What's the scariest game you've ever played?

Welcome to another installment of our feature on Empty Wallet Gamer where we ask a question, get some responses from the EWG crew, and get some of your answers too! This week’s question: What is the scariest game you’ve ever played?

Marcus Lawrence -

The scariest game I’ve played so far has to be F.E.A.R. for the Xbox 360. Yeah, I could have said Dead Space or some other horror title, but F.E.A.R. had the little girl creep factor in there. Alma scared me more than I can remember. A lot of times I would pause the game and collect my courage again before continuing. I haven’t done anything like that since Resident Evil for the PSone.

I guess it was the creepy atmosphere that really freaked me out. Along with Alma, I was pretty much afraid to make any turn around the corner or even to open a door. There was also that eerie music that made me shiver. I have the Turtlebeach XII, so I heard everything in surround sound. So yes, F.E.A.R. is my top pick for scariest game.

Uriah Marriott -

As I found myself sitting here thinking about games that have spooked and even scared me throughout the years, not many came to mind. Then all of a sudden I heard this horrific howl in the depths of my brain and it came to me: Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Though the game is old and doesn’t have very vivid imagery or monster/character design, it messes with the original spook creator - the imagination.

What really made this game scary was the fact that I was young and my imagination was running like a small child after eating a whole cake. The basic yet creepy monster design really stuck in my head. Even as I am writing this I can see those freaky werewolves with the floppy tongues walking about howling and jumping across the screen. If seeing the werewolves wasn’t bad enough, the screams they would release after you killed one also sticks pretty well in your head. Aside from the werewolves, almost all of the other monsters had a little scare value to them and there was a significant amount of monsters in that game: zombies (of course); chainsaw guys; aliens; monsters from the lagoon; and vampires among plenty more. So if you’re ever looking for a good laugh or even to be spooked a little bit, go back and play Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

Eric Lee Lewis

Phantasmagoria is one of the scariest things I had ever witnessed. At a young age, I walked in on a family friend playing it. The worst part was, this was a Christian household. You just don’t expect to see things like this game being played in such a place.

Sure, you can go back and look at it now and see that it is incredibly cheesy, but at the time, seeing a demon rip a live-action woman’s head in half vertically would scare the crap out of you as a child.

Shawn Trautman -

This one was easy. By far the scariest game I’ve ever played was Silent Hill 2. The things that truly frighten me are not vampires and zombies and demons, but rather real people and the real terrors they can commit against themselves and against one another.

So, while there were plenty of scares that came from seeing a deformed creature scramble across the screen, worse by far were the little touches of horror you can find throughout the game: a newspaper article describing a series of brutal murders, including children; doctors’ notes from a mental institution detailing patients’ psychotic ailments and the awful methods used to “help” them; a dark world prison where we get only hints of the terrible deeds done by these prisoners, and the equally terrifying treatment of the convicts by those running the institution. And it goes beyond these little touches to the more central characters, too. You catch the supposed main antagonist Pyramid Head raping another enemy creature in the game, and all the other characters you meet (including the protagonist) seem to be keeping dark secrets of unspeakable things they’ve done. Nothing is scarier to me than this kind of real-world evil.

Samer Farag -

I actually encountered my scariest videogame a few days ago. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it: Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The reasons the game is so terrifying to me are numerous. The most prominent reason is the way the game gets inside your head. Playing with headphones in a dark room, you’ll all of a sudden hear sharp breaths - only to realize it is the main character gasping in fear. A crash, a thud, a creak - all of these sounds help to draw you into the atmosphere and believe that what is happening is scary beyond belief.

The second reason is that you have nothing to defend yourself with. Dead Space, another horror game, is scary, but only to a degree. Once I had powered up my gun to maximum, I gave payback to those necromorphs. But with Amnesia, you have only your wits and reflexes to outrun the horrors of the castle, and nothing else to fight back. This is why Amnesia: The Dark Descent is my scariest game.

So, what about you?  What game scared you the most?