Nicole Smith ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Halloween may be over, but don’t put down the horror games yet! While you’re all recovering from the parties of halloweekend, why not grab your friends and have some fun scaring them to the bone!
One of the funniest and most entertaining things you can do to a group of people is scare them so bad they scream and jump around the room while you laugh and watch. Playing horror games is a good way for you to maintain control over a situation while still being able to watch others lose their minds, but sometimes it’s hard to get your friends immersed and interested, so here are five short and simple games that are sure to make your friends hate you, at least for a little while.
5. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The hard thing about trying to make your friends anxious is that a lot of survival horror games give you a gun or some means to fight the things that go bump in the night, but Amnesia, and the four games that follow, completely strip you of that safety. You play as Daniel, a young man with no memory who has to roam through a dark and sprawling castle, running and hiding from gruesome monsters and scary chase music because you have no other choice. The game doesn’t give you a weapon or a fighting mechanic. The only way to survive is by getting out as fast as you can.
Amnesia leans a bit toward the longer, story-driven side, so it’s not quite as effective if you just want to give your friends a cheap jump, but the atmosphere coupled with the groaning, wide-mouthed monsters make it a good game to check out if you’ve got their attention.
4. SCP Containment Breach
This game is one of those indie titles you probably don’t hear much about, but can really take you off guard if you don’t know what you’re getting into. SCP Containment Breach is set in a laboratory where all sorts of creepy and bloodthirsty monsters are held and studied – and what do you know, the game starts just as they all escape.
The graphics on SCP Containment Breach aren’t the best, which can detract from the scariness for some people, but the unique game mechanics are really what give it its edge. The fact that the player is forced to blink, either through a timer or by blinking manually, means that there’s a tense moment every couple of seconds of complete blindness. This, on top of the fact that the main monster, SCP-173, can teleport when not being directly viewed, leads to jump scares and apprehension abounds.
Another pretty plot-focused game, Outlast takes place in Mount Massive Asylum where you, Miles Upshur, are a journalist looking to uncover the horrifying atrocities committed within the institution’s walls; but of course, you get trapped inside with the murderous and erratic patients. The thing that makes Outlast so scary? It’s dark. It is purposefully too dark for the player to be able to see without the use of Miles’s video camera that happens to have a night vision function. But if you happen to run out of batteries, well, you’re out of luck, and completely in the dark, literally.
With that and some pretty tense scoring, Outlast is a strong contender for any late night horror gaming party.
Slender was that weird indie game that blew up the internet for a while in 2012 and subsequently catapulted the already pretty popular Slenderman character into the mainstream. You are an unnamed protagonist traversing a dark, abandoned woods filled with strange monuments and odd landmarks in search of eight cryptic pages, each decorated with disturbing scribbles. However, you’re not alone, as the Slenderman is prowling through the woods, too, in search for you.
Slender is pretty cut and dry as far as horror games go, but was made popular by the specific design of the Slenderman character – the internet mythos that brought him into being describes him as tall, lanky, and having no face, and, well, that’s what he is in the game, too. As you collect each page, it gets harder and harder to avoid him, and each time the Slenderman appears, you’re treated to a loud scare chord and some buzzing static. Good for jump scares and for the lingering fear of the faceless monster in the woods.
1. Five Nights at Freddy’s
The reason why Five Nights at Freddy’s stands out so obviously among other horror games is that it takes almost all agency away from the player while still forcing them to play. The response to fear in all people is fight or flight, and in the above four games, the mechanics take away the fight option, leaving only flight, so you can still run and hide. Five Nights at Freddy’s gives you neither option.
You play as a night guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, which is essentially a nod to the Chuck E. Cheese chain. During the night, the singing animatronics that make up the restaurant’s daytime animal band come to life to wreak murderous havoc on anyone left in the building, and the only person that entails is you. Unable to leave your office, your only option is to check the security cameras to see where the robots are, and if they’re close to you, shut the doors so that they can’t get in. The only problem? You have a limited amount of power that needs to last for six hours, and if you run out, then you’re left completely defenseless.
Five Nights at Freddy’s consistently evolves its mechanics over the five nights that the player is forced to suffer through. Without being able to keep the doors closed or the security cameras running constantly, the player needs to react quickly, conserve power, and learn the intricacies of each robot’s patterns. The tension this game creates alone is worth making it number one, but the scares that come with dying certainly are nothing to scoff at either. It’s the perfect game to spring on your friends and get them shaking in their seats – that is, if you can even muster up the courage to play it yourself.