People have been interested in fear since the beginning of time. Fear gives us a natural thrill, whether it’s in a cautionary tale or a ghost story.
Horror isn’t for everyone, but when it’s done well, the feeling of being scared can leave a person with a strangely rewarding feeling that lasts.
Horror games give players an experience that is almost as scary as being there in person. This makes fans look from game to game for the scariest moments.
There aren’t many things better than video games for scary stories, and the question of which game is the scariest is an interesting one.
Putting a player in the middle of the action gives them the feeling of having to stay alive and keep going. When you watch a movie or read a book, you’re usually just a viewer.
Games, on the other hand, put you in the middle of the action. Many people who look for the Scariest Horror Games of all time want them to make them feel like they need to fight or run away.
- 35. World of Horror
- 34. Dead By Daylight
- 33. The Cat Lady
- 32. IMSCARED
- 31. BioShock
- 30. F.E.A.R.
- 29. The Thing
- 28. Clock Tower
- 27. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
- 26. Manhunt
- 25. Condemned: Criminal Origins
- 24. Doki Doki Literature Club
- 23. Darkwood
- 22. Little Nightmares
- 21. Fallout 3
- 20. P.T.
- 19. Five Nights At Freddy’s
- 18. Resident Evil Remake
- 17. Alien Isolation
- 16. SOMA
- 15. The Evil Within 2
- 14. Prey
- 13. Dead Space
- 12. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl
- 11. Outlast
- 10. Detention
- 9. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
- 8. The Suffering
- 7. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
- 6. The Evil Within
- 5. Alan Wake
- 4. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
- 3. Until Dawn
- 2. Silent Hill 3
- 1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
35. World of Horror
Fans of Junji Ito and/or H.P. Lovecraft might want to add World of Horror to their list of scary games to play this October.
This “1-Bit” horror game makes you feel like you just found a bunch of creepy and very detailed drawings made in MS Paint.
The game takes place in Shiokawa, Japan, and players have to stop the end of the world by going to different places and facing monsters based on Japanese horror manga and urban legends.
World of Horror is a horror game, but it also has features from the roguelite and role-playing game genres.
World of Horror is a must-play PC game because of how well it builds tension, how well its music fits with it, and how hard it is overall. – Taylor Liles
34. Dead By Daylight
Dead By Daylight came out in 2016 as a simple but well-intentioned asymmetrical slasher horror game in which clumsy teenagers tried to avoid getting killed by classic slasher movie bad guys.
By 2021, it will be like the Smash Bros. of horror games, with killer characters like Freddy Kreuger and Michael Myers, as well as famous horror game bad guys like Nemesis from Resident Evil and Pyramid Head from Silent Hill.
Dead By Daylight keeps getting better by adding new people, features, and other things to its rock-solid base.
One thing stays the same, though: it’s just as fun to play the game as a group of helpless-looking survivors as it is to play as a big, scary horror movie monster. – Brain Altano
33. The Cat Lady
Less than a minute into The Cat Lady, the main character, Susan Ashworth, a 40-year-old woman who lives alone, kills herself.
Soon after, she wakes up in a strange world where she meets The Queen of Maggots, who tells her to get rid of five “parasites” so that she can finally be at peace.
Even though The Cat Lady is about mental health and has a serious tone, it is amazing how easy it is to play.
You’ll go through weird and twisted places, collect things to solve puzzles, and talk to other characters to influence Susan’s decisions.
But the story is more than just a point-and-click adventure. It is based on a real battle of a woman who doesn’t want to live anymore. – Jesse Gómez
IMSCARED: A Pixelated Nightmare is the only game on this list that lets you feel the scares outside of the.exe file.
As you creep through IMSCARED’s low-res settings, looking for keys and trying to get out of the nightmare you’re in, you’re followed by an entity called White Face.
Once you catch White Face, your computer crashes back to the desktop, and a folder with a text file shows on the screen to make fun of you. It also messes with your mind in other ways.
Your browser might suddenly open and take you to a scary YouTube video. In another folder, HTML web documents might show a map and what looks like the way out of the area you’re in, but can you trust them?
It even gets to the point where you have to delete papers in the game to move forward. IMSCARED is a truly cursed game because, like Eternal Darkness, it takes its own unique style of evil outside of itself. – Jesse Gómez
People who like horror movies often argue about what “is” and “isn’t” scary. Some might call Silence of the Lambs a “horror” movie, while others might call it a “thriller.”
But there are also a lot of people who enjoy anything that scares them, no matter what it’s called.
