Top 10 Video Games That Will Traumatize You



Top 10 Video Games That Will Traumatize You

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci
Not all of these are "horror" games, but they are all horrifying in some way. For this list, we'll be looking at games that impact the player, leaving you terrified, sobbing, or just straight up scarred for life. Our countdown includes “Alice: Madness Returns” (2011), “Doki Doki Literature Club” (2017), “Outlast” (2013), “Soma” (2015), “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard” (2017) and more!
Script written by Callum Janes

Top 10 Games That Will Traumatize You

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Games That Will Traumatize You.

For this list, we’ll be looking at games that impact the player, leaving you terrified, sobbing, or just straight up scarred for life.

What was your favorite game that harmed you in a way that would never heal? Any we missed? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “Alice: Madness Returns” (2011)

Forget the Disney adaptation, this Wonderland is a dream world the main character uses to explore her broken mind and escape her grim reality. Here you play as Alice, as you hack, slash and platform your way through distorted hallucinations which play alongside events in the “real world’s” 1875’s London. While the environments start as idyllic, everything quickly devolves into nightmarish imagery which becomes even more potent when you realize what they represent in regards to Alice’s real-world trauma. Death, abuse, and child trafficking, you’ll need a strong stomach to venture out into this twisted tea party.

#9: “Doki Doki Literature Club” (2017)

The Visual Novel genre is awash with every kind of light-hearted romance you can imagine, which all tend to have some kind of happy ending. So naturally after joining the school’s literature club, reading poems, and spending time with your chosen waifu, finding one of the characters hanging in their bedroom comes as a bit of a shock. What follows is a barrage of meta-horror as replaying the game causes glitches and alterations to the story, usually with blood-curdling results. Many fans have taken this game as a commentary on mental illness, using eroge game tropes to make you care and blindsiding you with its dark phenomenons.

#8: “Outlast” (2013)

Don’t you wish the main character wasn’t always so curious? Investigative journalist Miles wants to get the big scoop about the horrifying experiments being conducted at Mount Massive Asylum, and boy did he get more than he bargained for. Trapped inside the compound with nothing but a night vision camcorder between him and the homicidal patients, it’s a relentless fear-fest from the get-go. You feel powerless as you race around, hiding from screaming freaks who will tear you limb from limb. There isn’t a happy ending to be found here, and you’d be forgiven for uninstalling the game after Chris Walker’s debut.

#7: “Soma” (2015)

This sci-fi survival horror sees players trapped inside an underwater research facility, along with frightening creatures, confusing puzzles, and philosophical questions about the human consciousness. The developers balanced the quiet moments with raw intensity, with the atmosphere and mechanics they’ve built up from their notorious Amnesia: The Dark Descent. You begin to question everything you see and hear, the literal and metaphorical pressure building with every death cycle endured. As the game states: reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

#6: “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard” (2017)

Resident Evil has some pretty scary entries in its canon, but it was down in Louisiana where the horror got personal. Following the unluckiest guy on the planet, Ethan, as he endeavoured to save his wife Mia from the psychotic Baker family, players were overloaded with both incredible graphics and an abundance of body horror. It gets even worse if you play it in VR, with Jack Baker and his merry brood now able to get right up in your face. The game consistently finds a way to viscerally unsettle you, with the paranoia likely to stay long after you skedaddle out of the swamp.

#5: “This War of Mine” (2014)

Games are constantly trying to find new approaches to convey horor, but this one remains haunting just because of how real it is. 11-bit Studios were inspired by wartime atrocities during the 1992-1996 Siege of Sarajevo, and the end-product is harrowing. You, as civilians, try to survive the cruel weather in damaged housing inches away from fire-fights, forced to make difficult decisions about how you manage resources. You have to decide whether to screw over your fellow survivors, where you’ll scavenge for food, and how you’ll keep the children safe during these ghastly circumstances. Your actions and the reactions of your group will leave you hollow, make no mistake.

#4: “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” (2017)

A Pict warrior haunted by “The Darkness”, Senua is a broken woman shunned by her tribe and plagued by voices. Nevertheless, to resurrect her dead lover Dillon, she journeys through hellish landscapes to reach Helheim and face the God of Death. This game is best played with headphones, as the player constantly hears the echoes that play out in Senua’s head. It immerses you in the psychosis that she experiences, almost triggering you into believing you’re hearing things as well. It’s a fantastic story that pulls on Celtic and Norse folklore that grows increasingly disturbing and yet intriguing as the tale unfolds.

#3: “Silent Hill 2” (2001)

James Sunderland’s descent into the town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his dead wife is a classic for a reason. Now lost amidst the endless fog and surrounded by iconic and terrifying monsters like Pyramid Head, James’ personal hell is a masterful mystery filled with fear-fueled uncertainty. The controls are quite restricted, with the game focusing on immersion and exploration. You learn that Silent Hill is actually an otherworld that pulls upon the psyche of its visitors to manifest the nightmares which inhabit it. The damaged characters and story are utterly compelling, which will leave you petrified and emotionally drained by the end, leaving an impression that won’t be soon forgotten.

#2: “The Last of Us Part II” (2020)

The action-adventure survival horror phenomenon that was The Last of Us made you care deeply for its characters. It was a heart-wrenching journey focusing on the survivor Joel, who, after losing his daughter, learns to care again when wild youth Ellie comes into his life. We can’t help but cry every time we see Sarah pass on, but while the first game is a fantastic play, Part 2 takes things in a disturbing new direction. The torture, killing of pregnant women and the uncomfortable amount of detail put into the deaths of NPCs is agonizing. It’s hard to have hope here, but that’s how this sequel got its hooks into gamers everywhere.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Spec Ops: The Line” (2012)

Questioning the Moral Ambiguity of Modern Action Games

“Conker’s Bad Fur Day” (2001)

This Witty Squirrel Didn’t Get the Last Laugh

“SCP Containment Breach” (2012)

There’s a Monster for Every Phobia

“Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem” (2002)

This Game Messes With You in Real Life

#1: “That Dragon, Cancer” (2016)

If there is ever a game that will leave you heartbroken, it’s this stark autobiographical point-and-click adventure. It follows the story of Ryan and Amy Green after their child Joel was diagnosed with terminal cancer at twelve months old. The player is presented with an overwhelming experience through vignettes of the parents’ later four years of life with their son before he passed away. It’s a tragic topic openly discussed through interactions and imaginative retrospectives. This game won’t leave you looking over your shoulder, but it’ll impact you in a way like no other has.