Ever since the advent of the VCR, it’s been a tradition for kids to pop in some horror flicks when Halloween night rolls around. But a new generation is here, one that grew up playing console video games, and one that saw the rise of the “survival horror” genre. It only makes sense, then, that Halloween tradition accommodate video games as much as movies. Who knows, with the rise of technologies like VR, maybe gaming will become so immersive that one day soon it will render scary movies obsolete. In the meantime, here are some games perfect for Halloween night. The below options have been selected for optimum creep factor as opposed to slick graphics or other tech specs.
Makes sense to put the 800-pound gorilla of Raccoon City up front. Purists may cite “Alone in the Dark” as the start of the survival-horror genre, but “Resident Evil’s unique story, great game mechanics and good gory fun count for more in the long run. It had puzzles, the inventory system, zombie dogs and the licker. ‘Nuff said. Admittedly, the nostalgia factor helps with the re-playability, but even objective gamers should agree that this title always offer up solid, Halloween-worthy frights. It is worth mentioning that the voice acting in the original “Resident Evil,” has a high cheese factor. Those who want some better jump scares might do well to play the sequel, “Resident Evil 2,” instead.
When Konami decided to try their hand at the survival-horror genre in the ‘90s, they were smart enough not to rip off “Resident Evil.” Where in that game you often had ample weaponry to dispatch the undead, in “Silent Hill” you had just two bullets with which to work your magic. It was more of a tease than anything, and it did nothing to steel your resolve for those inevitable encounters with ghouls and flying monsters. Where “Silent Hill” really excelled, though, was in the premise and the atmosphere. By putting the player in the shoes of an everyman, the game ratcheted up the tension, as did the fog-shrouded city streets and dark hallways. “Silent Hill 2” is considered an all-time-great game, and “Silent Hill 4: The Room” is also guaranteed to scare gamers silly.
Whether in “The Ring” or “The Shining” one incontrovertible truth remains: little girls are freaky. And in “F.E.A.R.”, the little girl in question is Alma. With that black hair and red dress, she’s all but guaranteed to put the requisite scares in your Halloween gaming experience. What also makes this action-horror entry unnerving is the fact that even the hero is prone to nervous fits, as evidenced in his quick breathing and shaky grip before and after combat.
Slender: the Arrival
Keeping in mind some recent backstory makes playing this already unsettling game an even creepier experience. What started as a simple meme in 2009 took the Internet by storm. By all accounts, the “Slender Man,” a faceless figure in a suit that torments children, became a grassroots hit. It even led to the adaption of the character into this survival horror title. But in 2014, two Wisconsin 12-year-olds, girls, led a friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times. The victim barely survived, and her attackers are being charged as adults for attempted murder. Their reason for the attack: they said they were trying to appease Slender Man. Now that you’ve got that tidbit bouncing around in your head, how about you dim the lights and start the game. Feel free to search around in Kate’s abandoned house. And let’s see how well you hold it together when you first spot Slender Man outside that window.
This is a thin list, to be sure, but it leaves room for horror gamers everywhere to add their two cents. What do you think? What are some of the best games to play on Halloween?