Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Never Too Late For a Good Scare

So without further ado, I present my selection for The Three Scariest Games of All Time (read “the three scariest games I’ve ever played").

Number 3, Silent Hill 2.

Now I’ve already written review of sorts of this game so I won’t say too much more on the plot or why this game means as much to me as it does. What I will make mention of is how it remains of the most successful survival horror games I’ve ever played. The trick is that the vast, vast majority of the scares come from what you don’t see. I will never forget walking into the Silent Hill Historical Society towards the end of the game, hearing a door open, close, and then footsteps walking toward me. Nothing ever happened, I never saw anyone, but I’m telling you that my knuckles went white with terror.

It’s this type of physiological horror that makes Silent Hill 2 so successful and it’s apparent from the very beginning that you’re in for a mind fuck as you lead James down an impossibly long trail to the titular town all the while hearing footsteps behind you and dogs growling but never coming into contact with a single other living thing. Silent Hill 2 really takes all the cheap scares out and just lets you scare yourself.

Number 2, Dead Space.

Like Silent Hill 2, I also wrote a review of Dead Space when I finished the game a few months ago. This game is scary in a more traditional way with horrible looking monsters eager to jump out at you and subsequently rip your face off but Dead Space manages to walk a fine line between horror and action that kept me coming back for more, despite the fact that it scared me shitless on more than one occasion. There was one sequence in particular when I was running from one of the more terrifying creatures I’ve ever come across in a video game, having to make my way through a maze while it literally breathed down my neck . . . let’s just say when I finally finished it my shirt was drenched in sweat.

Dead Space is truly a game that rests right on the border of “holy hell it’s really scary but I think I can get through it” and “no fucking way I’m going to be able to play that game alone.” It’s a true credit to the survival horror genre.

Number 1, Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly.

So what makes this game worse than the others? What makes it the scariest game I’ve ever played? Simple: I cannot play it alone. Even with friends, I have a hard time. In order to spend any significant amount of time with this game I need friends, lights, and beer. As if the haunted village full of violent ghosts weren’t enough all you’re armed with . . . is a camera. Yup. A camera which houses the ability to exorcise evil sprits, provided you let them get right up in your face before you snap a picture. I’ve never been able to finish this game though I did get close once – made it close to the final house before I got lost and started getting stalked by a scary as hell child ghost. Then I started having nightmares and that's where I draw the line.

Need a hilarious example of its terror? Check out this video some friends shot with Lynsey and I as we attempted the game. In my defense, I was pretty intoxicated:

So thanks for the horrifying memories Fatal Frame 2 – we won’t be seeing each other again anytime soon.

But, maybe some of you fine people will check it out when you’re in the mood for a horror filled night.


  1. CARY. You MUST put this video in the entry and explain it. (I can't seem to edit your posts.)


  2. Done.

    Now everyone knows what a pussy I am and that you snort when you laugh.

    Great success.

  3. Hahaha! I don't know if I've ever said this, but Cary, you have an amazing scream. Like, the stuff of legendary horror films.

    I agree that the absolute worst thing ever in horror games is what you don't see. That's what got to me in "Condemned 2." Something rustles and the dog in the fence behind you is now gone.

  4. Yeah, Condemned 2 was good with atmosphere even if it wasn't a great game. Lots of people do consider the first condemned to be one of the scariest of all time - maybe we should give that one a try? ;)