Best Stick to Minecraft
Despite having the appropriate age-rating, nowhere near as much gratuitous content and even an adorable premise that leaves no room for anything unsettling, sometimes kid’s games contain material that one would consider nightmare-fuel. We can imagine that a few children who played these five lost nights sleep as a result – we certainly would have at their age!
#5: “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask” (2000)
From your first steps into Termina, you know that you’re in for a very different gameplay experience than one might have expected from a follow-up to “Ocarina of Time.” Everything from the grotesque appearance of the moon to the erratic movements of the Happy Mask Salesman is extremely unsettling, and it only gets worse the more you play. Gamers soon get introduced to the maimed Darmani, creepy alien invasions, and disfigured parents in a house surrounded by corpses. By the time you hit Ikana Canyon, you’re so familiar with the concept of suffering that you almost become immune to it.
#4: “A Hat in Time” (2017)
This delightfully stylized throwback to Nintendo 64 collect-a-thons garnered rave reviews from players and press around the world, and rightfully so. After all, it perfectly captured the childhood magic of the older titles, such as mirror messages written in blood, murder mysteries, and the mafia. Wait, either we’re misremembering Nintendo 64 games, or developer Gears for Breakfast really cranked up the creepiness to eleven. Well, after experiencing the very real horror of Queen Vanessa’s Manor, we’re probably going to go with the latter. Hell, we don’t even want to play that section as adults, so we can’t even imagine what Hat Kid is going through.
#3: “Ecco the Dolphin” (1992)
This one can’t possibly be creepy, right? After all, you’re controlling one of the most adorable creatures in the sea in a thrilling time-travelling adventure. What a wholesome game! Or so it seems, until you start experiencing the crushing sense of loneliness as you traverse the creepy ocean to depressing little tunes. That should have been our first clue that something was amiss, but it only really hits you when you encountered the Lovecraftian tentacle monsters that are hell-bent on killing the lovable little Ecco. The result of us getting past them? The Vortex Queen, which belongs in a freaking “Alien” movie, and not in our dolphin game. Thanks Novotrade International!
#2: “Earthbound” (1995)
You all knew it would be here, and yes, Giygas was absolutely a factor in our decision, but he’s not the only reason “Earthbound” nabs such a high spot on our list. We focused on the aesthetics in most games up to this point, but this title earns its place thanks to its story, which often delves into some really questionable material. After all, Ness and his friends spend countless hours in graveyards, dealing with brainwashed children, and in Happy Happy Village, a town populated by literal cultists. That’s some surprisingly heavy stuff for a RPG that seems, at first glance, to be simple and accessible enough to be anyone’s introduction to the genre.
#1: “Heart of Darkness” (1998)
In hindsight, we probably should have guessed given the name that this would be anything but a fun little adventure. The plot centers on a boy named Andy who goes on a quest through various terrains to save his dog from evil shadow demons. It’s a noble goal, but if you make any mistake throughout the game, you’ll bear witness to some very subtle, very disturbing death scenes. You can drown, get crushed, murdered, and so much more. We still can’t get the image of limp, dangling limbs out of our mind, and we’re perfectly comfortable admitting that we abandoned the dog to go play a happier game.
Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Creepy Video Games for True Horror Fans.