Halloween is finally here, and it’s the perfect time to play some scary games. Gamers have plenty to choose from, whether it be a classic like Silent Hill 2 or a more modern game such as Outlast 2. If you’re having some trouble deciding but want to play something other than the usual Resident Evil or Silent Hill, here are a few suggestions in no particular order.
1. Luigi’s Mansion
Everybody knows Luigi, Mario’s lanky, cowardly brother who has become the de facto Ghostbuter of the Mushroom Kingdom, and it’s all thanks to the games Luigi’s Mansion and its sequel Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. The premises are simple: Luigi has to make his way through haunted mansions armed only with his flashlight and the ghost-sucking Poltergust 3000 (or 5000 in Dark Moon), and the games could easily be considered “My First Survival Horror Game.” They introduce gamers to many of the tropes of survival horror games. Slow-moving player character? Check. Limited ammunition for certain items and weapons? Check. Dedicated save stations? Check. While the Luigis’ Mansion games are made for children and adults alike, they are a perfect way for a gamer to judge his or her interest in the survival horror genre. Luigi’s Mansion might not be that scary, but it’s something kids can play on Halloween after they’re done trick-or-treating.
2. SCP – Containment Breach
Anyone who has spent enough time on the Internet has heard about the SCP Foundation, a fictional organization that protects the world from paranatural/eldritch occurrences that range from a man made out of corn (yes, seriously) to a remote location surrounding a tree in the Rocky Mountains that spawns murderous phantom children. Honestly the SCP Foundation page is worth a read, but I’m not here to talk about the site; I want to introduce you to SCP – Containment Breach, a first-person horror game that stars some of the SCP Foundation’s most infamous monsters and tasks players with escaping the containment facility . The game is similar to Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Outlast because players have no means of defending themselves, but unlike those games, Containment Breach’s monsters require different strategies. For example, players can only escape SCP-173 while looking at it, but looking at SCP-096, or at least its face, is a death sentence. Best of all, SCP – Containment Breach is constantly being updated and is completely free, so gamers will probably be able to play this game every Halloween and never have quite the same experience twice.
3. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Most gamers don’t think of Nintendo console exclusives when they list scary video games, but Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is one of the rare few Nintendo exclusives that manages to be scary. Heck, it’s probably one of the scariest games ever produced. Eternal Darkness‘ story is Lovecraftian and follows numerous well-developed protagonists, but more importantly, the game’s developers created a novel insanity system that screws with the player as much as it screws with the character. Sure, thin, skinless monsters that wear human bodies like suits are scary enough, but they have nothing on a game that tricks players into thinking its deleting their save files. Eternal Darkness‘s scares are mostly meta, but that sets the game apart from other video games people play on Halloween.
Many gamers complained about Resident Evil 5 and 6 dropping horror for action, but F.E.A.R. proved you can have both in a game. While most of F.E.A.R. has players tearing through enemies with shotguns and bullet-time, the game has quite a few good scares thanks to the ghost girl Alma taking a few pages out of Japanese horror films like Ringu and Ju-on: The Grudge. The game is action-packed when it needs to get a gamer’s blood pumping, and it’s scary when it wants players to scream. The sequel, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, is just as good, but F.3.A.R. is where the franchise stumbles and actually becomes like Resident Evil 5 and 6: eschewing horror for action. Still, the F.E.A.R. franchise is worth playing on Halloween. Or any other day of the year.
5. Five Nights at Freddy’s
Horror games rely on several cliches, but the FNAF franchise ignores them. The game intentionally restricts players so they can’t run away from monsters, plus jump scares are kept to a minimum (except for FNAF 3). Also, the monsters, as animatronics that may or may not be malfunctioning/possessed by the spirits of dead children, are unique since most horror games use zombies or ghosts as enemies. Moreover, the story (well, the backstory, anyway) is rich in twists and mysteries for gamers, and the games are dirt cheap, which makes them easy choices for gamers looking for something new this Halloween.
6. Ghostbusters: The Video Game
This game is a must for anyone who has ever watched a Ghostbusters movie, be it the 1984 classic or the 2016 catastrophe. Ghostbuster: The Video Game plays a lot like Gears of War, but the heart and soul of the game rests with the story, as it is written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, i.e., the same guys who wrote the original movie. Not only is Ghostbusters: The Video Game a sequel to the movies (think of the game as the Ghostbusters 3 movie we never got), but all the main actors reprise their roles to solidify the experience. It might not be scary, but it’s as enjoyable an experience anyone could ask for on Halloween.
I know I’ve missed a few games, such as Dead Space, Fatal Frame, Cry of Fear (another free one), and Alan Wake. Heck, some non-horror games have horror themed levels that are ideal to play during Halloween. Just play what you want and have a scary good time.