The History of Horror Games: From Text Adventures to VR Experiences
Horror Games: A Guide for Beginners
Horror games are video games that feature scary themes, characters, and settings. They are designed to frighten and thrill the player, and often use elements of suspense, mystery, and gore. Horror games can be divided into different subgenres, such as survival horror, action horror, psychological horror, and jump scare horror. Each subgenre has its own style, mechanics, and challenges.
If you are curious about horror games and want to learn more about them, this article will give you a brief introduction to the genre. You will discover the history of horror games, the main subgenres of horror games, the benefits of playing horror games, and some tips on how to play horror games. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what makes horror games so appealing and terrifying.
The origins of horror games can be traced back to earlier horror fiction. Archetypes have been linked to the books of H. P. Lovecraft, which include investigative narratives, or journeys through the depths.
The first title to inspire sweaty palms turned to an unconventional figure to inspire horror: a Tyrannosaurus rex (that chubby little chap on the cover). Built by the UK team of designer J. K. Greye and programmer Malcolm Evans in 1982, 3D Monster Maze saw players dropped into a randomly generated maze that contained the terrible lizard. Limited to a first-person view, as the player moved about the maze, the T. rex would begin to hunt them down.
One of the best-defined and most common types of horror games are survival horror games. These games tend to focus on the survival of the player-character in a horror setting with limited resources, and thus tend to be more geared as an action game or action-adventure game. The Resident Evil series coined the term and serves as the prime example of such games, though key conventions of the subgenre preceded the Resident Evil series. Other notable survival horror series include Alone in the Dark , Clock Tower , Fatal Frame , and Parasite Eve .
Horror games have been evolving and expanding over the years, incorporating new technologies, platforms, and genres. Some of the most influential and acclaimed titles in recent years include Silent Hill 2 , Amnesia: The Dark Descent , Outlast , Alien: Isolation , The Evil Within , Until Dawn , P.T., Resident Evil 7 , The Medium , Layers of Fear , Observer , Blair Witch , Stories Untold , Visage , Dead Space , The Last of Us , The House of the Dead , Five Nights at Freddy's , Doki Doki Literature Club , Soma , and Observer .
* Alien: Isolation
* Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
* Dead by Daylight
* Doki Doki Literature Club
* IMSCARED: A Pixelated Nightmare
* Layers of Fear
* Resident Evil 2 Remake
* Stories Untold
* The Cat Lady
* The Evil Within 2
* Until Dawn
* Blair Witch
* Five Nights at Freddy's
* Little Nightmares
* Silent Hill 2
* The Forest
* The Last of Us Part II
* The Walking Dead: Season One
* Condemned: Criminal Origins
* Dead Space 2
* Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
* Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
* Siren: Blood Curse
* The Suffering
* Alan Wake
* Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2
* Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
* Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
* Manhunt 2
* Penumbra: Black Plague
* Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
* System Shock 2
* The Medium
Survival horror is one of the most popular and well-known subgenres of horror games. Survival horror games focus on the survival of the player in a hostile environment with limited resources, such as health, ammo, weapons, and items. The player often has to deal with enemies, puzzles, traps, and environmental hazards, while managing their inventory and health. Survival horror games usually have a strong narrative and atmosphere, and often feature elements of mystery, exploration, and psychological horror. Some of the most famous survival horror games are Resident Evil , Silent Hill , Fatal Frame , Dead Space , The Evil Within , and The Last of Us .
Action horror is a subgenre of horror games that combines horror elements with fast-paced combat and shooting. Action horror games tend to emphasize action over survival, and often feature more enemies, weapons, and explosions than survival horror games. Action horror games usually have a linear and cinematic gameplay, and often use scripted events and quick-time events to create tension and excitement. Some of the most notable action horror games are Doom , Left 4 Dead , Resident Evil 4 , Dead Rising , F.E.A.R. , BioShock , Dying Light , and Resident Evil 2 .
Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror games that scare the player through mental, emotional, or psychological states. Psychological horror games tend to rely on atmosphere, story, and character development rather than gore or violence. Psychological horror games often use themes such as insanity, paranoia, trauma, guilt, identity, memory, and perception to create fear and confusion in the player. Psychological horror games usually have a nonlinear and ambiguous gameplay, and often use surrealism, symbolism, and metafiction to challenge the player's reality and expectations. Some of the most acclaimed psychological horror games are Silent Hill 2 , Amnesia: The Dark Descent , Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem , Soma , Layers of Fear , Observer , Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice , and Doki Doki Literature Club .
Jump Scare Horror
Jump scare horror is a subgenre of horror games that rely on sudden and unexpected scares to shock the player. Jump scare horror games tend to use loud noises, flashing images, pop-up enemies, or other startling stimuli to trigger the player's fear response. Jump scare horror games usually have a simple and straightforward gameplay, and often use found footage, webcam, or first-person perspective to create immersion and vulnerability in the player. Jump scare horror games are often criticized for being cheap or lazy, but they can also be effective and fun if done well. Some of the most popular jump scare horror games are Five Nights at Freddy's , Outlast , Slender: The Eight Pages , P.T., Until Dawn , Resident Evil 7 , The House of the Dead , and Alien: Isolation . ^37^^38^^39^^40^^41^^42^^43^^44^^45^^46^^47^^48^^49^^50^^51^^52^^53^^54^^55^^56^^57^^58^^59^^60^^61^^62^^63^^64^^65^^66^^67^^68^^69
Why play horror games? You might think that playing horror games is only for masochists who enjoy being scared or stressed out. However, there are actually some benefits of playing horror games that you might not be aware of. Here are some of them:
Horror games can improve your mood. According to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, playing violent or scary video games can reduce anger and aggression by providing a safe outlet for negative emotions. Playing horror games can also increase positive emotions such as excitement, curiosity, and satisfaction by overcoming challenges and fears. 
Horror games can enhance your cognition. According to a study by researchers at the University of Montreal, playing action video games can improve various cognitive skills such as attention, memory, spatial awareness, and decision making. Playing horror games can also stimulate your brain activity by activating different regions such as the amygdala (fear), the hippocampus (memory), and the prefrontal cortex (planning). 
Hor ror games can boost your immunity. According to a study by researchers at Coventry University, playing horror video games can increase the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting infections and diseases. Playing horror games can also reduce the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that can weaken the immune system. 
Horror games can make you more resilient. According to a study by researchers at the University of Oxford, playing horror video games can help you cope with stressful or traumatic situations by increasing your sense of control, mastery, and self-efficacy. Playing horror games can also help you develop emotional regulation, empathy, and social support by sharing your experiences with others. 
Of course, playing horror games is not for everyone, and it can also have some negative effects if done excessively or improperly. Some of the drawbacks of playing horror games are:
Horror games can cause anxiety and insomnia. According to a study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, playing horror video games can induce physiological arousal, such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and skin conductance, which can interfere with sleep quality and duration. Playing horror games can also trigger psychological distress, such as nightmares, flashbacks, and phobias, which can affect your mental health and well-being. 
Horror games can desensitize you to violence and suffering. According to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan, playing violent or scary video games can reduce your sensitivity to real-life violence and suffering by decreasing your emotional response, moral judgment, and empathy. Playing horror games can also increase your aggression and hostilit