Top 10 Scariest Moments in Video Game History

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10. F.E A.R. 2: Project Origin – Elementary School

We kick off our list with one of the creepiest moments of the F.E.A.R. franchise.  F.E.A.R. 2 was, arguably, inferior to its predecessor but it still gave us chills with the Elementary School level.  You begin the level by being dropped into an abandoned elementary school.  Desks, cabinets, and other classroom accoutrements are scattered all over.  As you explore the school, ghosts attack you and you’re transported to the other dimension with the faint sound of children singing in the background.

Throughout the entirety of the horror genre, nothing is scarier than children singing in creepy places.  Once you find your way back, you encounter reanimated soldiers (including one playing the piano) and to make matters worse when you find yourself in the school hallway, everything around you starts moving around by itself.  The lights start to flicker and you’re left shooting unknown enemies in the darkness.  Plus, Alma shows up to taunt you by throwing you up in the air, helpless.  If all that doesn’t get your heart pumping, wildly, you have ice in your veins.

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9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – The ReDead

When you think of the scary video game genre, the first thing that comes to mind likely won’t be a single Legend of Zelda game.  With good reason, too.  The Legend of Zelda saga isn’t really known for bringing the fear.

Contrary to that belief, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time tried changing that narrative.  Ocarina of Time was home to the Shadow Temple, in which, there were several fearsome enemies attacking you, while you navigated the creepy temple.  They even had a post-apocalyptic version of Hyrule with future Link.  However, the scariest moment of all was the first introduction of the ReDead.

These zombie-like creatures may not seem very scary nowadays, this creature came at a time where there weren’t many zombie games on the console market, especially not from Nintendo.  Plus, it’s not like many of us saw it coming during our first playthrough.  While slow, what made the ReDead so fearsome was their bone-chilling shrill that would stun Link and allow them to wrap their bodies around him, draining you of life.  If you didn’t act quickly, a swarm could easily take down even the most upgraded of Links.

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8. Condemned: Criminal Origins – Mannequin Room

If you’ve ever watched Doctor Who, you’re well-aware of the terrifying Weeping Angels.  If you’re not, the Angels are these aliens in the form of Stone Garden Figurines that will drain your life by sending you different times.  The only way to stop them is by keeping direct eye contact on them at all times.

Condemned: Criminal Origins has the same kind of terrifying characters except they’re Mannequins and instead of sending you throughout time, they just straight-up murder you.  The first time you encounter these stationary devils is when you enter the dreaded Mannequin Room.  After you flash your light on them clear across the room, you turn away.  However, once you look back, they’re right behind you.  With this, Monolith Productions ended up creating a singular moment that caused gamers everywhere to be wary of store mannequins, forever.

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7. Batman: Arkham Knight – Man-Bat

Much like #9, Batman: Arkham Knight isn’t really known as scary game.  In fact, the entire series had been relatively tame, save for a couple of moments.  One of those moments came as Batman is swinging from building to building in Gotham City, when an unsuspecting Batman climbs the wrong building only to find Man-Bat screeching in his face.  This random encounter ends up creating a new side-quest, but it also caused many gamers to immediately call their cardiologists out of fear of a heart attack.

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6. Bioshock – Dentist Splicer

Oh Bioshock, how you hold such a loving place in my heart.  It’s one of the creepiest and strangest games you’ll ever play, but it tells such a rich storyline with mechanics that compliment it beautifully.  The first Bioshock also has one of the most heart-skipping moments in video game history with the dreaded Dentist Chair!

In this scene, you’re walking through Rapture when you stumble upon a Dental examination room.  You approach the empty Dentist’s chair when suddenly, smoke pours in from the top and a corpse appears in the chair.  Already, it’s getting super creepy.

When the smoke clears a second time, nothing seems different except when you turn around and the Dentist Splicer is standing right behind you.  The Splicer is easy to kill but the startling fear causes most gamers to unload about three clips on it, for good measure.  If you haven’t experienced Bioshock, would you kindly play it once you’re finished reading our list?

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5. Dead Space 2 – Opening Scene

In terms of Horror genre, Dead Space flipped the script by creating an immersive, terrifying game where you don’t play as a cop, officer, soldier, etc.  No, you play as a scared-out-of-his-mind engineer, just trying to survive.  Survival is the nature of this series as countless nightmare-inducing monsters will attack without warning, with limited amounts of ammo to help you on your journey.

