So much nope to these scary video games.
A healthy portion of YouTube — aside from makeup tutorials and cats being startled by cucumbers — is people recording themselves playing scary video games. It’s called “Let’s Play.” The most successful YouTuber actually made his fortune this way. There is something appealing about horror movies and horror video games that can’t quite be defined. We just like being scared. And with horror video games, there is no scooting low in your seat and peeking out between your fingers. You have to keep the character moving forward around the next corner. Some horror games remove the ability to fight back, making success attainable only by running away and hiding. These, often, are much scarier for obvious reasons. In this list we’ll have a mix of both as well as a few recommended YouTube clips for each game. Here are six scary video games that just might be the most frightening of all time.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
Available on Windows, Android, iOS.
In Five Nights at Freddy’s, you play as a security guard who’s been assigned the night shift at a children’s pizza restaurant very reminiscent of a Chuck E. Cheese — the catch being that the animatronics, well, come to life at night.
The night begins and you are in the security room, armed with only the ability to check the cameras, open and close the doors to the right and left of you and turn on the hallway lights. There is no fighting back, no running away.
Game play consists of staying on the ball, closing the door when one of the animatronics gets close and not letting it into the room with you — they will back off if you catch them early enough. Every piece of defense you have — the hardened steel doors, the hallway lights and even the CCTV — all run off the same finite battery. Meaning you can’t just lock the doors and wait for dawn.
It’s particularly frightening when you check the security feed of the darkened restaurant, see a handful of the animal band members on stage, check back and notice one of them has moved — or catch them staring, dead-eyed, into the camera.
Designed by a very small team — one guy, Scott Cawthon — Five Nights at Freddy’s has been enormously successful, spawning multiple sequels in just a few years and a forthcoming film based on the game.
Recommended “Let’s Play” for Fans of Scary Video Games: YouTuber Markiplier
Rule of Rose
Available on PlayStation 2.
Forgoing jump scares for a tense, highly upsetting atmosphere, Rule of Rose takes players to England in the 1930s and appoints them the role of Jennifer. We first meet her on a bus traveling through the dreary English countryside at night. She winds up at an orphanage that is mysteriously absent of any adults. Bringing to mind William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, Rule of Rose brutally reminds us, repeatedly, that the cruelest thing is a child who doesn’t know better — and worse is one who does but doesn’t care.
Gamers who enjoy their horror with a psychological bent — à la Silent Hill — would do well to check out Rule of Rose.
Though, since it can be both hard to find and expensive, if you want a cheaper (i.e. free) alternative to experiencing this creepy story, I’d recommend watching the Rule of Rose.
Recommended “Let’s Play” for Fans of Scary Video Games: YouTuber Two Best Friends
Layers of Fear
Available on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, OS X, Linux.
Upon starting Layers of Fear, you find yourself in the foyer of a stately mansion, alone, during a thunderstorm. Piecing together the story of what happened before you arrived through environmental storytelling (snooping through drawers and cabinets), you learn you’re in the home of an artist who, wanting to perfect his latest masterpiece, may or may not have resorted to murder.
Once you discover the house’s studio, things begin to become a little . . . strange. You are teleported to a fractured version of the past when the artist began his descent into madness. But the house around you no longer makes sense. Traipsing through the cobwebby underbelly of the artist’s subconscious, you encounter crying dolls and the sobbing apparition of the artist’s wife. The only way out is to finish it — it being the painting the artist was working on. And doing so involves collecting scraps of flesh and other delightful pieces of mixed media littered about and adhering them to the waiting, hungry canvas back at the studio.
Layers of Fear is an incredibly nerve-wracking experience into the mind of a wayward creative spirit and has one of the best endings in horror games to come along in a very long time.
Recommended “Let’s Play” for Fans of Scary Video Games: YouTuber ChristopherOdd
Available on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, OS X, Linux.
You are Miles Upshur, a freelance reporter who, throwing caution (and all common sense) to the wind, sneaks into the Mount Massive Asylum in search of unearthing the truth. Spoiler alert: it’s not pleasant.
Kitted out with a video camera with a night-vision setting, you guide Miles through dark hospital corridors trying to document all you can to gain evidence on the cruelty that’s been foisted upon the patients. Trouble is, said patients have been mutated to sinewy bloodthirsty maniacs and don’t really seem that interested in being avenged — in fact, they’d much rather just kill you very slowly.
Should hiding fail, staying hidden and running are your only options. There are no epic headshots or 60-move combos to master here. Run. That’s it. For some, that’s where the “fun” comes in.
With stellar graphics and a near-lethal amount of tension, Outlast should be on every fright-seeking gamer’s list.
Recommended “Let’s Play” for Fans of Scary Video Games: YouTuber Blastphamous HD
Do not miss this frequently hilarious trip into the asylum as Blastphamous HD curses, questions why anyone would ever go to a place like Mount Massive voluntarily and drums up the courage to keep moving forward.
Available on PlayStation 4.
“The only me is me. Are you sure the only you is you?”
P.T. (short for playable teaser) has already become something of a legend since its release in 2014. It was made to give players a taste of the planned — now cancelled — Silent Hills. There was a great deal of talent behind P.T., including Metal Gear Solid Creator Hideo Kojima and Director Guillermo del Toro.
In P.T., players wake on the cold cement floor of an unremarkable room, facing a door. Passing through it, they find themselves in an L-shaped hallway in a dimly lit house. Leaving through the front door is impossible. Only a single door at the end of the hallway will open. Passing through it, players will find themselves back at the beginning of the hall again. Each time, things change. Sometimes the door at the end of the hallway won’t open right away. Sometimes there’s writing on the wall or clues strewn about the floor. Sometimes a one-eyed ghost with dried vomit on her chin will appear literally out of fricking nowhere and strangle the player to death — smiling all the while.
Rendered unavailable since Silent Hills was scrapped and Kojima left Konami, P.T. is now only possible to experience via YouTube. It’s a serious shame too, because if Silent Hills ended up anywhere near as atmospheric and terrifying as P.T., it could’ve been amazing.
Recommended “Let’s Play” for Fans of Scary Video Games: YouTuber GirlGamerGaB
Silent Hill 2
Available on PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360.
Guilt. It’s chained to James Sunderland (check) like an anchor. When you learn what caused him to be shackled in such a way, you will have experienced one of the boldest stories ever to come to a video game console. Silent Hill 2 is a dive into the darkest portion of a man’s soul, though it starts out much more like a standard ghost story — James receives a letter from his wife asking him to meet her in their special place. Which wouldn’t be all that odd except she’s been dead for a few years. Remembering one of the last few happy days they spent together before she became sick, James drives to fog-drowned Silent Hill to look for her. Once there, you guide James through the fog-soaked town battling not only monsters with oddly sexual designs but his own conscience as well — the two of which may not be unrelated.
Recommended “Let’s Play” for Fans of Scary Video Games: YouTuber Cryaotic
Despite being released over 15 years ago, Silent Hill 2 maintains its hold on the number-one spot for scary video games wholly unchallenged.