You all know that I’m a bit of a gamer, but depending on your own personal experience with them you might be surprised to see me bring up video games in relation to Halloween. After all, the Mario Bros. aren’t exactly terrifying. Well I’m here to tell you that there are plenty of spine-tingling video games out there to give you a rush. Some of my favs? So glad you asked!
The franchise has gone downhill in recent years, but when I was a kid it was all about Resident Evil. This classic originally took place in a zombie-wracked Racoon City, and employed a strategic system of gameplay that involved a lot of sneaking around, conserving limited ammo and items, and, of course, shooting undead monsters in the head. By today’s standards the graphics are quite less realistic, but back in the day they were plenty good enough to scare the pants off me. I can still remember the night my best friend and I were playing the second game in the series and a Licker jumped through a window at us. The game controller went flying across the room as two squealing little wusses went scrambling for safety. There were a few nervous, embarrassed chuckles that night, let me tell you.
Time went on, games came and went, and the next game to genuinely scare the bejeezus out of me was a gem called Fatal Frame. This interesting little series had a very different kind of gameplay wherein your character’s only “weapon” was a mysterious camera that could view and photograph ghosts. Your only means of fighting back against violent ghosts was to take pictures of them – the better the picture (according the game’s criteria), the more damage you did to the ghost. This could make for some tense moments as you struggled to get the perfect shot while ghosts swooped down on top of you with dead eyes and shrieking mouths. I have to admit that I never actually played this one myself. Instead I used to snuggle up beside my husband (boyfriend at the time) and watch him play. And that was enough. Every time a ghost popped out I nearly jumped through the ceiling, so goodness knows what would have happened if I’d actually been the one in control.
Several years past the days of Fatal Frame, my husband put together a funny ‘Zombie Box’ present for me for Christmas, and part of that present was a game called Dead Nation. It’s a post-apocalyptic world in which your character traverses the zombie-infested landscape while searching for the ‘safe zone’. It’s a top-down-view shooter, which isn’t usually the scariest of views to play a game in, but let me tell you…this game can be tense. There are lots of moments during the game in which you are absolutely surrounded by zombies on all sides, with no way out, and it really gets the blood pumping. Humorously, I actually found this game to be even more tense when I eventually downloaded it on my Vita. You wouldn’t think that you could get too jumpy playing on a handheld device, but if you’ve got a good pair of headphones on and are holding the screen right up to your face? Yeah…things can get pretty real.
But the game that gave me the most jump-scares and straight-up wiggins in the past decade or so? Well that honor goes to a game that isn’t even really, technically, a game. It’s a free download on the Playstation Store that is simply called “P.T.” and it came very close to giving me a heart attack more than once. I don’t want to say too much because it’s a hell of a lot creepier if you don’t understand what’s happening when you’re going in, but believe me when I say that if you want to have a creepy evening, download this game, draw the shades, and crank the volume.
Do you enjoy spooky and scary video games? What is your favorite? What’s your most memorable video game scare? Please share!