Since today is Halloween, it seemed only fitting to talk about horror games. And since everybody likes Top Ten lists (or so the continued existence of BuzzFeed and WatchMojo has led me to believe) I present you with my personal Top Ten Horror Games. This is my personal list, so I am aware that you may or may not disagree with the list.

Anyway, on with the list!

Number 10 – Sanitarium (PC – 1998)

Sweet baby Christ, I hate that clown!

Sweet baby Christ, I hate that clown!

Sanitarium is a point-and-click adventure game about an amnesiac named Max who travels through several worlds, that may or may not be partially, or wholly, created in his imagination, in the search to find his lost memories. The game is full of puzzles to solve and very strange characters to talk to. Each world has a different theme (a dilapidated asylum, a haunted town overrun by creepy children, a hive of creepy bugs, etc…) and the entire game has some great visuals. Overall, the story and the visuals help create a very spooky atmosphere that actually helped earn this game Adventure of the Year in Computer Gaming World back in 1998 when it came out, as well as the tenth spot on my list.

Number 9 –  Dreadhalls (Oculus Rift – 2015)

In virtual reality, no one can hear you scream!

In virtual reality, no one can hear you scream!

Dreadhalls is a very straightforward stealth/survival game for the Oculus Rift where you play as an unfortunate soul who awoke in a dungeon with nothing to defend yourself and your goal is only to escape and survive. No only are the visuals and the atmosphere in this game good enough to creep you out on their own, but the fact that you play this game with the Oculus Rift means that you, personally, are thrown into this dungeon and you quickly fall into the role of the helpless victim trying to survive. If you haven’t yet bought one of the Rift dev kits and are waiting for a commercial release, this is one of the first games you will want to put on your shopping list. And the second item on that list should probably be an extra clean pair of shorts.

Number 8 – Sonic.exe (PC – 2012)

That looks completely normal, I'm sure everything's fine... Right?

That looks completely normal, I’m sure everything’s fine… Right?

Are you a fan of the 2D side-scrolling platform action of Sonic the Hedgehog? Do you like having nightmares and peeing yourself and screaming like a little girl? Well then this is absolutely the game for you! Sonic.EXE is heavily modded port of the Sonic the Hedgehog game that is designed to terrify. As you progress through the various levels you play as Miles Prower (Tails), Knuckles the Echidna, and Dr. Robotnik (his name is NOT Eggman) and each one of them has a very high chance of dying. As you move through the levels you will find certain controls (like the ability to jump) becoming disabled after a while. You may also notice that if you backtrack, go the wrong way, or juts generally try to do the opposite of what the game wants you to do, there will be surprises waiting for you. Personally, the game was only somewhat creepy until I got to the part where the game referred to me by name; it was at that point that I began crying and bought myself 73 nightlights on Amazon.

Number 7 – Alien: Isolation (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbone – 2014)

I don't know that the radar was necessary in this instance.

I don’t know that the radar was necessary in this instance.

Alien: Isolation is a video game sequel to the original Ridley Scott horror classic, Alien. This game takes place 15 years after the movie and focuses around the efforts of Amanda Ripley in her endeavor to discover the truth about the disappearance of her mother. Any fan of the movie would be correct in expecting some good horror atmosphere and an H.R. Giger alien antagonist. This game, unlike most other games based on the franchise, does not focus on killing the alien monster, but instead surviving and remaining hidden from it. While the game does give you weapons and inventory items that can be used to craft bombs and other helpful items, your ammunition is limited and your best bet to try and stay hidden and avoid confrontation instead of running in guns blazing. And in the process of trying to sneak through a large space station, expect to have your pants scared off with a dark, sci-fi environment and some very menacing monsters. I’m not even much of a fan of the FPS genre but found a lot of enjoyment in playing (and being repeatedly killed in) this game.

Number 6 – Resident Evil 4 (GC, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 – 2005)

This is why you shouldn't marry your cousin... Arkansas, I'm looking at you!

This is why you shouldn’t marry your cousin… Arkansas, I’m looking at you!

If you don’t know about Resident Evil 4 then you must have been living very comfortably under a very large rock as the game is arguably the most popular and well-known entry in the Resident Evil franchise. The game garnered a myriad of awards including several Game of the Year awards in 2005, and was greatly praised for it’s gameplay, story, and characters. But what’s also very notable in this game is the scare factor. Aside from your standard zombies, of which there are numerous, this game has many hellish beasts for you to encounter, and most of them will jump out at you when you don’t expect it and look creepy enough that you may shudder thinking about them, even long after you turn the game off. And the first time you are attacked by a chainsaw in the first level and don’t do well-enough in the quicktime event to fend off the attack, you will feel tense and unnerved as the enemy rends your flesh apart. TL;DR: This game is fun to play and spooky as heck.

Number 5 – Outlast (PC, PS4, Xbone – 2013)

I bet he just wants to see if I can spare a Tic Tac.

I bet he just wants to see if I can spare a Tic Tac.

It’s a happy coincidence that I am talking about this game and that the sequel was just recently announced. If you watch Let’s Play videos at all, then you are probably already painfully aware of just how popular this game is in the gaming community and how wonderfully it scares everyone who plays it. Not only is the atmosphere creepy, but the monsters that chase you are relentless. And sometimes, while playing, I’m not sure if it’s worse to be killed by the monsters or to be hiding in a locker, hoping not to be found, while the monster stalks about the room around me, catching only glimpses of it through the air slats in the locker. This game has perfected putting the player on edge and keeping you on pins and needles the entire time you are playing. This is certainly not one for the weak at heart.

Number 4 – Condemned: Criminal Origins (Xbox 360, PC – 2005)

She may be taking bondage a bit too far...

