Which Games Scared You As A Kid?

Which Games Scared You As A Kid?

Screenshot via YouTube

When I was a kid, I begged my parents for a Game Gear. When I eventually wore them down, they bought me the handheld, along with six games — but I only had the courage to play five of them.

I made my way through Sonic the Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin, Lemmings, Winter Olympics: Lillehammer 94 (my absolute favourite), and Tengen World Cup Soccer (my other favourite, and which I always got to play when I was benched in AYSO because I sucked at real soccer). But after that, there was only one game left: Predator 2.

Predator 2 scared the shit out of me. I distinctly remember struggling through the darkness, horrified by the game’s sound effects and tense atmosphere. I think I made it through part of the first level before giving up in terror. I tried to play it a few more times, but I could never muster the courage. The thing is, this is Predator 2:

Not that scary.

Thinking on it now, it must have been the game’s box art that really got to me, with its ominous Predator (a monster I’d never heard of) clutching a handful of viscera. I have no idea why my parents bought me the game, just that I couldn’t have more games because I had ones I hadn’t finished. I can only imagine all the games I could have played if I hadn’t been such a wuss. (Young me would be devastated to learn how many Sonic games existed after that first one.)

What about you? What games scared you as a kid? Were they really as scary as you remember? Let us know in the comments.


  • Resident Evil 2.
    Trying to work out the controls and dying to that first zombie.
    RIP sleeping for the next few night.

  • The only one I can think of from when I was young wasn’t so much a game, but the actual Game Over screen. I think it was from Thundercats on the C64 but obviously I’m so decrepit and old I can’t remember – sure there was a scary ass picture of Mumm-ra accompanying it? Google didn’t help either…

    Other than that, I’d say me and my brother were just a tiny bit too young for Alien Trilogy on the Saturn – playing one xmas and a face hugger scared the geezus out of us to the point we both screamed and raced out of the room much to the amusement of my parents (neither of which considered maybe we shouldn’t be playing it!).

  • The first Alone in the Dark – playing it at night, with the lights off and volume up scared the crap out of me. I think I only tried it once before deciding against it.
    The atmosphere in that game was intense…

  • Still the number on game that creeps me out is Dark Messiah of Might and magic.
    The spider section, god I still shudder just thinking about it. It wasn’t the giant boss spider but the small trash mob ones. In the caves that was just web coated, the horrid skittery sound they made, the way they moved and climbed down walls of web.
    It is just horrible

  • I can’t think of any specific titles which sucks because i’m sure there’s some good examples but I remember feeling a little uneasy by some old gameboy games because of the palette and music sometimes along with some PS1 games simply because of the low draw distance even when it wasn’t meant to be scary.

  • Believe it or not, Hook on NES. Played it as a 4-5 year old and loved it, but the music was just so damn creepy.

  • It seems stupid now but the last level of the Doom shareware, Phobos Anomaly, Those barons scared the absolute shite out of me as a youngster.

  • Nightmare Creatures on the PSX. I don’t think I ever got past the first level because it was so scary.

    I also never managed to put the disc in for Ghost in the Shell, the name alone kept me from playing it.

  • The original Alone in the Dark. Could only handle it for 5 minutes at a time with the sound off.

  • First game that properly scared me as a kid was Venture for the Colecovision. If you took too long in a stage some creepy music would play and this invincible green bastard would appear side of screen and cut through all the obstacles to get you.

  • You mentioned Ecco, large dark bodies of water freak me out and the Vortex Queen (final boss) holds a permanent place in my mind as head of the nightmare fuel squad.

  • The original Dead Space.

    I have NEVER been that stressed playing a game before. Every save point was like a sign from the heavens!

  • Ecco the Dolphin
    Mortal Kombat 3 (I already played 2 so something about 3 I didn’t like)
    A certain boss in Soul Reaver
    Doom 3
    Half Life 2 Ravenholm especially the poison headcrabs
    Didn’t played Resident Evil 1 but the front cover for the CD case was for me to be afraid of it
    Resident Evil Remake

  • Wolfenstein 3d when Hitler yelled coming to get cha I’d hit panic mode as a kid and as a teen I’d have to say one of the tomb raiders when the cobras or what ever snake it was popped up from the long grass imma scared of snakes

  • My cousin had a computer with The Last Half of Darkness on it. A horror click and point adventure. The thing that horrified me would be if you went in to certain rooms without the appropriate gear, the monsters would kill you if you tried to leave.

