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A horror game is a
video game genre A video game genre is a classification assigned to a video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, compute ...
centered on
horror fiction Horror is the one of the largest genre Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
and typically designed to scare the player. Unlike most other video game genres, which are classified by their
gameplay Gameplay is the specific way in which player Player may refer to: Role or adjective * Player (game) A player of a game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 2 ...

gameplay
, horror games are nearly always based on narrative or visual presentation, and use a variety of gameplay types.


Sub-genres

Historically, the classification of video games into genres ignores the narrative themes, which would include science fiction or fantasy games, instead preferring systems based on the style of gameplay or at times, types of game modes or by platform. Horror games is the only narrative-based classification that has generally not followed this pattern, with the narrative genre label used broadly for games designed to scare players. This broad association to the narrative theme of horror games leads to the lack of well-defined subgenres of horror games. Many gameplay-defined genres have numerous games with horror themes, notably the ''
Castlevania () is an action-adventure Action-adventure is a video game genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres. Action-adventure is a hybrid genre, and thus the definition is very inclusive, leading it to ...
''
platform game A platform game (often simplified as platformer or jump 'n' run games) is a video game genre and subgenre of action games in which the core objective is to move the player character between points in a rendered environment. Platform games are charac ...
series uses monsters and creatures borrowed from numerous horror mythos. In such cases, these games are still categorized by their original gameplay genre, the horror aspect considered a literary aspect of the game. However, there are some specific areas in the broad horror game classification that have been identified as unique subgenres in horror.


Survival horror

One of the best-defined and most common types of horror games are survival horror games. These games tend to focus on the survival of the player-character in a horror setting with limited resources, and thus tend to be more geared as an
action game An action game is a video game genre Video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting Broadcasting is the distribution of sound, audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic medium ( ...
or
action-adventure game Action-adventure is a video game genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres. Action-adventure is a hybrid genre, and thus the definition is very inclusive, leading it to be perhaps the broadest genre ...
. A common theme of these games is escape or survival from the equivalent of a
zombie apocalypse Zombie apocalypse is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Categor ...
, with weapons, ammunition, and armor limited. The ''
Resident Evil ''Resident Evil'', known in Japan as is a Japanese horror video game series and media franchise created by Capcom. It consists of survival horror, third-person shooter, and first-person shooter games. The franchise has expanded into a Resident ...
'' series coined the term and serves as the prime example of such games, though key conventions of the subgenre preceded the Resident Evil series with games like 1992's ''Alone in the Dark''. Other notable survival horror series include ''
Clock Tower A clock towerA clock tower is an architectural structure housing a turret clock. Clock Tower may also refer to: Buildings * Clock Tower, Anantapur * Clock Tower of Ateca The Clock Tower of Ateca is a structure in Ateca, Spain. A leaning towe ...
'', ''
Fatal Frame ''Fatal Frame'', titled in Japan and ''Project Zero'' in Europe and Australia, is a Japanese survival horror video game series created, published and developed by Koei Tecmo (originally Tecmo). Debuting in 2001 with the Fatal Frame (video game), ...
'', and '' Parasite Eve''.


Action horror

Action horror games are a spinoff of survival horror games, where more
action game An action game is a video game genre Video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting Broadcasting is the distribution of sound, audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic medium ( ...
elements from first person and
third-person shooter Third-person shooter (TPS) is a subgenre of 3D shooter games Shooter games are a subgenre of action video game, which often test the player's spatial awareness, reflexes, and speed in both isolated single player or networked multiplayer envi ...
games are used alongside the survival horror themes, making them more fast-paced than prior survival horror games. These grew in popularity following the release of ''
Resident Evil 4 ''Resident Evil 4'' is a survival horror third-person shooter game developed by Capcom Production Studio 4 and published by Capcom. It was originally released for the GameCube in 2005. Players control U.S. government special agent Leon S. Ke ...
'' in 2005 and which persisted in the next two titles, ''
Resident Evil 5 ''Resident Evil 5'' is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. It is a major installment in the ''Resident Evil'' series, and was announced in 2005—the same year its predecessor ''Resident Evil 4'' was released. ' ...
'' and ''
Resident Evil 6 ''Resident Evil 6'' is a 2012 third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. A major installment in the ''Resident Evil'' series, ''Resident Evil 6'' was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in October 2012, and for M ...
'', with gameplay that focused more on action-oriented combat than puzzles and problem-solving from previous titles (''
Resident Evil 7 ''Resident Evil 7: Biohazard'' is a 2017 survival horror game developed and published by Capcom. A major installment in the ''Resident Evil'' series, the player controls Ethan Winters as he searches for his long-missing wife in a derelict plant ...
'' returned to the series' survival horror roots). Examples of action horror games include ''
The House of the Dead ''The House of the Dead'', also known as ''Curien Mansion'' in other media, is a Horror video game, horror-themed light gun shooter video game franchise created by Sega in 1996. Originally released in arcade game, arcades, it utilizes a light gun ...
'' series, the '' Dead Space'' series, the ''
Left 4 Dead ''Left 4 Dead'' is a 2008 first-person shooter game developed by Valve South and published by Valve Corporation, Valve. It was originally released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 in November 2008 and for Mac OS X in October 2010, and is the ...
'' series, and ''
The Last of Us ''The Last of Us'' is a 2013 action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Players control Joel (The Last of Us), Joel, a smuggler tasked with escorting a teenage girl, Ellie (The Last of Us), Ell ...

