VAN, 03:13 PM
VAN, 03:13 PM

Game Nightmares: 13 of the scariest games to play this Halloween season

Game Nightmares: 13 of the scariest games to play this Halloween season

In Room 8 Group, passion for games runs deep in everything we do. We aren’t just game creators. We’re also avid players. With Halloween on the horizon, we decided to delve into our team’s most treasured horror gaming experiences.

From the intense immersion of Alien: Isolation, paying homage to the iconic movie, to the unexpected horrors found in the most unlikely places, like a fishing simulator in Dredge, these games offer a diverse range of spine-tingling thrills. Silent Hill 2 and Dead Space take us on a nostalgia trip to those unforgettable childhood scares while new horrors like Metal: Hellsinger attack us with armies of demons accompanied by hair-raising metal music. 

Here are 13 creepy stories from our team about their scariest gaming experiences. Who knows, you might unearth some forgotten gems! 

Konrad Kowalczyk, Unity Developer
Game: Ghosthunter
Developer: SCE Cambridge Studio
Publishers: EU: Sony Computer Entertainment, NA: Namco, JP: Electronic Arts
Release: EU: December 5, 2003, NA: August 17, 2004, JP: September 2, 2004

For me, it is and always will be Ghosthunter on PS2. Climate lighting combined with my CRT TV made a scary atmosphere, and jumpscares timed perfectly were elements that had a great impact on my 12 year old taste in games. Aside from that, there was the mechanic that required catching ghosts instead of killing them, so during a dynamic fight, you had to aim some ghost-catching “disc” at the ghost, hit it, and hope that it was weakened enough to be able to catch it. It made me feel a sense of panic and urgency during a fight. 

Game: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee 
Developers: Oddworld Inhabitants, Digital Dialect (PC), Saffire (Game Boy)
Publisher: GT Interactive
Release: September 18, 1997

Technically, it’s not a horror, but a game with a great and sometimes scary atmosphere: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. In this game, the vulnerability of our protagonist was something that developers pushed to the limit. We couldn’t have a direct fight with enemies because we would be instant-killed, and instead, the player had to play hide-and-seek with the enemies, solving puzzles and sneaking around. But constant tension about being caught, combined with great visuals guiding Abe’s adventures made this game feel scary and tense.

Yurii Sverbitskyi, C++ Engine_UE Developer
Game: Alien: Isolation
Developer: Creative Assembly
Publisher: Sega
Release: October 6, 2014

No doubt, for me, it’s going to be Alien: Isolation. Amazing and careful recreation of the first movie’s visual design. Incredible lightning and graphics overall, which still hold up even today. The cherry on top – the Alien, the perfect organism. There’s still lots of praise for its AI implementation, and Creative Assembly just nailed its role of the ultimate predator in the gameplay.

As an Alien fan, this is a must-play. Although the game has some issues with pacing, I still think very fondly of my first playthrough even today. This title holds a special place in my heart because, thanks to it, I befriended the second closest person to me in my life. 

Karyna Khoroshailo Character Concept Art Sub-Division Art Director
Game: Dead Space
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release: October 21, 2008

I’m a huge fan of horror and science fiction, so I couldn’t pass by Dead Space. I loved this survival horror from the first minute, and it became one of my favorites right away. The game is amazing, with gorgeous gameplay and adaptive sound design. It keeps you in high suspense when you come to a corner and look behind it – not to mention the monsters suddenly jumping out of the vents. You can’t hide from them, and you can’t cheat the game.

Dead Space was the first game I saw with UI integrated into the picture, where your health is displayed on the character’s suit, and ammo, backpack, etc. as holograms. Special attention was paid to the death animations of the main character Isaac Clarke – there were about 40 of them with the most epic deaths, such as dismemberment, etc. – gore in all its glory. Dead Space gave me a lot of unforgettable emotions, it’s where my journey into gamedev started, and I was incredibly honored to participate in its remake! Here, at Room 8 Studio, we worked on some of the levels and environment, concept, and graphic design. And playing the remake gave me huge pride, knowing I had been a part of making it.