More horrifying was the sickening sequel which was home to one of the most insane opening scenes ever created.  It starts out as every game does, a couple of establishing shots, credits coming and going, and a familiar voice calling out to you.  Franko stands over a drowsy Isaac, trying to revive him when a Necromorph appears behind Franko, taking over his body, and transforming him in front of you.

Then, it’s time for Isaac to run.  No training wheels, no introductory section, Dead Space 2 throws you to the Necromorphs and you’re right back where you ended off in the first Dead Space.

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4. Resident Evil 1 – First Zombie Reveal

When the first Resident Evil game came out, I was 7 years old.  We would go to our neighbors house, who had the game, unbeknownst to our parents.  One night, we decided to stay the night with our fellow 7-10 year old neighbors to try out the game, for the first time.  I looked on as my brother entered the mysterious mansion, unsure what would happen or even what the game was about.  Then we approached the room from the Great Hall to find the first zombie I’d ever seen.  It was white with pale eyes and blood dripping from its mouth.  I was frozen in fear as I watched my brother try to get some distance from the zombie and unload his weapon from a different angle on the locked camera.  That moment instilled fear in everyone who played that game and, subsequently, began a continuous series of games, movies, and other mediums in the massive Resident Evil enterprise.

3. Five Nights at Freddy’s – Deaths

You don’t know fear until you’ve played Five Nights at Freddy’s.  In fact, I didn’t know fear until last year when myself and fellow contributors/SCNS castmates Jason the X and Rob Ntropi played Version 5.  There isn’t ONE particular moment that jumps out among the rest, when playing this creepy shadow game.  Everything about it induces fear.  From demonic teddy bears appearing and disappearing to a creepy bunny sitting at the end of the hall that only stops moving when you flash a light on it.

The scary moments just don’t end, however.  What gets your heart pumping the most is thinking that you’ve done everything right and then turning on your flashlight to see teeth chomping down on your face.  Five Nights at Freddy’s will leave you embarrassed because you’ve screamed more than you’d like to admit.   If you haven’t witnessed three grown men wail then watch the video above.  It really is one of the scariest games I’ve ever played.

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2. Resident Evil 1 – Dogs Jumping Out the Windows

We have to go back to the well for #2.  Resident Evil is one of the most iconic franchises of all time.  Thus, it should have multiple entries in the All-time Scary Moments in Video Game History list.  There are many locked rooms in Resident Evil and this game proves the adage that some things are better left locked away.

Shortly after finding the Sword Key, you’re able to open up a door in the East Wing.  This leads to an L-shaped hallway.  As you meander through it, a dog bursts through the window, attacking you.  Most people run in this instance.  If you do, you run right into another dog bursting through the window from the other hall!  You can either stay and fight or run away, at this point.  It’s probably best to run to find some sort of shelter needed to catch your breath.

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1. P.T. Silent Hills Demo – ALL OF IT

Finally, the number one Scariest Moment in Video Game History takes us to the pulse-pounding Silent Hills teaser, P.T.  Created by renowned developer Hideo Kojima and acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro, you play as an unknown character who wakes up in a room.  Upon exiting the room, you enter a looping hallway.  The only noise comes from a radio that broadcasts different directions and announcements with each playthrough.

A specter by the name of Lisa appears and watches your every move.  If she catches you, you pretty much die in that round and start from the room again.  At certain points you find yourself in a bathroom with an underdeveloped fetus in the sink.  If THAT wasn’t enough there is even a fridge hanging above you at times with audible crying from a baby and blood seeping out from the door.

The demented game found several heart-stopping ways to torture gamers in an effort to gear them up for a new Silent Hill game.  The game would ultimately be cancelled and Konami pulled P.T. from its downloadable content, making it a game of legend.  Before it did, though, it would further extend Kojima’s legacy as one of the all-time great game developers.

Thanks for reading through our list!  Let us know if you agree or if you have other games in mind!  If you haven’t played any of these games, check them out!  It is the season of scares, after all.  Have a Hauntingly, Happy Halloween!

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RPG Gamer by Day, FPS Gamer by Night. Matt has been covering games for nearly a decade. The quickest way to his heart is discussing anything The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Naughty Dog, Bungie, just any game really. Also into movies, TV, travel, and anime.