BioShock might not be called a horror game very often, but it’s definitely one of the most unsettling and effective horror games you’ll find.
BioShock is scary when it needs to be, from its opening scene, which quickly shows the bloody effects of a crazy man’s delusions, to its fascinating questions about the nature of control.
BioShock doesn’t run on nightmares, but it uses the best tricks of the horror genre to drive its great story and amazing world-building.
The “scary little girl” trend was at its peak when F.E.A.R. came out. The movement really took off when The Ring became a surprise hit in the US.
Alma is without a doubt one of the best examples of the “creepy child” trope in video games.
What’s easy to forget, though, is that F.E.A.R. was also an innovative action game with AI that set a new bar for first-person shooters.
This mix of Western action and Eastern horror gives F.E.A.R. its own style and makes it the kind of horror game that keeps you on your toes while still letting you blast your way through rooms full of enemies.
29. The Thing
Back in the early 2000s, it was easy to write off a licensing game that was based on a movie or TV show.
This is why you may not know that The Thing was ever made into a video game. But even with all of that, The Thing is a really original way to play a scary game.
The gameplay of The Thing is based on fear and being alone, just like the movie it’s based on.
You never really know which of your NPC friends is sick, but what’s really interesting is how the game makes you work to gain the trust and loyalty of those same characters, who are also not sure if you are who you say you are.
Being in a situation where you don’t know who is friend and who is foe is, to say the least, unsettling, and few horror games have come close to re-creating the fear that The Thing’s trust system brought.
28. Clock Tower
Clock Tower came out about a year before Resident Evil. It hadn’t even been out for long when one of the most influential games of the ’90s, Resident Evil, took over.
But Clock Tower did a great job with scary ideas that not only weren’t in Resident Evil but may be underused in current horror games.
Clock Tower was a point-and-click adventure game with a plot based on the movies of Dario Argento. You had to make your way through an old house while avoiding a determined stalker with a funny-looking pair of garden shears.
The “avoid and escape” gameplay of Clock Tower was ahead of its time, and we’d say that few games have a slasher villain as memorable as Scissorman, whose name is also great.
It seems like the Clock Tower series will never get the love it deserves, but the first game is still one of the scariest games of its time.
27. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
The best scary games are the ones that make the most of what video games can do that other things can’t. That doesn’t mean that a more movie-like video game experience can’t be scary.
Instead, it means that there’s something special about horror games that let you see what can happen when you’re in control. As far as this goes, Eternal Darkness does it better than most.
The reason Eternal Darkness is on this list is because of its sanity system. The level design, story that spans centuries, and memorable cast of characters are all things we like about the game.
As your main character loses their mind in different ways, the world around them changes in interesting ways.
Heads of statues follow them around, noises can be heard everywhere, the room shakes, and the walls bleed…Since then, no game has shown craziness as well as this one did.
But the best parts of the game are when it makes the player think that all of their saved games have been lost or that their GameCube has turned itself off.
When meta-horror happens, it really makes you wonder what’s real and what’s in your head.
Manhunt is scary in more ways than just the ways it scares you. The idea behind this gem, the places it takes place in, and the tense stealth scenes are all great, but we’ve seen them all before. Manhunt is really scary because it makes you feel bad when you play it.
In Manhunt, you are a contestant in someone else’s weird snuff fantasy. This makes you to think about your own humanity and how far you’ll go to stay alive.
Even though you can just kill or avoid the enemies in your way, the game encourages you to kill them in more and more brutal ways to get the best prizes.
The slimy praise from the director of this interactive snuff film, the uncomfortable visuals of the kill itself, and that disturbing feeling of success you get when you pull off a really brutal kill stick with you long after the traditional scares of other games have worn off.
Manhunt was once called a real grindhouse game. Well, like the old “grindhouse” movies, “Manhunt” will make you question what you think is entertaining.
25. Condemned: Criminal Origins
Condemned came out quietly as part of the Xbox 360’s launch lineup, so it’s likely that many players at the time chose to play games like Perfect Dark: Zero, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Kameo: Elements of Power instead.
Still, people who gave this rare horror game a try know that it is easily one of the scariest games ever made.
Condemned tells the story of a federal agent who is sent to find a number of serial killers. The game’s themes are ones that we don’t see all that often in games.
It’s more like a movie like Seven than the usual mysterious stuff in horror games. But it turns out to be the best setting.
Serial killers’ hideouts often show what they are thinking and why they are doing what they are doing.
