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What Horror Games Should You Start With? A Comprehensive Guide for Newcomers

Are you ready to face your fears and venture into the world of horror games? With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. Fear not, brave gamer! This comprehensive guide is here to help you navigate the terrifying world of horror games and find the perfect starting point for your gaming journey. From classic survival horror to psychological thrillers, we’ll explore the best games that will have you on the edge of your seat. So, gather your courage and let’s dive into the world of horror games together!

Finding the Right Horror Game for Your Tastes

Factors to Consider

When it comes to horror games, there are a variety of factors to consider before diving in. These factors can greatly impact your overall experience and enjoyment of the game. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a horror game:

  • Game mechanics: The mechanics of a game refer to the way the game is played. For horror games, this can include elements such as puzzle-solving, exploration, or combat. Consider your preferences for gameplay and whether the mechanics of a particular game align with your interests.
  • Atmosphere: Atmosphere is a crucial element of any horror game. It refers to the overall feeling and tone of the game, including the setting, music, and visuals. Consider whether you prefer a more psychological or supernatural approach to horror, as well as your tolerance for jump scares and gore.
  • Storyline: The storyline of a horror game can greatly impact your engagement with the game. Consider whether you prefer a linear or non-linear story, as well as your interest in character development and plot twists.
  • Character development: Many horror games feature protagonists that are fleshed out and developed over the course of the game. Consider whether you prefer games with strong characters and character arcs, or if you prefer a more straightforward, action-oriented experience.
  • Replay value: Replay value refers to the extent to which a game can be replayed and still provide a satisfying experience. Consider whether you are interested in replaying a game to explore different paths or endings, or if you prefer to experience the game once and move on.

Navigating the Horror Game Landscape

Key takeaway: Horror games come in various subgenres, including Slender Man, zombie, ghost and haunted house, alien and space horror, and cosmic horror. Understanding these subgenres can help newcomers choose a game that suits their preferences and interests. Other factors to consider when selecting a horror game include game mechanics, storyline, character development, and replay value. To navigate the horror game landscape, it’s essential to understand the different subgenres and the games that fall under each category.

Understanding the Different Subgenres of Horror Games

As a newcomer to the world of horror games, it can be overwhelming to navigate the vast landscape of games available. To help you get started, it’s important to understand the different subgenres of horror games. Here are some of the most popular subgenres:

Slender Man Games

Slender Man games are based on the internet meme and horror character known as Slender Man. These games typically involve the player exploring a dark and creepy environment while being stalked by Slender Man. The goal is to survive as long as possible while avoiding being caught by the monster. Some popular examples of Slender Man games include “Slender: The Arrival” and “Slender: The Eight Pages.”

Zombie Games

Zombie games are perhaps the most well-known subgenre of horror games. These games typically involve the player fighting off hordes of zombies in a post-apocalyptic world. Some popular examples of zombie games include “Resident Evil” and “The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.”

Ghosts and Haunted House Games

Ghosts and haunted house games involve the player exploring a haunted location filled with supernatural entities. These games often rely on jump scares and suspenseful atmosphere to create a scary experience. Some popular examples of ghost and haunted house games include “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” and “Outlast.”

Alien and Space Horror Games

Alien and space horror games typically involve the player being stranded in space and fighting off hostile alien creatures. These games often have a claustrophobic atmosphere and rely on tension and fear of the unknown to create a scary experience. Some popular examples of alien and space horror games include “Alien: Isolation” and “Doom.”

Cosmic Horror Games

Cosmic horror games involve the player confronting eldritch abominations and otherworldly beings from beyond our understanding. These games often have a surreal and otherworldly atmosphere, and rely on the player’s sense of helplessness and insignificance in the face of an indescribable horror. Some popular examples of cosmic horror games include “Lovecraft’s Untold Stories” and “Cosmic Top Secret.”

Understanding these different subgenres of horror games can help you find the type of game that best suits your preferences and interests. Whether you prefer to fight off zombies, explore haunted houses, or confront cosmic abominations, there’s a horror game out there for everyone.

