You Don't Scare Me

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First of all, this was a great article, I feel exactly like that about the so-called "scary" games. That said, let's begin:

Halceon:

Mufujumon:
All I can think of is Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (for those unfortunate enough to be unaware of this game, http://www.callofcthulhu.com/home.html) 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?.

Well, I kinda agree with you there, in that the attack on Marsh Refinery ruined the "alone and helpless" feeling that had been building up so nicely up to that point.

But I have to ask, have you stopped playing there, or have you persisted? Because the boat ride that comes next, and the ensuing fight against Father Dagon, certainly bring some of that mood back.

And then, of course, there's the moment when you are all alone, trying to cross a narrow stone passage in a huge cavern, where you can't see the bottom, the ceiling or even the end of the bridge you are on, and you can even SEE the wind sweeping the passage... And then

Other scary moments in games:

Blair Witch 1: The game had its moments, but the part where

Silent Hill: The entire game was one big mindfuck, and I just loved the "cat-in-the-locker" moment, it was such a brilliant twist on an old horror cliche... But when I entered the Clock Tower in the school,

that was when the game really started mindf***ing me. The telephone bit was also frightening.

And, while not exactly scary, the game Sanitarium had some very disturbing moments, and I think it's worth mentioning here.

There are more I can't remember right now. But just to wrap this post up, I'd like to say F.E.A.R. was a big disappointment to me in the scare department. I loved the game for its action, but it never came close to scarying me. And I had such high hopes that it would...

My scariest gaming moment was partially my mind's fault.
It was in Timesplitters: Future Perfect, in the Mansion of Madness.
It wasn't the enemies, they were actually kinda funny, or the atmosphere.
It was my own thoughts. Specifically the thoughts that ran through my mind when I first picked the shotgun off the wall. I was paralyzed, thinking, "They just gave me the most iconic and usually effective weapon against zombies. What the hell is behind that door?"
I put down the controller at that point and didn't have the courage to come back for about three months.

The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker

Of course, with a title like that as the backdrop, I suppose that this story needs a bit of a preface. It's three the week after the game came out, and my best friend and I have been playing all day in an effort to see as much of it as possible. It's dead silent, the lights are out, and we've gotten as far as the spirit temple. Now this level is meant to be a bit creepy. There's no background music, and some of the rooms have hidden enemies that appear to be items or common room-dressing until you stray too near to them.

One of the most common enemies in this part of the game are these flying skulls complete with flames and flapping bat wings. The only way to kill these things are using your slingshot or bow. I've been playing Zelda games for a while, so I was familiar with this kind of thing. I'd never actually attracted the attention of one through the whole game up until now, since anticipating them made picked them off at long range the obvious choice.

Pitch black, and the sound turned up extremely loud to catch some of the subtle clues of hidden or approaching enemies.

I enter a room with a large pit in the center. There's a conspicuous hook above the pit which I'm meant to use to swing across it, but floating above the abyss are two of the flying fire-skulls, and if I try and make the swing without sniping them they'll knock me into the pit and cost me a life. So I nail the first one, and in a bout of confidence take my sweet time aiming at the second. I'm focused, deeply immersed in the tiny adjustments, waiting for his path to swerve predictably into my line of sight. But zoomed in with my bow as I am, I miss the crucial detail that I'm just barely too close. The skull turns, and rather than placidly continuing on it's course lets out the most bloodcurdling cackle I'd ever heard, at a volume sure to wake the dead thanks to my cranked volume.

Needless to say I flailed and screamed like a five year old. I was the master here, I was the expert, that wasn't fair, the enemies weren't suddenly allowed to become terrifyingly aware and dangerous and COME AFTER ME.

I don't know what my scariest moment is, but I definitely remember my first scary gaming moment, which is kind of pathetic in retrospect.
However: typical scary environment, alone in the house, young, all lights off, playing a video game.
Unfortunately, that game was Halo 1. With no background knowledge of what happened in Halo, I was playing in that part where the Flood is revealed for the first time. For like 10 minutes you walk through the mangled and torn apart corpses of the Covenant. You see a cutscene of other marines getting surrounded and getting killed, then the recording goes out. Then the music picked up with the tension-y strings, then Cortana yelled something to the effect of "Get out of here!" Then a door explodes and Flood poured in, and then the Mission text says only "RUN!"