Even though none of the lairs are as scary as the department store where some of the mannequins are really killers in disguise, each area is brilliantly designed so that you have to get into the minds of some very troubled people to stop them.
On top of that, Condemned set the gold standard for first-person horror (and first-person horror fighting) at a time when the idea was as rough as it’s ever been.
In fact, the great Resident Evil 7 owes more to Condemned than to P.T. or the other Resident Evil games when it comes to its design. Still, Condemned might be scarier than even the movies that are similar to it.
24. Doki Doki Literature Club
What starts out as a fun dating model turns into a scary psychological horror game. Doki Doki Literature Club is a visual novel from 2017 that gets more interesting as you play.
After it turns into a nightmare, many people don’t know what to do because the game started out fun.
Doki Doki Literature Club is different from other scary games because you can choose how to talk to people to change what happens in the game.
It can be scary, especially for people who thought they were going to play a dating game.
2017 was a great year for games, so it’s not surprising that Darkwood didn’t get much attention when it came out.
On the other hand, once they know what this nightmare is, we don’t know many people who would choose to join it.
You don’t know who you are, where you are, or what’s going on when you wake up in Darkwood. You only know that something bad is coming at your cabin at night.
You have to look for supplies, defense tools, and anything else that will help you keep the lights on for another night if you want to stay alive when it strikes.
Even though the nighttime scenes are the most memorable parts of Darkwood, it’s when you’re searching for goods in an endlessly dark forest that you get a sense of hopelessness that makes you wonder how you’re ever going to make it.
Survival has always been a big part of horror games, but Darkwood does a better job of making you fear the dark and feel like you’re trying to stay alive against all odds than any other game I’ve played in the past few years.
22. Little Nightmares
As an adult, it’s scary to explore in a scary game, but it’s even scarier when you have to handle a small child like Six does in Little Nightmares.
On The Maw, where the game takes place, the player will meet different enemies who will try to catch Six. As a little girl with only a yellow jacket, the only thing the player can do is get out of these situations.
With a story that’s even more interesting, it’s no surprise that this great game has been called one of the scariest of all time. Little Nightmares 2 is another game that comes close.
21. Fallout 3
Weird, huh? Don’t worry.
We’ve already said that Fallout 3 is one of the scariest games ever made, and we stand by that.
Yes, most pictures of a world after the end of the world are pretty scary.
There is a lot of classic horror in Fallout 3, like skeletons holding hands on their deathbeds and grotesque mutants that chase you in the dark.
But most of these standard parts wouldn’t be as good if Bethesda didn’t do things in an untraditional way.
In the game Fallout 3, you can get into trouble. You go into the Capital Wasteland at your own risk, and that freedom of exploration generally leads to something scary that you aren’t ready to deal with.
Do you remember the first time you saw a Deathclaw?
Fallout 3 does a good job of making you feel scared and tense in general, but what really makes it stand out are the times when you stumble into its darker places and see its true horrors.
P.T. is a playable demo made by Kojima Productions. If it were finished, it was going to be called Silent Hills.
It was supposed to be one of the Silent Hill games. This is not a full game by any means. If it had been, it would have moved up this list.
P.T. is scarier than I thought it would be. This short taster that you can play is scarier than most full horror games.
Jump scares are scary, and because they are so scary, they can make you curl your toes.
This secret game is hard to download because it has been taken off the stores of many consoles, but it is well worth the trouble.
19. Five Nights At Freddy’s
We often remember cult classics in the wrong way. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is known as a brutal and violent horror movie that doesn’t hold back, but there isn’t much violence in the movie itself.
Most people think of First Blood as a great example of a high-octane ’80s action movie, but it’s more of a character study in which Rambo doesn’t kill many people.
The same can be said about Five Nights at Freddy’s. People think of it as one of the godfathers of the YouTube jump scare age, which some people think is the cheapest form of horror you can imagine.
However, when you play the game, you find out something much more interesting. Five Nights at Freddy’s often gives you hints about upcoming scares in a language that you have to learn to understand.
However, the game’s mechanical monsters feel random at first, making you jump from camera to camera to try to figure out what they will do next.
Five Nights at Freddy’s helped start a new era of horror games that tried to show that scaring the living hell out of the player was a selling point in and of itself.
It did this by having a simple look, no blood, and an interesting story.
18. Resident Evil Remake
People always say that the first version of Resident Evil is the scariest game in the series.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard has more scary parts, but the first Resident Evil remake’s spooky, rural setting is unique in its own way. In 2002, this version came out for the Nintendo GameCube.
