With so many great looking horror games on the horizon, it’s easy to forget that they used to be a little hard to come by. Especially before the PS3 / Xbox 360 era of gaming, you had to put in some legwork to find good, scary games to play. A big reason many horror games are rare in the first place is due to some interesting controversy, so I’ve collected five of my favorites.
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Atari 2600)
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was released in 1982 for the Atari 2600 and it let you run around as a block-form Leatherface. The goal of the game was to murder teens while avoiding Leatherface’s sworn enemies, fences, wheelchairs and skulls.
Leatherface’s chainsaw looks like it’s attached to his body, and when you run into obstacles, your fuel depletes. If your fuel bar hits empty, you lose. A cutscene of Leatherface’s chainsaw failing plays and a little girl runs up behind him and kicks him in the ass, killing him instantly.
The reason this game is rare is because it was one of the first horror games ever released. On top of the fact hat limited copies were produced, many stores wouldn’t carry the game so it’s hard to come by these days. It’s not very good, but it caused an uproar when it was released, so it’s desirable to a lot of Atari 2600 collectors.
2. Gremlins Gizmo
Did you know NECA, the incredible horror toy company, was once in the video game publishing business? As far as I can tell, they only published two variants of the same game – “Gremlins: Gizmo” for the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS.
It’s a game that let you care for your very own pet Mogwai. You chose between Gizmo or a bunch of other random ones. By playing different mini games, you could unlock new environments, games and outfits for your Mogwai.
“Gremlins Gizmo’s” rarity stems from the fact that nobody knew about it. It was released in the tail end of the Wii’s lifecycle, so people were already done with its piles of shovel ware. As for the DS version, the 3DS had already been available for months when it was released, so it was basically sent out to die. You can pick it up for about $10 on Amazon these days and it’s actually pretty fun!
3. Cursed Mountain
One of the Wii’s double-edged swords was that when good, unique titles DID come out for it, they were buried by the piles of shovel ware that caused hardcore gamers to turn their backs on the system in the first place. “Cursed Mountain” was sadly a victim of this occurrence.
While it’s not a genre-defining title, “Cursed Mountain” was a lot of fun. It pulls from ideas found in Buddhism and Tibetan folklore, and it’s set in the 1980s.
You played as Eric Simmons, a man trying to ascend the mountain the game is named after to find his brother who has mysteriously disappeared. Combat involves purifying ghosts with Eric’s third eye and beating them down with various weapons.
It’s not very action-heavy, but it nails atmosphere in a way that very few games have, both before and since it was released. It doesn’t exactly hold up, but it’s worth a try if you can get your hands on a copy.
This one is a game you’ve definitely heard of, but it’s extremely rare thanks to an insane turn of events.
“P.T.” was a teaser for a new Silent Hill title that “Metal Gear Solid” creator, Hideo Kojima was teaming up with Guillermo Del Torro to create, which would star Norman Reedus. Unfortunately, since Kojima was ousted from Konami in a move that resulted in them exiting the video games industry as whole, “Silent Hills” never came to fruition.
Even more bizarre is the fact that the only way to play “P.T.” is if you already had it on your PS4 before Konami removed it from the PlayStation Store. Even if you “purchased” the title, the ability to re-download it has since been revoked. PS4’s with the game installed sell for a hefty amount of cash on eBay, but it looks like “Resident Evil VII: Biohazard” is going to fill the void “Silent Hills” left.
5. Rule of Rose
“Rule of Rose” was published in Japan back in 2006 for PS2 by Sony Computer Entertainment. Atlus published the title in North America because SCEA expressed little to no interest in localizing the title.
Gameplay was reminiscent of many other PS2-era horror games with a third-person perspective and a near-defenseless main character named Jennifer. She had the ability to use improvised weapons, but her moves were extremely week.
The game faced a ton of controversy due to it having erotic undertones involving its cast of underage girls. It met average reviews, but since it was never released in the EU, it’s actually pretty rare and worth checking out if you can get your hands on a copy.
So there you have it, five of the rarest horror games out there. Have you played any of these? Are you going to seek any of them out? I’d love to hear from you, so hit me up on Twitter and let me know.