Top Ten Scariest Video Game

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Posted by James Hawkins,

FEAR (570 x 428).jpg
Know who is this? take a guess 

From Aliens to Zombies, video game developers have covered a massive array of horror concepts. Here at Joystick Division, we have compiled a list of the most horrifying, disturbing, and innovative horror titles of all time. Spanning the old and the new, the best-selling titles and the sleeper hits, we look to bring you the best of the scariest. So grab your adult diapers, because we've got the games that will make you have to leave the lights on. Enjoy!
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Uh...plannin' to chop some wood with that there hatchet...Mister?

10. Siren: Blood Curse (2008)
PlayStation 3
In 2003, a Japanese survival horror title called Siren hit the PlayStation 2. The story centers around a number of protagonists scattered about an isolated little village in the mountains of Japan (automatically scary, right?). One night the town got disturbed and, in turn, a cult got pissed off and produced a bunch of fast, smart zombies. Siren: Blood Curse is a loose remake/update of that original title. Brought to the PlayStation 3 with improved graphics and an updated overall gameplay, this survival horror game blends tension, compelling storytelling and gruesome monster design. Oh, and this is also partly a stealth game -- your arsenal is limited, so don't expect to blow away all of your problems. And you will have a lot of problems.
Scariest Aspect: Sightjack. Hands down. It may not produce the most jumps, but nothing is creepier than watching a zombie annihilate you through its own eyes.

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Best friend/Arch-nemesis

9. System Shock 2 (1999)
PCThis is a game of subtle fear. System Shock 2 was released over a decade ago, but its influence remains a definite constant in the video game industry. In the then-unique, sci-fi RPG/FPS hybrid, you take the role of a soldier, code-named G65434-2, who is commissioned to escort a light-speed vessel on its test run.  During the mission, the crew receives a distress beacon from a nearby planet and goes to investigate. This is where things start to go haywire. On the planet, the rescue team finds a bunch of strange eggs. So, like so many brilliant space explorers, they decide to take some samples back to the ship. Then people start acting very weird. A few months later, soldier G65434-2 wakes up from a cryogenic sleep, remembering nothing.  From there, you discover a vibrant setting where you battle your way through alien-infested enemies -- all crew members of your ship. And, as it turns out, you are being led by your former arch-nemesis (from System Shock), who is called SHODAN. Not only are you a lonely soldier battling mutated foes, you have to rely on someone who has screwed you around a bunch in the past.
Scariest Aspect: Discovery. When you wake from your cryo-chamber, you don't know what the hell is going on, and you certainly don't have the weapons to deal with those that oppose.

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Good doggie. That's right. Nice doggie...ah, AHHHH

8. Doom 3 (2004)
PC, Xbox, Mac OS X
Sometimes, a reboot to an old franchise is awesome. In 2004, Activision released the much-anticipated, non-sequential sequel to 1994s Doom II. This new version was a total make-over to the seminal Doom franchise. Set in the future, a prototype teleport machine goes haywire and brings Hell to the small space-going community on the cold red dirt of Mars. As a nameless space marine, you have to battle demons in their quest to reach and destroy Earth. Simple enough, except that the demons are hideous, frightening, aggressive creatures that want only one thing: to jack you up as quick as possible. Brought to the latest-generation consoles, Doom 3 impressed not only in its ability to scare, but also its ability to make the gamer feel like a complete badass throughout the whole game.
Scariest Aspect: Seemingly desolate hallways with demons ready to leap. Sure, this type of scare gets very obvious and predictable about halfway through the game, I'll give you that. But you can't tell me you didn't lose it the first dozen or so times you encountered this brilliant tactic.