Since then, it has been put on a lot of different platforms, like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Resident Evil reboot is one of the scariest games of all time because you always feel alone in it.
17. Alien Isolation
It’s kind of crazy that it took so long for someone to make a good Alien horror game. We’ve been shooting at Xenomorphs for a long time, but few games based on the Alien movies have treated them like the scary stories they really are.
Alien Isolation makes better use of a single Xenomorph than any other Alien media since the first movie.
You know how it feels when you see a big spider in your room and then it runs away and you don’t know where it went?
Replace that spider with a Xenomorph that is ready to pounce on you as soon as it comes back out, and you have the basic experience of Alien Isolation.
Even though the late-game change to a slightly different kind of experience hurts Isolation a bit, this is still one of the best and most clever uses of a license in gaming history.
SOMA is scary in all the “traditional” ways. After all, the same people who made Amnesia also made this. You can expect a lot of scary images and jump scares that are done well.
But SOMA is the kind of scary game that makes you feel uncomfortable in other ways. This sci-fi horror game gives you a feeling of hopelessness that gets stronger as you slowly figure out what’s going on.
You’ll start to like the more traditional scares because they break up the deeper fear this game gives you.
When you get to the amazing ending of SOMA, you’ll be left staring at the screen and thinking if you’ll ever get back the part of yourself that this game takes away.
15. The Evil Within 2
The Evil Within 2 might be more fun than the first game, but it is also scary. The Evil Within 2 is full of jump scares and violent scenes that may be too much for some people.
On top of that, this game’s story is really exciting. Overall, it is one of the scariest but most fun things to watch. The game is beautiful to look at. Survival horror fans can’t miss out on The Evil Within 2.
When Prey came out in 2017, it didn’t get a lot of attention. Prey didn’t reach horror game fans, who would have been the ones who would have liked it the most.
This might have been because it was linked to the previous Prey games, which weren’t as good as they could have been.
Prey is a lot of things, but it’s the scary parts that really make it stand out. After all, the main idea behind Prey is that almost anything in its world could be an alien creature ready to jump out and attack you.
Since this is the kind of game where you have to look at and collect a lot of things, well, you can figure it out.
Aside from the jump scares, Prey is all about its great sci-fi horror mood and the way you have to both enjoy the beauty of the game’s world and respect the fact that it can kill you in so many ways.
13. Dead Space
Before the movie-based game Alien: Isolation came out, there was Dead Space, which was also a horror game set in space.
The first game in the horror series came out in 2008, but in 2023, a popular remake of the first game in the series told Isaac Clarke’s story to many more people.
Dead Space is known as one of the scariest video games because it takes place in a scary place, like space, and because the aliens have hurt many of the people who have played it.
12. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl
You might think that the mutants that walk the Chernobyl wastelands are the scariest thing in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
At the very least, there aren’t many games that are scarier than suddenly turning a corner and seeing something you couldn’t explain even if you weren’t already screaming.
But the survival parts of this game are what really make it stand out. You’re not ready for the harsh world that this game puts you in.
Yes, bullets are hard to come by, but so are water, food, and hope. In this game, just being alive is a threat, so you’ll often find yourself wondering why you’re even trying to stay alive.
There are many different kinds of scary things in games, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl uses almost all of them well.
Even though the second Outlast might have had better graphics and a more interesting plot, the first one was much scarier.
It’s frustrating to have to use the night vision mode on a camera with low battery power to move through the game.
The reporter moves through a remote mental hospital where the inmates are psychotic and not like most people. For a game with a low price, it sold a lot of copies. Outlast is one of the most scary games ever.
Strange things can happen in tragedies. Most of us have experienced tragedies like losing a loved one or something important.
Still, there are some tragedies that we might understand or feel sympathy for, but we could never really feel them the way the person who is most touched by them must.
The magic of Detention is in how it makes you feel every part of so many different tragedies. This game presents itself as a ghost story that takes place in an old school, and as just that, it works well as a scary story.
Yet, the more you learn about this game’s characters, world, and history, the more you understand that Detention is actually the story of a series of personal and historical tragedies that are almost too much to take in.
Living in a world where there is almost too much information to know is hard because it makes us realize that we may only be able to handle and learn so much. Detention will test how well you can deal with so many different kinds of bad dreams.
9. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a good addition to the series. The game changes its style and takes risks that pay off.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard can be scary at times. But there are parts of the game where there is no scary stuff, which is why Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is not thought to be the scariest game ever.
