Podcast: What makes our favorite horror video games work


The game “Dead Space” has plenty of atmosphere and jump scares to satisfy the science-fiction horror fans. Image from Electronic Arts.

Halloween is almost here and we’re ready for new games of the season, with another podcast this week as we discuss our favorite scary video games.

As video games progress rapidly through improving technology and increasing possibilities, horror games have been some of the most lucrative offerings in the medium. But what elements make a horror video game stand out, and what spooky moments in other games have made them classics? We explore these questions and more this week. Even if you don’t play horror games, or haven’t tried them in virtual reality yet, get in the spirit of the season with us and try out a few of the ones talked about here.

0:22 Introduction – Relationship with horror games
1:50 A different experience with VR
3:11 Playing in the Vive system
6:37 Why player agency is important in horror games
7:06 Games that don’t pull it off
13:03 What makes a game work as opposed to horror movies
17:08 Old horror game mechanics like “Slenderman”
21:07 Horror games have been improving rapidly, and movies are out of ideas

Natalie Hanson, Ulises Duenas, Grant Schmieding and Alex Coba can be reached at [email protected] or @NatalieH_Orion, @OrionUlisesD, @G_Schmieding, or @ThatOneGuyCoba on Twitter.