I felt genuine unease and fear there, which disappeared like a minute later once I realized how easy they were to kill, and then it became grindy shooting again.

Bioshock was also unexpectedly frightening. I'd just heard that it was a good game, never any particulars, and the dark, dank, gloomy ex-utopia took me by surprise and kept me on edge.

I think my scariest moment was the haunted hotel part from Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. Well, it WAS scary on the first playthrough, but after you played it through and noticed that there's almost nothing that can KILL you, you just run it through. The first time playing that part was the top moment I had with the game.

Truehare:
First of all, this was a great article, I feel exactly like that about the so-called "scary" games. That said, let's begin:

Halceon:

Mufujumon:
All I can think of is Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (for those unfortunate enough to be unaware of this game, http://www.callofcthulhu.com/home.html) 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?.

Well, I kinda agree with you there, in that the attack on Marsh Refinery ruined the "alone and helpless" feeling that had been building up so nicely up to that point.

But I have to ask, have you stopped playing there, or have you persisted? Because the boat ride that comes next, and the ensuing fight against Father Dagon, certainly bring some of that mood back.

And then, of course, there's the moment when you are all alone, trying to cross a narrow stone passage in a huge cavern, where you can't see the bottom, the ceiling or even the end of the bridge you are on, and you can even SEE the wind sweeping the passage... And then

Other scary moments in games:

Blair Witch 1: The game had its moments, but the part where

Silent Hill: The entire game was one big mindfuck, and I just loved the "cat-in-the-locker" moment, it was such a brilliant twist on an old horror cliche... But when I entered the Clock Tower in the school,

that was when the game really started mindf***ing me. The telephone bit was also frightening.

And, while not exactly scary, the game Sanitarium had some very disturbing moments, and I think it's worth mentioning here.

There are more I can't remember right now. But just to wrap this post up, I'd like to say F.E.A.R. was a big disappointment to me in the scare department. I loved the game for its action, but it never came close to scarying me. And I had such high hopes that it would...

I stopped somewhere mid-boatride, disillusioned. Well, it seems i truly might have missed out on some spectacular horror.

I stopped somewhere mid-boatride, disillusioned. Well, it seems i truly might have missed out on some spectacular horror.

Do you still have the savegame? If so, you're just minutes away from one of the most tense boss-fights in videogame history, IMO anyway. The first time you see Father Dagon is unforgettable... not to mention the first time you actually manage to beat the sonovafish...

It's pretty much impossible--for me at least--to be afraid in a game when I'm toting a shotgun and/or grenades and/or rocket launcher. Sorry, in what way, exactly, are some jack-in-the-box inside-out douche-bags supposed to be frightening?

Probably the last two seconds of the final boss fight in Perfect Cherry Blossom. The game isn't scary, but I was dead terrified of the possibility that I'd gotten to the final boss without dying once and now only a few seconds away from victory I might die and I'd have to start again. I've rarely been as relieved as I was when I finally made it.

That, and for some reason the demo Painkiller really worked for me the first time I played it. I sneaked everywhere, was really careful with the zombies and terrified of every little sound. Then I changed the in-game music to cheesy jpop, and after that I just ran through the levels blasting everything before they could react. And I think I had more fun with that.

The only timr i've been so frightened I had to stop playing was in AVP 2, where i managed to get face-huggered three times in a row. That was so horrible I found myself shaking after the third one and had to stop playing. for a time.

This is exactly what happened to Bioshock. It was pretty scary until you came realized that getting res'd in the chamber wasn't really a problem. Then you didn't care how much you died.

Scariest moment: Either the first time a skulltulla dropped in from of me inside the Deku Tree, or seeing Alex dead in the bathtub in Eternal Darkness.

Prey... those kids turned enemies scared me. It made me remember "The Shining," the one that starred Jack Nickleson, because that one had the creepiest kids.

It's like you said about keeping the character alive, as soon as he dies, the immersion is lost and the scares don't exist anymore.

Which is why my scariest moment is from The Suffering, the first screen flash.
You're a tough guy, can handle himself, got weapons, got ways to heal, oh look scary monsters, i'm not afraid of BAM, WHAT THE **** WAS THAT IN MY FACE, followed by sounds of scratching monsters with blades for limbs crawling in ventilation shafts... awesome.

