The Horror! Prepare For Scares This Week At Kotaku

I have a soft spot in my flimsy, weak heart for horror games. I'm easily scared and, for some bizarre reason I enjoy being scared. It's for this reason, and partly because the incredible Dead Space 2 is being released this week, that we're kicking off 'The Horror' - a week of terror-filled video game related posts on Kotaku.

We'll be partaking in all manner of horror related shenanigans, including...

- "The First hour of..." Dead Space 2 - An in-depth interview with Dead Space 2 Gameplay Producer Sherief Fattouh - A look at some of the worst moments in horror history - "Why'd It Have To Be Snakes?" What scares the folks that work on Kotaku Australia? - "A Jill Sandwich" - We take a look at some of the ludicrously bad voice acting in the original Resident Evil.

We'd like to kick things off with an impromptu 'tell us dammit' style question. What's the scariest video game you've ever played? And what moments had you peeling your underwear off the ceiling? Let us know in the comments below!

And just for inspiration, we're posting this video again...


    Yay for the return of “The First hour of…” segment.

    i love this segment so much!

    I remember being terrified of the jumping bug enemies in Super Mario Land on the Game Boy.



    at age six.

    In moar recent times I found the spiders in Dragon Age pretty damn creepy, at least at first. The animation where they descended from the ceiling all around you randomly hissing and out of the blue made me flinch. A lot.

      The spiders in Dragon age didn't worry me too much, gave me a couple of jumps but it was all shock factor rather than fear.

      The spiders that really got to me were the ones in dark messiah. Walking through tunnels of sticky cobweb and hearing them approach. Then the come with the off putting walk, their hairy legs moving in just the manner to send shivers down the spine. Blah hate even thinking about that.

      Enjoyable game but I've yet to go back and complete it as I couldn't get over the spider factor. Maybe I can get my wife to finish that level for me before I take over the manly role of killing orcs.

    That video was great. I need some friends to play Amnesia with like that, looks like fun. Still haven't tried Amnesia yet though, but I am liable to yelling when scared.

    What about minecraft, as soon as night falls some scary shit goes down.

    The original Alone in the Dark was my biggest one. I had to play with the sound off! and even then, it would take me ages to do anything I was so scared.

    Another one that comes to mind is an old game, which I can't recall the name. It was an 'on rails' 3d shooter type game on the PC where you play as some space cop dude and you have to fly to an asteroid and investigate what happened to a space station there or some such. What struck me was its simple yet effective control system - left click for shoot, right click for shield. It bugs me that i cant remember the name!

      Sounds to me like you're talking about Creature Shock. If so, I think you're the first person I've ever heard say something positive about it. Never played it myself, despite still having a copy which came OEM with some hardware years and years ago. It had compatibility issues and didn't load on about 4 computers in a row.


    Having watched multiple horror movies and played most of the top survival horrors, including Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners I honestly believed I couldn't be scared.

    Then I played Amnesia.

    From the moment I woke up and started tripping the dark fantastic I was hooked. Then I started freaking out as things broke behind me and my tendancy to turn off the obvious path had me jumping at shadows and startled by cockroaches hissing.

    So far it is the only thing to scare me, ever.
    While I'm cautious around hights and don't like bugs, neither actually amounts to fear.

    Amnesia: Dark Descent. It taught me to fear.

    When I was a kid, dare to dream used to scare the shit out of me for some reason. It was something to do with the sound affects or atmosphere or something but I couldn't bring myself to play it for long. But return to Zork had that effect on me as well..

    Given I play past level 5 of dead space, I think it can be said that I'm just a big wuss overall.


    Scariest game I have ever played, followed by Zork Nemesis (because I was like, seven).

    But Minecraft.

    Oh man, wandering around, out of torches, deep underground, and then you hear the groan. You stop, wait patiently, and you think it's safe to go ahead, you take three steps, mindful that the groans are geting louder, and then... sssssssssssssssssssssss *BOOM*

    Fecking creepers.

      DUDE can I just say I second the Zork Nemesis mention. That is some twisted stuff right there.

      Now that I am older and somewhat more wisened I read through the storyline and realised just how disturbed it really was!

    There was a PC game I played over a friends house when I was younger... I can't remember what it was called but it involved some sort of ghost...

    Anyway, I didn't get very far. Just walked around for a bit, pretending I didn't know where to go.. I didn't want my friend to know that the game scared the poo out of me. :P

    Amnesia's prison area ranks among the scariest parts of any game I've played. Sadly after that the rest of the game never quite measured up.

    Still, the scariest games would definitely be Project Zero/Fatal Frame. They understand how to bring horror into gameplay. They understand how to let you beat your enemies without feeling superior. Project Zero gives you a camera, which offers very little in the way of feeling empowered. You then need to take pictures of the ghosts as they try to attack you, and you do more damage the closer they get to attacking you.
    There's also very few enemies that act alike, which stops you from getting used to the enemies you've fought already.
    Amnesia does a similar thing in throwing new situations at you rather than new enemies.
    It's a system that allows you to fight while still forcing you to feel weak and thus, scared.

    This is something games like Dead Space fail to grasp. They give you an arsenal of weapons powerful enough to make mincemeat out of any enemy you come across, and then they load the game up with jump scares.
    It doesn't leave you feeling scared of the enemy. It doesn't leave you feeling scared of the environment.

    Games like Project Zero and Amnesia give you a world where you're always apprehensive about going through that next door in fear of what could lay beyond it. Dead Space just throws wave after wave of monsters at you for you to systematically dismantle.

