By: Alec Shay
There are increasingly many free indie horror games on the Internet – computer games that may be either finished or currently in development, but still available for play. These games are, admittedly, much harder to produce without a paid team to produce as with games you need to buy, but many of them are impressive enough to be respectable horror games that are definitely worth trying. Either way, they are put on the Internet for player enjoyment, so it is a good idea to check some out.
Among the most popular of this genre of games is the notorious Slender. Slender is a free project by Parsec Productions (available for download at www.parsecproductions.net/slender). It puts the player in a creepy 3-D forest environment and gives the player the mission of simply collecting eight mysterious pages around the woods. After collecting one or two of them, however, the player must become increasingly cautious to avoid the ominous "Slender Man," who quietly stalks the player more relentlessly (and with more intense atmosphere) the more pages the player has managed to collect. Slender has become almost iconic for indie horror games on the Internet, with its straightforward gameplay but thrilling scares.
Although they are typically less focused on horror or scaring the player, 2-D indie games are also growing in number on the Internet. Often made with freely available 2-D game software (such as "RPG Maker"), these games are harder to make genuinely scary because of their less in-depth graphics and typically cartoon-like or anime style. This drawback, thus, causes these games to generally invest less in being really scary (although the premise usually is not lacking in horror) and more in story. Some examples of this type of game includes "Mad Father" (about a young girl trying to save her father from the ghosts of victims of his crazed "experimentation") and "The Crooked Man" (about a man haunted by a gruesome monster trying to unravel the story of the man who lived in his apartment before him). Both of these games and quite a few others are also freely available on the Internet.
Finally, another free horror game worthy of note is SCP: Containment Breach. The game's protagonist is a "Class D" prisoner in a secret facility full of dangerous "SCP" beings; the player must explore a (randomly-generated with different seeds for each game) maze of corridors to find a way out and away from the murderous creatures. The game's main antagonist is "SCP-173", a statue-like thing that moves at unbelievable speeds and only stops moving when someone is looking at it. Containment Breach is based on the website of the "SCP Foundation" (www.scp-wiki.net), which is a fictional organization dedicated to containing various secret, anomalous objects or entities; SCP can stand for either "Special Containment Procedures" or the company's motto, "Secure, Contain, Protect." The SCP that they contain have all sorts of strange and unnerving stories and histories, and so taking a look at the website can help offer some background on the game. The game itself is still being worked on with infrequent updates, but is still fully playable and up for downloading at scpcbgame.com (which also provides a download for SCP-087-B, an older game also about SCP).
These games are mere highlights of all the free indie horror games on the Internet. A simple web search of "free indie horror games" alone will introduce even more such games – some of them more well-crafted than others, but all of them waiting for someone new to give them a try. Whether you are looking for more horror beyond well-advertised works, or just like to try free stuff, horror game fans should look into trying at least a couple of these games.