I raised this in a recent night note, but since I got so many interesting responses, I figured I'd throw it out to the masses: is there anything in real life that scares you so much it affects your gaming?
For me, it's underwater monsters. Mostly when it comes to games, that means sharks, but really, it can be anything that comes at you, unseen, from underwater. That's the catch: if the game is set entirely underwater, I'm fine, but if it's set mostly on land, and it drops you in water only briefly and then something's coming to get you, I go to pieces.
I don't mean it in a way that developers will think they're doing a good job in provoking an emotional response from me. I mean it in a way that I will try and cheat or otherwise break a game to get out of/past those sequences. It's not a challenge. It's a total nothankyou.jpg.
Silly, I know! Irrational, even. But hey, that's what fears and phobias are.
This makes me wonder how many of you are also missing out on sections of games, or skipping games entirely, based on a real-world phobia, rather than a virtual world preference.
Some of you mentioned a fear of heights, which would be a problem for any game with a sense of verticality. Mirror's Edge must be a killer. But what else is there? Was anyone afraid of the dark so much they couldn't play Doom 3 (or, for that matter, won't play the almost perpetually-dark Alan Wake)? Or so afraid of spiders they couldn't play Ocarina of Time?
It's also OK to say you're terrified of Fallout 3's beards. I am too.