anything that scary lately, but from what I remember, the first F.E.A.R made me really jumpy, seriously whenever I saw a dark room or corridor (...which is pretty much everywhere on reflection), I was debating whether to go on or just stay there and wait to see if something pops out and kills me. Strangely though, the mindfuck sections didn't scare me at all. They were more cool then scary, and whats even more strange, they were relieving. Removing the dark rooms and enemies that take more than one hit to kill, it was like a break away from the constant fear for my life.

Silent hill is the only horror? What about Siren? Eternal Darkness? This "Call of Cthulu" thing mentioned earlier?

Penumbra, which you oh so subtly mentioned. 30 minutes in and i've still not seen even one enemy. By that time i was so scared of something suddenly becoming violent, i had to take breaks.

Also, i think survival horror can exist, but only if you apply rogue-like saving. Come to think of it, i believe gaming in general would only benefit from a broad return to permadeath and save=quit methods. And there i go tangenting off...

Hell yes. Penumbra is still the best survival horror i have ever played. Those games kept the atmosphere! You loaded and you were straight back into the horror... I wish something like it was created ;(

Anyways i'm creating a sort of survival horror FP game... This article hit the nail on the head of what i'm trying to achieve. It is going quite well :)

I can't choose a single scariest moment, so I'll list a tiny handful.

My first encounter with Pyramid Head in Silent Hill 2. Also my first real experience with the series at all. "Why aren't my bullets working? He's not even FLINCHING! They're the best thing I got and he's not FLINCHING!"

Resident Evil 2's segment where you have to solve some puzzles, and dodge zombie dobermen, alone as 10 or 12 year old Sherry Birkins. I though they were SICK making a kid fend for themselves in these things, The same way I grow furious in a Crime Drama when a kid is the victim today, so I was hell bent on her safety and panicked at the slightest footstep.

Lastly, many sections of Raw Danger (A lesser known PS2 game). Raw Danger is all about escaping a flooding city, making it survival without the horror, though still frightening. Apart from the fear of being swept away to drown, you can also suffer a loss of body heat as you get soaked and hypothermia sets in. First you lose the ability to run...then the screen begins to get hazy from the outside in, slowly...eventually, you just collapse and are 'lost', likely doomed to freeze to death. Who needs the threat of bleeding to fear for their lives?

Resident Evil 1 remake on the gamecube. The first time a zombie stands up, that you killed an hour ago, bricks will be shat

All I can think of is Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (for those unfortunate enough to be unaware of this game, It contains a mechanic with which to measure the sanity of your character. As your character witnesses "unsettling" sights, your sanity is deducted from an invisible meter. The clearest result of this is that your character will begin to hallucinate, hear voices, lose motor functions, or simply put his gun to his head (assuming you make it far enough to receive a weapon. Don't count on it). It sets up an atmosphere that places you deeply in the characters mind, to the point of seeing through his traumatized eyes.

There is one glaring problem with CoC:DCotE - they have done this great work to bring about the sense of helplessness, fear and dread. Then you get your first shotgun and get involved in a full-on military assault. Fear? What fear?.

In the dark area's of HL EP1 subway system, where you have to shine a light on the zombies to get Alyx to shoot em, then your light goes out, and you hear a wierd girl-zombie noise like, whelping, scared the shit out of me!

then you turn your light back on and Alyx goes 'GOTCHA!', and she was making the noise

I fell in love with Alyx at that moment

Wait... FEAR not a survival horror ? (the first one of course)
It's the ******* scariest game I ever played, dead space doesn't beat him !
Constant stress, and I pissed my pans a lot of times in the games, because of Alma. he good thing is that the game is not hard (even in hard mod) but you don't feel invincible like in FEAR 2 where they took all the pressure of because you starting to get that Alma WON'T hurt you so you just play it for the story.

1/. Vampires The Masquerade: Bloodlines - when you have to go to the haunted house, the first part of the level in the basement and then the house before the sewers with those crazy two legged monsters, those parts really suckered me in.

2/. Painkiller - the asylum level, on the top floor when the enemies first appear and start jumping at you and all you have is flashlight veiw.

Interesting article.
I have an issue with the slasher film comparison, becuase American slaher films aren't proper horror (sorry, but it's J-horror or nothing for me).
One big problem with a lot of horror games is the difference between a helpless situation and a helpless character. If the situation feels helpless, then it's scary. If the character is helpless, then I tend to see the character as a deadweight.

Silent Hill, baby ghosts walking around the school crying.

Excellent. That is EXACTLY the experience I had yesterday. For years we've been planning to do a SH2 playthrough, like watching an extended horror film. We finally got it together yesterday. Before the main event, I loaded up SH5 to warm up and loaded a save right before the Schism enemies show up. I then died about 12 times in a row just trying to leave the goddamned police station. I threw down the controller and switched the game off in disgust, never frightened, just infuriated.

Then we loaded up SH2. When we got to the labyrinth and Pyramid Head's lair, I was yammering and begging my friend to read the strategy guide faster so I could get out of those tunnels before I ran into The Red Pyramid again.


Also, Angela's story unsettled everyone in the room.

"It's hot as hell in here."

"You see it too? For me, it's always like this."

I agree with anyone who's said Max Payne. I must've been 11 or 12, but the opening scene and the nightmare scene were overpowering scary. I couldn't play that game at night - I'd be sure to get nightmares.

Now, it's all about being DISTURBED; the abandoned baseball diamond in Fallout 3 made me reflect with sadness. It's an emergent moment (no cutscene, no attention called to it)...just a backstop in the middle of a blighted field.

System Shock 2. That game just grabbed my mind by the balls and made it shit its britches.

My scariest moment remains "Rescue on Fractalus." It was a game where you landed a spaceship in canyons and picked up pilots. What I didn't know, at the time, was that some of the distress beacons were from aliens, who would jump up on your windshield and pound on the glass until they broke through. I was so unprepared for it, and so shocked by the nightmarish image of the alien, that I was too scared to play the game again.


Hey, guys, I'm new here, and I would like to know how to "spoilerize" my comments, so I can talk about my scariest moments. Can you help me?

EDIT: Never mind, I found it (Hey, I warned you, I'm a newbie...)

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