What’s The Scariest Moment You’ve Experienced In A Game?

What’s The Scariest Moment You’ve Experienced In A Game?

I like zombie games. I like open world experiences. Mixing them together gives you The Evil Within 2.

Sebastian Castellanos’s plunge back into the shared reality of STEM takes you into a Twin Peakesque town called Union that is as distorted as your fractured psyche. There’s a killer photographer on the loose who’s murdering his victims, then taking a picture in their final moments so that they become frozen in a death loop. Are they conscious? Do they repeatedly experience the pain and the horror of realising that they’re going to die?

At the same time, knowing everything was just a projection in my head dulled a big part of the fear I felt. What did I have to be scared about when it was just a virtual reality simulation in Sebastian’s mind?

That feeling changed early on in my foray into Union. You find a house where a woman is feeding what appears to be her child. “Clean your plate. You got to eat,” she gently says. But he’s so full, he can’t eat anymore. She begins to force him to chow more food down, bashing his face into the table. He is alive, even though he appears utterly horrified and confused by what’s happening to him.

“I’m doing what’s best for you,” she states angrily as she stuffs him with food. Even though he’s human, he looks like a zombie, both physically and mentally, as more food is shoved down his throat.

“What the?” Sebastian says, mirroring our own incredulous disgust. I couldn’t help but wonder what actual relationship do they have? Why does she want him to eat so badly? And which sick STEM programmer thought to put in the detail of flies infesting old food, skin rotting off, and the graphically accurate visuals of what a bashed-in head actually looked like?


The whole scene freaked me out.

So Kotaku, what was the scariest/most disturbing moment you’ve ever experienced in a game?


  • Thinking it would be funny to play Silent Hill alone in my house with the lights out and the sound jacked up. It was not funny.

  • A while ago now but in Dead Space one or two you’re making your way through a residential area of the ship when you enter a nursery like area complete with bassinets, changing tables and kids toys thrown all over the place. Before I had a chance to say “oh shit”, some spooky kiddy music plays and suddenly these twisted “child” necromorphs lunge on you in swarms. It was super nasty especially being that they were once kids

    • It was Dead Space 2. Never payed it but I did see Markiplier’s videos on the game.

      In all honesty that whole area just had me wincing. Especially when there was a mother who found her own mutated child, picked it up saying “It will be all right” only to have that child explode, killing both.

      There is not enough “Nope” in the world to describe that scene.

      • Yep, something about the classic horror trope of using kids still manages to hit a nerve even know it’s been used to death

  • Bioshock the one where your up in the clouds with that annoying sidekick lass that every fan boy / cosplayer is crazy for.

    There was a moment towards the end where your on a paddle boat and you turn around from the steering wheel and there one of those George Washington robots right up in your face.

    Legitimate hair on end shock seeing that as it was so silent and unexpected.

    Rest of the game was meh.

    • That was one of those games that made for great “trailer filler” but the in between was a bit of a snoozefest. Kinda like the opening scene, started off great right up until you were given control.

  • F.E.A.R, I saw Alma come running at me on all fours exorcist style and I was like “nope”

    alt+f4 and have never touched the game ever again

  • Oh, the first time you come across Alma Wade in ‘F.E.A.R.’, I remember the hairs standing up on my arms!

    That, and in my younger days, the first time The Nemesis (/Nemesis-T Type/The Pursuer/The Chaser) made an appearance in Resident Evil 3.

  • Most of outlast and Outlast 2. Made me so uncomfortable and nervous at times l could only play for 15 minutes at a time, until l decided its just a game and break the immersion so l could finish Outlast 2

    • +1 for the Outlast series. The audio in those games combined with run & hide/no weapons game-play. Playing at night,with lights off & a good set of headphones…BAD IDEA!

  • The bit in PT after you’ve done a couple of loops and notice that the bathroom door is slightly open. When you go to interact with it and you briefly see the chick pull the door closed on you. FFFFUUUUUUCCK.

  • Probably the part near the start of Among the Sleep when you make your way to your mothers room and she’s not there, then you walk back out in to the lounge room and there’s a flash of lightning and you see a humanoid shape in the flash of light. Nope. No way. Tapped out after that. I was playing it around midnight, home alone with headphones on.

    Another time was play the PSVR demo for Here They Lie when you enter a small room and a light source behind you turns on and you can see your shadow on the wall in front of you and the shadow of someone standing behind you. Super nope.

    Also, trying to play Resident Evil 7 in VR. Noooooooooooooooooooope.

    • RE7 in VR was a shitshow, fortunately for us we had a mate who spent most of his time on it sticking his head in toilets so it downplayed the fear factor a bit haha

    • Every time I hear a Repear Leviathan I just nope the eff out of there. Don’t want to deal with those guys. I can do the rest of the Leviathans but the Reapears call just sends chills down my spine

  • Probably the first and only time a game scared me was back when Quake came out and a friend and I were playing. He was like 10 or 20 feet in front of me in game and a fiend leapt in between us and started attacking his back. Freaked me out at the time.

    Can’t say I’ve ever really been scared since then. There are some creepy, or atmospheric games but nothing that scares me.

  • The ghost suddenly popping into your camera’s viewfinder in Fatal Frame 2 when trying to investigate something outside the window.

  • I can only count two.

