In my experience, I’ve found the biggest fans of Halloween out there to be sentimental types. That would certainly explain the traditions and rituals we all go through to celebrate this fun holiday. For many of us, October is a time for movie traditions. Lists exist all over the web, ranging from six Halloween movies to hundreds of horror films to watch in anticipation and celebration of October 31st. While horror movies and Halloween go together like peanut butter and jelly, it’s certainly understandable that there are other fans out there who want to celebrate in a slightly different way. For all of those gamers out there looking for a way to get in on the action, let’s take a moment to review some of the greatest horror-themed video games ever created. Some of these games scared the heck out of me as I played them while others simply contain a horror element to them that makes them memorable. If you are inspired by these selections, feel free to dust off an old console or two, pop in a disc, and button mash your way to Halloween scares!
If Watchmen is the text universally used to prove to the judgmental, stuffy types that graphic novels can be important works of literature, Bioshock is the video game to prove that games can be masterpieces of art as well. This game has its fair share of creepy and visceral moments, but it also tells a nuanced and sophisticated story that no one who has played it will never forget. Prepare to challenge your own ethics and philosophies as you navigate the underwater city of Rapture during some of its darkest days.
This is the game that started it all. Despite some of the silliest full motion videos and voice acting performances ever committed to the format, Resident Evil is full of genuine scares and hours of horrific encounters. The term “survival horror” comes from the game’s clunky controls, limited save and inventory options, and claustrophobic atmosphere. Younger fans may want to check out the remake, which has been slightly updated over the years and ported to all of the current generation consoles.
Silent Hill 2
Of the numerous survival horror games of the original Playstation era, I’ve always found the Silent Hill franchise to be the creepiest. The game took obvious cues from Western pop culture, such as David Lynch films and Hellraiser; there is also something eerily unique about the way the stories unfold. I chose Part 2 for this list because I found it to be more complex in the way it approached the characters and the subtext of the story. And who could forget the first appearance of Pyramid Head!?
If you’ve made your way through the earlier games on this list, now might be a good time to catch your breath! When the Nintendo Gamecube launched in 2001, the only way for fans to scratch their Mario Bros. itch was by picking up Luigi’s Mansion. While the format is very different from the platforming perfection gamers were used to, the game has a distinct and quirky personality that shouldn’t be overlooked. Spend some quality time with Luigi and catch a few ghosts in between answering your door this Halloween!
Dust off your camera and wipe that lens clean, because we’re headed back to the PS2 generation for Fatal Frame! While other survival horror games on this list create stressful situations for gamers by limiting supplies and resources, Fatal Frame achieves similar success by arming the protagonist with little more than a camera to combat the undead! While the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series have more of an American feel to them despite being made by Japanese companies, Fatal Frame has the important distinction of feeling much more like a J-Horror film than any of these other titles.
This game happens to be the newest game on the list. Taking advantage of next generation graphics and processing, Alien: Isolation managed to create the most realistic portrayal of being stuck in space with the famous Xenomorph yet! Due to limited supplies and overpowered enemies, this is one of the harder games of the current console generation, and the quality of the graphics and lighting make this the kind of game you’ll have a hard time playing in the dark! It’s rare that games based on movies get this much right. And remember… on Xbox Live (if you hit the mute button), no one can hear your scream!