Every gamer knows the adrenaline rush you can get from some games. For some people, it’s a racing game, or a shooter that provides the rush. Whatever it is, you know the feeling. You’re sitting at your desk, or on the couch. Your hands are sweating, you’re short of breath, and your heart is racing. Our community has named a bunch of games that elicit that reaction, and we’ve got eight of them right here for your enjoyment.

Don’t see the game that gets you going? Tell us what it is in the comments!

Special thanks to Escapist community member WhiteNachos for starting the thread!

Burnout 3
First mentioned by Frezzato

Racing games can always get your blood pumping, simply through the speed and competition. Burnout 3 is no exception, especially since it introduced the series’ “Takedown” mechanic. Smash into an opponent’s car and cause them to crash, and you’ll get an extension on your boost meter. You also earn boost by drifting, nearly hitting other vehicles, and by driving in oncoming traffic. It’s not unusual to find yourself in oncoming traffic, dodging cars and keeping your boost activated as you struggle to catch up to the leaders in a race. At the time of its release, Burnout 3 was the king of the arcade racers.

Day Z
First mentioned by Zhukov

While there are several zombie games out there, none of them have quite the stakes of Day Z, because it pits you against the most dangerous opponents of all: other gamers. Sure, the zombies can kill you too, but nothing beats the challenge of either avoiding or disposing of a character controlled by a real person. You can work together as well, but you’ll always be looking over your shoulder to be sure you aren’t betrayed. The stakes are made even higher by the game’s design. You have to scavenge for all your gear, and if you die, you lose it all. It’s the tension of fighting for your survival in a dangerous world, all condensed into a videogame.

Borderlands 2
First mentioned by 0takuMetalhead

Just because you maxed out your Borderlands 2 character, don’t go thinking you’ve finished the game. If you’ve made it to level 72, it’s time to try Digistruct Peak’s over-leveling. You can pump up the enemies to OP8 (basically level 80) and see if your gear and skills can take them on. You’ll need your very best performance, and sometimes all 15 seconds of the Fight For Your Life feature to survive.

World of Tanks
First mentioned by Aeshi

Whether you’re running around in smaller scout tanks, heavy tanks, or even tank destroyers, World of Tanks can definitely crank up the tension. When you’re hiding behind cover trying to spot enemy tanks without being seen, you’ll find yourself sweating heavily as you imagine a shell from from an enemy racing toward you. Once the battles start, you’ll have to find and target enemy tanks while dodging fire from others, all while coordinating with your team. It’s intense. it’s exciting, and it’s pretty awesome, too.

Payday 2
First mentioned by Zontar

Just imagine how tense you’d be if you were robbing a bank. Now imagine if you were trying to do it without anyone noticing. That’s Payday 2 in a nutshell. As you and your friends try to avoid being spotted by civilians as you pull off your heist, you’re always on edge listening for the alarm. Once it goes off, the adrenaline dumps into your system as the police arrive and the shooting starts. If you can make it out alive, you’ll get all the loot you can carry. Either way you pull it off, it’s a major rush.

Unreal Tournament 2004
First mentioned by DizzyChuggernaut

For sheer action, nothing beats and arena shooter. The king of those is Unreal Tournament 2004. Fast-paced, furious action combined with a huge arsenal of weapons and maps means that you’re always on edge, always looking for the next target, and constantly under attack. As you run through the labyrinthine levels, you almost can’t help but find your heart racing as you jump around the corner. It’s some of the best shooter action you’ll find anywhere.

Dark Souls
First mentioned by jhoroz

Taking down a boss in Dark Souls is more than just stressful – it’s an exercise in avoiding frustration and being patient. Once you learn your way around a boss, you still have to execute properly to take it down. Most frustratingly, if you have to go back to the bonfire to rest, all of your enemies, except bosses, will respawn. That means you need to fight your way back through all those mobs to get back to your target. As has been said so many times, when you start playing Dark Souls, you should prepare to die. I also recommend preparing to be frustrated, too.

Mirror’s Edge
First mentioned by Pyrian

The stark white vistas of Mirror’s Edge are surprisingly stressful, especially if you’re afraid of heights. The first-person parkour title frequently left gamers on the edge of their seats as they tried to make their way across rooftops, through vents, and through other acrobatic moves to escape from their pursuers. Running is your only defense besides picking up a dropped gun, but carrying a weapon also slows you dramatically, making guns more of a liability than an asset. As you fly through the air, you’ll find yourself looking over your shoulder at your pursuers, and hoping that you don’t fall to your death. It’s tense, challenging, and a hell of a lot of fun.

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