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The Silent Hill series
It's a safe bet that we all play games the same way: lights on, volume at a reasonable level, perhaps other stuff going on in the background as well. For most games, that's totally cool. But there are some that you have not even begun to experience. Yes, some games demand that you completely alter your surroundings and let the mood seep through your skull, soaking every cell in your body with excessive atmosphere.
So, we mined our collective memories and came up with seven titles that we're willing to bet you've played, but have yet to play right. There are a couple of rules to keep in mind though. First, there has to be a way to play the game in that previously mentioned, typical setting. Games like Dance Dance Revolution pretty much require you to clear the room, and we're looking for games that don't outwardly tell you, "hey make some space and turn of the lights." Basically, flashy stuff that obviously makes you rearrange your house is out.
Second, games like Steel Battalion are out because you can't play the damn thing without its gargantuan controller, unique as it may be. You have to "discover" the right way to play these games - once you do, there's no way you're going back to the old ways.
Above: Silent Hill is scary because of what you can't see
The first game on the list is a no-brainer. If you've been playing the Silent Hill series with any light source at all, you're crazier than the faceless mannequin women that want to eat your eyeballs. Parts two and three in this horrific franchise create the most disturbing, unsettling atmosphere on a console. From the skin-draped hallways to the claustrophobic, oppressive environments, there's enough stuff here to give you nightmares for weeks.
So, wait until dark, turn off every light in the house and sink yourself into a chair right in front of the screen so there's nowhere for your eyes to wander. Make sure no one else is home, no phones are prepped to ring or anything that could possibly suck your mind out of this horrific small town fiasco. That way, if something does happen, it will shatter your heart into a thousand pieces.
We recommend this is played alone, but having one or two people hang out behind the chair can provide a "scary movie" feel that goes a long way too. At one point we opened a closet door, only to have some... thing... leap out and grab the player. He dropped the controller out of sheer terror, then turned around to see everyone else covering their faces in shock, lit only by the glow of the television set. Now that's how you play survival horror.