Horror games are a hell of a lot of work. You can spend thousands of man-hours carefully exploiting human psychology and weakness in order to inspire that elusive but all-important fear response ... or you could slap some shitty code in there and call it a day. As we've told you three times before, sometimes the scariest game is one that's just not working very well. Join us for another excursion into the unintentional, hilarious terror of video game glitches ...
6 DayZ's Soulless Husks
DayZ is an open-world, multiplayer game where you control one of the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Though the undead are a hurdle, the biggest threat in the game, as always, is 14-year-olds who use their special "unlimited free time" ability to murder you and teabag your corpse. Like most online games, when a player disconnects, their character simply vanishes from the world. But sometimes the husks of characters are accidentally left behind. They just stand there without a care in the world, doing whatever it was they were doing before the player controlling them disconnected.
In this case it's endlessly bleeding while giving you occasional side-eyes, like you're the weirdo. Since the game doesn't register these husk people as "alive," they can't be killed. Attacking them is like trying to fight one of those wacky inflatable tube men inside the Matrix.
"You cannot defeat me. I shall claim your soul for Frank's Discount Tires and Brakes."
These "soulless players" are encountered in all sorts of unusual situations that make you wonder what could have possibly been happening before they disconnected. In the above example you can probably come up with some sort of combat scenario, or maybe a ritualistic murder/suicide gone wrong. But what was this guy doing standing in a field with no pants and a fire extinguisher?
The answer to that could be the scariest thing of all.
5 Skyrim's Air Swimmers
There are few horrors that lurk in the deep places where man has not yet trod that can rival what happens when you play a game made by Bethesda. We've begun to suspect that either their developers are adding these nightmares intentionally or their office is haunted by the ghost of a shitty programmer. So it should come as no great surprise that characters in Skyrim will occasionally swim through the air.
"Sometimes I forget I can't just pee like I'm in a pool. That's why I'm no longer allowed at church."
It looks odd, but the characters otherwise act the same. You can still talk to them, get quests from them, or bash their head in with a giant ax and steal their shoes. But under the right circumstances it goes from a silly, trivial little glitch to skin-crawling horror. And here those circumstances are!
A creepy woman glowing with a ghostly light swims through the air toward you in the dead of night, stops, swivels, and somberly intones, "The Gods know what you've done." She then continues her air-swim to a house where she disappears at the door, drawing absolutely no reaction from the man nearby. If that was your first time seeing something like that in the game, would your first thought be, "Weird glitch," or, "No, I- I destroyed all the evidence! They can't possibly know about that summer in Louisiana ... can they?!"