    I've been playing Amnesia all weekend, freaking me out.

    Last night I got up at around 1am to go to the toilet. Generally when I get up like that I try not to wake myself up too much and kind of daze around so I can go to sleep again quickly.

    Anyway, I went to the toilet, cleaned my hands in the bathroom, turned the light off and walked into the hallway.

    Just as I turned the corner, I was confronted with a silohette about a foot in front of me. My heart jumped, I freaked, and said something like "bleugh!" I don't think I've been so scared in my life.

    My fiance said "it's just me" and put her hand on my shoulder.

    Also, I'm such a wuss. I mean if that was someone who had broken in, I think I would have fainted...

      I've had a similar thing happen. Silohette at the end of my bed when I walked into my room. I remember it scaring me because it had no reason to be there, like nothing to be a reflection of a shadow of or anything. I briskly turned out my room and down to the lounge where I sat for a while until I was tired enough not to give a shit if it was still there. I was about 11 so granted... Also our grandmother had just died.

      On another note: Just started playing Alan Wake. Its got some nice touches to make it more human (ie Alan saying commenting in his mind that he doesn't like the smug look on another writers picture on his book, little things that I often think too). Its not really scary though or a psychological thriller. It isn't mind f**king me. Its just basic stuff: People taken over by shadows. Big whoop.

    The first time you encounter the Spider in Limbo definitely got the heart beating a little faster

    The early parts of "Clive Barkers Undying" had me a bit freaked out.

    Those quick attacking monsters, that fell from the ceiling when your back was turned, really had me going for a while.

    The sound in the game was really good for its time, and set you on edge.

    There was a level in Unreal...

    You're moving through a corridor, and you hear a groan... and when you turn to check behind you, the freaking lights go out.

    Mine would have to be any of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R games.

    Just the atmosphere of the whole game, especially when it's night time and you can't see anything but you can hear all those disturbing noises from the mutants.

    The haunted hotel in Vampire: Bloodlines was pretty scary... uncovering the story about the murder, then realiseing you're standing in the laundry where it happened, then all the pots and shit start flying around. Hells yeah I shit myself.

    Also, I was so scared that game would crash and irrepairably screw my PC.

    Biggest scare in recent years was Bioshock. Inspecting something in the corner of a room, all you can hear is trickling water, then turning round to come face to face with the mad doctor or whatever he was. Set my heart pounding and I may or may not have let out a girly scream.

      Yeah that scripted scare in Bioshock was terrifying. A shame there wasn't much after that.

        The splicers that disguised themselves as the plaster covered bodies in fort frolic was definitely the freakiest, you'd walk into a room filled with the mannequins and when you looked away they'd all move closer, messed with your head

    The bit in Silent Hill 2 with the toilet stall making banging noises gave me the heebiejeebies, but the absolute WORST was a small game called Scratches.

    An adventure game about a horror novelist who is writing his new book in an old mansion for motivation keeps hearing scratching noises from the basement at night. One part involves going into the basement, then into a newly opened furnace... *shivers*. A dream he has in the game literally made me jump out my seat and shriek. Never have I done that before or since.

      Omg that bit in silent hill 2 was nuts!
      The prison bathroom *shudders*
      And all those creatures in the cells that you could never quite see clearly, only hear and catch the occassional glimpse of :S

    The Nightmare House 2 mod for Half Life 2: Ep 2 scared the pants off me. They way it was really well done, reminded me of a much much much much better version of F.E.A.R.

    Penumbra (series)

    I know it's made by the same guys who did Amnesia, but seriously I was playing it with my friend at day time and I was still freaked out

    i will glady say that F.E.A.R actually managed to scare me, especially the bit where you are in an under construction building and you are just walking through it, then a dead body comes flying through a window, this was amplified by the fact that it was 11 at night and no-one was home. i also got scared when my i was playing it and my brother sneaked up on me and scared me.

    also, one of the most scariest games to me was resident evil 2, i played not too long ago and it actually freaked me out quite a bit...

    oh and i forgot to mention i'm a complete wuss when it comes to scary things!

      Haha I know what you mean with resident Evil 2, all those jumpy bits like the dogs/crows jumping through the windows etc.
      I still get scared playing those games sometimes because the difficulty, shoddy controls and low amounts of ammo make it really easy to die, and feeling kinda underpowered like that is what makes games scary.

    Project Zero Fatal frame is high up there on my list of scary games, but I think I'll wait until I've played the 4th one. The original is the best out of the series.
    Otherwise I would say that Silent hill 2 is is a very close second. I love survival horror but I prefer the psychological stuff to the shock horror.
    Another great one is Eternal darkness sanity's requirem.

    Alien vs Predator the original PC version... I made the mistake of playing it with headphones on in the dark...
    When my flat mate sneaked in and grabbed me from behind... I thought the Alien had popped out of the screen... I only played it after that in the day with speakers and facing the door!

    totally replaying dead space right now gives me the shivers :O

    The S.T.A.L.K.E.R series has given me more jumps and mouse twitching moments, more than any other game by far.

    When you are low on life 4 levels underground in a dark bunker and things start floating around and poltergeists and bloodsuckers decide they want to make friends, that can make for some blood racing panic moments.

    DOOM 3 was also a game that had my mouse leave the pad a few times. Cold Fear, Fatal Frame, Crimson Butterfly, some of the Silent Hill Series are all classics in my collection that get pulled out every now and then for a replay.

    I love the horror/survival horror genre, those moments when you get a gem of a game that freaks you out to the point of having to get up and walk it off before continuing are priceless.

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