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5 Scary Games to Play in the Dark

/ Oct 21st, 2014 1 Comment

5 scary video games

Well, friends and fear-seekers, it’s that time again where gamers around the world look to fulfill their lust for horror during the Halloween season. The release of Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within made this season especially terrifying for gamers, but those looking for some extra thrills can look back to these five titles that will be sure to make a night alone seem to last just a tad too long.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Throughout the years, many Zelda games have brought tragic moments, creepy enemies and even some horrifying revelations, but none quite like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Serving as a true sequel, gamers found themselves once again controlling the “Ocarina of Time Link” as he traveled back into the Lost Woods. Published and developed by Nintendo, Majora’s Mask took players out of Hyrule to a land rife with problems needing solving.

Insert Linkin Park song here.

Insert Linkin Park song here.

The deep traumas felt in the game ranged from the simple — lovers torn apart by a curse — to the complex — a daughter wishing to cure her horribly transfigured father. Many of the game’s subplots could only be resolved by learning new songs, finding new items, or completing a specific order of events. The main story was a deeply sad experience complete with horrifying moments. While not inherently frightening, many of the games moments include deeply disturbing images, such as lost souls trapped in masks, a strange mask salesman and his fury, and even little girls traumatized by night kidnappings. Enduring The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is to meet a terrible fate, but well worth the experience.

4. Bioshock

Somewhere beyond the sea, developers 2K Boston and 2K Australia created a modern gaming staple. Released in 2007, Bioshock is part gritty shooter, part tragic story adventure. Gamers got their first look at the underwater dystopia of Rapture through the eyes of a silent protagonist led by a kindly bloke named Atlas. While some of the graphical marvels of Bioshock have faded as technology has progressed, the gameplay and story remain sophisticated as ever.

The Kool-Aid Man's insane cousin, he drinks out of you.

The Kool-Aid Man’s insane cousin, he drinks out of you.

The ambiance is one of dark decay as players must explore a slowly crumbling city with few well-lit environments. Ghosts and audiologs fill in the city’s gaps, while crazed lunatics roam the halls looking to take a piece out of hapless explorers. Bioshock arms players well, but daunting and dangerous enemies attack from all sides. Playing this game in the dark doesn’t necessarily lead to genuine scares, but playing some Bobby Darin and dimming the lights will set the mood. The creepy atmosphere and nostalgic remorse are sure to sink deep into any gamer, so kindly hit the lights.

3. F.E.A.R.

First Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R.) is a departure from the previous two entries of the series in that players are actually able to fight back. In the first-person shooter developed by Monolith Productions/Day 1 Studios, players take control of a “point-man” in a paranormal pseudo-SWAT team. Despite being released in 2005, the game’s gritty graphics and dark motif have seemingly barely aged, which means gamers won’t have to fear pixelation.

Murder is the only solace from my inner demons.

Murder is the only solace from my inner demons.

In the game, players will endure a creepy girl, strange happenings, and some mysterious deaths while the game keeps tropes alive and invokes nightmares. The scares in F.E.A.R. are not classic jump-back scares, but players are consumed with the inate horror of having a full arsenal of weapons and still being unable to do anything as that creepy little bitch approaches. Playing this game in the dark is sure to make the hair on even the toughest guy stand up.

2. Five Nights At Freddy’s

Released in August, Five Nights At Freddy’s became an instant cult classic. Those who have played have been welcomed with a new meaning of terror. Developed and published by Scott Cawton, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a point-and-click survival-horror game that puts players in control of a night security guard at a “Chuck-E-Cheese” style restaurant where the animatronics come to life.

I've seen enough snuff films to know where this is going.

I’ve seen enough snuff films to know where this is going.

Despite the static point-and-click gameplay and stationary imagery, Five Nights At Freddy’s invokes fear when objects suddenly appear on screen. One moment a camera feed is empty, and the next, there stands a seemingly lifeless animatronic slowly edging closer. Turning off the lights will allow players to fully immerse themselves in the game and activate a willing suspension of disbelief. While the guard sits alone in the dark watching the camera feed, so too does the player, thus creating a connection and heightening the tension all the more.

1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent holds nothing back as it terrifies players from the get-go. Originally released in 2010, Amnesia: The Dark Descent was developed by Frictional Games and published by now-defunct THQ. It brought the gaming industry a major scarefest that still holds up today. Players start the game confused and unsure, slowly traversing through an abandoned castle with barely a lantern to guide them.

Nope. No thanks. Goodbye.

Nope. No, thanks. Goodbye.

This game thrives when being played in the dark. Many of the creatures stalking gamers come off as peripheral terrors versus flesh and blood monsters. The game encourages players to not look directly at the creatures as it attracts them to the game’s protagonist, which usually ends in a gruesome demise. This concept of peripheral terror is deeply tied into real-world psychology through the notion of the human mind filling in gaps — the explanation behind such phenomena as “Bloody Mary” and other creepy party games — and it is this that makes Amnesia: The Dark Descent the perfect game to boot up for a spooky evening in the dark.


Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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One response to “5 Scary Games to Play in the Dark”

  1. Ryan Bloom says:

    Love that the theme isn’t necessarily scary games, but is games to play in the dark. There’s some great new games that came out recently that could be great to play in the dark, too.

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