scary games to play
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32 Scary Games To Play With Friends Or By Yourself That Will Give You A Fright

Scary games are the best kind of games. This is a collection of scary games to play from across the internet. You will find scary games to play with friends, scary games to play by yourself, scary video games, and scary games to play on your phone. Add your favorite scary game to play in the comments!

Scary Games To Play With Friends

[*] Sandman. One person lays face down on the floor, everyone else sits in a circle around them. One person is the speaker, everyone else is quiet. The speakers tells a story about how the laying down person was killed by a murderer and their body filled with sand. They lightly rub their arms or legs and talk about how the murderer filled them up with sand. At the end, the person stands up, they will feel as if their body is full of sand.

[*] Bloody Mary. This is one of the most popular scary games, you’ve probably played it at a slumber party at one point in your life. Simply go into the bathroom with the lights off and the door closed. If possible, you can have a single candle burning. Face the mirror and say “BLOOOOOODY MARRRRY” three times and then look in the mirror. According to the urban legend, you may see Bloody Mary in the mirror. She may scratch your face, arms, or back. Or, worse, Bloody Mary could pull you into the mirror with your and you will be stuck in there forever.

[*] Tsuji-Ura. This is a Japanese fortune-telling game. It led to suicides in Japan after some people found out some bleak predictions for their futures. You will need to decide who is going to be the speaker and gather a comb and something with which to cover your face and head to a crossroads at night. At the crossroads, the speaker makes the comb “speak” three times by running their fingers down the teeth. The speaker then repeats three times: “Tsuji-ura, tsuji-ura, grant me a true response.” Wait at the crossroads until someone approaches. If no one approaches or if someone you know approaches, the game is over and you have to start over.

If a stranger approaches the crossroads, cover your face and ask the stranger to tell you your fortune.

If the stranger doesn’t respond or refuses to respond, you can uncover your face and wait for a new stranger to try again.

If the stranger tells you your fortune, wait until they leave and then you may uncover your face.

Whatever the stranger has told you is your fortune.

[*] The Picture Game. This is a scary game where you try to capture a ghost on film. Here are the rules for The Picture Game:

Gather

  • A length of string, rope, or other similar material. This length of string, rope, or other material should be long enough to make a circle when the ends are knotted together.
  • Scissors, a knife, or another sharp edge.
  • One small mirror per participant.
  • A camera with flash capabilities. Camera phones are NOT recommended.
  • A drinking glass.
  • A beverage, preferably alcoholic. Wine is recommended.
  • A quiet room.

The Prelude

  • Begin at midnight.
  • Make the string or rope into a circle by tying the ends together in a knot.
  • Place the rope circle in the middle of the room.
  • Place the drinking glass in the middle of the rope circle.
  • Fill the glass with the beverage.
  • Arrange the participants in a circle by seating them around the outside of the rope circle.
  • NOTE: Do NOT step into the center of the rope circle at any time or for any reason.
  • Each participant must place their mirror in front of them. The reflective part of the mirror should be pointed at the ceiling.
  • Turn off the lights.

The Invitation

The participants must close their eyes. The circle of participants must hold hands.

Each participant must say, one after another, the phrase, “I trust you.” The participants should not speak this phrase in unison; each participant must say it individually.

After each participant has stated their trust, all participants should repeat three times, in unison, the words, “The door is open, please come in.”

The participants may then open their eyes.

The Sitting

  • Begin the sitting by having one participant take up the camera. This participant must say the words, “I caught you”; then, pointing the camera forward (toward the middle of the circle), the participant must take one picture.
  • Pass the camera to the next participant in the circle. If using a digital camera, do not preview the image that was just taken.
  • The next participant must also say the words, “I caught you,” and take one picture with the camera facing forward.
  • Repeat this process until every participant has taken three pictures. The camera should make its way around the circle three times.
  • NOTE: If a participant begins crying or feels nauseous, do NOT allow them to take any pictures. Instead, pass the camera around them to the next participant in the circle.
  • After the camera has passed around the circle three times, put it down.

The Farewell

  • All participants must close their eyes and repeat three times, in unison, the phrase, “It is time to go home.”
  • Each participant must turn their mirror upside down.
  • Turn on the lights.
  • Using the scissors, knife, or other sharp edge, cut open the rope circle.
  • Take the drinking glass outside and empty it. It is recommended that you empty it onto a patch of dirt or earth.

