Halloween is my favorite holiday, and every year I watch the entire month of October slip by until the 31st arrives and I realize I've done nothing to celebrate. I didn't carve a pumpkin, I didn't go out to any haunted houses, and I didn't even put together a costume. I did have my yearly Halloween and Friday the 13th marathons, however. But I'm not sweating it. There's a whole host of amazing games to play out there that I want to pass on to you, most of them older, but all of them guaranteed to send shivers down your spine if you let them.
The Dark Eye
The Dark Eye: Edgar Allan Poe meets morbid claymation and locales with a trippy twist in The Dark Eye. This obscure adventure in all its unsettling glory relies on one of the creepiest narrators ever (William S. Burroughs) to advance its plot, snaking its way through some of Poe's most famous literature to advance the plot. For Poe fans or horrorhounds alike, this one is sure to crawl right under your skin and leave its mark. Be careful when Googling, however, because you'll definitely bring up a newer Dark Eye game, which definitely isn't the one you want. This one is far more morbid and in the spooky spirit of the holiday.
With a name like H.R. Giger attached to it, you know any project has to be uncomfortable in some aspect. Dark Seed incorporated the famous artist's disturbing imagery to create exercises in psychological horror in which a writer finds himself implanted with an alien embryo. A bizarre journey to the end of the universe unfolds, with the protagonist attempting to stave off the birth of the "Dark Seed," which would end the human race.
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
This psychological horror adventure shows a world where a sentient computer has all but exterminated humanity, leaving five people. These unfortunates have been tortured for years by the evil computer. In order to triumph over the computer, players must somehow prove that humans are, in fact, better than machines. Each of the five remaining characters carries their own unique brand of suffering, and it's truly a harrowing but disturbing tale. You'll definitely want to read the short story as well even if you only play the game for some really dark fridge horror (my favorite kind.)
Touted as "the most violent adventure game of all time," Harvester runs the gamut of hardcore violence, sexual content, and narrative elements that will make you squirm. It's also one of the most engaging games of the '90s. It may be over-the-top as it revels in its gleeful display of disemboweling, but it's satire of the highest grade, and it's got plenty to keep you coming back...especially when you realize how campy it is.
Bad Day on the Midway
The Residents are responsible for some of the most terrifying music and visuals ever created, and their multimedia project Bad Day on the Midway is no different. Just when you think you've got it figured out, it turns around and slaps you in the face with something even weirder. You're tasked with exploring a carnival as one of several characters, with a killer on the loose and other weirdness permeating the group. You can switch between characters at will for a window into their thoughts and control them as well. But you'll soon come to find out that maybe you don't really want to do that, considering the mindests so many of these characters get stuck in.
Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Five Halloween Treats You Must Play
Is the Dark Eye available digitally anywhere? I ebay'd a physical PC copy ages ago, but haven't tried to install
I don't think it is. I got really excited to find a copy at a Salvation Army a few years ago for only 99 cents.
Also, this list is awesome. I briefly played "I Have No Mouth..." a while ago and it's a fantastic, terrifying and discomforting game. I really need to go farther into that nightmare.
I've only played small bits of I Have No Mouth at other people's houses. Playing it beginning to end is really on my bucket list.