FEAR7 (570 x 428).jpg
Hush, Little Baby, Don't Say a Word

7. F.E.A.R (2005)
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
, or First Encounter Assault Recon, is an example of psychological horror at its finest. Rarely in this game do you encounter persistent, tangible terror. You take on the role of a point-man for a spec-ops reconnaissance team that is sent into abandoned technology plant. While looking for the catalyst for the destruction of the labs, the anonymous hero encounters mind-controlled soldiers tasked with defending the derelict work environment. It becomes obvious that no one wants you to uncover the secrets behind the destruction. On top of that a little girl, who bears a resemblance to The Ring's Samara, is constantly wreaking incredible havoc on your psyche. You become mentally unstable. You see her crawling along hallways, dashing between the shadows -- she is screwing with your mind. And you definitely want to get the hell out.
Scariest Aspect: Slogging through blood-filled hallways, cringing at amorphous creatures in the florescent backlight.

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How handsome.

6. Condemned: Criminal Origins (2005)
Xbox 360, PCWhat makes Condemned: Criminal Origins so damn scary isn't the plot or the atmosphere. It's the gritty, visceral, brawler-style combat that forces you to get up-close-and-personal with your enemy. Set in an unnamed urban sprawl, you follow Ethan Thomas, an SCU (Serial Crimes Unit) officer, as he tracks down a violent killer called Match Maker. This killer has a distinct calling card -- he stages dramatic scenes of marital disputes with his victims -- and you are on the trail. The plot is complicated by a bit of mistaken identity and some inconvenient red herrings, but the protagonist follows his case through all the hurdles. But like I said, this isn't what makes the game terrifying... it's the weighty, physical, hand-to-hand combat that Ethan is forced to use while he investigates as he tries to keep a step ahead of the law. His enemies? Mostly the homeless, or the drug-addicted, the violent products of street corners and the peculiar aura that seems to inundate the city that Ethan has made his home. Watch for the dimming lights in their eyes as you shatter their skulls with a thick pipe or shovel.
Scariest Aspect: Definitely when you go from beating up regular bums to defending yourself from the rapid, vast infestation of zombie-like creatures in the subway system.

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Don't worry if your head just falls off...

5. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (2002)
Nintendo GameCubeThe fastest way to a horror-lover's heart is through the brain. When Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was released in 2002, it was met with universal acclaim and numerous accolades. For horror titles to reach this amount of success, it has to be able to blend the horror with great plot, intricate gameplay and innovative mechanics. Eternal Darkness was able to fulfill these requirements while still reaching out to the hardcore horror fan. You control Alexandra Riovas, who is investigating the mysterious death (likely murder) of her grandfather. During the course of the game, you are able to embody a number of different characters, spanning thousands of years of history. The mystery unfolds while you begin to experience the insanity that has rooted itself in the minds of the other characters that you come across in your search. And the result is not only shock, it is extremely creepy. Don't be alarmed if your head falls off in the middle of a temple. It's probably only temporary.
Scariest Aspect: Is what you see real? Numerous times you will encounter a corpse (often presented in a fast cutscene) who does not appear to be real, or may exist in another timeframe. If you see a bathtub, don't look inside.

Fatal Frame II (570 x 428).jpg
Who needs guns?

4. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (2003)
Xbox, PlayStation 2
Japanese horror has fascinated American audiences for years, and the Fatal Frame series has been able to cash in on that craze at its inception. The second entry in the series is largely considered the scariest. Set in a Japanese village (I told you!) by a forest, two sisters follow a butterfly into the dense trees. There they discover a village where the dead do not rest, a place where the buildings are shrouded in fog. You play as Mio for the majority of the game, only occasionally switching to older-sis Mayu, as you encounter the many lost souls of the village. It sounds innocent and mildly scary, I know, but the real challenge is when you find out what your tool of ghost-destruction is -- a camera. No guns, no outrageous vacuum cleaner, just a camera. The kicker is... the closer the ghosts come to you, the more successful your shot will be (remember that the only way to eradicate them is through the lens of the camera). And these ghosts aren't friendly. Regarded by many as the scariest game of all time, Fatal Frame II is a fantastic mix of Japanese ghost story horror and original, strangely non-violent gameplay.
Scariest Aspect: If you feel a hand on your shoulder, make sure who know who it belongs to. These ghosts have a habit of touching you there.

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Hello, is there anybody out there?