Review your pictures and be spooked!

[*] Light as a Feather. A classic slumber party game where one participant lays on the floor while everyone else circles around her. Place your hands palm up underneath the person laying down. Ask the spirits to help you life your friend and repeat “light as a feather stiff as a board” until they begin to lift.

[*] Concentrate. Concentrate is a divination game that will tell one person how they will die. One person sits in front of another with their eyes closed. The person seated behind will lightly pound on the first person’s back while chanting:

Chorus – (Every time you repeat this portion, you pound lightly on the victims back with both fists)
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.
People are dying. Children are crying.
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.

Verse 1 – (Tap the person on the top of their head with your fist and run your hands down both sides of their head – You are imitating the feeling of cracking an egg)
Crack an egg on your head.
Let the yolk run down. Let the yolk run down.
Crack an egg on your head.
Let the yolk run down. Let the yolk run down.

Chorus
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.
People are dying. Children are crying.
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.

Verse 2 – (Twist your hands on their shoulders and run your hands down their arms)
Squeeze an orange on your shoulder.
Let the juice drip down. Let the juice drip down.
Squeeze an orange on your shoulder.
Let the juice drip down. Let the juice drip down.

Chorus
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.
People are dying. Children are crying.
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.

Verse 3 – (Poke them on either side of their torso and run your hands down their sides)
Stick a needle in your sides.
Let the blood drip down. Let the blood drip down.
Stick a needle in your sides.
Let the blood drip down. Let the blood drip down.

Chorus
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.
People are dying. Children are crying.
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.

Verse 4 – (Tap them on the back with your fist and run your hand down their back)
Stab a knife in your back.
Let the blood drip down. Let the blood drip down.
Stab a knife in your back.
Let the blood drip down. Let the blood drip down.

Chorus
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.
People are dying. Children are crying.
Concentrate. Concentrate.
Concentrate on what I’m saying.

Verse 5 – (Mime wrapping a rope around their neck and then pull on the imaginary rope. The victim’s head should fall back as if they are being hung)
Wrap a rope around your neck.
Wrap it till it’s tight. Wrap it till it’s tight.
Wrap a rope around your neck.
And… PULL!

(Now hold the person by their arms gently swaying them back and forth. Whisper the following in their ear)
You’re standing on a building.
You’re out on the ledge.
You’re feeling very dizzy
And you’re close to the edge.
And someone… PUSHES YOU! (Then you push them.)

After the game is ended, ask the person in front what color they saw, they reveals how they will die:

Red: Stabbed
Blue: Drowned in water
Yellow: Poisoned
Orange: Burned
Green: Fall from a great height onto grass
Purple: Suffocation
Brown: Buried alive
Grey: Disease
Black: Of old age and goes to Hell
White: Of old age and goes to Heaven

[*] Red Book. This is a Mexican fortune telling game. You need a hardcover red book that’s all text and a red candle. Here are the rules for Red Book:

Go into your quiet room.

  • Draw the curtains and turn off the lights.
  • Sit in a circle with the other participants. Place the candle(s) in the middle of the circle. Light them.
  • Close your eyes. Place the palm of your hand on the book’s cover. Ask the following question aloud: “Red Book, may I enter your game?”
  • Keep your eyes closed. Open the book to a random page. Place your finger on a random spot on the page.
  • Open your eyes. Read the sentence your finger has landed on. This is your answer — although you must interpret it correctly to proceed.
  • If the answer is negative or nonsensical: Contact has not been made. Do not proceed. Try again.
  • If the answer is positive: You may proceed.
    Each player must ask for and receive permission to enter the game.

The Rising Action:

  • Close your eyes. Place your palm on the book’s cover. Ask your question. Speak it aloud.
  • Keep your eyes closed. Open the book to a random page. Place your finger on a random spot on the page.
  • Open your eyes. Read the sentence your finger has landed on. This is your answer — whatever you interpret it to mean.
  • Pass the book round. Each player who wishes to ask a question must close their eyes, place the palm of their hand on the book’s cover, ask their question aloud, open the book to a random page, and place their finger on a random spot on the page. The sentence the asker’s finger lands on will always be the answer to the question, although the interpretation is up to the askers themselves.

