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  • Danish Sinha

5 Important Elements That Can Make a Horror Game Effective

Back then, video games were seen as a waste of time and were not widely accepted by society. They were seen as something that distracted children from their studies and kept them away from physical activities. However, this isn't the case today because video games are now on par, if not even more, with movies and television shows in terms of storytelling.

One such example is horror games, which are fundamentally different from horror movies. They provide a more interactive experience, allowing players to explore the world, interact with characters, and make decisions that shape the game's outcome. While movies can scare viewers, horror games elevate the experience because players can feel like they're in the game, experiencing the emotions and suspense firsthand. For this reason, a horror game must have certain elements to shape the experience, such as:

#1 - Jumpscares

A horror game isn't a horror game without jumpscares. Jumpscares are sudden, unexpected events that make players jump out of their seats. They can be anything from a loud noise, a creature appearing on screen or a sudden change in the game's environment. These moments are designed to make players feel a sudden rush of adrenaline and fear.

A perfect example would be the game Five Nights at Freddy's. The game's core mechanic involves staring at security cameras to check for animatronic monsters. When one of them appears, it triggers a loud noise and an image of the monster, making the player jump out of their seat.

#2 - An Emotional Rollercoaster

Nothing is scarier than a game that can make you feel various emotions. Fear, suspense, surprise, confusion, dread, and anxiety can all be used to create a thrilling experience. Crafting a horror game that can make players feel a range of emotions is difficult, but it can be a truly memorable experience when done right.

An example of a game that does this exceptionally well is Silent Hill 2. The game is filled with tension, suspense, and dread, making it a truly terrifying experience. The game's story is full of twists and turns, and the environments are eerie and unsettling. All of these elements come together to create an emotional rollercoaster for players.

#3 - The Grotesque

Nothing will make you jump out of your seat like a grotesque monster. Whether it's a zombie, a monster, or a ghost, a grotesque creature can be a powerful tool for creating suspense and terror. The grotesque can shock and surprise players and develop a sense of dread and fear.

A great example is the monster in the game Alien: Isolation. This creature is huge, intimidating, and relentless. It stalks the player and lurks in the dark, creating a dreadful feeling. The monster's design is grotesque and unsettling, making it an effective tool for creating fear and tension.

#4 - The Safe Room

Just because horror games are scary doesn't mean the player can't catch a break. This is why many horror games feature safe rooms. Safe rooms provide a refuge from terror and allow players to plan their next move. These rooms are usually decorated with items representing a sense of safety, such as a bed or a chair.

Often, these rooms contain notes, weapons, and items the player can use to progress. The safe room is a great way to give players a chance to catch their breath and strategize. It also allows the player to feel a sense of relief from the fear and tension of the game.

#5 - Flipping the Script

Many horror games feature a twist in the story that changes the entire course of the game. This twist usually comes from a surprise enemy, a new location, or a shocking revelation. This twist can be a great way to keep players on their toes and create a sense of suspense.

Flipping the script can also be used to reveal a deeper story. It can be used to show a character's true motivations or to provide a new perspective on an old situation. Flipping the script adds an extra layer of mystery and excitement to a horror game when used correctly.


Horror games are designed to keep players on edge by providing unexpected twists and turns in a scary and suspenseful setting. Because horror games contain various elements that elevate the experience, they can keep players guessing and engaged. If you're planning to play a horror game, expect the unexpected and prepare to be shocked.

If you’re planning to develop thrilling games, Gamestacy can help you! Our team of professional game designers and developers creates fun and exciting games that everyone can enjoy. Visit our website today to subscribe to our newsletter!

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