If there's one emotion video games are good at provoking it's fear. From 'Resident Evil' to 'Silent Hill', the popularity of game franchises designed to get the spine-tingling has never been higher. Let's take a look back through time at some of the spookiest video games to grace our game consoles.
Zombies are more popular than ever and if you're dressing-up this Halloween there's a high chance you'll be one of the undead. But did you know the first zombie-themed game dates way back to 1984? The aptly-named 'Zombie Zombie' was developed for the ZX Spectrum by Quicksilva. The game puts players in an undead-infested city, where the only way to kill the zombies is to lure them off the edge of a building.
Ghosts' n Goblins (series)
Year: 1986 - present
Okay, so 'Ghosts' n Goblins' wasn't all that scary (not many games were in 1986), but it did feature a whole bunch of monsters, including ghosts, demons and indeed goblins. It's also one of the greatest 2D platformers ever made and is well-worth checking out, even today.
Year: 1986 - present
There must have been something in Japan's water back in 1986, as along with Ghosts' n Goblins another seminal monster-themed 2D platformer was released. 'Castlevania' is one of videogaming's great franchises and it's got pretty much all the classic Halloween costumes in there, from vampires to mummies.
You've probably never heard of 'Sweet Home', but - along with 'Alone In The Dark' - it's widely considered the first ever 'survival horror' game and a direct predecessor of the seminal 'Resident Evil' franchise (both developed by Capcom). In the game, players had to explore a haunted mansion and battle monsters, while being drip-fed the plot via scraps of diary entries.
Resident Evil (series)
Year: 1997 - present
When the first 'Resident Evil' released in 1997 it was a revelation. Up until this point few video games managed to create a genuinely frightening atmosphere and game world. But a combination of the classic haunted mansion setting, carefully delivered plot (a mechanic borrowed from Sweet Home), and loads of zombies, cemented Resident Evil as one of the all-time greats.
Silent Hill (series)
Year: 1999 - present
'Silent Hill' is kinda like Resident Evil's slightly more deranged younger brother. Rather than relying on classic scares, the design team created a really disturbing psychological horror world, with knife-carrying nurses and abandoned wheelchairs. It was pretty potent stuff back in 1999 and showed that video games could be subtle and intelligent when it came to scaring players.
Project Zero (series)
Year: 2001 - present
Heavily influenced by Japanese ghost flicks like 'The Ring', 'Project Zero' (also known as 'Fatal Frame') put you in the dainty shoes of a little girl searching for her missing brother. Only problem is, the brother went missing in a haunted Japanese mansion and all you've got to defend yourself with is a camera. If you like 'jump-out-of-your-seat' scares then Project Zero is highly recommended.
You hardcore survival horror fans may scoff at 'Luigi's Mansion' being on this list, but if your idea of Halloween is less 'Saw IV' and more 'The Munsters' then you'll appreciate a safe - but ghost-themed - option. Luigi's Mansion may not have lived up to the quality of Mario titles, but it still features some great gameplay ideas and a cute haunted mansion setting.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
There's been a upsurge in indie horror games recently, but 'Amnesia: The Dark Descent' is one of the best examples and has been called the most frightening game of all time. The atmosphere is incredibly tense as you have no weapons and must simply run away from the ghoulish monsters that attack you.
Most games featuring ghosts force you to battle against them, so it's refreshing when a title comes along featuring a ghostly protagonist. 'Ghost Trick' isn't very frightening, but it's a fantastic DS game (also available on iOS), where you must use your undead powers to reverse time, solve puzzles and figure out who was behind your murder.