Dead Space 2
Pretty much what happens to me in my dreams every time I play a scary game.
A few commenters recommended both Dead Space and Dead Space 2; I chose the latter simply because “ooo, graphics!” I don’t normally operate this way, since I’m always sure I’m missing some cool-kid callbacks when I play a sequel first, so I may pick up the first one to feed my completionist OCD.
Dead Space 2 was a bit easier for me to play, because I could just pretend it was a normal third-person shooter full of things for me to kill and try my best to ignore the incredibly awesome sound work that was relentlessly terrifying me. So yeah, when I say “a bit” I mean “not at all.” There were a lot of corridors with a lot of scary noises that often ended up masking real mutant Necromorph threats. Also lots of incoherent whispering, with which I never do well.
I also don’t do well with Necromorph children, it turns out.
Dead Space 2 and its predecessor are both available on consoles and PC, and Dead Space 3 drops in early February 2013. You know what that means, fellas. Make this a Valentine’s Day she’ll never forget!
Two of you recommended this game, and I will never forgive you for it.
First of all, there’s a whole creative writing website called The SCP Foundation devoted to collecting and categorizing these little brilliant pieces of sci-fi and horror fiction in the form of official reports and documents; sort of like a wiki X-files. Here’s the one this game is based on. After you’ve read my article in its entirety and left a thoughtful comment, why not head over there and spend hours ensuring you’ll never sleep soundly again? There are four other game variants that take on this entry—SCP-087-B, SCP-087-C (Circus), SCP-087-G (Gaben), and SCP-087 E (REDACTED)—all of which I will never play.
This game was right in my wheelhouse of personal terror. You’re tasked with descending a staircase. MAYBE FOREVER. And the map generates as you go, so all the (deliciously subtle) weird stuff happens different places each time you play. The sound is simple and great. Are those just my footsteps? Is that my breathing? I sure hope that’s not my breathing because that person sounds pretty freaked out, nomsayin? What the F**K was that? No, that was a thing, that was right there, and now it’s not, and I’m on floor 145 and I want my mommy.
There’s one important sound cue from the story that I think the developer made a mistake by omitting, though who am I to complain? If it was in there the crap in my pants would probably no longer be figurative. Also, the ending may cause some of you more cynical types to respond with a resounding “meh.” For my cowardly part, I was just glad it was finally over.
When a video game has you wishing for death, it might be time to just turn it off. Or try to make it to one more landing…