Round Table: What’s the Scariest Game You’ve Ever Played?

In honor of Halloween, the staff discusses their favorite horror games!

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 10/31/2019 21:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

“You know, it’s Halloween, I guess everyone’s entitled to one good scare, huh?” -Leigh Brackett, Halloween (1978)

Fear is a powerful emotion. It’s something that sticks with us, whether it’s a real-life experience, something we saw in a movie, or even something we played in a video game. With Halloween once again upon us, the Nintendojo staff discussed some of the scariest games they’ve ever played. From zombies, to ghosts and even dinosaurs, this edition of the Nintendojo Round Table has something for everyone!

Marc Deschamps

For the last twenty years or so, no one has managed to scare me quite like Capcom. The majority of that, naturally, comes from Resident Evil. The franchise propelled the survival horror genre into mainstream status, and has managed to maintain its scares after all these years. I revisited the GameCube remake earlier this year and still found myself constantly looking over my shoulder during late night game sessions, or taking small breaks here and there “just because.” Every moan or crack of thunder just contributes to the game’s general sense of unease. It remains a horror masterpiece.

While I’ve been a Resident Evil fan for quite some time, my first real exposure to the RE formula came from a similar title published by Capcom: Dino Crisis. For the uninitiated, Dino Crisis was basically Resident Evil meets Jurassic Park, and if that elevator pitch doesn’t grab you, I’m not sure what will. I mean, zombies are scary and all, but velociraptors? TERRIFYING. For some unknown reason, the Dino Crisis franchise never quite grabbed audiences the same way Resident Evil did. Maybe Capcom worried about oversaturating the market with fixed angles and jump scares. Still, I would love to see that game get the sort of glow-up that the first Resident Evil received. It’s long overdue.

Robert Marrujo

When I thought about what the scariest game is that I’ve ever played, I realized that I don’t actually play a lot of horror games. My go-to series when it comes to frights are few and far between, so my reply is going to be a little vanilla because it’s probably going to have to be one of the Resident Evil titles. I think that in terms of impact it has to be Resident Evil 4. I know, I know, it’s not a “truly” scary RE game. Still, there are some moments in there that I think are legitimately worthy of calling frightening. First up is when you’re in the basement of the castle with the creepy Garrador enemy; is he gonna move? Not move? Murder Leon?? I dreaded every second I spent walking to flip that switch because I knew the jerk was going to pop out and try to slaughter me.

Second freakiest altercation is when Leon fights Mendez in the barn. The way his body freakishly splits in half and then extends… brrrrrr. No, thanks. But to then be trapped in the small confines of that space having to avoid him is even worse. That fight never ends soon enough. Even after Mendez has been taken down, there’s nothing worse than having to go and pick up his loose eyeball off of the ground. Gross.

The absolute scariest moment, however, in all of RE4, is getting chased by Verdugo in the sewers. I personally have a thing about the feeling of being chased; it always scares the crap out of me, for some reason. I also tend to think that monsters which are more humanoid in appearance are the most frightening. Monsters are kind of “meh,” to me. They can be frightening, but the second you interject some humanity into the situation my brain registers it as ten times more horrible and threatening. Verdugo brings both of these traits to the table and is unrelenting, so he gets my top nod.

Angela Marrujo

I couldn’t get through Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. I played maybe a couple of hours of it and had to turn it off and never went back to it. The feeling of being massively under-powered, armed only with a camera, and having to look frightening spirits in the face through the lens of it was just too much for me. I’d be willing to give it another shot, but Japanese horror (specifically, ghost stories) scares me in a way that other horror genres don’t.

While perhaps a little less frightening in my memory, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water was another entry in the series I tried to get through and I wimped out on. As I’m writing this, I’m just reaffirming that I think what really unnerved me the most about both of these games was having to look ghosts in the face through the camera. I could probably get over not having offensive weapons to protect myself with, but looking the dead in the face just really creeps me out. That plus being trapped in a decrepit environment? Can’t do it.

The Resident Evil series has of course caused me crippling fear, from being chased by Verdugo in Resident Evil 4 to just about everything in the Resident Evil 2 remake, to screaming at the end of just the DEMO of Resident Evil 7. I can’t play those games alone.

What’s the scariest game you’ve ever played? Let us know in the comments below!

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