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What’s The Scariest Moment You’ve Experienced In A Game?

Illustration for article titled What’s The Scariest Moment You’ve Experienced In A Game?em/em

I like zombie games. I like open world experiences. Mixing them together gives you The Evil Within 2.

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Sebastian Castellanos’s plunge back into the shared reality of STEM takes you into a Twin Peakesque town called Union that is as distorted as your fractured psyche. There’s a killer photographer on the loose who’s murdering his victims, then taking a picture in their final moments so that they become frozen in a death loop. Are they conscious? Do they repeatedly experience the pain and the horror of realizing that they’re going to die?

At the same time, knowing everything was just a projection in my head dulled a big part of the fear I felt. What did I have to be scared about when it was just a virtual reality simulation in Sebastian’s mind?

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That feeling changed early on in my foray into Union. You find a house where a woman is feeding what appears to be her child. “Clean your plate. You got to eat,” she gently says. But he’s so full, he can’t eat anymore. She begins to force him to chow more food down, bashing his face into the table. He is alive, even though he appears utterly horrified and confused by what’s happening to him.

“I’m doing what’s best for you,” she states angrily as she stuffs him with food. Even though he’s human, he looks like a zombie, both physically and mentally, as more food is shoved down his throat.

“What the?” Sebastian says, mirroring our own incredulous disgust. I couldn’t help but wonder what actual relationship do they have? Why does she want him to eat so badly? And which sick STEM programmer thought to put in the detail of flies infesting old food, skin rotting off, and the graphically accurate visuals of what a bashed-in head actually looked like?

Illustration for article titled What’s The Scariest Moment You’ve Experienced In A Game?em/em
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The whole scene freaked me out.

So Kotaku, what was the scariest/most disturbing moment you’ve ever experienced in a game?

Peter Tieryas is the author of Mecha Samurai Empire & Cyber Shogun Revolution (Penguin RH). He's written for Kotaku, IGN, & Verge. He was an artist at Sony Pictures & Technical Writer for LucasArts.

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DISCUSSION

I’ll probably get buried under the comments here, but I like telling people about the time I was personally most afraid in a game because I wasn’t even playing a horror game.

I was probably 10 or 11 years old, playing Tomb Raider on the Sega Saturn for the first time. I’d rented it earlier that day and was eager to dive into it over the weekend.

I came upon some ruins not far into the cave I was exploring as part of the opening level, and I remember feeling just entirely immersed in the game’s atmosphere. It was dark and mysterious and a bit ominous. It felt a lot like being Indiana Jones, really, and I was totally digging it.

I step through a doorway or archway and turn, and, completely out of nowhere, this huge brown bear appears and attacks me. I literally screamed and shut the game off.

I had a personal rule for myself back then that if I had a rented game at home, I wouldn’t allow myself to play anything else. But I was too afraid to go back to Tomb Raider until I finally mustered up the courage late on Sunday night, literally at the end of a long weekend of lost gaming potential.