She may be taking bondage a bit too far…

Condemned is a game that was released early in the life of the Xbox 360 and got a lot of acclaim, for good reason. It focused on melee combat and was very intense and gory. In fact, the violence and gore in the game were so intense that the game was pulled from shelves and banned in Germany. While there are jump scares a plenty, the real scare factor in this game comes from the unsettling nature of the corpses and viscera that you will not only encounter but will have to investigate. Speaking of, the whole story focuses on the player being Ethan Thomas, and investigator who is trying to find a murderer that frames him for killing two of his colleagues and as the story progresses you start to question Ethan’s sanity, as he has disturbing visions and begins to encounter not-quite-human monsters. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that the story, while maybe not the best I’ve ever seen, is certainly not bad and feels like the plot line of a true horror movie.

Number 3 – Amnesia: the Dark Descent (PC – 2010)

This isn't where I parked my car...

This isn’t where I parked my car…

Amnesia is another award-winning game that is played in the first-person perspective and makes you feel like you are in the game. But this is unlike most other games for several reasons. The first bit of gameplay that stands out is the mechanics for interacting with objects. Doors, for example, need to be grabbed with the mouse button and then either pushed or pulled by moving the mouse up or down. This adds a new element to the game in that you can now open a door only slightly and peer into a room before entering. You can also accidentally panic and try to push open a door from the side where you need to pull while being chased. The other, even more exciting feature, is the Sanity Meter that sits just beside the health meter in the game. If you spend too much time surrounded by darkness, or stare too long at a monster, or witness a particularly gruesome or disturbing act, your sanity will start to drain. As it does, you will start have to visual and auditory hallucinations. Not only that, but monsters will start being more drawn to you. So not only will you not know what is really there and what isn’t, but the monsters that were driving you insane will now have an easier time finding and killing you. A true downward spiral if I’ve ever heard of one.

Number 2 – Silent Hill 2 (PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360 – 2001)

Well that's unfortunate; I could have used a good hole.

Well that’s unfortunate; I could have used a good hole.

Silent Hill 2 is often cited as the best entry in the franchise. And while Silent Hills maybe had a chance to dethrone it, it was cancelled so the crown remains atop the head of this decade and a half old classic. This game sold over a million copies in only a month and was highly praised for its graphics, story, atmosphere, and monster design. And unlike some of the other games on the list, this game focuses not just on gore, but more on psychological horror. It brings up taboo topics like torture and incest, and has some truly gruesome monsters to both unsettle and scare you. And the foggy atmosphere and effects and soundtrack will do much to increase the uneasy feeling and keep you on edge as you explore the infamous town of Silent Hill in search of your dead wife.

Honorable Mentions:

Before going into Number 1, I thought I’d mention two games that almost made the list, but didn’t.

Slender (PC – 2012)

Since you are currently reading this article on the internet than it is safe to assume you are aware of the phenomenom that is Slender, or at least its antagonist, Slender Man. The game tasks you with simply collecting eight pages of paper in a dark, foggy forest. You are equipped with a flashlight and nothing else and your task is made more difficult by a tall, thin monster named Slender Man. His nearing the player is marked by a loud piano slamming noise and the sound of static. These sounds add to an already eerie soundtrack and induce panic in the player quickly. While the game is short and can be beaten fairly quickly, it is still a notable survival game and definitely one worth playing.

Doom 3 (PC, Xbox – 2004)

While the other games in the Doom series have always touched on common themes found in the horror genre (demons, hell, sacrificial corpses, blood, etc…) Doom 3 was the first entry in the series to truly be a horror game. While you still play as a space marine with the task of killing every alien and hellish demon you encounter, this game does much more to create a dark and sinister atmosphere and frighten you with gruesome monsters, unsettling scenes, and jump scares a plenty. This is a game that would do well to entertain fans of the FPS genre or the horror genre (which traditionally overlap anyway.)

And now, without further stalling:

Number 1 – Dead Space (PC, PS3, Xbox 360 – 2008)

Well, I won't be sleeping now tonight. Thank, jerk!

Well, I won’t be sleeping now tonight. Thank, jerk!

Dead Space is a game that spawned two sequels, a comic book, an animated movie, earned many awards and positive reviews, and sold over two million copies. The game has incredible monsters, ample gore, great atmosphere and effects, and enough scares to put Freddy Kruger to shame. The game is full of Necromorphs (reanimated, mutated corpses) and the player takes on the role of Isaac, an engineer with makeshift weapons crafted from engineering and mining tools, who is trying to survive and save the rest of the crew from his ship, Kellion. One notable aspect of the game is that while playing, you are always in danger. Even while reviewing the map or inventory interface, the player can be attacked and killed, so all decisions must be made quickly, which can quickly add an element of urgency and panic to the playing experience. I don’t want to spoil any of the story, as it is actually quite compelling, but I will say that the character and story development is incredibly well-written and would lend itself to a film adaptation quite well and could easily stand alongside some of the more formidable horror franchises. If you only play one horror game, make sure it is this one because this game will give you a gameplay experience you aren’t likely to forget, especially because you won’t want to close your eyes in the dark to sleep for at least a week .

About The Author

Dean M
YouTube Content Creator

Saying I have an obsession for video games is a bit of an understatement. Like Ash Ketchum my goal is to collect them all! I currently have over 1,600 games spanning more than 40 consoles and almost as many years and I have played all but a very small handful of them (I can't bring myself to open the older sealed games - even if it is the only copy I have of the game.) I like all genres and platforms but RPGs are my favorite and nothing beats the SNES if you want to have a good time while gaming. In my time away from gaming I'm a big fan of the outdoors (a bit of a 180, eh?) and a huge fan of animals. I have a dog, two snakes, and a dove and I love to spend time checking out zoos or volunteering at animal shelters.