    I remember the dread coming over me, realising that I had clicked into the wrong area a second too late and being frozen stiff, too afraid to move away, knowing I would die.

    Of course, because it was my cousin’s computer, I never got to play it again, meaning I never got to face my fears.

    • Those 2 girls…

      I remembered this game so vividly from being a kid but never knew what it was called. Cheers mate.

  • Aliens on C64 . Anyone remember this? The up tick in tempo on the pulse meter when a xeno or facehugger was closing in…yikes.

    • Lol, it was certainly atmospheric and at times creepy. The hack and slash gameplay (while excellent) kinda dilutes the scariness for me.

      • If they would just allow the option of pausing in a non-online iteration of the game world, I would enjoy it plenty. I’d rather not than suffer the anxiety of only ever experiencing relief at save points.

        Honestly? It’s my problem. DS fans tell me that’s all part of the fun.

  • Resident Evil 1 on ps1. I was about 13. I enjoy being scared and that game has so much tension because the enemies were not super plentiful, long walks around in silence. Great incidental music too.

  • Zombi on the Amiga 500. I was young and couldn’t figure out how to kill the zombies so they killed me every time.

  • Darkseed on the Mac back when I was about 10. That game had atmosphere in spades, in a bizarre almost lynchian way. Cut scenes featuring giger penis demons kinda flew over my head at the time but they were totally unnerving.
    Brutally hard game too.

  • The original Halo. I went in knowing nothing about the game game happily shooting bright purple aliens when suddenly the whole tone of the game changed and I’ve got horrible monsters jumping at me from out of nowhere. The flood were pretty scary to me back then.

  • Shadowman was a pretty messed up game. Also the first Condemned game was scary as fuck. Resident Evil 1, 2 & 3 had some scary moments

    • RE2… ironically, the moment you fell through the hall to the floor below. Just about gave me a heart attack.

      Yup. Dat fear of shoddy carpentry/apocalyptic entropy.

    • I was fine with Shadowman, until you got that serial killers house with the bad lighting. That and the prison.

  • F.E.A.R. , the moment the girl comes crawling on all fours at me I was like “nope” and promptly alt f4 out of it never returning

  • Sword of Sodan on either the Commodore 64 or Amiga 500 might have been the first to scare me as a kid – I think it was the first game I ever played with any kind of gory content.

    It’s a bit like Golden Axe if it were terrible and the deaths were kinda bloody.
    There’s a point a few levels in where you have to fight a big guy. Once you whack him a few times, he falls down on his knees and you have to hack of his head. It’s not God of War, but was a bit much for me as a 6 year old.

  • Phantasy Star on the Sega Master System, but not enough to stop me playing it.

    There was a scene where your party is attacked in a dream by the big bad, Darkfalz, who only reveals his monstrous face.
    The creature didn’t scare me, what scared me was the sudden attack in what was always a safe action in resting to save.
    I figured I could kill the strange enemy but all my attacks did no damage and a single attack from him killed whomever it struck.
    I was afraid I couldn’t continue and more unsettled by the revelation that I was fighting some ancient evil deity rather than a normal evil human.

    Once I awoke it left me a little shaken and my confidence to continue at a normal pace was hindered for quite a while.

  • Friday the 13th on the c64, not the gameplay, but the micro cutscenes that sometimes occur
    Gremlins(based from the movie) on the c64

    Alone in the dark on PC, as well as the movie(for completely different reasons)
    XCOM Terror from the Deep was scary when you were being stalked by an alien.

  • F.E.A.R.

    Back in the old days, games didnt have dynamic shadows and lighting. When I first played FEAR, I turned around at the very start of the game and there was something black, dark, moving towards me. I jumped out of my seat and it scares me so much never played the game again. Yes, I jumped at my own shadow…

  • Horror zombies from the crypt. – Amiga 500

    – A combination of the “Montagues and Capulets” theme and that anything bad that touched you caused you to fall to your knees and your head explode.