It would have been higher on this list if it had been the same throughout the story. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is, at the very least, creepy, so it’s not for people who are easily scared.
Paranormal threats will keep players on the edge of their seats as they try to solve problems.
8. The Suffering
I don’t know why more horror stories don’t take place in jails. Most prisons are basically the worst fears in real life, so you’d think there would be more well-known horror works that take this natural nightmare to a new level.
The Suffering is one of the most famous prison horror works in any form, and I think it would still be one of the most famous even if there were a few more famous works in the same genre.
The setting of hell on Earth is often underused, but The Suffering makes the most of it by telling the story of a mystery prisoner who has to fight demons there.
Don’t think that The Suffering is just a bunch of dead people in jail, though. In fact, only the toughest gamers will be able to find the darkest parts of this game.
7. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
The second Fatal Frame movie could be twice as scary as the first. It’s hard to say which Fatal Frame is the scariest, but the story and gameplay in Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly are the most fun.
The first one was scary, but most people didn’t finish it because the story wasn’t interesting enough.
The point of the game is to take pictures of ghosts and use exorcism to set their souls free. The game Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly came out for the PS2, PS3, and Xbox.
6. The Evil Within
To be totally honest, The Evil Within isn’t the best game in a lot of ways. Shinji Mikami’s return to horror games raised a lot of hopes, but this game’s shaky gameplay and slow pace let those hopes down a bit.
The Evil Within, on the other hand, does everything but let you down when it comes to scares.
Mikami has said that this will be the last horror game he ever makes, and if that’s true, I can’t think of a better way for such a famous figure to go out than with this museum of the macabre that comes at you from so many different angles.
This is a scary game that never lets up. It has a lot of funhouse-style scares that are both effective and strangely funny. Good luck getting the courage to come back to this game when you have to leave it.
5. Alan Wake
Some games are set up to be played like movies, while others are set up like books. In Alan Wake, players take control of the same-named author as he searches the town of Bight Falls for his lost wife.
Alan starts to find strange pages from a book he wrote but never released. At the same time, the world around him seems to be following a dark story.
With Alan Wake 2 coming out soon, many players think that the first Alan Wake won’t be the scariest game ever anymore.
4. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
Most of the scary horror games are from the last few years. Over the last 20 years or so, scary games have become scarier as technology has improved and game makers have learned more about the genre.
But if you’re looking for the scariest game before Resident Evil, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream might be it.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream has one of the scariest titles in horror history, which it shares with the short story it’s based on. It lives up to every word of that title.
You might not think that a point-and-click adventure game can be scary, but that’s only because you haven’t played one where you have to explore the personal hells of five deeply troubled people.
This is the kind of game that makes you want to take a shower. It’s hard to believe that this was let out into the world back in 1995.
3. Until Dawn
Supermassive Games has become the best at making scary games that you can play with other people.
With recent games like The Quarry and The Dark Pictures Anthology, it’s not surprising to see the company’s games on the list of the scary ones that players might enjoy.
Until Dawn, which was one of the developer’s first games, is one that many people have tried but haven’t been able to finish.
Each character the player controls has an interesting past and an important part to play.
When players have to make hard decisions, they may worry and wonder if they made the right choice. If that really was the case, you’ll have to play Until Dawn again to find out.
2. Silent Hill 3
Silent Hill 3 takes place in a strange societal void. It’s not as well-known as the games that came before it, and I’d say that it’s sometimes lumped in with some of the…lesser Silent Hill games that came after.
But you could make a good case that Silent Hill 3 is the scariest game ever made in the series.
Like the first two Silent Hill games, Silent Hill 3 takes us deep into the mind of the main character and forces us to face a lot of our own fears.
The best thing about this game, though, is that it has a surprising number of well-placed jump scares that usually involve one of the best monster designs ever made for a video game.
Some Silent Hill games are happy to let you stew in a cesspool of vague discomfort for as long as they can.
Silent Hill 3, on the other hand, is happy to interrupt your cesspool soak with something that will remind you that you should never be so comfortable that you get lost in your own thoughts again.
1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Survival horror games like Slender: The Arrival and Outlast were based on this scary game.
Some players of Amnesia: The Dark Descent were so scared by being left alone in the dark with the fear of murderous monsters all around them that they couldn’t finish the horror game.
Aside from the scary parts, there are also some fun problems to solve, which makes the game a good time all around. For the scariest experience, people will want to play Amnesia: The Dark Descent in the dark.