Much like the creepy wooden doll on the big wheel in the corner that is staring deep into your soul, we would like to play a game… actually, we want to play 13 games, and they have to be the very BEST games to play during the month of October, with no limit to the year the game came out, the console on which the game originated or the active availability of said games. We’ve locked our Trunk Gaming staff in a closet with nothing but a bag of candy corn and an extensive list of video games to comb through in order to find you the most horrifying of all the polygons, bit graphics and full motion video. Here is what they came up with!
Though this game is technically an over the head shooter, you can’t help but recognize this game set the groundwork for the beautiful mood lighting that console games boast today, and we’re not talking Red Lobster, prom date lighting. This was one of the first games to show actual gradients and creepy flash light lighting that will have you reaching for the contrast button while playing late at night. Some could even argue the Loaded series was the forerunner for some of the trigger-happy horror games like Devil May Cry.
12. Altered Beast
Perhaps one of the earliest games, if not the earliest, to tackle life as a werewolf or an “Altered Beast.” Somewhere between a side-scrolling fight-fest and a horror flick, this game was one of the pioneers that made transforming into a monster as routine as getting fireballs from a mushroom in Mario Bros.
11. Luigi’s Mansion
Speaking of the famous plumbing Mario Brothers, Luigi stepped out of his brother’s gaming shadow and into…well, a lot more shadows in a haunted mansion! Traversing this side scroller and busting ghosts with your vacuum and flashlight was the best Ghostbuster experience to hit the gaming realm up to this point. The popularity of this now retro game has even launched a current ping-pong ball based arcade game that can be found in arcades around the globe.
10. Splatter House
Splatter House was one of the earliest games to attempt the horror genre and do it with great success. Though the first game was not featured on a mainstream console, it still garnered a fan base that launched the Splatter House franchise and made Sega Genesis the console to get if you wanted to play Galaga with the undead creatures of the night.
9. Doom II
To talk about the horror genre without discussing Doom II would be like talking mob movies and leaving out The Godfather. Simply put, Doom II was the best first-person shooter to grace PCs and terrify parents and teachers alike. Some of our Trunk Gaming staff may even remember having a friend that put Doom II on their school’s server so students could meet for “study hour” in the computer lab and blast some demons. This was also a major turning point in the discussion of age appropriate ratings for video games.
8. The Evil Within 2
Unlike movies, sequels in the horror gaming industry just get better and better with each new installment. The Evil Within 2 is no exception. This gaming experience truly plunges you into a surreal world that is as terrifying as it is gorgeous. This survival horror story is the ultimate John McClane experience and will no doubt be the fuel of our nightmares for months to come.
7. The Last of Us (remastered)
We chose the remastered version of The Last of Us because if the devil is in the details, then this game is carrying a pitchfork and twirling its mustache while sitting on a flaming throne. This installment was among the first to put you in a cinematic gaming experience. For the first time, you have some control during full motion portions of the game, which was unheard of at this time, and helps you feel like you’re experiencing this fungus zombie world in real time.
Yup, the one for the NES! Anyone else remember this? There weren’t many things to be scared of on the old NES system, but the Jaws game boasted that recognizable John Williams soundtrack and put you pixel-to-pixel with the great white beast. This was also one of the first games to switch between side scrolling to first person interaction.
5. Friday the 13th
The latest installment for the PS4, Xbox One and PC is as close as you will get (or should want to get) to being in an actual Friday the 13th movie. The game serves up the option to play as a camper or the poor, misunderstood serial killer, Jason Voorhees. Though there are some gameplay issues that people get hung up on, you have to tip your hockey mask to the overall gaming experience.
4. Silent Hill
Just the idea of those sirens sounding and the ghastly otherworldly realm taking over your screen is as anxiety inducing an experience as any ever created by a video game. The haunting score and use of lighting were among the first to perfectly replicate the horror experience of suspense in a video game setting.
3. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
This was that wonderful era when Nintendo took all their NES titles and plussed them up with “Super” in front of every title, but… in this instance we have to agree with them. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts began exploring the idea of gaming on different levels of depth much like an animation cell. You could have things happening on multiple fields of game play at the same time. This was groundbreaking stuff and helped fill your screen with numerous ways to lose your armor or be cursed into a wee little baby adventurer.
2. Super Castlevania IV
Another plussed up offering from Nintendo, Super Castlevania began delving into the realm of 3D with levels like the swirling casket room – you know the one that you have to have a Dramamine before playing now? Also impressive for its time was the masterful soundtrack. We realized upon playing the SNES Classic console that was recently released, just hearing the first few notes of the soundtrack, you immediately recalled which level and experience you were about to have.
1. Resident Evil
The crème de la crème of the horror gaming genre. Resident Evil easily takes the heavyweight title in our book. It’s the first video game we remember playing and having an actual horror movie response of jumping in surprise when the undead dog jumps through the window to chase you down the hallway. Never mind that this gaming franchise also spawned a successful butt-kicking movie franchise featuring Milla Jovovich, the Resident Evil games continue to stand on their own and terrify fans in fresh and horrifying ways. Look for Resident Evil 2 remastered coming up in early 2019!