What a week it’s been. For this week’s Community Question, we’re ignoring it all.
Continuing our October run-down of Halloween themed questions, this week we’re talking about the scariest settings in video games. This can be a single level, a general atmosphere for a game’s world; it can be whatever you want! So tell us in the comments: What do you think is the scariest video game setting?
I’m cheating and doing two places. Scariest goes to the mannequin store in Condemned: Criminal Origins. Seriously, it still makes my skin crawl just watching it on YouTube. There are some very well-done scares in this game, but this whole section is terrifying and never lets up. You feel like you’re constantly being watched, and can’t trust anything.
But on the creepy side, shoutouts to Lavender Town for not only inspiring some early creepypasta, but also being the most grim part of Pokemon Red and Blue. It’s a literal Pokemon graveyard! You fight your rival there, possibly next to the grave of a Raticate that you killed! The music of Lavender Town is one of the most recognizable tunes in Pokemon.
I hate that BioShock put a weapon upgrade station in that one basement. You know, the one where those terrifying Splicers who pose as plaster statues get the drop on you. Even on subsequent playthroughs when I knew what was coming, I still dreaded going down those steps for a little extra firepower.
I’m pretty creeped out by the True Lab in Undertale. It’s a dark, mysterious place where creepy things happen, plus it’s where you learn about some of Undertale’s darker story elements. Typical enemy encounters are scrambled up, too. Sprites amalgamate to form twisted monsters, text boxes overlap to become unreadable messes, and enemies “talk” with indecipherable dial-up noises. It’s a great reminder that horror doesn’t have to come from 4K graphics and billion-dollar budgets. Sometimes messing around with familiar systems (like the interface for an RPG for example) is all it takes to give you goosebumps.
There’s a chapter in Dead Space 2 where you go back to the Ishimura, the ship where the first game takes place that’s now quarantined, and it’s rattling. The Ishimura is more claustrophobic than the main setting of Dead Space 2, with a lot of narrow halls and scary sounds coming from all directions. It’s crazy how different the location’s vibe is from the more horror-action of Dead Space 2, which while good, is never really as scary as its predecessor. That is, until you’re back on the Ishimura again. The return feels jarring but also like deja vu, but in a good way.