days, it takes a lot for a game to affect me; the slightly less surly 12-year-old
version of myself, less so. Thanks to my open-minded grandma, 12-year-old me
had a pipeline to the latest M-rated games on the market. The original Resident
Evil was one of those games, a much-coveted birthday gift that I assumed would
be a fun, gory romp through a zombie-filled mansion. Soon after booting it up
though, my little brother and I realized Resident Evil was something far different.
The somber music, isolation, and limited resources created a palpable sense of dread and fear in us. Add to that the brutally explicit death animations for your character, and there was plenty to disturb our young minds. In fact, the game so disturbed us that we’d routinely leap up and hit the power button when a new enemy appeared, out of fear of seeing our character decapitated, eviscerated or some other verb-ed.
The peak of horror came at the first boss, though: Yawn, the giant snake in the attic. Having glanced through some gaming magazines, I knew that the boss was there. I knew that once I opened this door, it was on. And I couldn’t do it. I’d load my save and just stare at the door. I’m not particularly afraid of snakes or anything, but something about that boss was just too much for me to handle. I ended up having to get a friend to press the button to open the door for me. The jaggy string of polygons that composed that snake isn’t much to look at today, nor was it at the time, but RE left a lasting impression on me like no scary movie or story ever did.
I tend to avoid scary games, because I get scared easily and it takes me awhile to recover from the subsequent nightmares. I know that there are a lot of excellent games I'm missing out on, but even when I play with all the lights on and very low sound, I still get freaked out.
My scariest moment would have to be the dentist's chair in BioShock. I knew that the game would raise my blood pressure, but I really wanted to see the story. I had my brother play for me, thinking that it would be less scary that way. When I played on my own, I stayed in open hallways and never wandered into bathrooms, but when he took over, he was much more thorough. I remember screaming and falling off the couch when he walked into a room that WAS empty, but when a burst of smoke came down and a dead body appeared on the chair after it cleared, I knew it was over and had to leave the room. I've been meaning to go back, but I still haven't gotten over the shock.
a scary moment isn’t dressed in eerie music or an ugly enemy attack that caught
you by surprise. True fear struck me when I discovered my World of Warcraft
account had been banned. First came the feeling of frustration when my usual
login and password didn’t let me in. Next came denial, as I continued re-entering
the same account name and password over and over again. Soon, pure panic swept
over me once I found out I’d been banned, imagining dirty gold farmers
pillaging my hard-earned loot and spamming global chat channels with shady
URLs. Then came the despair. It looks like I won’t be running any Heroics with
my priest anytime soon.
Don’t be like me. Consider the Battle.net Authenticator and Mobile Authenticator to associate your Battle.net account with a unique authentication code for an extra layer of protection. Make sure your browser and plug-ins, like Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Reader, are up to date. And always turn on your browser’s phishing filter.
If you ever want to know whether you, as a person, would be good and level-headed in a crisis, take a look back at how you handled the village in Resident Evil 4. Walking through the woods leading up to the village and finding disemboweled corpses, axe-wielding psychopaths and deadly traps sets the tone for just how deranged a place Leon stumbles into. Soon after Leon discovers the murderous townsfolk burning a pile of corpses in the village center, they attack, forcing Leon to barricade himself in a house.
Never in my life have I done so many things wrong in such a small amount of time. The townsfolk were breaking in – through the doors, the windows, everywhere. I frantically wasted all of my pistol and shotgun ammo trying to hold back the horde. I was surrounded and backed into a corner, when the door came down and a chainsaw-wielding maniac ran straight for me. My knife did little to prevent the most gruesome and frightening beheading I’d ever seen in a videogame. If I’ve ever screamed while playing a game, this is when it happened.
Back in PlayStation One days, I had just gotten Resident Evil: Director's Cut, right when force-feedback controllers first came out. Director's Cut was one of the first games that actually utilized the whole force-feedback feature. So I decided I'd be badass, and play it in the dark. Turned out all the lights, settled in right in front of the TV. I'll never forget — the first time a zombie attacked me and that controller rumbled in my hand, it scared the shit out of me. Totally jumped out of my skin! Seems so commonplace now, the whole idea of a vibrating controller, but that game totally taught me a harsh new sensory experience for games.
The two BioShock games are the only horror/scary I’ve successfully played through. One of the scariest moments (apart from the dentist suddenly appearing behind you and the moving “statues”) for me was the first time I encountered a Houdini splicer in Arcadia. I usually try to help everyone in need in games as much as possible, so when I hear a guy calling for help, I try to follow his calls. Hearing someone cackling doesn’t decrease the suspense as I run down each hallway, following the sound.
Tailing the guy, I see him turn the corner. Right as I turn the same corner, he’s disappeared. I see a mask made out of twigs on a desk and go to take a closer look. The lights flicker, and as soon as they stop, an unfamiliar shadow appears on the wall in front of me! I turn around, and there’s a splicer standing there facing me. He says, “Hello, beautiful,” I jump in my seat and fail to shoot him in time before he disappears.
Pyramid Head overshadows everything when discussing the terrors of Silent Hill 2, but for me it was a seemingly random (but scripted) in-game event that made me say “Holy…” There’s a point where you’ve already encountered the mannequins – those gross creatures formed from the stitched-together legs of female mannequins, and you think you know what to expect from them. You’re walking along a quiet stretch of road, with Silent Hill’s signature thick fog turning the world into a gray void around you. Off to the right, there’s a guardrail and some kind of sloping-away embankment. The world is quiet, with only your footsteps echoing into the mist.
Out of the fog, beyond the guard rail, a shape emerges, arcing through the air as if fired from a catapult. It looks like a giant dead spider, with legs curled up over the body. It hits the ground with a thump. Here the game has cheated, just a bit – your radio hasn’t gone off with its white noise to warn you of the presence of monsters. It’s a great trick, because otherwise it wouldn’t have had the same impact. There’s just something about the way the silence remains unbroken as this grotesque, bizarre thing just floats up out of the mist and thumps on the asphalt. Then, of course, your radio does kick in, as the thing unfolds, gets to its feet, and you realize it’s a mannequin. Such a simple, amazingly creepy moment and a wonderful way to take a known enemy and reintroduce it in an alien way to keep you off your footing.
Fairly early on in the original Dead Space, one of the necromorphs’ corpses came to life as I walked by. I leapt with terror, the controller flying out of my hand as I let out a shriek. I scampered to the floor, frantically trying to find my Xbox 360 controller as the sounds of my in-game avatar being clawed to bits blared through my surround-sound speakers. I found it just in time, barely surviving the encounter by bashing the enemy in the face and then stomping on it until there was nothing left.
But the experience changed me. From that point on, I shot every single corpse I came across for fear that it would happen again. It made things more difficult, since I’d always be short on ammo, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t getting caught off-guard; I wouldn’t let it scare me like that ever again. Even in the game’s sequel, which released over two years later, that haunting memory stayed with me, and I continued to check every body.
Now that we’ve let you in on our scariest memories, what are some of your own? Let us know in the comments below.
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