What makes a horror game a horror game?

What would you say makes a horror game so scary?


I would say blood, death, and jumpscares. but idk

The fear. The existential threat. The dread. The (usually monstrous) mf(s) out to get you.


jumpscares are good for a quick spook, but after a while those become boring and repetetive

what makes a horror game great is the atmosphere, the tension, making you always look behind your shoulder. You never truly feel safe

A great buildup and reveal also helps alot


Pretty much what John and nhgcr said.


Here are the elements of a horror game.

  1. investment. make your player care about their character or themselves through immersion, storyline, gameplay punishments, or something similar.

  2. environment. Nothing is scary without something to compare it to, and vice versa. If you make the entire game just jumpscare after jumpscare, it gets old pretty quick. The best way to add atmosphere is to show normality, because this proves how twisted the horror elements are. Another option is to go to something like poppy’s playtime style where the entire thing is supposed to be friendly, but the horrors within just make it more disturbing.

  3. audio. Don’t forget the audio!!! Sounds should mean something in the game, no just be looping dumb background sounds. Slow anxiety-inducing piano pieces and similar things are incredibly useful for building up a scene, and of course, the most suspenseful parts of the game is always when there is complete and utter silence.

  4. visuals. This is the trickiest department in flowlab, as 8-bit pixels on a small rectangle surrounded by white is kind of hard to make terrifying. However, the most important thing is consistency. Make a definite standard to your art, and make even the monsters follow your color scheme, pixel size and art style. Once the base of the game is done, monster design can often be fun. However, you don’t even need a monster if you don’t want. There is a game called Anxiety on Roblox, a simulation of anxiety disorder. You are in an empty, cozy house, and nothing is happening. However, the visuals and the rising action of your heart beating louder and louder and the lifhts being brighter and brighter is utterly terrifying. The feel of the art is much, MUCH more important than the content thereof.


a big part is buildup and release of tension. the player doesn’t know what’s going to happen next but you want them to really anticipate what’s happening while being afraid of what it could be. that’s the main thing that horror games have that make them scary.
ofc this is conveyed largely through the help of what slime said with audio and visuals (or lack of in some cases? can be very effective) as well as all the other things that you think of when you imagine horror games. but at its core, it’s buildup and release of tension


To make a game actually scary, you need to make their heart race. Make them feel like they are close to beating something difficult, and then add the normal horror things. Build stress by making the player feel close to the end, but in danger as well.

If you haven’t noticed, it’s actually scary when you’re playing a game like dark souls and you are about to beat a boss that has taken you hours.


That’s every game though

That’s a thriller though


I think immersion’s a big part of it, but it’s hard to feel immersed in a 2d game



The Earth shakes and quakes with fear,
For Death treads its dreaded land without chains.
The wind carries sorrow that all hear,
For the Earth will suffer all his pains.

Budding flowers wilt and morning rays die,
Fires run wild as terror flies in smoke-filled skies,
Rivers run red with the blood of the dead,
Mountains fall to the rise of blood-ridden ash.

Cities crumble at the whisper of his name,
Forests fear his looming shadow,
Oceans obediently move to his every tear,
Lands lament his long-lost love.

Walls falter to Death’s dark hands,
Armies shatter to Deaths devouring demands,
Sunlight quivers to Deaths dominating stance,
Kingdoms waver to Deaths dreadful dance.

For Death shakes and quakes with rage,
He strides in a wave of pain,
For the sorrowful wind moves in a cage,
For the Earth has caused his suffering chains
(tooken from code apalca’s poems) but this is hte answer


Wow, what a cool poem!


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