Recommended Horror Games for Each Subgenre

  • Slender Man: The Arrival
  • Resident Evil Village
  • Phasmophobia
  • Dead Space
  • Call of Cthulhu

When it comes to horror games, there are numerous subgenres to explore. To help newcomers navigate this diverse landscape, we’ve compiled a list of recommended horror games for each subgenre. Whether you’re a fan of supernatural terror or prefer psychological horror, there’s something for everyone in this comprehensive guide.

Slender Man: The Arrival

  • Developer: Blue Isle Studios
  • Release Date: 2018
  • Genre: First-Person Survival Horror
  • Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Slender Man: The Arrival is a survival horror game based on the popular internet meme, Slender Man. Players assume the role of a journalist investigating the mysterious disappearances of several people in a remote forest. The game is set in a vast, atmospheric environment that is both beautiful and unsettling. Players must navigate through the woods, avoiding the deadly grasp of the Slender Man, while collecting clues and solving puzzles to uncover the truth behind the disappearances.

Resident Evil Village

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: 2021
  • Genre: Third-Person Survival Horror
  • Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Resident Evil Village is the latest installment in the iconic survival horror series. Set in a remote European village, players assume the role of Ethan Winters, who is searching for a way to save his daughter from a terrifying new threat. The game combines the series’ signature blend of action and horror with stunning visuals and an immersive storyline. With a new cast of characters and a fresh setting, Resident Evil Village is the perfect starting point for newcomers to the series.


  • Developer: Kinetic Games
  • Release Date: 2020
  • Genre: First-Person Paranormal Investigation

Phasmophobia is a unique paranormal investigation game that challenges players to explore haunted locations and gather evidence of supernatural activity. Players must use a range of tools, including EMF meters and spirit boxes, to communicate with ghosts and gather clues. The game features a procedurally generated environment, ensuring that each playthrough is different and unpredictable. With its emphasis on strategy and problem-solving, Phasmophobia is perfect for players who enjoy a more cerebral horror experience.

Dead Space

  • Developer: EA Redwood Shores
  • Release Date: 2008
  • Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Dead Space is a classic survival horror game that follows the story of an engineer stranded on a massive spacecraft infested with deadly aliens. Players must fight for survival using a variety of weapons and tools, while exploring the dark, claustrophobic corridors of the ship. The game’s tense atmosphere and intense gameplay make it a must-play for fans of the genre.

Call of Cthulhu

  • Developer: Cyanide Studio
  • Genre: First-Person Investigative Horror

Call of Cthulhu is a horror game based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Players assume the role of a private investigator who is drawn into a dark and dangerous world of

The Psychology of Horror Games

Why Do People Play Horror Games?

People play horror games for a variety of reasons, which can be categorized into four main reasons:

  1. Thrill-seeking: Many players enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes from facing terrifying situations in a controlled environment. Horror games provide a safe way to experience fear and excitement without any real danger.
  2. Desire for control: In many horror games, players have some degree of control over the story’s outcome or their character’s actions. This sense of control can be appealing to those who seek a more active role in their gaming experience.
  3. Emotional catharsis: Playing horror games can provide a release for negative emotions, such as anger or frustration. The act of overcoming terrifying situations or defeating enemies can be a cathartic experience for some players.
  4. Narrative exploration: Some players enjoy the storytelling and world-building in horror games, which often explore deeper themes and questions. The narrative can be just as engaging as the gameplay, and players may be drawn to the genre for its storytelling potential.

Each of these reasons highlights a different aspect of the horror gaming experience, and players may enjoy the genre for a combination of these factors. Understanding these motivations can help newcomers to the genre choose games that align with their personal preferences and reasons for playing.

