When the year begins to draw to a close, the nights get longer, and Halloween approaches like a dark spirit, it’s natural that our thoughts turn to horror. Gaming is a medium uniquely suited to scaring the living daylights out of you, with many of the scariest games able to make you scream out in fear.
There are tonnes of terrifying experiences available to play but only a few are deserving of being on our list of the scariest games of all time. Read on to explore the depths of fear with us.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
When many think of scary video games they will naturally think of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. By making the simple act of looking at the enemies a thing you’re incentivised to avoid, the game’s roster of monsters become even more terrifying in the mind. It’s this core game mechanic that helps enshrine it as one of the scariest games of all time, and this crown isn’t likely to be lost any time soon.
The Convenience Store
The Convenience Store is a game about working the night shift at a small shop. Small in scope but with an art style that veers wildly between nostalgic and horrifying, The Convenience Store is a game that won’t take long to play but will last with you for many long, sleepless nights. If you have a spare hour or two and want to feel dread ooze from every pore, The Convenience Store is the game for you.
Silent Hill 2
The Silent Hill series excels at horror, taking the Resident Evil formula and twisting it into a psychologically terrifying set of games that delve deep into the psyche of its protagonists. Not only is Silent Hill 2 brimming with scary ideas, its monsters are deeply creepy even when not outright attacking you. To stand on Silent Hill 2’s streets is to experience a unique brand of fear.
You’d think that bringing some friends along would make things less scary. Phasmophobia turns that on its head, showing that fear is absolutely contagious. As a group of paranormal investigators you’re tasked with exploring haunted locations, gathering evidence. What happens after that can go quickly from comedy to terror, making Phasmophobia a worthy inclusion in our list of the scariest games of all time.
Condemned: Criminal Origins
One of the staples of horror is taking something normal, humdrum, mundane, and making it threatening. In Condemned: Criminal Origins, you’ll be mostly facing off against humans and exploring areas that could be considered dull, but this game manages to impart true terror into every aspect of its design. Its finale set in a house – much like yours! – is a masterpiece of horror game design.
System Shock 2
The oldest game on this list, System Shock 2 still manages to stand tall as one of the scariest games of all time. This immersive sim set on a spaceship never lets up with the horror, with the levels themselves almost seeming hostile to your presence. Its voice work in particular is key to the frights; from the broken AI voice of Xerxes to the plaintive cries of the mutated crew, asking you to kill them before they strike you down.
Outlast sees you take on the role of an investigative reporter, exploring a psychiatric hospital armed only with your trusty video camera. It’s this camera that leads to some of the game’s scariest moments, as you’ll peer through it to see in the dark, only to find something lurking there. Its DLC, Whistleblower, ramps up the horror even further, providing a brand of terror rarely seen in the male-centric world of video games.
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
The Resident Evil series has never been afraid to experiment with its formula, with that experimentation reaching new heights in Resident Evil VII: Biohazard. Taking the player into the first person as you explore the decrepit and mutant-filled Baker Mansion, it isn’t just the scariest Resident Evil game, it’s definitely one of the scariest games of all time. With the ability to play the game in VR, that horror is amped up even more. Play carefully!
Those are our picks for the scariest games of all time, what’s but your favourite game for giving yourself a fright? Head over to our Community Forum and let us know.