Did you know that, according to a study, watching scary flicks and playing horror games causes your heartbeat to increase as much as an additional 15 beats per minute, spikes your blood pressure, causes your body to drop several degrees and makes your muscles tense?
That's right, and it's our “old brain” at fault. “Say what?”, you ask, and the study obliges – surely, you've had this happen to you at one point or another in your life – you're watching a scary movie, or playing a creepy game and you find yourself reinforcing the idea of it not being real to your own brain. And as much as you'd like it to ease your scare, it doesn't. The study claims that that is because your brain hasn't really caught up with all the new technologies (like movies). You can keep telling yourself it's not real, but your brain will continue to react as if it were.
If you find yourself wondering why we're telling you this, it's because the below titles will freak you out to a point where you'll be able to judge for yourself the sterility of attempts at convincing your brain it's just a game. Don't trust us? We dare you play these after midnight:
Do you dare?
Do you dare?
1. Year Walk
Don't get fooled by this article's title – even though we go by the common name for the genre (horror), this list gravitates more towards the suspense category where the psychological factor plays just as much (scratch that, it's even more important!) of a part in the outcome as do gory and scary visuals. To that end, Swedish Year Walk is a masterpiece awaiting discovery and also our personal winner. Borrowing from Swedish folklore, Year Walk is more art than game. You'll know what we mean once you get your hands on it – and once you do, don't get discouraged – albeit initially confusing, the controls are actually very well thought out, and the way that content is brought to you is simply unique. But don't let the beautiful, macabre art fool you – you're going to get at least a few jump scares – we're sure, however, that you'll find the price worth paying for a thoroughly pleasurable experience. The game comes with a side app that we absolutely recommend you use for full effect. Said side app will provide more clues into Swedish folklore and will add significant depth to the scenes that will haunt you for hours after you call it quits.Download
2. Hysteria Project 2
Hysteria Project 2 is different. It combines real HD footage with puzzles that will pick your brain in what is one terrifying game. We won't spoil much more for you, but it suffices to say that should you decide to take our dare, you should probably ensure you have all you're going to be needing for the night in your room. No, you won't be leaving your room, for who knows what lurks out there?Download
3. Papa Sangre
Remember how we said that Hysteria Project 2 is different? Well, Papa Sangre is something else entirely. In fact, it has a unique feature... or perhaps lacks one, depending on the perspective – visuals. Yeah, you heard us, the game is audio-only, and before you disregard this little masterpiece we urge you to try it out. You'll need headphones, because the game utilizes something called binaural sound, or said differently – 3D stereo sound. Said technique will help you walk your way through a labyrinth full of horrors hiding in the shadows, aided by the power of your hearing only. What we truly loved about this one is not just its uniqueness in regards to how it decides to serve you your nightly dose of suspense – it's the unsettling feeling you get when you cancel out the surrounding world around you, but can still perceive it. Try it, you may soon find yourself removing your headphones to ensure that the sounds you're hearing are coming from the game itself, and not from under your bed.Download
4. The Woods
The Woods is an immersive 3D first-person game which hands you a flashlight and some creepy woods to roam around in and abandons your terrified behind to fend for itself. So how is this anything different or in anyway special from what we're used to? Well, the title actually delivers on the basic premise of the genre – suspense is built up as you roam a freaky forest and then something scares the living crap out of you, and that's that. Less sublime than the titles before, The Woods nevertheless delivers a morbid dose of scary.Download
Limbo actually only gets an honorary mention, and for a good reason. Lest you boo us out of the building, we do have to point out that Limbo, whilst setting a very enigmatic and eerie mood throughout the game and as exceptional as it is in, well, every manner, is more of a side-scrolling puzzle game than anything else. Sure, we did have some people momentarily panic when Mr. Giant-freaking-spider made his first appearance, but apart from that, Limbo is rather benign in its treatment of its paying customers, compared to what you saw on this list already.Download