The Impact of Horror Games on Player Psychology

  • Fear and anxiety
    • Fear is a primary emotion evoked by horror games, which activates the body’s natural “fight or flight” response. The player’s heart rate increases, palms get sweaty, and muscles tense up as they face terrifying situations.
    • Anxiety is also a common reaction, as players worry about what will happen next, who or what will jump out, and whether they will survive.
  • Desensitization to violence
    • Horror games often contain graphic violence, which can lead to a desensitization to it over time. This may result in players becoming less empathetic to the plight of victims and more accepting of violence as a solution to problems.
    • It is important for players to be aware of this potential impact and work to maintain their sensitivity to the consequences of violence.
  • Moral and ethical considerations
    • Horror games often challenge players’ moral and ethical beliefs, as they make decisions that can result in the deaths of characters or have to justify their actions to themselves.
    • This can lead to increased self-awareness and critical thinking about their own values and beliefs.
  • Psychological trauma
    • The intense and immersive nature of horror games can lead to psychological trauma in some players, particularly those with pre-existing anxiety or trauma.
    • It is important for players to take care of their mental health and consider setting boundaries for their gaming experiences.

Building Your Horror Game Library

Platforms for Playing Horror Games

When it comes to playing horror games, there are several platforms available to choose from. Each platform offers its own unique experiences and games, so it’s important to consider your preferences and the capabilities of your gaming setup. Here are some of the most popular platforms for playing horror games:


If you’re a PC gamer, you have access to a wide range of horror games, from classic survival horror games to indie darlings. Some popular horror games for PC include Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Alien: Isolation, and Amnesia. Many of these games are available on Steam, GOG, or other digital distribution platforms.


Console gamers have a variety of horror games to choose from as well. Consoles like the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch offer a mix of first-party and third-party horror games. Some popular console horror games include The Last of Us, Resident Evil Village, The Dark Pictures Anthology, and Little Nightmares.


Mobile horror games are gaining popularity, with many developers creating spinoffs of popular horror franchises or creating original horror games designed specifically for mobile devices. Some popular mobile horror games include Five Nights at Freddy’s, The Room, and Layton Brothers: Mystery Room.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) horror games offer a unique and immersive experience, as players are fully engrossed in the game world. Some popular VR horror games include Resident Evil 7, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, and Until Dawn. However, it’s important to note that VR hardware can be expensive and may not be compatible with all gaming setups.

Horror Game Collections and Bundles

Exploring the world of horror games can be a daunting task, especially for newcomers. One way to ease into the genre is by taking advantage of horror game collections and bundles. These packages offer a variety of titles at a discounted price, making it easier to sample multiple games without breaking the bank.

Halloween Sales

Timed to coincide with the spooky season, Halloween sales are a great opportunity to pick up horror games at a reduced price. During these sales, popular digital storefronts like Steam, GOG, and Humble Bundle offer deep discounts on a selection of horror games. This is an ideal time to try out a few games that have been on your wishlist, or to discover new titles that you might not have otherwise tried.

Indie Horror Game Bundles

Indie horror game bundles are another great way to expand your horror game library. These bundles often feature a selection of smaller, independent horror games that may not have received as much mainstream attention. Many of these titles offer unique gameplay mechanics and fresh storytelling perspectives, making them a great choice for players looking for something different.

Retro Horror Game Compilations

For those who enjoy a blast from the past, retro horror game compilations are a great option. These collections feature classic horror games from previous console generations, often with updated graphics and compatibility options. They offer a chance to experience some of the genre’s most iconic titles, as well as discover lesser-known gems that may have been overlooked in the years since their release.

Overall, horror game collections and bundles provide a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the genre. Whether you’re looking to try out a few titles during Halloween sales, discover indie gems, or revisit classic retro titles, there’s something for everyone in the world of horror game collections and bundles.

Joining the Horror Game Community

Online Communities for Horror Game Fans

Are you a newcomer to the world of horror games and looking for a way to connect with other fans? Look no further than online communities! There are many online platforms where horror game enthusiasts gather to share their experiences, discuss their favorite games, and even offer tips and tricks to newcomers. Here are some of the most popular online communities for horror game fans:


Reddit is a treasure trove of information for horror game fans. The platform has several subreddits dedicated to the genre, such as r/HorrorGames, r/LetsPlayHorror, and r/GameHorror. These communities are filled with gamers who share their experiences, recommend games, and offer advice to newcomers.