The Last of Us
''.


Psychological horror

Psychological horror Psychological horror is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category ...
games are meant to scare the player through emotional, mental, or psychological states rather than through monsters or scares. The fear comes from "what is ''not seen'', rather than what is". These games commonly rely on the player-character's unreliable perceptions or questionable sanity in order to develop the story. Through the use of unreliable narrators, such games may explore the fear of losing one's capacity to think rationally or even to recognize one's own identity. Psychological horror games may not depend as much on action compared with survival horror games, instead giving time for the player to explore and witness events. The ''
Silent Hill is a horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic b ...
'' series, which is also based on survival horror elements, is considered one of the defining psychological horror games, Such games may also take advantage of the video game medium to
break the fourth wall The fourth wall is a performance dramatic convention, convention in which an invisible, imagined wall separates actors from the audience. While the audience can see through this "wall", the convention assumes the actors act as if they cannot. ...
and appear to affect the player's computer or console directly, such as with ''
Eternal Darkness ''Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem'' is a psychological horror Psychological horror is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions d ...
'' and ''
Doki Doki Literature Club! ''Doki Doki Literature Club!'' is a 2017 freeware visual novel developed by American independent game studio Team Salvato for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux. The game was initially distributed through itch.io, and later became available o ...
'' Psychological horror games may still be tied to action-based genres; '' Spec Ops: The Line'' is a
third-person shooter Third-person shooter (TPS) is a subgenre of 3D shooter games Shooter games are a subgenre of action video game, which often test the player's spatial awareness, reflexes, and speed in both isolated single player or networked multiplayer envi ...
but with a psychological horror narrative inspired by works like ''
Heart of Darkness ''Heart of Darkness'' (1899) is a novella A novella is a narrative prose fiction whose length is shorter than that of most novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book ...

Heart of Darkness
'' and ''
Apocalypse Now ''Apocalypse Now'' is a 1979 American epic psychological Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thoug ...
''.


Jump scare horror

Jump scare horror games are designed around moments aimed to immediately surprise or shock the player when they do not expect it, as well as creating a sense of dread while anticipating the next jump scare. While jump scares may be elements in other horror games along with other gameplay aspects, jump scare horror games are generally limited to this type of gameplay mechanism. They are often aimed towards generating reactions from players, which have proven popular to watch over streaming playthroughs of games. ''
Five Nights at Freddy's ''Five Nights at Freddy's'' is an American media franchise created by Scott Cawthon, which began with the eponymous 2014 video game and quickly became a worldwide popular culture, pop-culture phenomenon. The success of the video games led t ...

Five Nights at Freddy's
'' is considered one of the first main examples of this style of game.


Reverse horror

Reverse horror games involve the player scaring others, rather than the player being scared. Compared to a horror game, the player is instead what would be considered the antagonist. Reverse horror games generally involve assuming the role of a monster or
villain A villain (also known as a "black hat Black hat, blackhats, or black-hat refers to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Black hat (computer security), a hacker who violates computer security for little reason beyond maliciousness or for person ...
. In comparison to the victim, the main character has some sort of advantage over the others, such as enhanced vision, greater strength, or supernatural abilities. Reverse horror games may also derive from an original horror game, developed as a sequel or prequel to the original, intended to display the perspective of the titular antagonist. Examples of reverse horror games include ''
Carrion Carrion (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...
'' and the asymmetric multiplayer modes in ''
Dead by Daylight ''Dead by Daylight'' is an Asymmetric video game, asymmetric survival horror, survival horror video game developed by Behaviour Interactive. ''Dead by Daylight'' was released for Microsoft Windows in June 2016, released on PlayStation 4 and Xb ...
'' and '' Friday the 13th: The Game'', in which one player controls the monster that is chasing the other players.


