#2. Metroid Fusion -- Facing Your Demons, Discovering They Live Inside You
The Metroid series was always a bit darker than the other Nintendo games, but they were still Nintendo games. The "disturbing enemies" had a few more spike-shaped pixels than you were used to, and that was pretty much the extent of the horror. You could play any of the early Metroid titles and be pretty confident of maintaining the sanctity of your underpants, no matter how big a wuss you were. At least until Metroid Fusion came out.
In Fusion, Samus is once again stuck in a decrepit space labyrinth where some poor architect accidentally replaced all the door keys with missiles. Everything proceeds normally until you complete your first mission on the main deck and step into the elevator.
You watch Samus descend into the next level, like usual, but then the camera stays in the upper deck instead of following her. What the hell? Just when you're wondering if the game froze, the wall blows up and out comes ... you?
"Come on; there's a door like right there. This shit's expensive."
Only now you're no longer in control. Your character walks to the edge of the elevator you just went down. Then, very slowly, she turns to look at you, the player, and ...
Yep; you're done playing this game.
If that seems a little tame by modern horror gaming standards, bear in mind three things: One, we were all much more innocent, purer human beings back then. Two, this was not a horror game. And three, Metroid games had never, ever broken the 2D side-scroller POV before, much less the fourth wall. And when they decided to do it for the first time, it was to show you this face:
"I know where you sleep."
If you kept playing, you'd find out that was actually a parasitic clone of Samus, and for the rest of the game you occasionally see your evil doppelganger wandering around the hallways. If that happens, your only options are: a) run like hell and try to hide from it or b) get completely torn asunder by an unkillable enemy.
"How am I going to get out of this? I might as well curl up into a ball and di- wait a minute."
Alternatively, you can do as the official Cracked Metroid Fusion walkthrough suggests: set the cartridge on fire, bury it in your backyard, and play something innocent like Pokemon instead. Ah, now that's a game you can trust. A game that would never betray your innocent play session with sudden and disconcerting bouts of existential terror ... right?
#1. Pokemon Red, Blue & Yellow -- Wandering the Haunted Pokemon Graveyard
Pokemon players, this here is your trigger warning: We're going to talk about Lavender Town. It's the Vietnam of the '90s adolescent -- you went there a child and came back a man. A man with despair in his eyes where there used to be joy.
Lavender Town greeted you right off with an extremely creepy theme song, which sounded a bit like Jeffrey Dahmer's rap sheet run through an electric piano. It's no wonder the Internet made up an urban legend about kids killing themselves after hearing it. Anyway, here's the song on repeat for 10 straight hours, and we'll see you in hell:
In the top right-hand corner of Lavender Town, you'll find a foreboding building much larger than all the others called the Pokemon Tower. Oh, neat, so that's where all the Pokemon are -- we were getting a bit creeped out here all alone, so we'll just head over there, aaaand it's a massive indoor graveyard for murdered Pokemon.
"Gotta catch 'em all ... A positive, O negative ..."
Like every other area, the tower is full to the brim with plucky trainers ready for battle. The difference here is that they call themselves Channelers and are possessed by the ghosts of dead Pokemon. Which is ... a pretty significant difference to a child.
"I already bought a Wii U, isn't that enough?"
This isn't a fan theory or an urban legend -- the game is very clear that these Pokemon are dead, are pissed off, and think you're responsible for murdering them. Keep at it and you eventually come out of Lavender Town -- only to find an uncaring, unresponsive world that was turning just fine without you.
Where's your parade, huh?
Moycal is a 20-something Irish lad. He loves the way Daniel Stern exaggeratedly hollers "OW! RIGHT IN THE SCHNOZZ!!" when he pretends to get smacked in the nose by that swinging paint can trap in the movie Home Alone 2. This is his blog. This is his Twitter. This is for writing, this is for chatter.
Related Reading: While we're on the subject of unreasonably horrifying children's games, check out the crying statue in Zack and Wicki. But at least that isn't as horrifying as this glitch that raises the dead in Call of Duty. Not creeped out enough yet? We can help.