The horror genre was once consigned to the cinema and videotapes, gaining popularity not via the mainstream as such, but a cult following who appreciated the art for what it was.
As the audience tastes changed, horror became a blockbuster hit and it was only natural that as platforms and technology evolved, the thirst for frights and scares would drive the industry into the mainstream. Horror movies alone make $1bn a year, and now that is only the tip of the iceberg.
With advanced technology, horror gaming has become another booming industry. Ever since games such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill first landed on the PlayStation, fans have been eager to get their frights another way – as the protagonist not as a viewer. Today, the market is saturated with survival horror, atmosphere horror and even PvP games putting you in the shoes of the antagonist. Themes from horror movies are also used on mobile devices and tablet releases, often on titles that are not related to slaughter and fear. The horror themed slots on Foxy Games include Halloween Jack and Blood Moon Wilds, mixing the imagery with slot machines to appeal to a cross-section of gaming fans. Some puzzle games also draw from horror for their inspiration, Slayaway Camp for example, whilst other Android and iOS releases such as Grabbers: The Game draw directly from their source material.
The top titles are those on machines which can handle the graphics and sound required to make the genuinely frightening experience for the gamer, akin to the first time they saw Michael Myers stalk the suburbs of Haddonfield, Illinois. If you are looking for a proper horror experience on your home console or computer, look no further than these titles from the last decade.
Outlast uses the ‘found footage’ style of filming made famous by the Blair Witch Project and turns it on a psychiatric hospital full of cruel staff and seemingly possessed patients. There is nothing new here, the setting has been done before, the style has been done before, but originality is not always the key to success. Outlast wins out because everything is done well, and a genre becomes popular not only through innovation but also imitation. How many Halloween ‘hack and slash’ clones have been big hits? Many. Outlast takes the clichés and the well-worn methods and presents them in a style which hits the mark for fear fans.
The Evil Within 2
The Evil Within will scare you. The frights here are not psychological, they are terrifying real and will haunt your nightmares. Graphically, the Evil Within 2 conjures up images that scare and disturb. To a degree, there is an element of the excellent Guillermo del Toro films The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth in here, with monsters unlike those you have seen before that stay with you long after the controller has been put down.
Resident Evil 2 Remastered
The fact we have included a remaster on the list perhaps pays homage to the thought that early horror was better. All good horror stems from certain movies that broke the boundaries – Psycho and Halloween being two such releases which defined the genre for years afterwards. Resident Evil 2 did just that when it first dropped on PlayStation and we have been lucky enough to get a remaster which is still at the very top of its game. If you are starting out on your horror gaming odyssey, there is no better place to be that with the Capcom classic.
The Last of Us
Games must create a world for you to live in, which is perhaps more challenging than creating a movie and presenting it to you. They need to be longer, more immersive and if you stray, that same tension must grab you even though you are heading off the beaten track. The Last of Us Remastered did just that. Joel and Ellie’s relationship set a beautiful and poignant juxtaposition to a zombie ravaged world. There are genuine moments of fear in here, but a contrasting human moment, which make the horror more effective. Put simply, this is a masterpiece and now it has been remastered too, it is as beautiful as ever on the eye.