A look at the different ways in which games give us nightmares.
Horror. Horror never changes. Wait a minute, yes it does! If it’s to stay effective, it needs to tap into our deepest fears, while finding fresh ways to expose us to them. This week, Outlast 2 and Little Nightmares, two diametrically different horror games, came to stalk GOG.com, offering us the perfect reminder that there are plenty of ways to be scary.
Where is my mind?
All horror games worth their salt will mess with your head to some degree. Some of them even make it their mission to upset you without actually putting you into any dangerous situations. It’s the promise of something sinister lurking in the shadows that gets to you rather than any monsters physically threatening to drag you away with them. Layers of Fear, The Park, Stories Untold, Fear Equation, the Dark Fall series, and Dracula 3: Path of the Dragon are all examples of games that pull this off with gusto.
A heart attack waiting to happen
Raw, gory, occasionally violent, and very very effective.
They’re the games that combine the horror of getting killed with having to face the nasty face of whatever delivers the blow (if it even has one). Plenty of jump scares are waiting for you around each corner but if the game does its job right, some of the most intense moments come from the buildup leading to them, not because of your pursuer’s ugliness. Outlast 1+2, Amnesia, F.E.A.R. 1+2, Dead Space, SOMA, and Clive Barker’s Undying are all great examples of such scary deadly games.
Every once in awhile a game comes along that doesn’t aim to make you jump in terror but slowly creeps under your skin, making itself cozy next to your nightmare-inducing glands. The grotesque imagery, the haunting sound design, or the disturbing setting are enough to create this lingering sense of unease that makes your skin crawl and your bed feel unsafe. Little Nightmares, Sanitarium, Pathologic Classic HD, The Last Door, Sunless Sea, Fran Bow, and Oxenfree among others, have pretty much mastered this art.
So what’s your favorite type of horror? Did any of your scary gaming experiences cause you to keep checking your closet for glowing eyes? Do tell!
Oh, and if you’re in the market for something to freak you out, go ahead check out our Haunted Horrors Sale.