Horror video games have come a long way since Magnovox launched perhaps the first horror themed game ‘Haunted House’. The incredibly basic game – which relied on a colored overlay in place of actual graphics – sparked the modern horror gaming phenomenon which continues to draw in enthusiasts today. Unlike horror movies, video games fully immerse the player in spooky settings and make the threat of an untimely end ever more present and immediate. But which games gave their players the most frightening, spine tingling experience? We’re taking a look at some seriously scary moments iconic horror video games.
Dead By Daylight
The asymmetric survival horror video game developed by Behaviour Interactive; Dead by Daylight launched on Steam before making it’s way to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S last year. There is also a mobile port of the game for Android and iOS users to join in on the fun. Among a wealth of survival horror titles released over the years, Dead by Daylight offers a genuinely unique feature that is sure to appeal to long time horror fans.
The character DLC options include some of the biggest names in horror history, including characters from franchises such as Halloween, Left 4 Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Saw, Evil Dead, Scream, Stranger Things, Silent Hill, and Resident Evil. Many other classic characters found in a range of movies include scary nurses and hillbillies. Yes, that means that the fantastic Ashley “Ash” Williams of Evil Dead fame shows up as a playable ‘survivor’ in the game – which means plenty of scary moments as he takes on enemies with a chainsaw hand and boomstick!
Delving now into the sub-genre of psychological horror games, The Medium places players in an abandoned communist resort and challenges them to use unique psychic abilities to uncover its deeply disturbing secrets. Interestingly, the game offers the ability to explore dual realities while fighting evil spirits and solving puzzles. The Medium was released earlier this year on Microsoft Windows and Xbox Series X/S platforms.
The player takes on the persona of as Marianne, a medium with the ability to travel into the spirit realm. It opens as Marianne experiences recurring dreams about the violent shooting of a young girl, and is contacted by a man who claims to know more about the murder. Set as Poland transitioned from a communistic to a democratic government in the 1990s, there are a number of spooky moments to thrill players. Praised for it’s overall eerie atmosphere – there are also some notable jump scares involving creatures emerging seemingly from nowhere!
Of course we had to include this classic on our list of scary video game moments. Resident Evil was originally released all the way back on the Playstation One, and ushered in the modern era of 3D horror games. It’s spawned several movies, a lengthy list of sequels and spin offs, and even a presence at Universal’s annual Halloween Horror Nights attractions. But none of this would have been possible without the original game that kickstarted the franchise in 1996.
There are a number of unnerving moments in this classic game, as well as a genuinely spooky atmosphere that still holds up despite the game’s age. But we’re going to highlight the scene that spawned nightmares among generations of fans – the terrifying undead hounds. Fans claim this moment was actually even scarier in the original Japanese release, but Capcom toned down and edited the killer dogs for Western releases. Whichever version you experience, you are sure to be spooked by the undead hounds.
What are some of your favourite scary moments in horror video games? Do you love the old school scares found in games like Resident Evil, or innovative and new takes on the genre in games like The Medium? We hope that horror games continue to evolve and provide jump-out-of-your-seat moments for many years to come.