History

The incorporation of general horror genre themes into video games came early on in the medium, inspired by
horror fiction Horror is the one of the largest genre Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
and especially
horror films A horror film is one that seeks to elicit fear Fear is an intensely unpleasant emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, fee ...
. The earliest rudimentary attempt at a horror video game dates back to as early as 1972, when a ''Haunted House'' overlay was included with the first
video game console A video game console is an electronic device that output Output may refer to: * The information produced by a computer, see Input/output In computing, input/output (I/O, or informally io or IO) is the communication between an information pro ...
, the
Magnavox Odyssey The Magnavox Odyssey is the first commercial home video game console A home video game console is a video game console that is designed to be connected to a display device, such as a television, and an external power source as to play video ...

Magnavox Odyssey
, inspired by
haunted house A haunted house, spook house or ghost house in ghostlore is a house or other building often perceived as being inhabited by disembodied ghost, spirits of the Death, deceased who may have been former residents or were otherwise connected wit ...

haunted house
fiction.
Taito is a Japanese company that specializes in video games, toys, arcade cabinets and game centers, based in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company was founded by Michael Kogan in 1953 as the importing vodka, vending machines and jukeboxes into Japan. It be ...

Taito
's classic
arcade video game An arcade video game takes player input from its controls, processes it through electrical or computerized components, and displays output to an electronic monitor or similar display. Most arcade video games are coin-operated A currency detec ...
''
Space Invaders is a 1978 shoot 'em up Shoot 'em up (also known as shmup or STG Davies, Jonti. ''. GameSpy GameSpy was an American provider of online multiplayer and Matchmaking (video games), matchmaking middleware for video games founded in 1996 by ...

Space Invaders
'' (1978) has also been cited as a precursor to horror video games, as it involved a survival scenario where an alien invasion slowly descends and increasingly destroys the landscape while menacing sound effects gradually speed up, which created a sense of panic in players when it first released. The text-based
adventure games An adventure game is a video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or moti ...
''
Mystery House ''Mystery House'' is an adventure game An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and/or Puzzle video game, puzzle-solving. The Video game genres, ge ...
'' (1980) and ''
The Lurking Horror ''The Lurking Horror'' is an interactive fiction game released by Infocom in 1987. The game was written by Dave Lebling and inspired by the horror fiction writings of H. P. Lovecraft (including his Cthulhu Mythos). The original release was for MS- ...
'' (1987) incorporated horror elements through their textual descriptions of rooms.
ASCII Corporation was a Japanese publishing company Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the creation and distribution ...
's ''Nostromo'' (1981) for the
PC-6001 The NEC PC-6000 series is a series of 8-bit home computers introduced in November 1981 by NEC Home Electronics. There are several models in this series, such as the PC-6001, the PC-6001 MK2 and the PC-6001 MK2 SR. There is also an American version, ...
, inspired by the
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film ''
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'' (1979), was a survival horror game that involves escaping from an invisible alien with limited available resources. Another notable early horror video game was ''
Haunted House A haunted house, spook house or ghost house in ghostlore is a house or other building often perceived as being inhabited by disembodied ghost, spirits of the Death, deceased who may have been former residents or were otherwise connected wit ...
'' (1982) for the
Atari 2600 The Atari 2600, originally branded as the Atari Video Computer System (Atari VCS) until November 1982, is a home video game console A home video game console is a video game console that is designed to be connected to a display device, suc ...

Atari 2600
. At that point, video game technology lacked the fidelity to carry the themes of horror in the technology and was instead wrapped more in game manuals and other presentation materials. ''
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'' (1982) for the
Sinclair ZX81 The ZX81 is a home computer that was produced by Sinclair Research and manufactured in Dundee, Scotland, by Timex Corporation. It was launched in the United Kingdom in March 1981 as the successor to Sinclair's ZX80 and designed to be a low-cost ...

Sinclair ZX81
, while not containing images tied with horror games, was one of the first games to induce the feeling of suspense and mystery typically associated with the genre. With more graphical capabilities, games should start to include horror-related imagery, often present in the licensed games based on horror films in the 1980s and 1990s such as ''
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ''The Texas Chain Saw Massacre'' is a 1974 American horror film produced and directed by Tobe Hooper from a story and screenplay by Hooper and Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen, wh ...
'' (1983), ''
Halloween Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' evening"), less commonly known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast o ...
'' (1983) and ''
Friday the 13th Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmani ...
'' (1989), as well as games inspired by horror films such as the survival horror '' Project Firestart'' (1989) inspired by the ''
Alien Alien primarily refers to: * Alien (law) In law, an alien is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part ...
'' films. Due to limitations of consoles and computers, these horror images were often limited to
cutscenes A cutscene or event scene (sometimes in-game cinematic or in-game movie) is a sequence in a video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joys ...
rather than the animated sprites used in the action-based gameplay as to give the fidelity to the details of the horror scene.
Sega is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign ...