  • Friday the 13th on C64. The most horrific tinny screech along with a head with a machete chunked into it on screen . Borderline brown trousers for 7 year old me 🙁

  • It has got to be Terminator 1 on amiga/nes. Scared the living shit out of me. Also Shadow of the Beast on Atari ST. Resident Evil one on PS1 and recently Alien Isolation!

  • Three games come to mind when i was young.

    Transylvania – dat werewolf.
    Elvira I and 2 – Everything about it.
    and… weirdly enough… Sierra’s Colonel’s Bequest, even though it was a murder mystery/crime thriller game, as a kid i always thought there was some supernatural misfortunes going on, while running around that house.

  • Frakulous on C64. You had to rescue people from an hospitable surface. Sometimes they were aliens who would smash your cockpit, or wreck your ship from the inside if you accidentally let them in.

    The Last Ninja also C64. The haunted prison level. That music, 10 years old and after midnight. Not a great combo.

    And Ecco the dolphin, in general because drowning. The whale as big as the screen was unpleasant also.

  • Duke Nukem 64. Unlike its PC counterpart, DN64 didn’t have enough room on the cartridge to include music, besides the theme song (the 64 version of grabbag is particularly awesome TBH).

    This meant that every level had an intense atmosphere of dead silence and alien screams. The game became a jump scare horror game.

  • Demo of Silent Hill I think , most other games I was fine with as a kid, but that haunted me to the point I have never played or watched the movies ever.

    Another was probably manhunt, although I was a teen at the time of playing it still creeped me out.

  • Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, it was one of the few games we didn’t have on a pirated disc, and I never even escaped the factory because A: I was like, 4, and B: I died. A lot. Came back to it with the remake, and C: I still die a lot. It was probably because of the eerie but gripping soundtrack and the visuals, I appreciate them now but they scared me as a kid.

    And god, Spyro, I love you, but Misty Bog in the first game, with those damn toad things, and the trees that eat you, can still rack off. Why do they move so damn fast?

  • The Shalebridge Cradle from Thief: Deadly Shadows. I don’t think I slept well that night.

  • Hmmm… I tended (and still do) to avoid games that I know will scare the crap out of me. There are a few that I found terrifying but still managed to play, and some that I tried and couldn’t.

    Probably the earliest one that I recall was the original X-Com. The midi music was about as atmospheric as it got in those days, and doing missions at night was one of the scariest things I’ve done in gaming. You’d be trying to creep forward on a terror mission and out of nowhere your movement would be disrupted by an alien firing on you. Compared to the midi music and footsteps, plasma gunfire was loud. That being said, it never stopped me playing it and racking up hundreds of hours of play time.

    Others of note include the original Diablo. I remember in particular crapping myself when opening the door to the Butcher’s room… “Ah… Fresh meat!”. I also recall being terrified by the original Silent Hill. I could only play it during the day. I remember one day I was playing at home alone, and someone managed to make it to my front door without me noticing (I lived in a tiny unit and the third stair was wonky and would make a noise when you stepped on it) they knocked on the door and I jumped, the controller flying out of my hands… freaked the crap out of me.

    The first I can think of that I actually couldn’t play, was FEAR. I think I played about the first 20 minutes of it, and then quit. Just couldn’t put myself through it.

  • Zorko Nemesis. It was one of the first games I bought for my old Compaq presario (all 3 discs of it) and I just found the overall atmosphere combined with the fmv video was creepy as hell.

  • Jaws on the Amiga 500. Floating around undersea caves looking for parts, all the while listening to your breather and knowing that the longer you stayed down there, the weaker your hull became. Jaws himself wasnt that scary in comparison.

  • Super Mario 64. Specifically, Plunder in the Sunken Ship. More specifically, bloody Unagi. Gave me nightmares for days, and I think I refused to go back to that level at all.

  • The genuinely terrible and deservedly obscure Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the SNES. There was something about the enemies’ and sound design that unsettled me deeply in spite of its obtuseness as a videogame. It felt to me back then as though a grotesquely evil entity tried to assemble a videogame, and although it mostly failed, its vileness impregnated every single pixel.

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