3. Dead Space (2008)
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Dead Space is a scary as hell roller-coaster ride of a game. It blends brilliant scoring with the full capability of next generation hardware, a fantastic setting and frenetic action. From the first minute you become protagonist Isaac Clarke, you are shown the massive killing capabilities of the 'Necromorphs". These creatures, host parasites from a distant world, turn living, breathing humans into clawing, anthropomorphic murder machines. As a lowly engineer on a rescue ship (following a distress beacon, by the way... [are you not getting this? If there is a distress beacon, don't go to it!]), you come upon a crew that has been entirely decimated -- reduced to carnivorous aliens made of reanimated necrosis. They move through the air vents. Fast. Some will never die. They even took over the children. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is some scary shit.
Scariest Aspect: Occasionally, the room you are in will go into a quarantine mode. The doors will lock, the lights dim, and a screeching siren will wail. It is then that all of the messed up, raging aliens in a five hundred foot radius will flood to your area and set about making a quick dinner of your hind parts.

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I love you.

2. Silent Hill 2 (2001)
Xbox, PlayStation 2, PCThere are only a few horror franchises that belong in the canon of great video game franchises, and Silent Hill is certainly one of them. Each time we venture back into this mysterious, trippy, horrifying locale, we find ourselves fascinated by the brilliant creation of the monsters and the creepy atmosphere. These things, coupled with a magnificent score and engaging plot, make the Silent Hill series a must-own for fans of the horror genre. And especially Silent Hill 2. None of the other entries in the series have been able to put together such a complete package. I guarantee when you play this game, you will see some stuff that you would never expect to see in a video game.
Scariest Aspects: There is a certain part of this game where you see Pyramid Head doing the dirty with a few corpses...that will never leave my mind. Ever.

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You can stand under my um-bar-ella, ella, ella, aye, aye, aye.

1. Resident Evil (1996/2002)
Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii, PC, PlayStationNo other franchise in horror game history has defined the genre like Resident Evil. With around a half-dozen widely acclaimed, highly innovative games to their name, Capcom has built something that will likely be around for a very long time. The first entry in the series, as well as the subsequent remake of it, is often praised as the scariest game of all time. This survival horror title defined the genre, and its influence rings very clearly even today in games like Dead Space and the newer entries in the Silent Hill series. But it isn't only reputation that puts this game above the rest. It is the anus-tightening tension, the breathtaking fear that comes from traversing the old halls of the game's abandoned mansion setting. As you battle those infected by the viruses produced by the Umbrella Corporation, the slow moving zombies become your worst nightmare and it seems, no matter how many bullets you have, there certainly aren't enough to keep you safe.
Scariest Aspect: I'll give you two. For the original, it was the infected dogs jumping through the windows in that long hallway. Scares the hell out of me every time. For the REmake, it was the modification of Lisa Trevor. She is one scary-ass chick.

Honorable Mention:
Resident Evil 4, Silent Hill 3, The Suffering, Clock Tower, Alien Vs. Predator

p/s for me, I remember a time when one of my secondary school friend came over my house to play Fatal Frame II, it was so scary that we all shivering while watching him play. After cold sweat flows from his head he decided to quit and it was a sight of relieve for us lol, seriously Fatal Frame II will remain as the scariest game in my head for a very very long time.... and I love the art and concept behind that game. It truly is old but gold in our age. 

8 Response to "Top Ten Scariest Video Game"

  1. Silent Hill 2 should be number one, in my opinion. The horror of Silent Hill 2 lasts with the player after the game, not so much with Resident Evil.

    Anson Tan says:

    lol, I can't comment much about silent hill 2 as I never really finished the game. But its true that some of the grotesque monsters are disturbing and somewhat looks real scary. I guess the old horror games really did live in us until today. (probably I was still a kid then and the horror games eventually become my nightmare lol)

    Anonymous says:

    WTF?? no manhunt or manhunt 2????? Some creepy shit in those games...

    Anonymous says:

    Hehe the Silent Hill series is the best in my opinion. I freak out when I hear sirens now. It scares me outside of the game. If a game can embed horror so deep in your soul that it jumps out of the console and sticks in your has the be the best, right?

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