Sega
's '' Monster Bash'' (1982) was a horror-themed arcade action game that depicted classic movie monsters such as
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,
Frankenstein's monster Frankenstein's monster or Frankenstein's creature, sometimes referred to as simply "Frankenstein", is an English fictional character who first appeared in Mary Shelley Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (, ; ; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 185 ...
and
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. Other horror-themed action games that followed in the late 1980s included
Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It has created a number of List of best-selling video game franchises, multi-million-selling game franchises, with its most commercially successful being ''Resident Evil'', ''Monster Hunter'', ...

Capcom
's ''
Ghosts 'n Goblins ''Ghosts 'n Goblins'', known in Japan as , is a Run and gun game, run-and-gun platform game, platform video game series created by Tokuro Fujiwara and developed by Capcom. The first entry in the series was ''Ghosts 'n Goblins (video game), Ghost ...
'' (1985),
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Konami
's ''
Castlevania () is an action-adventure Action-adventure is a video game genre that combines core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres. Action-adventure is a hybrid genre, and thus the definition is very inclusive, leading it to ...
'' (1986), and Sega's '' Ghost House'' (1986) and '' Kenseiden'' (1988), with more violent gory arcade horror games including
Exidy Exidy was a developer and manufacturer of coin-operated amusements. The company was founded by H.R. "Pete" Kauffman and Samuel Hawes in 1973. The name "Exidy" was a portmanteau of the words "Excellence in Dynamics". Notable games released by Exid ...
's ''
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'' (1986) and
Namco simply known as Namco, was a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinatio ...
's '' Splatterhouse'' (1988). One of the most well-known "haunted house" themed
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games was ''
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'' (1987) by
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. '' Sweet Home'' (1989) was a survival horror
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based on the
Japanese horror Japanese horror (also known as J-horror) is horror fiction Horror is the one of the largest genre Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the ...
film of the same name A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These image ...
. It was Capcom's first survival horror title, directed by
Tokuro Fujiwara , sometimes credited as Professor F or Arthur King, is a Japanese video game Video gaming in Japan is a major industry. Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on ...
, who had earlier designed ''Ghosts 'n Goblins'' and later went on to produce ''Resident Evil'', which was originally intended to be a remake of ''Sweet Home''. ''
Phantasmagoria Phantasmagoria (, also fantasmagorie, fantasmagoria) was a form of horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean ho ...
'' (1995) by
Roberta Williams Roberta Williams (born February 16, 1953) is an American video game designer and video game writer, writer, who co-founded Sierra Entertainment, Sierra On-Line with husband and Video game developer, game developer Ken Williams (game developer), ...

Roberta Williams
was one of the earliest psychological horror games. ''
Alone in the Dark ''Alone in the Dark'' is a survival horror Survival horror is a Video game genre, subgenre of action-adventure game, action-adventure and horror game, horror video games that focuses on survival of the character as the game tries to frighten ...
'' (1992), developed by
Infogrames Atari SA (formerly Infogrames Entertainment SA) is a French video game holding company headquartered in Paris. Its subsidiaries include Atari Interactive and Atari, Inc. (Atari SA subsidiary), Atari, Inc. Because of continuing pressures upon th ...
and inspired by H.P. Lovecraft fiction and
George Romero George may refer to: People * George (given name) * George (surname) Places South Africa * George, Western Cape ** George Airport United States * George, Iowa * George, Missouri * George, Washington * George County, Mississippi * George Air For ...
zombie films A zombie film is a film genre. Zombies are fictional creatures usually portrayed as reanimated corpses or virally infected human beings. They are commonly portrayed as Cannibalism, cannibalistic in nature. While zombie films generally fall into th ...
, was one of the first survival horror games to bring a more immersive presentation, using crude 3D figures drawn atop a 2D pre-rendered background, so that players would control their character from a fixed camera angle. This allowed the developers to create the necessary sense of tension throughout the adventure game. ''Alone in the Dark'' was a global success on
personal computers A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known a ...

