As Halloween draws near, we all start thinking about our favourite spooky-scary games and movies. The holiday is a perfect excuse to revisit some horror favourites or discover new ones. That is, unless you’re like me, who goes as far as carving pumpkins but would rather eat a sickening amount of sweets and be in bed at a sensible hour.

It’s no secret I’m not a huge fan of horror, in any form. I just don’t like the feeling of being scared. The furthest I’ve delved into the genre is probably Bloodborne, which is full of nightmarish nasties, and even then I never finished it. I’m also a fan of the Last of Us series, with its human stories trumping the intense confrontations with mushroom zombies. These are on the outskirts of horror, though; I’m a big old wimp, and I really don’t like the idea of playing something like, say, Alien: Isolation, or Resident Evil 7. It’s not for me, and that’s fine.

The thing is, though, over the last few years I’ve grown to have a more complicated relationship with horror. The genre is very popular with YouTubers and streamers, and honestly, I kinda get it. Watching someone else play scary games dramatically softens the fright factor. This arguably destroys the point of what horror games are trying to achieve, but experiencing them vicariously like this provides me a way to satisfy my morbid curiosity.

To give an example, I watched someone play the entirety of Resident Evil 2, the much celebrated PS4 remake from last year. By doing so, I was able to stomach the high tension and grisly scenarios horror titles often present. Could I have played it myself? Probably, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed the sense of dread and the idea I’m constantly being followed by Mr. X. Someone playing it for me is like a safety net — their commentary provides some levity, bringing the intensity down to a level I can deal with.

I realise it’s sacrilege to many gaming enthusiasts to experience a game in this manner, but I genuinely enjoy it. Watching someone play allows me to get a peek at some amazing games I’d otherwise ignore. I know I’m missing out on the first-hand experience, but I play games to relax, have fun, and be entertained, not have my nerves ripped to shreds.

I suppose there’s a possibility that watching scary games might lead to playing them. It seems unlikely to me at this point, but maybe by next Halloween, I’ll be pining for that Silent Hill reboot like the rest of you.

What do you think about this? Do you share Stephen’s stance on horror games? Do you watch many games on YouTube and Twitch, or is that a big no-no? Tell some ghost stories in the comments section below.

Having grown up alongside PlayStation, Stephen has developed a wide knowledge of video games, from AAA blockbusters to the smallest indie gems. He also has the Platinum for The Witness, so there’s that.

I’ve always been a massive wuss, too scared to even play games like REmake but all that changed with Resident Evil 2. I loved every minute of my first playthrough which then meant I went on a binge of classic horror games like REmake, Resi 4 and 7, Silent Hill (I’d already played 2), The Evil Within, Forbidden Siren, Dead Space and F.E.A.R. Safe to say that I loved my time with all those games and now I’m a true fan of horror games. And that’s all thanks to Resident Evil 2.

Same. I’m inching my way through Alien Isolation. I don’t think I’ve completed a horror game since Silent Hill 2. I would like to give the REmakes a shot, but I’m mostly worried about difficulty there. I don’t have as much game time these days, so limited saves aren’t up my alley.

for me it’s rather simple,if it’s a 3rd person horror game,i’ll try it and maybe even complete it. like the evil within games,resi 3 remake etc.

if it’s a 1st person horror game though,yeah no not gonna happen. did not manage to beat PT and amnesia because of it.

If I’m not playing games, I’m watching people play games. Nothing wrong with it at all.

First of all, in the UK Halloween isn’t considered a frigging holiday. It’s just a day where people watch a scary film or two and maybe dress up as a witch or zombie. The majority though do sweet FA to ‘celebrate’ it.

But yeah, I think some games (Outlast) look way too scary and nerve-wracking for my tastes. Generally implant games in order to chill out an relax. I don’t mind intense games (TLoU2 springs in mind) and am having another crack at Resi 2 but in the main horror games aren’t my bag. I can play games which contain horror elements {Days Gone for example) but those that take it to the extreme? Nah, I’ll pass.

@Deadhunter The REmakes are quite a bit easier than the originals, for the most part. RE1 can still be a pain at times, just thanks to new enemy types, but 2 isn’t difficult at all as long as you’re smart with your ammo, and they dump ammo/healing on you in 3 so it’s a cakewalk. The first REmake still uses ink ribbons to save like the originals, but you find a ton of them, and RE2/RE3 does away with them entirely and you can save as often as you like.

Horror games definitely one of my favourite.I have a friend like that, just won’t play horror games, more than happy to sit and watch me play them. Almost makes it more scary for me because I can feel his nervousness and tension radiating off him.

The joy I get from horror games comes from mastering (or at least developing an understanding of) stuff like enemy routines, what i can/can’t get away with and essentially getting my head around what the developers are trying to do to freak me out. Once I’m at a point where I know the limitations of something like Mr X or the Alien, I start enjoying the game in a different way. I guess it’s that feeling of conquering your fear.

I can’t say I love the idea of spending 100% of a game terrified about what the developers might throw at me. I expect Silent Hills would have worked out like that. I’d still have played it, mind you.

I love horror movies and watching them.i been watching horror since the early 1980s and its fun to watch.word up son

I’m a complete gaming scaredy cat, I have no intention of deliberately terrifying myself. I’m playing the recent ps+ Tomb Raider and the dark caves are just about my limit.

Horror as a genre has become so broad that my tastes have become quite eclectic. I couldn’t care less about Saw 15 but give me Hereditary any day. The methodical, deliberate pacing and handcrafted tension that horror provides engages me in a way unique to horror. Combine that with themes that play off our deepest fears as human beings and you have a great artistic recipe: engagement, conviction, resolution. Good horror should always leave a seed in you that haunts. If you can achieve that without picking up a controller, all the power to you.

