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How to play horror games if you're a total wimp

Get out from behind the couch

Its nearly Halloween, and you know what that means: horror games! However, I know theyre not everyones cup of tea. Some people straight up hate them, while others like the idea, but cant bring themselves to actually play scary games. If youre in the latter group, I have good news for you.

This list is devoted to you. It contains tips and tricks for making sure that those spooky games dont get the better of you. If none of them work for you, then you might just want to erase October from the calendar and hide under the covers for a few weeks. Ill make sure to tuck you in and read you a bedtime story.

Turn the lights on

Lets start with something simple. Just because everyone tells you you have to play this game at night with all the lights off doesnt mean you actually have to. Remember when you were little and you had a nightlight to help you sleep? Well this is like that, except instead of sleeping youre shooting zombies in the head.

Theres nothing embarrassing about it. Youre a grown up now, you can do what you want. If doing what you want means lighting up your room like the Blackpool Illuminations, so be it. Then the only thing youll have to be scared of is your electricity bill. But youll be able to afford it with the money youre saving on new underwear.

Turn the sound off

While youre turning the lights on, you might want to turn the sound off. A great deal of the frightening atmosphere that games create is down to the music. Turn it off and you wont be able to hear the tension building BWAAAMNNNs, or the harsh strings and horns when the monster finally catches up with you.

You could even go one step further and put on some completely different music. Have you ever tried putting on the Benny Hill theme tune while running away from axe wielding maniacs trying to slice your bits off? No? Well why not? Your tears of fear will quickly turn into tears of laughter.

Make your character do a little dance

You know how most games have crouch and jump buttons? Well theyre not only used for traversing obstacles you know. They can also be used to make your character jerk around and look really silly in the process.

Especially if youre playing a third person horror game, having your character do squats while hiding from some enemies is a great way to relieve some tension. Itll also sometimes show off how dumb the AI in games like this can be. If a monster doesnt notice an emotionless face bobbing up and down behind a low wall, its pretty easy to see the humour in the situation.

Play on easy

If theres an option to play on an easier difficulty, take the opportunity! Itll usually have some text attached to it like choose this if youre a wuss or something, but dont let that game push you around. Youre an adult, remember?

This will make the AI even more stupid than it normally is. If youre playing a shooter, youll have way more ammo, more health, and the enemies will take less damage before dropping. You might be a wuss for choosing the lower difficulty, but at least youre a wuss wholl feel like a God! Youll also finish the game quicker, which is never a bad thing if youre frightened.

Give the monster a pet name

You cant be scared of something if its got a wonderfully cute or hilarious name. Are you playing Alien Isolation? Hope youre having a good time being chased around by Toothy McGee. Or you could try giving the enemies in The Evil Within normal names to make them seem more human. Its not so bad if youve got Geoff and Bob running hungrily towards you.

Anything to try and make the monsters seem more friendly. You know that thing where you draw a moustache on the television screen and hope it lines up with someones face? You could try doing that. Maybe even turn it into a pretty pink bow, or a flowery dress. Then when an enemy appears on screen itll be a time for joy rather than fear.

Let the monster get you

Alright this sounds counterintuitive, but bear with me. You might think its the monster that youre scared of, but in reality, youre probably most frightened at the mere anticipation. Take Amnesia: The Dark Descent as an example. Youre completely safe from harm for large parts of the game, but that doesnt mean youre not terrified.

So heres what you do. Find the monster. Stand out in the open. Put the controller down. Watch it rip your face off. Now you know exactly what will happen, and you wont be as scared next time. Also youll get to see the monster design up close, and youll probably notice that the bad guys usually look pretty silly in these games.

Play with a friend

Grab a friend, tell them to bring a teddy bear to hug, and have them come round and watch you play the game. Hell, invite the whole family round. The more the merrier, right? This might end up with an entire room of people screaming their heads off, but I never said this list was foolproof.

You might even want to invite that special someone round. You know what Im talking about. Show them how brave you can be by playing that scary game. Use that tension to build some closeness. Bet you never thought youd be getting dating advice from this article, eh?

Grit your teeth

If youve tried all this and nothing seems to work, then youre pretty much stuck. In this case, youll just have to grit your teeth and get on with it. Or, you could turn off the game and never talk about it to anyone ever again. But remember what I said about not letting games push you around? Let me know in the comments section what you do to get through scary games, and have a great Halloween.

And while you're here, and assuming that your bladder is still operating at an acceptable level of integrity, why not check out some of our other Hallowe'en features? The Top 7 undead creatures that are totally not zombies would be a good start, and then you should almost definitely have a look at Gaming's Halloween-iest levels.

You can often find Matt writing words about games, especially at a time when he was a freelance games journalist. However, nowadays Matt is a producer for CSGO and League of Legends, and an interviewer for Dexerto.