The first Resident Evil...the first zombie looking up from the woman he's eating. It creeps me out just to type it.

JakobBloch:

One of my biggest scares in games was in AvP.

This. This game was bathed in atmosphere. The dark corridors with limited lighting. The relatively short duration of your flares, forceing you to keep moving.
Added to the speed that the Aliens came at you when they did come this game was full of scare moments.

I was playing with a friend at 3am once. He rode a lift down into a shaft. Just as he got to the bittom he was struck by a facehugger and his mobile went off at the same time. The guy literaly screamed and jumped out of his chair. Was hilarious.

Great game to play with all the lights out.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. The game made you feel uneasy ALL THE TIME. When the sanity meter went down, that's when the game gets really crazy, with bleeding walls, screen going on and off, all random. Unpredictable. Scary. Great.

The Silent Hill series have been mentioned already, but for me they just epitomize horror. (Not counting SH: Origins or SH: Homecoming, since I've not played them, and they're not developed by Konami.) I remember being about 18-19 when I first played the original SH. Made me scared of turning on my PS1, and when I was playing I was too terrified to get off the couch and turn it off. The whole atmosphere was just amazing and managed to really pull you in, despite the shortcomings of the PS1 system.

The cat in the locker has already been mentioned, but that was one of the standout moments from SH1. I remember jumping a little when it jumped out of the closet, and getting disappointed that the game resorted to such an old horror cliche. And then... Well those of you that has played it knows what happens next.

Also that bathroom stall in the school(?) that was silent and empty except for some girl crying. When I discovered that there was no one there, no monster that could hurt me, I didn't react with, "Phew, no one's here." I reacted with, "What's going on around here? Oh... I need to change my pants..."

That whole decaying, rusted (or is it blood?!) look of the otherworld was so unlike anything I'd seen in any media up to this point. Add to that the whole soundscape with metal grinding and industrial sounds, it all just evoked sheer terror in me. Now, I grew up not far from a steelmill, later moved close to an industrial harbour, so I'm used to these sounds. And still, they managed to scare to bejesus out of me.

Some time after I'd finished SH, I got two friends of mine around. I remember sitting up that whole night, watching the one friend playing. The other, he was too busy being curled up in the far end of the couch to get near the controller. We sat up until about 6 am., and the "wuss" friend had to wait a bit longer for the morning light to break before daring to go home. He lived just a three minute walk away from me.

The biggest reason that great horror games don't get made is that simply having "atmosphere" is not sufficient to make a game scary. For a game to allow immersion, it must already have the two rarities of great gameplay and storytelling, and then go the extra mile of removing HUD objects and being realistic, both of which can be detriments to gameplay. A designer great enough to make a game extremely fun and immersive would never then try to make it scary, since fear is a negative emotion.

Any time you finish repairing a wall or window on COD Nazi Zombies and then you tur around to upgrade a weapon and blarg!

Or less recently, we invented the phrase "Cartoon Network on standby" for the first 30 minutes of Silent Hill all those years ago. You play at night and thank God that CN is 24 hour so that you get a trouble free sleep.

Almost anything with whimpering babies in it.....oh dear.
when i was about 15 years old i played the first silent hill, in my bedroom, perched on the side of the bed, about a foot away from a little 14" Sony 'portable' television (haha, portable!), lights out, curtains shut, volume up high.

Creeping around the first few hours of the game, finally reached the school, and having only got through the front entrance, i find toilets to the left and right hand sides (same layout as my primary school, no kidding, this had me creeped out ALREADY!) i took a look around, knowing full well i wasnt going to like what i found.
first toilets, mens i thought (best be decent about this), found nothing.....dont do this to me Konami!
second set of toilets (why am i doing this, i ask myself...)
"whimper"
"whimper"
"sob"

RIGHT, LIGHTS ON, im not having this! CONSOLE OFF!
whats on telly.
i know im getting NO sleep tonight.

dont think ive been quite AS scared by a video game since, possible due to growing up, maybe i dont play in the dark enough?
i got CLOSE when i played Dead Space, in the dark, on my own, that was a good few hours of initial immersion, and im glad i did it.

wow, i replied directly to the main article and the FIRST thing that i thought of was the crying girl in silent hill, and when i comment, i see im just TWO comments down from someone who mentioned that girl as well!
spooky?
not as spooky as that girl.....
im not getting ANY sleep tonight either now!