The Epilogue:

  • When all the questions have been asked and answered, close your eyes and place your palm on the book once more. Ask aloud, “Red Book, may I leave your game?”
  • Keep your eyes closed. Open the book to a random page. Place your finger on a random spot on the page.
  • Open your eyes. Read the sentence your finger has landed on. This is your answer.
  • If the answer is negative or nonsensical: You do not have permission to leave the game. Try again.
  • If the answer is positive: You may leave the game.
  • Each player must ask for and receive permission to leave the game.
  • When all permissions have been acquired, close the book. Extinguish the candles. Open the curtains. And lastly, turn on the lights.

[*] Ouija board. Buy a Ouija board and read the Ouija board rules before you begin.

[*] Sara Sarita. Sit on the floor across from a friend and say “Sara Sarita may we join your game?” Each of you should then toss a coin in the air. If you both get heads, the answer is yes. If you both get tails, the answer is no. If you get a heads and a tails, the answer is maybe. You must get a yes to proceed. Once you do, you can ask Sara Sarita any question you want. When you are finished, you must ask Sara Sarita if you can exited the game using the same way you entered.

[*] Dead Man, Dead Man, Take Me To Your Grave. One person sits on the floor while the other stands behind them. The standing person will tell the seated person to close their eyes and count to 10 silently and to nod when they are done. This is repeated with the numbers 5 then 7 then 3. After the seated person nods, signifying they have counted to 3, the standing person snaps their fingers behind their ear 3 times. The standing person will ten tell the seated person to repeat “Dead Man, Dead Man, Take Me To Your Grave And Kill Me” over and over until their hands rise like a dead man’s.

Scary Games To Play By Yourself

[*] Baby Blue. If you play this game right, a baby will appear in your arms. Only, it’s definitely not the kind of baby you’d want in your arms. Go into the bathroom alone and turn off the lights and close the door. Look in the dark mirror and craddle your arms like you are already holding a baby. Say “Baby blue, blue baby” 13 times. When you are done, you will feel the weight of a baby in your arms. In some variations you have to flush the “baby” down the toilet before a woman appears in the mirror and screams at you to give her back her baby. The mirror woman can scratch you if you don’t act quickly enough.

[*] Candyman. Go in the bathroom and shut the door and turn off the lights. Look in the mirror and say “Candyman” five times. The story is that Candyman will appear in the bathroom and kill you with his hook.

If you have a mirrored medicine cabinet, take special note that the “Candyman” urban legend is based on the true story of a murderer who would crawl through the medicine cabinet to kill his prey:

The high rise Chicago projects in real life were built with a similar structural flaw we see in the Candyman movie: the old medicine cabinets basically connect two apartments. This means that your neighbor can enter your apartment by moving through the medicine cabinet. This resulted in the murder of a woman, Ruthie Ann McCoy.

[*] Ouija board. Buy a Ouija board and read the Ouija board rules before you begin. Note: most people advise against playing Ouija board alone, so only do this if you are truly brave (and a little crazy).

[*] Elevator Game to Otherworld. How to play Elevator Game to Otherworld.

[*] Queen of Spades. Go in the bathroom and turn the light off and shut the door. This game works best if it’s also night outside. Face a queen of spades card up against the mirror, light a candle, and then draw a set of stairs on the mirror in red lipstick. Close your eyes and say “Queen of Spades, come” three times. If you are successful, the queen of spades will be there when you open your eyes. If you are unsuccessful, quickly say “Queen of Spades, go away” before she kills you.

[*] Devil Face. This is a game that originated in Spain. It can be played alone or in a group. When midnight is approaching go into the bathroom and turn out the light. Keep your eyes closed until you hear a clock strike midnight. Then, open your eyes and you will see the face of the devil.

Scary Video Games To Play

This is a collection of the scariest horror games of all time, compiled for us by Ray Garraty

If you’re like me, you have read it all and seen it all. I am constantly chasing the proverbial horror dragon and the only thing that can truly sate my urges as of late are horror video games. It’s not that I don’t find the genre compelling in other media, but nothing compares to being the one in the pilot’s seat as true terror enfolds all around you. I am convinced that gaming is the final frontier of horror and here are my top 7 picks for the most terrifying video games of all time. I know I may neglect to mention your favorite games and for that I apologize. I am just going to list titles that I have personally played to completion.