Take the plunge. I’ve watched Carcinogen play Resident evil dozens of times, however actually it was a ton more fun.

He has, this is a 10/10 headline for me. I very much enjoy horror in all forms so I can’t relate entirely, but the headline gave me a good laugh

I remember watching my dad play Resident evil on the PS1 and being too scared to play myself. Now I love scary games.

@Deadhunter I keep meaning to replay Alien Isolation. I absolutely loved the main game but never played any of the dlc. Those Michael-Myers-esque androids were terrifying, not to mention the creature itself. Never played a game like it before or since.

Same. Though 1 game I will recommend is Blood Rush Until Dawn on PSVR. It has some fear in it, way scary to me, but it’s the best representation I’ve come across of VR reaching it’s true potential – virtual reality.

It’s the closest I’ve come to having my brain and body believe I was really there. I really wish someone would make a Super Mario Sunshine type version so I don’t risk dying of a heart attack while playing, but I think it’s only possible for the game to seem real b/c it is so dark. So maybe Luigi’s Mansion instead. 😁

@rjejr Luigi’s Mansion is bloody terrifying. I played it when I must have been about 3 and there’s just a really eerie atmosphere, especially with the gallery ghosts. I still find it creepy, the fact there are ghost babies and children is incredibly dark when you think about it.

Playing re7 in vr right now. Vr horror games is the way to go the intense is real.

@nessisonett Everything is scary when you’re 3 though, clowns, thunder, great aunts, that’s hardly a good barometer. 😉

Luigis Mansion did have it’s jolt moments and it was spooky but I don’t think it was scary. My wife played it, I just watched or so she tells me, so it might have been different from a spectator vantage point.

I’ve loved horror since I was a kid, but I’m a bit weird, so it doesn’t scare me (the only movie to really give me the creeps was the originalThe Shining”). That being said, while I really enjoy horror and its themes, I’ve never really been into horror games (outside of the occasional “Days Gone” like game that just “kind of” has horror elements). I don’t know why, but I’ve just never been that interested in them. That being said, while I don’t really like watching other people play games, I think it’s a perfectly acceptable form of entertainment. If that’s how you enjoy those kinds of games, I say go for it 😁

My very first horror game was Dead Space 2 and I was like 12 or 13 at the time. Once I got it I started it up and was absolutely scared as hell to the point later on I couldn’t even start it up. I just either starred at the box art or just played with the main menu. There was even Undead Nightmare I got and all I did instead of moving around I just kept staying on the roof of the cities in Blackwater. Couldn’t move an inch outside of it. I’ve grown older and gotten less scared from from horror games and now I can actually beat horror games and enjoy them but I’m still scared. I’m playing Fatal Frame 2 right now on the Original Xbox and constantly hoping I don’t have to open more doors and they just stay locked.

I’m not too big on horror, and I’m not normally keen on watching others play games. However, I have enjoyed watching youtubers play the Five Nights At Freddy’s games. It’s too scary and jumpscary for me to ever want to play myself, but I was quite interested in seeing what happens, and the surprising amount of lore in those games.

@nessisonett yeah it’s a bit of a shame that 3 didn’t try to replicate the atmosphere of the first one.LM scared the hell out of me when I was a kid (especially the baby boss), but I don’t think 3 would’ve scared me if I played it as a child.3’s still a great game for sure, though! Pacing issues in the second half aside (that bloody cat!), it honestly blew my expectations away!

I’m usually a bit of a wuss, but find that most games that are meant to be scary usually aren’t. The scariest thing I’ve played is probably Resident Evil 4. I was not expecting the chainsaw dude and the fate that befell poor Leon. Sound design in games usually makes a big difference if you wear headphones.The scariest game I’ve seen be played is P.T., which scared the wits out of me.

Horror games are like terrifying pleasure. I agree games for the most part should just be fun but the scary ones also give some sense of satisfaction and achievement when you conquer that terrifying villain.

@GeneJacket You’ve actually convinced me to pick up RE2 because it’s on sale right now. I’ll start it tonight. 👍

@Deadhunter Happy to help! Remake 2 is excellent, though I may be in the minority on liking RE3make more, but Nemesis was always my favorite of the originals and I thought the remake brought more new ideas to the table than RE2 did. They’re both excellent, though, so enjoy!

@Deadhunter RE2R is really great. It’s my first time to play it and I’m quite enjoying it. We have a thread over in the forums where several of us are playing it as a game of the month so feel free to join in the discussion over there if you want!

I cannot stomach horror, not in video game nor film form. I can just about stretch to things with zombies like TLOU, or Days Gone because the story or gameplay trumps the fear factor. I still remember losing my mind over thedescendantszombie people turning up expectedly in Uncharted 1……

I don’t like scary games either, or rather, games that are only horror games with no combat or weapons. They’re boring. So boring. It takes a lot for me to get scared, and I’m not talking about getting jump-scared that doesn’t count. That’s an uncontrollable neurological response to sudden stimulation, and is a cheap way toscare”. You’ve seen one jump-scared you have seen them all.

I like the tension that horror-elements add to combat. It can make even some repetitive encounters interesting.

Horror is really subjective. Anything less than traumatic will put me sleep, and the gameplay still needs to be good.


PlayStation 4, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, P.T.

World news – US – Soapbox: I Don’t Like Playing Scary Games, But I Do Like Watching Them

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