What’s one of your scariest gaming memories? It could be about a genuinely scary game, or about the time you almost lost a game save. I’ve had a couple of scares of the, “Oh crap, my memory card is giving me errors!” variety.
Louise: It sounds silly to think about it now, but the original Prince of Persia used to scare my pants off. It was the combination of being too young to understand patterns and controls and having an overactive imagination that made Prince of Persia so scary for me.
One thing that specifically scared me about the game were the pits with spikes that would pop out. The graphics weren’t realistic or anything, but just accidentally falling into a pit and then the sound of the spikes suddenly coming out and then the resulting blood on the Prince made me turn off the game in fright several times. It was even worse when I jumped to the end of the screen and made it to the next screen only to stumble off a cliff into the pit because I had no idea it was there.
The fat enemies also scared me because they moved so quickly that I could never fend off their attacks. Whenever I saw one, I’d run back the way I came and then fall into a pit. I don’t think I ever beat that game.
Jenni: I was absolutely terrified by the first Fatal Frame. It was right around Halloween, my second year of college. Shayna, one of my closest friends had found out about the game and was telling my other close friend Vivi and I how amazing it was. So that night, after our Japanese class, we went to the local Blockbuster and rented it.
We then all camped up and played the game all night at Vivi’s apartment. When I say we, I mean that Shayna played the game, while Vivi and I watched, cowering behind pillows in case one of the ghosts would suddenly decide to pop up.
Even now, playing Fatal Frame or Fatal Frame 2 late at night and alone can freak me out.
Spencer: Eternal Darkness had an awesome way of scaring players with mind tricks like soft whispers and pretending to delete your memory card. Most “scary” games go for shock value like sudden loud noises and zombies that jump out of nowhere. I can’t think of many games that I played that had memorable scary moments.
Shadowgate was one of them. It’s an old text adventure game with simple graphics, but almost everything in Shadowgate kills you. A floating quill describes your death in great detail then an eerie reaper shows up before you restart the game at your last save point. Games didn’t have ratings then so I played it when I was real young and it was a rather grisly game to beat.
Ishaan: I’ll admit I can be a real wuss when it comes to scary games. Quake 2 and Doom 2 both scared the crap out of me when I first played them. The sewers in Quake 2 had close to no lighting in places and the parasite dogs always made my blood freeze.
The first game that really had a long-lasting effect on me though was Nightmare Creatures, developed by a French developer named “Kalisto Entertainment.”. It was an action/horror game set in England. Depending on your choice of character, you were either given a staff or a sword and a lousy revolver, and had to make do with these items while fighting off hordes of demons and traversing through graveyards, creepy underground passages and abandoned streets and alleys. Nightmare Creatures capitalized on the concept of surviving with a limited arsenal of weaponry extremely well. The game’s story was pretty solid for its time, too, and for about a month after I played the game, every time I went for a walk by myself, I’d expect a werewolf or something to jump out at me from behind a tree.