Lone Survivor

This may seem like a curious pick. How can a game from a 2D perspective with pixel art be scary? Let me assure you it is. Very much so.

This game takes place after an unspecified plague has wiped out most of the population. A man wakes up alone in his dark apartment building and finally decides to venture out and see what lays beyond his closed apartment door. Pretty soon you discover that this game isn’t going to pull any punches in the scares department. It is a true survival horror game where resources are limited. Oftentimes I was forced to sneak past the ubiquitous creatures that inhabit the building which can be absolutely nerve wracking.

The aspect of this game that terrifies me the most is the surreal nature of the story. You’re never quite sure if what is enfolding is really happening or just born from your crumbling psyche. There are some scenes in this game that are very reminiscent of the most batshit crazy parts of Twin Peaks. If you dig the surreal, this game is definitely for you.

Resident Evil 4

It may surprise fans of the series that I have chosen this game to represent the franchise. Many people bemoan the shift in gameplay from strict survival horror to an action game facade, but I feel those criticisms are completely unfounded (at least in reference to 4, don’t get me started on 5 and 6). I had my misgivings as well. However, they were quickly forgotten the moment I entered the first village.

Anybody that has played this game has a similar story. As I was battling hordes of insane villagers, I could hear the sound of a chainsaw in the background. Eventually, I saw a man with a bag over his head, chainsaw in hand running straight for me. I thought to myself without too much concern, this is going to hurt, definitely going to take some damage from this. I was in no way prepared for what came next. The speed with which he removed Leon’s head and the sickening sound it made as it contacted his body made my jaw fall to the floor. I literally dropped the controller. That is the second I knew this game was legit, and the scares continued throughout. Even playing the game now after all these years if I hear the sound of a faint chainsaw in the background, I damn near have a panic attack.

Condemned: Criminal Origins

I will never forget the first time I played this game. I was in college hanging out in my buddies’ room. He was the envy of all, because he had acquired an Xbox 360 at launch. He had gotten his hands on the majority of games available (making him a veritable rockstar in our dorm at UW–Madison). However, there was a particular game that we had heard nothing about called Condemned: Criminal Origins. We popped it in and were forever changed.

In this title, you play as Ethan Thomas. He is an FBI agent tasked with trying to capture Serial Killer X, a killer of other serial killers (think Dexter). Throughout the game you battle crazed derelicts and ne’er do wells, as you slowly but surely begin to lose your mind yourself. This game is from a first person perspective, but surprisingly features little in terms of gunplay. The combat is predominantly melee in which you pick up improvised weapons from the dark and dingy environments such as a stick of rebar or a wooden plank. This adds a visceral and personal edge to the violence of the game. On top of the generally unsettling feeling this game instills, there are very effective jump scares liberally peppered throughout. There are parts to this game that are so effectively scary that I had to pass the controller to a friend. I just couldn’t handle it anymore. If that isn’t the sign of a terrifying game, I don’t know what is.

Dead Space

This is a game that wears its influences on its sleeve. Such legendary horror films as The Thing, Event Horizon, and Alien comprise the DNA of this fantastic title.

After receiving a distress call from a spaceship orbiting a far flung planet, you are tasked with exploring the seemingly empty vessel. It quickly becomes clear this is not at all the case.

The grotesque creature design in this game is as fantastic as it is horrifying. It subverts your usual expectations of a shooter game since, in order to kill these creatures, you have to remove their limbs as opposed to shooting them in the head like every other game.

As with most of the entries on this list, this game finds a commendable balance between jump scares and an all encompassing sense of dread.

Resident Evil 4 notwithstanding, this game is the most pure fun game to play on this list.

