If there is one thing I've been infatuated with over the years as much as horror, it's video games. From the early days of the Atari 2600 up until the XBOX 360, if I haven't owned one of the consoles out there, I've laid my hands on them at least once. Many hours have been whittled away staring at the TV screen with controller in hand, taking away from the time I had to watch my precious horror movies. Thankfully, there have always been a few horror video games out there to cover both bases!
Here today, I give you 10 Horror Video Games, both classic and new, that have tickled my own fancy over the years.
In the days of the Turbografx-16, a stately old gentleman such as myself could walk down to the mom and pop video store and rent a Turbografx-16 console which was the cutting edge in technology. When you're going to be going for something as mind blowingly awesome as 16-bit graphics, you needed to make it worth your while. So why not some blood and guts dressed up as Jason Vor...er... sorry, 'Rick'?
Around 1995, there was a boom in the computer gaming field with the arrival of CD-Rom! Sadly yes, I was there for it. Hell, I was two years shy of being married for this 'boom'. I was already working as the guy that would come and install your new fangled CD-Rom for you for a mere $40 per hour! Along with this new innovation in technology came a similar jump in game play; the cut scene. "Phantasmagoria" was exciting by god because it was a full blown interactive movie! Judging from my experience clicking through this stuttering beast the first time, I'm not too good at this whole 'choose your own adventure' concept.
"The 7th Guest" was actually the pioneer of the CD-Rom craze when it launched in 1993, but the marketing departments hadn't quite caught on to the 'interactive movie' pitch quite yet. Predating "Myst", "7th Guest" still gave us a creepy little trip through point and click puzzle solving that was pretty enjoyable the first time through. As CD-Rom upgrade kits caught on, the "7th Guest" disc would soon become as prolific as the AOL disk when it came with every Sound Blaster Multimedia CD-Rom kit.
The Japanese are well known for their quirky tastes in video games and "Fatal Frame" was a perfect introduction to them. Debuting on the Playstation 2 and later the XBOX, "Fatal Frame" locked you in an old haunted mansion armed only with an antique camera. In search of your missing brother, you had to sneak about through the dark hallways while various ghosts jumped out at you while you did your best to trap them on film! It sounds strange at first but I'd be a liar if I didn't jump out of my chair a fair number of times along my quest.
We all know "Silent Hill", made even more well known by Rhada Mitchell's turn as the lead heroine of the franchise on the silver screen. Despite several games in the franchise and the theatrical treatment, I still have no idea what in the hell the story is about. All I know is that sitting in a dark living room in 1999 with my Playstation 1 controller clutched in my sweaty paws, I had never experienced a game play experience quite like this. Slow paced, packed with mystery and some down right frightening creatures, this was a horror game that would ring your bell back in the day.
"Res Evil" is quite possibly the most well known survival horror franchise in gaming history, which I still cannot understand myself to this day. Yes, the graphics and the idea of fighting zombies on your TV back in 1996 was indeed mind blowing. However for myself, the controls of this game were so downright infuriating that it spoiled the entire experience. To this day, I still find the controls aggravating. Regardless of my own tastes, the multitude of games still pack an excellent story line that is intertwined with twists and turns that connect all of the titles. The movie rendition has its moments as well, but do not rely on them for the full story.
If you have ever owned a game console and never played a version of "Castlevania", it's a safe assumption that you grew up in a cave. This is your classic platforming action game with Dracula. And it is amazing. Hours upon hours of grueling difficulty and enormous castles to explore, you faced off against every thing from skeletons to mermen and a whole lot more. For myself, the "Castlevania" games still get spun up from time to time for a bit of that old school nostalgia. I still swear at it a whole hell of a lot too, just like I did back in the day.
"Parasite Eve" was an odd little game out of Square back in 1998, itself a sequel to the novel written by Hideaki Sena. Strong RPG elements with a horror theme made up the setting for this little spookfest with a definite Japanese flair. This game was so popular in Japan, it went own to a full fledged TV series, a manga series and more. At one time there were rumors of a US Film that I vaguely remember Madonna's name attached to. Thankfully, that never came to fruition.
In 1994, there was no greater high fantasy than taking on the role of a computer hacker battling an evil artificial intelligence in the depths of space. Filled with great scenes and frighting voice work that is still memorable to this day, the game definitely left its mark on the few PC gamers that managed to get their hands on the title. These days, many of you have played the spiritual successor to "System Shock" in the form of "BioShock" as many of the programmers who created the game for Looking Glass Studios later went on to create Irrational Games.
"Clock Tower" graced the SNES and the Playstation 1 back in 1995. In setting it was the same as many other survival horror games of the time. In execution it was quite different. Instead of running through halls armed to the teeth with machine guns, machetes or any weapons at all, the main game play factor instead was hiding from your enemies. As you slunk about the haunted castle, you were faced with many a puzzle to solve, all while hiding mind you, as you made your way to freedom.