Dead Space 2 is coming out this week, so we're all about horror this week at Kotaku. Today I went around the office and asked some of the Kotaku crew what scared them - what moments in video game history left them terrified?
Mark Serrels: Kotaku Editor Horror games tend to pace themselves via a set of rules. In Dead Space, for example, you're usually safe when buying things from the store. In Resident Evil you tend to be safe from zombie harm when using Ink Ribbons to save your progress. It's when those rules are broken in a bowel-shifting fashion that I truly begin to lose my shit.
One such moment occurs in Resident Evil 2. I tip-toed my way through that entire game absolutely terrified of 'Mr X' - the lumbering Frankenstein-a-like that patrols the decrepit police station at the heart of Racoon City. I thought I was safe wandering through the same corridors I had back tracked through plenty of times - that was my first mistake. My second mistake was believing that walls could not be busted though by the afore-mentioned 'Mr X', leaving me a trembling, shivering mass cowering in a pool of my own liquids.
When 'Mr X' blasted his way through a fricking wall, all the rules I had come to know and take for granted came tumbling down alongside it. That's what made the whole scene so scary. I fully didn't expect Mr X to appear in this corridor I had walked down five or six times previously. I certainly didn't expect him to come crashing through a wall. Simply put: I lost it. If memory serves me correctly I actually squealed like a little girl.
Elly Hart: Night Editor I like to think that I'm pretty brave, but I'm totally a girl when it comes to video games and movies. I have a mini heart attack every time I get ambushed in first-person shooters, and I'll admit that I almost shat my pants playing Limbo. The creepy presentation, eerie lighting, lack of plot, and the spider. Oh my god, the spider. The gameplay was like nothing I've ever experienced before. I wouldn't be unhappy to never play an oddball game like that ever again.
Even Fable 3 had me jumping. The ominous tune that indicated wolves/bats/hollow men were blocking my path would send me into a button-mashing frenzy, fireballing in all directions. To lighten the mood, I would make my Princess traverse Albion in just her underwear, and I would fall off the couch laughing when NPCs said dumb shit like, "Are you nuts?! Where are your clothes, girl?!"
I never finished Limbo or Fable 3. The more I progressed through the game, the more I felt like I would keel over and die from a heart attack. Bring back Jazz Jackrabbit, already!
Nick Broughall: Gizmodo Editor My scariest moment in a video game was during Heavy Rain. Don't laugh, it's true. It was the scene where Madison goes to investigate the evil doctor's house and ends up being tied to a table while doctor psycho gets his drills ready for some rather disturbing experiments.
By this stage of the game, I was emotionally invested in the characters and I knew that my performance with the buttons mattered. So every missed combination as I battled for freedom was like an injection of adrenaline directly into my heart. Yet somehow, every time I stumbled and I thought I was about to die, I almost miraculously managed to regain my composure. After what seemed like an hour of non-stop, heart thumping battle (but was most likely less than five minutes) I had survived, although I literally had to stop playing the game for a while to let my heart slow down and my mind to come to grips with what had happened. It may not have been a true horror gaming moment, but it definitely scared the crap out of me.
Ben White: Kotaku Web Designer When a game has a decent story, my play style changes. Things slow down, I don't rush from scene to scene, I really immerse myself in the environment. For some unfortunate reason, I decided that it would be a good idea to do this in Silent Hill 2. I was doing so well until Toluca Prison.
My guy was just chilling, doing his thing - suddenly the ambient noise went insane - banging, thumping, metallic noises followed by a high pitched gargling noise from one of the cells. My heart started racing, my body went tense, my face stern. I proceeded to leg it.
After the noises had slowly faded, I was left feeling of deep regret and shame.
I was certain that I had missed some kind of vital clue in my haste to escape, but I knew that I could never, ever go back into that hallway.
Seamus Byrne: Publisher Doom was my first nightmare-inducing game experience, and I can’t say I’ve seriously had a game get to me that way since. I would have been playing on a 386DX40 with a 15-inch CRT, and we all know what the graphics were like. But one night I turned out the lights, and most significantly I ran an audio cable from the computer to our household stereo and cranked it. The sound was everything in that game, and suddenly I was 100% in the world and freaking out. So, so much fun!