Dmitrii Kramnoi, Animation 2D Team Lead
Game: Metal: Hellsinger
Developer: The Outsiders
Publisher: Funcom
Release: September 15, 2022 (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S), December 8, 2022 (PS4, Xbox One)

I’m not a big horror fan. I never completed Outlast or Amnesia, Silent Hill 4 was barely halfway through, and Photoshop crashing while I was working was enough to make my heart stop. However, Metal: Hellsinger is a different matter. In this game, all the demons of hell, led by the sinister Judge, are afraid of you. Taking similar ideas to Doom, the game sends you to slaughter hordes of evil under rhythmic metal, turning the game into something of a reverse horror.

And if this doesn’t seem enough, with the addition of a mod for custom tracks, the cleansing of hell can be carried out under, for example, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead Or Alive, bringing the horror of hell’s spawn to the limit. A very scary game. 

Laura Ortega, Character Concept Artist
Game: Silent Hill 2
Developer: Team Silent
Publisher: Konami
Release: September 25, 2001

Silent Hill 2 was one of the first horror games I ever played, and it left a very long-lasting impression! I’ll always remember being eight years old and sneaking behind the couch in the living room to take a peek while my parents played, only to regret the night terrors that ensued!

From the moment you listen to the static of the radio, you are immersed in the psychological nightmare that is SH2. The atmospheric visuals and ambient sounds set the mood perfectly. At the same time, your own mind brings on the terror, making you feel an ominous, anxiety-inducing sense that “something bad is coming” instead of being scared with simple jumpscares. It also delves into more humane topics, such as repression of trauma, grief, or guilt, which makes you relate with the characters and maybe see a bit of yourself in them (which can also be terrifying). For me, this game is the perfect mix of a very emotional, thought-provoking script, great pacing, amazing character development, and an incredibly gloomy and melancholic atmosphere – the music and sound design remain iconic!

Eugene Horovyi, Realtime VFX Artist
Game: Dredge
Developer: Black Salt Games
Publisher: Team17
Release: March 30, 2023

Dredge. This game was able to give a Lovecraft-esque journey. Although the game looks like an ordinary fishing simulator, it can give you a couple of pleasant and creepy evenings, solving the mystical secrets of the islands. I really enjoyed the contrast between the safe day and the horrors that stalk the night, and I also liked its simplicity, artistic style, and steady rhythm. 

Jani Savolainen, Senior Business Development Director
Game: Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Developer: Headfirst Productions
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks, 2K (Xbox), Ubisoft (PC, Europe)
Release: Xbox – NA: October 24, 2005 EU: October 28, 2005; Microsoft Windows – EU: March 24, 2006, NA: April 26, 2006

Call of Cthulhu: The Dark Corners of the Earth is dear to me because I’m a massive Lovecraftian horror fan, and the game presents the Cthulhu mythos really well. The lurking fear is ever present, and I found myself squeezing deep into my chair when playing the sneaking sequences. The hotel room escape scene is one of the most memorable game experiences ever, the panic I felt while playing was jarringly real. 

Felipi Bonetti, 2D Artist
Game: Forbidden Siren 
Developer: Project Siren
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release: JP: November 6, 2003, PAL: March 12, 2004, NA: April 20, 2004

If I had to choose right now, it would be Forbidden Siren (Sorry, Silent Hill 2, I still love you from the bottom of my heart). It’s an amazing game but also challenging, having complicated Mechanics and Puzzles and being incredibly unfair sometimes, but also having some of the most creepy and entertaining experiences I’ve ever had. The game hits the uncanny valley just right with the way the characters’ faces are animated. I still remember the first time I looked through Shibito’s eyes and saw my character hiding from him. That’s what I call an incredible game mechanic and a big trauma. Also, the voice acting for the Shibito is perfect.
Anton Parfenov, 3D Photoreal Environment Artist
Game: Scorn
Developer: Ebb Software
Publisher: Kepler Interactive
Release: Windows, Xbox Series X/S: 14 October 2022, PlayStation 5: 3 October 2023

