When it comes to spooky stories, no medium does it like video games. Sure, movies run the gamut from the cheesy Hocus Pocus to the terrifying IT. Authors from H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King mess with your imagination, haunting your thoughts for hours after you close their books. Even creepypasta has its place in the pantheon of horror (known as “the trash”).
But no other medium truly puts you in terrifying situations like video games do. The Slender Man games and Amnesia work so well because you’re in charge of your own adventure. Your actions can lead to a jump scare, leading to all sorts of hesitation and heightened tension.
To get in the proper mood, we’ve gathered a list of abso-boo-tely spooky games to check out for Halloween. Whether you’re a seasoned ghost hunter or a jumpy novice, you’re sure to find something to put you in a haunting state of mind.
Resident Evil 7
Twisting the familiar and mundane into something alien is a common trope in horror games, but Resident Evil 7 really takes it to the next level. The franchise is known for its over-the-top portrayals of a man-made zombie apocalypse. This entry, however, grounds the series. The early parts set the scene well, as you’re kidnapped and forced to join a horrifying family dinner. Everything’s peachy until someone literally loses an arm and you for-real lose a leg. This game puts the horror in survival horror.
If you prefer the sci-fi aesthetic, look no further than Dead Space. This game (and its direct sequel) absolutely nail the claustrophobic feeling of being on an infested space station. Enemies can only be killed via dismemberment, making the gameplay itself feel just a little off. Visceral plays with your expectations, hinting at one jump scare but terrifying you with another. No place on the ship is safe—none. It’s too bad we likely won’t see another Dead Space in the future, but its spirit remains alive today.
It’s not often a modern game ditches jump scares and gore in favor of suspense and your imagination to scare you. Without revealing too much (the game is about 15 minutes long), September 1999 is an unsettling and short experience that everyone who’s a fan of horror should play. You can get it here for your own price; it’s worth it.
by Nick Maillet
Bloodborne‘s mixture of atmospheric horror and frenetic combat makes it a perfect Halloween confection. Yharnam’s rich, detailed environments beg to be mined for hidden secrets, but the myriad horrors guarding each withered corridor and stately cathedral deter all but the most dedicated players. I won’t spoil the game’s many surprises, but Hidetaka Miyazaki’s magnum opus is far more than a simple tale about vampires and werewolves. As with other From Software games, Bloodborne has an oceanic raft of lore to discover, but if you simply want to kick back and kill some monsters, you can leave it at that. Fear the Old Blood… By the gods, fear it.
by Joe Allen
Resident Evil 2 (remake)
If you play but one part of the Resident Evil 2 remake, play through the police station in the middle of the night with all of your lights turned off. Immerse yourself in the experience so that you can vicariously feel the fear Leon and Claire as they trudge through Raccoon City PD, avoiding everything from decaying zombies, lickers, and… is that Mr. X in a g-string? Seriously though, Mr. X is terrifying, and anything you can do to mitigate that fear should be done. If it’s that g-string mod, you do you. Either way, you need to play Resident Evil 2 if you want to experience one of this year’s best (and scariest) games.
by Austin Suther
One of my favorite Halloween pastimes is staying up late and watching horror movies with buddies, riffing on the cheesy characters while simultaneously pretending to be the least scared person in the room. Until Dawn, basically an interactive horror movie, takes this experience and makes it even better by letting you and your friends control the characters yourselves and tease each other for their inability to keep a group of teenagers alive. It’s the perfect party game to play on Halloween night.
by Jack Waibel
What are you playing for Halloween? Let us know in the comments below.