Have you outgrown trick-or-treating? Have the neighbors found out about that special court-order you received a few towns over? Have your kids become ashamed of being seen with you in public? Whatever problems Halloween is dishing, video games can solve them. Put up those sex-night blackout curtains, post a “get off my property” sign on your door to keep away those pesky costumed children, and start reliving those nightmares that kept you from sleeping without your nightlight on well into your teens.
Get ready to play some games that put the scary in “really freaking scary,” and the frightening in “this game is quite frightening.” Here’s our list of scary games to play while everyone else dresses for drunken disappointments:
Drugs are bad, mmkay. Especially when they turn you into a bloodthirsty homicidal maniac — which can be said about a few of the surviving citizens of the underwater city, Rapture. Not to mention the creepy Little Sisters and their Big Daddy companions stalking corridors ever-so-patiently. Being trapped is one thing, but being trapped underwater with a bunch of cultists is another altogether.
Why to play: There are scary stories, and there are stories that are so good that it’s scary. Bioshock has just enough of both to leave you shocked and pleased (and possibly terrified).
If your fear is being trapped on a space-mining ship as mysterious creatures begin transforming former crew-members into monstrous abominations shortly after the discovery of an alien artifact, then you should probably skip this one because another suicide on my hands wouldn’t do my karmic levels any favors.
Why to play: Engineers aren’t really known to be skilled monster hunters, so it’s fun to break character as you slice some limbs through this horrifyingly twisted story.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
There’s nothing scarier than slowly slipping into a state of dementia. Well, besides accepting that same lunacy within the confines of what appears to be a haunted castle — and that’s precisely what The Dark Descent enforces, a feeling of dread that tickles your very spine as you descend into madness. Creepy noises, voices and corridors included.
Why to play: Few games make you feel crazy. Even fewer do so well enough to influence your sleep schedule.
Slender: The Eight Pages
You need to collect eight pages. You’re in an eery forest equipped with nothing more than a flashlight and a shuddersome sense of fear. There’s a well-dressed, faceless man teleporting around you as the fog grows thicker with each page you collect. He’s trying to reach you, and every collected page brings him closer to doing so.
Why to play: There are no tricks in this horror. There’s no terrifying story, or satisfying conclusion. Being scared is the point, and it’s a rarity to find something that works with such a simple concept.
Silent Hill 2
Searching a monster-filled town for your deceased wife is enough to classify this horror as scare-worthy, but remove the heads-up display and you have yourself a game littered with “hell no” moments. While several games in the series are scary enough, this is the height of its creepy atmosphere and has yet to be replicated.
Why to play: It’s a classic, plain and simple. The town is one of the scariest locations in video game history, and every corner offers a potentially terrifying encounter with hell itself.
Don’t be discouraged by your lack of a social life. Video games are always your friends — unless they’re scaring the crap out of you, in which case they’re still an excuse to escape from the horrors of reality. Don’t let a depressing Halloween lead you to flip on small candy-seeking children; rather, shut the world out and explore some potentially repressed fears.