    The first was in Myst 4. I looked into a tank and found the face of one of the characters just looking back at me. It was just unexpected but still gave me a start.

    The second was Eternal Darkness.

    I looked in the bath tub. ‘Nuff said.

  • Each successive time I’ve been scared more in a game it was a Resident Evil game.
    The first time was in Remake when I first encountered a Crimson Head. That fear of not only having a previously defeated enemy rising back up, but the realisation of how many other bodies were littered around the mansion… that was a horrible sensation.
    The next was again in Remake, when a Hunter broke through a door from another area. Previously safe rooms no longer felt safe, and walking past doors came with a feeling of dread.
    But the most recent scare that beat those was playing Resident Evil 7 in VR. I am usually fine with VR scares as I play a lot of horror maps in VRChat, but something about RE7 just got me. Watching your own hand be chainsawed off was horrifying. *shudder*

  • 1999, Resident Evil. Was at a friends place and he just started the game. He enters a room and says “this seems safe,” to which I follow up with, “I dunno about that…”

    This was the room the zombie dogs jump through the windows. We were 9-10 years old and screamed. Game Over happened.

    • That is the one and only time I can remember getting truly jumpscared in a game. Me and flatmate both stopped playing for an hour after that. He was highly trained defence force, and frikin huge. We laughed about it, and went back to drinking JD, but it scared the bejesus out of us. Might have helped that it was about 3 in the morning as well.

      That was truly A Moment in gaming, and choreographed so perfectly to get the result they wanted. Flawless game making.

    • Came to post the same thing. Room full of friends, we were about 10.
      Everyone jumped across the room. Never experienced anything like that again.

    • There’s a scene like that in RE3. You’ve done a huge amount of rummaging along, with zombies at every turn but you finally got what you needed and as you ran back to where you needed… zombies through the window! It was completely unexpected because it was a hall you had passed in front of thousands of times while doing one thing or the other and zombies always appeared in places where you were exploring for the first time. Heart almost jumped out of my mouth and yes, I died and had to do the whole thing all over again.

  • Playing a game without auto save and forgetting then the game freezes for half a second Scariest shit ever.

  • Mine is one that takes place in one of the least scariest games ever… Minecraft.

    I had zero food, little health, far from home and it was night…
    I was in a state of panic trying to get home alive, when I got my house in sight, it was surrounded by skeletons and creepers.

    While I was running up to the door, a friend posted a comment of FB, which made my phone vibrate loudly… Scared the shit out of me and I went from holy f**k to confusion to crying/laughing in a matter of seconds.

    Still makes me laugh to this day.

  • in the more recent Resident Evil 2, when my X came through the wall (and in RE 7 with Jack now I think about it), I literally yelled out “OH **** ME” And then started laughing cursing Capcom.

  • Not quite scared, but tense as hell – during the russian roulette sequence in Gods Will Be Watching – it’s true random chance and there’s a very real chance you’ll end up dead on the first spin and lose ~half an hour’s gameplay to return to the beginning of the chapter again.

    When I unclenched my jaw after dying the first time it felt like my teeth had shattered. Honestly the most harrowing video game experience I’ve ever had.

  • Resident Evil 2 original – Dogs at the windows in the police building hallway
    Amnesia: TDD – The invisible water monster chase sequence
    FEAR: Extraction Point – You climb onto a ladder only to turn and Alma is standing right in your face
    Condemned: Criminal Origins – Most of the second area with the homeless and dilapidated buildings. The mannequin area.
    The Suffering – Opening sequence when every enemy is *just* out of sight
    Outlast – The area with the guy that wants you to be his wife
    Resident Evil 7 – Most of the first scene with Mia
    Dead Space – The first area when you can hear the necromorphs moving around in the ventilation system
    Alien: Isolation – Almost all of it. Butt-puckeringly tense.

  • Silent Hill 1: reach the hospital. It’s quiet, deserted and already creepy (it being a hospital and all). Get on the elevator, go up to the next level and it’s the Hell Dimension Hospital with the rusted metal, barb wires and blood everywhere. “Noooope” immediate 180 back into the elevator only to go down and the entire hospital is now turned into the Hell version of itself.
    Talk about designers knowing exactly what a little coward like me would do AND TAKE AWAY MY SAFETY NET!

  • Alien Isolation. The medical wing. That was scary intense, just trying to survive while the Xenomorph stalked me.
    Also the hive around the reactor. Damn facehuggers.

    Once I got the flame thrower the Xenos/Facehuggers were a minor inconvenience.

  • Halo CE when you first encountered the flood had be pretty scared, but the one that really hit me as an adult was Doki Doki Literature club. No spoilers but bad shit happened and I tried to ALT-F4 nope out of it and the game knew I would try and didn’t let me, forcing me to watch

  • Resident Evil 2 (1998) creeped me out as a kid, it didn’t stop me from hiring it out almost every weekend (bar the time the clerk age-gated me and I played Spyro) – the OG zombie noises, moans and dragging footsteps still triggers me.

    Resident Evil 2 (2019) many parts gave me sweaty palms, just reliving my formative years experiences with the original gave me the heebie-jeebies

    Also any game that strips you of power, eg. Outlast ect. I WANT TO FIGHT NOT RUN’N HIDE!

  • AvP 99. first marine level and AvP 2 every time you entered the hive without ALICE. Didnt matter that i was rocking a fucking minigun

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