personal computers
. ''Sweet Home'' and ''Alone in the Dark'' went on to inspire Capcom's original ''
Resident Evil ''Resident Evil'', known in Japan as is a Japanese horror video game series and media franchise created by Capcom. It consists of survival horror, third-person shooter, and first-person shooter games. The franchise has expanded into a Resident ...
'' (1996), which coined the "survival horror" term. It spawned the ''
Resident Evil ''Resident Evil'', known in Japan as is a Japanese horror video game series and media franchise created by Capcom. It consists of survival horror, third-person shooter, and first-person shooter games. The franchise has expanded into a Resident ...
'' franchise, which defined and popularized survival horror games. Sega's ''
The House of the Dead ''The House of the Dead'', also known as ''Curien Mansion'' in other media, is a Horror video game, horror-themed light gun shooter video game franchise created by Sega in 1996. Originally released in arcade game, arcades, it utilizes a light gun ...
'' (1996) was an arcade horror
shooter game Shooter video games or shooters are a subgenre of action video game An action game is a Video game genres, video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes a large v ...
that introduced fast
zombies A zombie (Haitian French Haitian French (french: français haïtien, Haitian Creole: ''fransè ayisyen'') is the variety of French language, French spoken in Haiti. Haitian French is close to standard French. It should be distinguished fro ...

zombies
who could run, jump and swim, whereas Konami's ''
Silent Hill is a horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic b ...
'' (1999) defined and popularized psychological horror games. While horror games were inspired by horror films up until the 1990s, horror games were later influencing horror films by the 2000s. The success of ''Resident Evil'' and ''House of the Dead'' sparked a renewed interest in zombie films by the 2000s, influencing hit zombie films such as ''
28 Days Later ''28 Days Later'' is a 2002 British Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, post-apocalyptic horror drama film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Alex Garland, and starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns an ...

28 Days Later
'' (2002), the ''Resident Evil'' film series, '' Dawn of the Dead'' (2004) and ''
Shaun of the Dead ''Shaun of the Dead'' is a 2004 British black comedy film, dark horror comedy film directed and co-written by Edgar Wright and co-written by and starring Simon Pegg in the title role. Along with friend Ed, played by Nick Frost, Shaun is caught ...
'' (2004). The ''Resident Evil'' and ''House of the Dead'' games influenced zombie films to move towards a more action-oriented approach with scientific themes and fast-running zombies. Horror games also benefited from
indie game An indie game, short for independent video game, is a video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, compu ...
growth in the 2010s, since outside of established franchises like ''Resident Evil'', major publishers had shied away from the genre. Series like Frictional Games' ''
Penumbra The umbra, penumbra and antumbra are three distinct parts of a shadow, created by any light source after impinging on an Opacity (optics), opaque object. Assuming no diffraction, for a collimated beam (such as a point source) of light, only the ...
'' series and ''
Amnesia Amnesia is a deficit in memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If s could not be remembered, ...
'' series, and
Red Barrels Red Barrels Inc. is a Canadian video game developer based in Montreal. The company was founded by Philippe Morin, David Chateauneuf and Hugo Dallaire in 2011. The three were previously developers for Ubisoft Montreal and EA Montreal, but found ...
' ''
Outlast ''Outlast'' is a first-person survival horror Survival horror is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. ...

Outlast
'' series captured the type of gameplay from horror games like ''Silent Hill'' and ''Resident Evil''. Parsec Productions' '' Slender: The Eight Pages'' took advantage of the popular Slenderman
creepypasta Creepypastas are horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics ...
, and became one of the first games to gain popularity from viewers watching reactions to online streamers playing the game. The ''
Five Nights at Freddy's ''Five Nights at Freddy's'' is an American media franchise created by Scott Cawthon, which began with the eponymous 2014 video game and quickly became a worldwide popular culture, pop-culture phenomenon. The success of the video games led t ...

Five Nights at Freddy's
'' series by
Scott Cawthon Scott Braden Cawthon (born June 4, 1978) is an American former video game developer and writer. He is the creator of the ''Five Nights at Freddy's'' media franchise, which began with the development of the Five Nights at Freddy's (video game), ...
also similarly captured popularity through watching streamers' reactions to jump-scares. More recently in the early 2020s, indie horrors games have found a new aesthetic based on emulating the graphic style of older platforms, such as the low-poly graphics of the first PlayStation console or even pixel art, rather than high realism from modern 3D graphics. Besides capturing a sense of nostalgia, developers are able to use retro-inspired graphics on modern hardware to continue to manipulate the player and surprise them beyond the expectations of the visuals, such as giving the player the idea that the game itself is cursed and potentially
breaking the fourth wall The fourth wall is a performance dramatic convention, convention in which an invisible, imagined wall separates actors from the audience. While the audience can see through this "wall", the convention assumes the actors act as if they cannot. ...
.


See also

* List of horror games *
Japanese horror Japanese horror (also known as J-horror) is horror fiction Horror is the one of the largest genre Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the ...


References

{{Video game genre Horror video games, Video game genres