Scorn shows us the world where every living thing serves the common good. You, as the hero of the game, are so unimportant that another can replace it. Scorn is the feeling that all this world feels for you. Being a part of this world, do you feel scorn for this world in return? You may have a purpose besides being docile biomass. Just interpret every gaming act and every detail of the story on your own because the game doesn’t explain anything.  Also, this world is a real delight for fans of Hans Giger’s and Zdzisław Beksiński’s work.
Jorge Rosales, Business Development Director 
Game: Castlevania
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Release: September 26, 1986

Imagine an 8-10 year old boy with his friends, covered by the bed sheets, “pretending” to be protected against mixed feelings of anxiety and fear. He’s playing a challenging game (from the gameplay perspective), with lovely dark music, fighting against skeletons, zombies, monsters while throwing crucifixes and holy water. On top of that, the bosses in the game were characters like Medusa, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, Death, Dracula and a giant bat. That’s my memory of Castlevania 1 on NES.

Fear and anxiety are inexorably linked, and anyone who has played the Castlevania series of games will be very familiar with the “thin stream of fear” they can give you. Castlevania has never been like other horror games. It isn’t scary in the same way as Silent Hill or Resident Evil, but they won’t give you sweaty palms and cold feet like Castlevania. This is because the Castlevania games fundamentally use anxiety as a means of inciting fear. Castlevania games are somewhere between difficult and downright devilish in terms of challenge. It takes a lot of concentration, focus, and luck to make progress, and the thought of losing it is legitimately panic-inducing.

Oleksii Moroz, Quality Assurance Manager
Game: Outlast
Developer: Red Barrels
Publisher: Red Barrels
Release: Microsoft Windows: WW: September 4, 2013. PlayStation 4: NA: February 4, 2014 PAL: February 5, 2014. Xbox One: WW: June 19, 2014. Linux, OS X: WW: March 31, 2015. Nintendo Switch: WW: February 27, 2018

Strangely, no one has talked about Outlast yet; for me, it was the first game that could really “scare” due to its atmosphere. Both the first and second parts were simply magnificent and even now, give a head start to many modern horror films. I definitely recommend it if you haven’t tried them yet. If you look back about ten years ago from the release of Outlast, it would be F.E.A.R. When you were a little 9-year-old child, the dark-haired girl at the end of the corridor would definitely scare you. Anyone who has passed Outlast will probably remember this scene! 

Anton Radchenko, Content Writer
Developer: Playdead
Publisher: Playdead
Release: Xbox One: June 29, 2016. Windows: July 7, 2016. PlayStation 4: August 23, 2016. iOS: December 15, 2017. Nintendo Switch: June 28, 2018. macOS: June 23, 2020

INSIDE is a remarkable project of the Playdead studio. This game is a perfect example of how creativity can make a simple indie platformer into a deep, dark, philosophical, scary, and surrealistic project.

Game: This War Of Mine
Developer: 11 bit studios
Publisher: 11 bit studios
Release: November 14, 2014

This War Of Mine is a game about surviving simple people in the horrors of a besieged city. The developers used their experience from the Balkan War, so the game is realistic and dramatic. It is not about shooting enemies. It’s about looting materials for survival, making difficult choices, and protecting your own from the other survivors and soldiers. I played this game not long before the Russian Invasion, and think this game experience gives an insight into what the people of Mariupol experienced.

Anna Grozovskaia, Data Analyst
Game: Until Dawn
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release: NA: 25 August 2015. PAL: 26 August 2015. UK: 28 August 2015

Until Dawn is a 2015 interactive drama horror video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. Players assume control of eight young adults who have to survive on Blackwood Mountain when their lives are threatened. The game features a butterfly effect system in which players must make choices that may change the story.

Still on the hunt for more scary game inspiration? Check out A Halloween Art Gallery from Creatives at Room 8 Group

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