Outlast

This is the most recent edition to this list, and it definitely deserves its place. Armed with only a night vision equipped camera, you play a journalist attempting to get a scoop on a closed down mental hospital. That premise alone is terrifying enough, but it only gets worse from there. The reason this game is so well regarded is that it has an almost uncanny ability to instill helplessness in the player. It is of a handful of games that eschew combat (like the next entry on this list). When you encounter an enemy, you have two choices, run or hide. A beautifully implemented mechanic in the game can serve as a catch-22. While hiding in the dark, you want to see what is chasing you and make sure that the threat is no longer there, but if you use the nightvision you become much easier to spot. I oftentimes found myself hiding in a closet in pitch blackness hyperventilating just as much as the character on the screen. This game is truly scary.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

This game definitely served as the inspiration for Outlast, and I feel it is more effective. It is often regarded as the scariest game of all time by many, but it will have to settle with second best on this list. This is another game where fighting back is not an option. Your only choice is to escape the Lovecraftian horrors this game throws at you and just pray that they eventually go away. This game has a very interesting and clever mechanic called the sanity meter. Like in Outlast, you want to keep your eyes on the demonic horrors that are chasing you, but if you stare too long you begin to lose your sanity. This causes the screen to shake and phantom noises to appear making the experience that much more chilling.

The reason this isn’t at the top is that I just wasn’t really enthralled with the story. Though it is fucking pants shitting terrifying while being played, that feeling didn’t linger after turning off my PC. Unlike my pick for number 7…

Side note: The sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, was very much maligned by fans of the original. It is nowhere near as scary as The Dark Descent, but it is well worth checking out for its top notch story.

Silent Hill 2

Oh, Silent Hill 2.

My love for you is boundless.

I could fill a book with my praise for this game. No hyperbole, I think it is easily the greatest story ever told in gaming. However, I will attempt to be succinct in my praise for it, and hopefully convince you why it is the most terrifying game of all time.

You play as James Sunderland. A man who has just received a letter from his wife to meet in Silent Hill in their “special place.” The problem is she has been dead for three years. Mary was stricken down in her young age by an unspecified illness. James travels to Silent Hill to get to the bottom of this and hopefully reunite with Mary. Along the way, he stumbles into various characters battling their own personal demons as well as a woman named Maria that resembles Mary, but is more overtly sexual than his wife ever was.

As the story unfolds, it becomes abundantly clear that this is something special. The dark and taboo themes contained within would be considered risque for video games even to this day.

Outside its superb narrative laden with sophisticated symbolism usually reserved for literature, this game is just so goddamn scary. This game was the introduction of Pyramid Head a now iconic antagonist that definitely has earned his spine-chilling reputation. Every encounter with this invincible monster is a downright harrowing experience.

In addition to this, the player is “handicapped” with less than ideal controls, a criticism levied against Silent Hill 2 that I would argue works in its benefit. The combat is stiff and imprecise, but this only reflects that James is an everyday man thrust into extraordinary circumstances. You are equipped with a radio that blasts static whenever a monster draws near. This leads to a Pavlovian response in the player. Everytime I hear that noise, my pulse quickens.

There are sequences in this game that are just unparalleled in their terrifying nature. Even after multiple playthroughs there are sections that I would rather just avoid altogether, but I am compelled to push forward.

All of this culminates on an ending sequence, Mary’s letter, that I am almost embarrassed to admit makes me cry like a baby.


With most of the games on this list, the threat is external. Whether you shoot the fiend in the head or just narrowly dodge it to survive another day, there is a relative comfort and distance from our psyche to the horror surrounding us. What will stay with me forever from delving into Silent Hill 2 is the fact that the most terrifying specter is the monster that emanates from within.

And, try as you might, there is absolutely no escape from that.

Scary Games To Play On Your Phone

[*] Year Walk. A creepy game based on the Swedish tradition of Årsgång where you’ll see scary divinations about what to expect in your life in the next year.

[*] Lost Within. Explore an abandoned asylum with a killer on the loose.

[*] Home. A slow burn mystery game.

[*] Murder Room. An escape room as an iPhone game.

[*] Forgotten Memories. Your (horrifying) search for a missing girl.

[*] Eyes. You’re a burglar breaking into an empty house at night. Only… the house isn’t actually empty.

[*] Vanished. An audio only game, which seems weird but it actually makes you much more engrossed in what’s going on — which makes the scares better.

[*] Distraint. A scary, but not too scary game that relies on psychological thrills.

[*] Slender Rising. A slenderman game!

[*] The School: White Day. A horror game in which there is only one thing you can do: run.

[*] Five Nights at Freddy’s. A series of five games that’s kind of a horror movie version of Night at the Museum. You’re a security guard at a kid’s arcade (complete with animatronic animals).

[*] Dark Meadow. A grisly fairy tale themed horror game.


Add your favorite scary game to play in the comments! TC mark