What’s the most frightening videogame you’ve ever played?

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Tomorrow is Halloween and while activities like trick or treating and apple bobbing don’t have the same hold over South Africans as they do over Americans, we do love entertainment that scares the bejesus out of us.

With that in mind, we had a conflab in the office and recalled the games we played in the past that mentally and emotionally scarred us. Not all of them may strike players as particularly scary – heck, one of them technically isn’t even a horror game – but they left their marks on us for the reasons we state below. These are the games which warped our fragile psyches for all time:

Doom 3
Deon Du Plessis

“Doom 3 took me six months to finish and it’s only a 20 hour game. The reason for this is because I could only play for half an hour at a time. My palms would sweat, my heart would hammer and I would sit there thinking why the hell I was putting myself through the experience. I was not enjoying it.”

Doom 3

“At one point I was playing with my headphones on, my girlfriend came in, tapped my on the shoulder and I jumped about six feet high out of my chair. She still loves telling that story to this very day.”

Alan Wake
Charlie Fripp

“In Alan Wake, you have to kill enemies by burning off their protective cover of ‘darkness’ and then shooting them once they’re vulnerable. You spend a lot of time out in the woods and every single noise out there would set my neck hairs on end!”

Alan Wake

“Basically I got to a stage where I’d run out of batteries for the torch, so any noise that I heard out in the woods prompted me to point and shoot in its direction. It wasn’t long before I ran out of bullets and then my paranoia levels shot through the roof. The fact that I was playing this game in a darkened room by myself with headphones on didn’t help much either.”

Spec Ops: The Line
Clinton Mathos

“Spec Ops: The Line isn’t a horror game, really, but it’ll make you feel just as drained as one by the time you finish it. The reason for this is that you do absolutely terrible things in Spec Ops: The Line and, unlike other videogames, this one make you feel horrible and disgusted with yourself.”

Spec Ops: The Line

“There are lots of set-pieces in Spec Ops: The Line that disturbed the hell out of me, but I won’t spoil them for you. Anyone who has ever played it will know what I mean when I point to the ‘white phosphorus’ scene – and that’s just one of the many times this game made me feel utterly terrible.”

Brendyn Lotz

“This game is just really terrifying. I hate asylums for a start and this game is set in one. Second, the atmosphere of the place is absolutely choking; as you walk around its creaking, clanking corridors, you always feel like you’re being watched – like there’s something about to leap out at you from the darkness.”


“Of course, when something does leap out at you, you can’t even defend yourself. You’re only choices are run and hide before whatever’s coming at you twists your head off. Oh, and the infrared camera? That just made everything even worse!”

Dead Space
Nick Cowen

“Dead Space isn’t the scariest game I’ve ever played, but it’s the one that had perhaps the most disturbing effect on me. About half-way through the game, Dead Space reveals a monster – The Infector – that can reanimate corpses, turning them into bloodthirsty necromorphs. This means that any cadaver Isaac Clarke comes across is a potential enemy.”

Dead Space

“So any time I happened upon a room filled with corpses, I’d haul out the Ripper and start lopping off legs, arms and heads. I didn’t question this strategy until someone watching me play the game remarked that I was being a juvenile sick puppy. I responded by saying, “wait, there’s a good reason for this”.  Dead Space – the game where savage dismemberment is just routine.”

So what’s your scariest videogame experience? What game traumatised you the most? Tell us all about it…