While horror movies are something Matt and I obviously adore for a multitude of reasons, we would be fools not to take a moment and give some props to some of the great horror games that have come out in the last decade. While horror films are fun, they are passive experiences, which leads us to feel safe, no matter what is happening. A horror game, on the other hand, strips that safety away and places us INTO the moments of extreme horror, showing us just how we would react to such scenarios. It’s a wholly encompassing way to experience a medium, especially one as visceral as horror.
With that said, here, for your reading pleasure, are six horror gaming moments that scared the absolute shit out of Matt and I. Be sure to make us feel a little better about showing what wimps we are and take to the comments to let us know what horror games made YOU pee just a tiny bit in to your pants.
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Remy: Silent Hill 2 – Pyramid Head Rape
First thing I need to say – because of the second Silent Hill movie, a great deal of people misunderstand Pyramid Head. Pyramid Head is the psycho sexual guilt of the main character in Silent Hill 2, personified. He is repression, unconstrained madness, and desire. He is the darkest parts of our sexual fantasies, the places we rarely feed. He is not some protector or demon, or some other stupid theory people come up with. Having said that, our introduction to him in the second Silent Hill game is a scene where we see him “raping” a set of mannequin legs. To make the act even more deviant, we are watching this from inside a closet, peering through at this madness. I still think, for how it looks and what it represents, it is one of the creepiest gaming moments ever conceived.
Nato: Resident Evil – First Zombie Encounter
While I’m the typical FPS soldier who spends most his gaming hours pwning n00bz on Call Of Duty, don’t think I haven’t let my horror obsession enter my gaming world as well. Sure, my picks may be a little more mainstream, but the first memory I have of voluntarily scaring the piss out of myself dates back to playing the first Resident Evil when it was re-vamped for GameCube.
Sitting alone, in the dark, I embodied the sexy S.T.A.R.S agent Jill Valentine as she headed to the outskirts of Raccoon City to investigate strange murders and the disappearance of Bravo Team. Examining Bravo’s chopper for clues, I watched on as killer dogs attacked Alpha team, killing one member, and watched nervously as the remaining members sought refuge in a strange mansion. Finally taking over the gameplay, I walked around the mansion looking for survivors, with my trusty pal Barry Burton as backup, but then I made the most horrifying discovery of all – the first zombie.
Sure, it doesn’t sound scary, but the constant switching of camera angles had me accidentally running into the zombie over and over again, not knowing what to do, feeling the doom Jill most certainly feels looking down the long hallway as this lumbering creature attempts to eat her brains. F*ck that noise – where’s Barry!!Previous Next
Remy: Amnesia: The Dark Descent – First Creature
What makes this game work so well is the fact that it leaves its player completely helpless. You have no means of attack, and can only run and hide when these horrible abominations find you. It is completely terrifying, and makes playing this game an undeniably nerve wrecking experience.
At no point is this more glaringly obvious than when you encounter your first creature in Amnesia. From the way it looks to the fact that you have no way to defend yourself, there is a reason there are tons of reactionary videos on Youtube of people playing this game and screaming like children – because it really IS that scary.
Nato: Dead Space – Um, Everything?
Oh, you don’t think Dead Space is horrifying? My college dormmate begs to differ.
The thing that Dead Space knocks out of the park is the continually horrifying atmosphere aboard the USG Ishimura. Danger lurks around every corner in the form of alien infested crew members called Necromorphs, and Dead Space lets you know this through brilliant usage of the score and these dark, ominous settings which leave plenty of places for Necromorphs to pop out of.
I can’t tell you how many times I’d be wandering down a dimly lit corridor as engineer Isaac Clarke, minding my own business while trying to solve the next level, when all of a sudden it would get eerily quiet – too quiet. I’d slowly make my way around corners, waiting for the jolt in volume, terrified of the beast awaiting me somewhere down – BAM! NECROMORPH TO THE FACE, DECAPITATING THE SHIT OUT OF ME! HOLY F#CKSTICK!
It got to the point where I’d notice the music go down, I’d see an air vent or dark hallway ahead, and I’d just turn to my roommate and go “No. I’m not moving anymore. I know what’s down there. It’s just going to jump out, scare the shit out of me, kill Issac, you’re going to laugh, and I’m going be pissed. No way Dead Space. I’m just going to turn around and pretend like I never found this hallway.”Previous Next
Remy: Fatal Frame 2 – The Whole Damn Game
Fatal Frame can be described as every awesome Asian horror film placed into one game. There are no guns, and instead, you need to aim and shoot a camera at the ghosts to hurt them or slow them down. It may sound stupid, but the clunkiness of the camera paired with the terrifying looks and sounds of the ghosts make Fatal Frame 2 one of the most genuinely scary games, through and through.
Also worth noting, that scene when you think you are holding hands with your sister, and you see her skip by you, yet you are still holding something’s hand.
Yes, that shit was unreal. I say shit because it made me shit my pants.
Nato: Condemned: Criminal Origins – Homeless Attackers
Another game that makes amazing use of tense atmospheres, dark locations, and prolific jump scares, Condemned: Criminal Origins was one of the first XBOX 360 games I played – and I still haven’t shaken it from my mind.
I mean, seriously, what could be more terrifying than hyper-aggressive homeless people trying their damnedest to kill you? Let’s not restrict it to the homeless though, because every attacker is just as irate and brutal, coming out of nowhere to attack poor Ethan Thomas as he’s just trying to solve some murder mysteries.
The terror comes from anticipation though. Some of these rooms and locations are horribly unsettling, like a room full of mannequins for instance, as just the sight of these fake human forms sends chills down a player’s spine. Then all of a sudden you hear a bottle kick, or a menacing cackle, or even see a moving shadow, alluding that someone not too nice is waiting to pounce at any moment, but it’s too dark to see – plus the mannequins make it incredibly hard to even spot a person. Just like in Dead Space, you do your best to be cautious and safe, but there’s no escaping the deranged baddie jumping from the shadows, throwing himself on you while you try and subdue your anxiety levels.
A special shout out to Condemned 2: Bloodshot as well for amping the “WTF” horror levels by having you escape/fight off a ferocious grizzly bear attack. Like, a grizzly on steroids. Remember how you were afraid of the homeless before? They didn’t have razor sharp claws and teeth that will tear your jugular out.
So now that Remy and I have totally opened up, it’s your turn! Which moments in horror gaming do you find the most pants-wettingly terrifying?
*A special thanks to Remy for stepping in to guest write! Feel free to follow either of us on Twitter for even more insanity and updates:
Matt Donato Follow @DoNatoBomb
Remy Carreiro Follow @RemyCarreiro
Like what you read? Check out last week’s article where Remy and I talk about our favorite rockstar cameos in horror movies!Previous