Well, since Shamus said that the recent REs are survival comedy and I believe that includes RE4 as well I am not going to mention anything from there. My first scare on the PSone was when I played Heart Of Darkness. Around the beginning of the second stage, I ended hanging from a breaking branch, just above the mouth of a monster. The monster scared the shit out of me. Mainly because I did not know what it resembles. It was just a giant mouth. At least the part I could see. I didn't even want to imagine what the rest would look like. The puppets in Devil May Cry also creeped me out.

randyesquire:
Creeping around the first few hours of the game, finally reached the school, and having only got through the front entrance, i find toilets to the left and right hand sides (same layout as my primary school, no kidding, this had me creeped out ALREADY!) i took a look around, knowing full well i wasnt going to like what i found.
first toilets, mens i thought (best be decent about this), found nothing.....dont do this to me Konami!

Oh, yeah.

Silent Hill 1 and its "there's nothing in here" moments scared the bedjeezussez out of me.

I remember getting in the school's locker room on the "good" side. There's this one locker door that's moving and banging, and you know something's in there. You know something will jump out, and it's gonna be bad, but still, you reach for the locker and out pops a cat. The anticipation culminates and explodes as the "meeeowww" screaches out of your (by then) cheap TV set.
But then you get on the "bad" side of the school. "The Worse School". And back in that locker room you go. And sure enough, the locker's still banging, still moving. I'm with a friend, so it's no biggie. I'm expecting something dark and terrifying. He's expecting just a "zombie cat", or something to that effect. "Bang" goes the locker door. Character gets closer, closer, reaches for the door...

But there's nothing inside. Should I be relieved? Should I be relieved that a banging door was concealing nothing? No, sir, because I know damn well that no "nothing" in this world can bang a door this good. There had to be "something" in there. Right?

...right?

That was it for me, anyway...

Worthy of mention, a couple Alma appearances in FEAR 1.

Old thread is old?

The original Shadowgate for the NES is, in my opinion, the most terrifying game ever.

Oddly, although I agree with what you said, my scariest gaming moment WAS one where I died repeatedly. Metroid Fusion the first time you encounter the SA-X horrified me. I could literally feel my heart rate go up. Then I freaked out and started mashing buttons ineffectively. I died and played it agin. same result. And again, and again, and again. I finally managed to keep my cool long enough to survive, and on my third play through the game I was ready enough to do it on my third try. This level of gut-wrenching fear was on par with the time I saw a train coming down the tracks I was standing.

I want to say Eternal Darkness, but the fact that there actually was a green sanity meter sort of removes the surprise. In the end I tried to go insane a couple of times just to see what kind of result it gave me.

The scariest moment is undoubtedly Penumbra, until I actually realized that it -was- possible to kill the monster. Still, Penumbra has the lead by a mile as far as atmosphere goes. Granted, playing the Thing a couple of years back had me on the edge. I was a bit younger then and actually seeing the monsters could be frightening, unlike now.

Hands down the Haunted Ocean House from Vampire the Masquerade.
My friends even told me you pretty much can't die (which didn't stop me) but it was just so well done that I was freaking out the entire time.

Also when I was little I could never bring myself to finish the Shadow Temple in Ocarina of Time...

The first time I went to the quiet little town in Fallout 3 at night with the shack full of butchered human body parts. Torsos were hooked like cow carcasses, limbs were in the fridge and trimmings were on some dinner plates in an obvious act of cannibalism. I exited the shack and all the town's residents were waiting for me outside, disquietingly still. The entire spectacle, enhanced by the fact that it was perfectly believable, was the single most creepy thing I've ever seen in a video game.

I had the exact same feeling as ChroniclerC (page 1 if you're wondering), only instead of in the space pirate base, the metroid facility in prime 3. It's pretty much the same as the situation in prime 1 only this time, you don't have the thermal visor, making the darkness a lot more effective. The fact that your trusty old ice weapons didn't do anything certainly helped too.

Amnesia: Dark Descent. I only played 30 min. I haven't encountered anything yet. I had to stop playing the tension and fear was that great.

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