Discord is a voice and text chat app that has become incredibly popular among gamers. There are many horror game-specific servers on Discord where fans can chat with each other, share their favorite games, and even organize playthroughs. Some popular horror game servers on Discord include HorrorGameChat, Horror Game Community, and Crypt TV Horror.


Twitch is a live streaming platform that is primarily used for watching others play video games. However, there are many horror game streamers on Twitch who share their experiences and offer tips to newcomers. Some popular horror game streamers on Twitch include PewDiePie, Markiplier, and Jacksepticeye.


YouTube is another platform where you can find a wealth of information about horror games. There are many YouTubers who specialize in horror games and offer walkthroughs, reviews, and gameplay commentary. Some popular horror game YouTubers include LianaK, Markiplier, and Jacksepticeye.

By joining these online communities, you can connect with other horror game fans, share your experiences, and discover new games to play. So what are you waiting for? Join the conversation today!

Engaging with the Horror Game Community

As a newcomer to the horror game community, there are several ways to engage with fellow fans and enthusiasts. Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

Sharing gameplay experiences

One of the best ways to connect with other horror game fans is by sharing your own gameplay experiences. Whether it’s through social media, forums, or online communities, discussing your thoughts and feelings about a particular game can spark interesting conversations and help you find like-minded individuals who share your interests.

Participating in discussions

There are many online forums and communities dedicated to horror games, and participating in discussions is a great way to learn more about the genre and connect with other fans. Whether it’s sharing your opinions on the latest releases or debating the merits of classic horror games, engaging in discussions can help you expand your knowledge and build relationships with other members of the community.

Offering feedback and recommendations

Horror game developers and publishers often rely on feedback from the community to improve their games and create new experiences. By offering your own feedback and recommendations, you can help shape the future of the genre and contribute to the development of new horror games. Whether it’s through online surveys, beta testing, or direct communication with developers, your input can make a difference.

Collaborating on content creation

Finally, collaborating on content creation is a great way to engage with the horror game community and showcase your own creativity. Whether it’s creating videos, writing articles, or designing artwork, working with other fans and enthusiasts can help you develop your skills and build a reputation within the community. From fan-made mods and custom levels to collaborative horror game reviews and analysis, the possibilities are endless.


1. What is a horror game?

A horror game is a video game that is designed to scare the player through its atmosphere, storyline, and gameplay mechanics. These games often feature elements of fear, suspense, and shock, and may include themes such as ghosts, monsters, and psychological terror.

2. Are horror games suitable for children?

No, horror games are not suitable for children. They are typically designed for mature audiences and may contain graphic violence, disturbing imagery, and other content that is not appropriate for young players. It is important to check the age rating and content warnings for any horror game before allowing children to play it.

3. What are some popular horror games that I can start with?

There are many popular horror games that newcomers can start with, depending on their preferences. Some popular options include “Resident Evil,” “Silent Hill,” “Amnesia,” “Outlast,” and “Until Dawn.” These games offer different levels of fear and challenge, so it’s important to choose one that suits your preferences.

4. What should I consider when choosing a horror game to start with?

When choosing a horror game to start with, it’s important to consider your personal preferences and tolerance for fear. Some games may be more terrifying than others, and it’s important to choose one that you can handle. You should also consider the game’s genre, storyline, and gameplay mechanics to ensure that it’s a good fit for you.

5. How can I prepare myself for playing horror games?

Playing horror games can be a thrilling and exciting experience, but it’s important to prepare yourself for the fear and anxiety that may come with it. You can start by setting up a comfortable gaming environment, with plenty of lighting and comfortable seating. You may also want to take breaks regularly to avoid becoming overwhelmed by fear. Additionally, it’s important to remember that horror games are just games, and there is no real danger involved.

Horror and Scary Games for Cowards

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