Horror video games have a special place in every gamer’s heart. From surprise attacks to bloody battles and everything in between, scary video games are a great way to creep yourself out and get a jolt of adrenaline without ever leaving your couch. In honor of Halloween, we’ve rounded up a list of the best horror video games. Have you played any of these before? If you have, then maybe now is the perfect time to revisit an old favorite. After all, the leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, and the nights are turning chilly! Why not try out one of these Halloween video games and test your skills against virtual zombies, monsters, and murderers?
If you’re new to scary video games, this is your first and only warning that they can get, well, pretty darn creepy! Most of the horror video games on this list are not for the faint of heart. From dark and creepy corridors to grisly killings rendered in chillingly realistic graphics, these games take the spooky factor up to eleven. Still think you’re up for it? Let’s get started then!
1. Alan Wake
We’re starting things off with a psychological thriller that first debuted in 2010. You play as Alan Wake, a seemingly normal man in a seemingly normal town whose wife has gone missing. As you traverse the area trying to unravel the mystery, you’ll find yourself plunged into darkness – literally – as this idyllic location turns nightmarish. Fans of the show Twin Peaks are sure to enjoy this game!
2. Condemned: Criminal Origins
You play as a detective trying to track down a serial killer whose crimes are pretty horrific. The game creates a primal sense of violence and fear by cleverly utilizing a lack of light and focusing heavily on hand-to-hand combat.
3. Alien: Isolation
The creators really turn up the creep factor by essentially making the entire thing a game of cat and mouse with an undefeatable alien. While you have some access to weapons, you can’t hope to defeat the alien creature, so you have to constantly run and hide throughout the game, which makes for a pretty viscerally terrifying experience.
4. Dead Space
Set on a mining ship that has been overrun with aliens, the set-up alone for this game would be creepy. But when you realize that the ship has been overrun with Necromorphs – the former human occupants of the ship whose corpses have been mutated and reanimated – things get a whole lot scarier. You must slowly dismember these creatures with a variety of creative weapons. If that sounds gritty, it is. The developers of this game actually studied images of car crash victims and war scenes to make the graphics more realistic, so it’s really not for the faint of heart.
5. Layers of Fear
This game puts you in the role of a painter just beginning work on his magnum opus. If that doesn’t scare you, give it a moment. The painter is slowly going insane over the loss of his wife. Between a constantly shifting environment, flashes of the painter’s disturbing past, and his increasingly twisted vision for the painting, this game is utterly chilling.
6. Eternal Darkness
An older game developed for the Nintendo GameCube, this OG psychological thriller features a “sanity meter.” As your sanity points drop, the game begins to mess with you in new and shockingly realistic ways, such as muting your TV mid-game and setting up fake death scenes for your character. It makes telling yourself that there are no monsters in the room a little hard…
This game is perhaps one of the most Halloween-worthy on the list, filled with Lovecraftian monsters, gothic and Victorian architecture, and blood-soaked battles. If you’re looking for a truly nightmarish game, this is it.
8. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
While many of the games in this series could have made this list, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard stands out for being especially gory. The gore is made all the more terrifying because of the up-close-and-personal first-person play mode. It is definitely not for the faint of heart – or the easily squeamish.
9. Silent Hill 2
Again, all of the Silent Hill games could easily make it onto this list, but what really sets this installment apart is the way the game elements are set up to mess with the player’s mind. It’s creepy and invasive and very, very terrifying. Plus, there’s Pyramid Head. If you want a horror video game that you can return to again and again, the rich underlying themes and references to film and literature in this game make it the perfect choice.
10. Until Dawn
A list of Halloween video games wouldn’t be complete without at least one entry based around the teen slasher genre. The deaths are grisly and the twists are creepy – even as they are steeped in the somewhat predicable tradition of the slasher film. But rest assured, it all combines to form one truly chilling game that’s perfect for Halloween.
Scared yet? If you aren’t, just start playing any one of these horror video games and we’re sure you will be! What do you think of our list? Did we miss one of your favorite horror games? Will you be playing any of the scary video games we mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!