The best and worst video games to play this Halloween

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It’s the scariest time of the year. Turn on the TV and you’re innundated with ghost hunter shows and scary movies. Look at the movies and you see another Paranormal Activity and general horror movies. Head to the library and you’ll see spooky picks for the week. It’s the Halloween season and, if you’re a gamer, then it’s one of the most prolific years for horror video games. I was looking back and there have been 15 spooky, thrilling and/or horrific games released in 2012. If you’re looking to do a scary game marathon, there’s a great assortment of games from which you can pick a handful of gems. To help you out, I’ve listed what’s out there, given a brief summary of what they’re about and organized them into lists of ones you would and wouldn’t want to play. Think of it as a GamerTell treat for you to enjoy this season.

Let’s start with the good games that have been released so far and would be perfect to play over the next week or so to get yourself in the Halloween spirit. All of these games are at the very least decent, and some are even exceptional. Basically, you’ll be giving yourself a treat if you take the time to experience even one of these games. They’re interesting, well made and might even actually scare you.

  • Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention (PS Vita) is a strategic RPG where players help a young demon named Mao become a hero so he can destroy his father, Overlord of the Netherworld, for ruining his video game save file. Except once Mao steals an amateur hero named Almaz’s title, he starts becoming good and Almaz starts turning into a demon.
  • Dokuro (PS Vita) is not so much scary as darkly cute, but I guarantee the second half of the 150 levels in this action/puzzle game are so challenging, they’re scary.
  • Lollipop Chainsaw (PS3, Xbox 360) is a campy action game about a high school cheerleader who uses her super chainsaw to kill zombies and save the world.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS) follows Jill Valentine, Parker Luciani, Chris Redfield and Jessica Sherawat as they investigate an infected cruise ship called the Zenobia.
  • Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows) flips things around and has players helping Umbrella agents cover up a T-Virus outbreak in Raccoon City.
  • Silent Hill: Downpour (PS3, Xbox 360) is follows an escaped prisoner who finds himself in the town of Silent Hill and must face both his and its demons.
  • Slender (Windows, Mac) is an indie game in which players must find slips of paper while avoiding Slenderman.
  • The Walking Dead (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows, Mac, iOS) is an adventure game where players must help a man named Lee and a little girl he found named Clementine survive after zombies have invested the world.
  • Yakuza: Dead Souls (PS3, Xbox 360) is an adventure game spin-off of the Yakuza series, except instead of facing regular members of the Japanese mafia, you’re fighting undead members of the Japanese mafia.
  • Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS, PS Vita) is a visual novel/adventure thriller where players must escape from an underground warehouse, solving puzzles put forth by a devious AI, so they won’t die.

Sadly, not all horror games can be good. Some can be downright terrible. In some cases, it’s because the source material is bad. In others, it’s because the games are just terribly broken. The result is a terrible experience that you wouldn’t want to wish on anyone, let alone yourself. With that in mind, avoid these games, even though they may be cheap and seem perfect for the Halloween season.

  • NeverDead (PS3, Xbox 360) is a horribly broken action game about a man who can never die. It’s very tedious and difficult to play.
  • Resident Evil 6 (PS3, Xbox 360) is a hodgepodge of different ideas and gameplay mechanics that all seems to be thrown together. The multiplayer is good, but there are varying opinions on the single-player.
  • Silent Hill: Book of Memories (PS Vita) is a dungeon-crawler RPG that’s demanding and tedious, even though it looks good and has some interesting concepts at play.
  • Silent Hill HD Collection (PS3, Xbox 360) is a horribly broken HD port of Silent Hill 2 and 3 that is filled with bugs and manages to look, sound and play worse than the original games. The PS3 version has received some patches, but the Xbox 360 version will never be patched and fixed.
  • Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir (3DS) is an AR game and camera app spin-off of the Fatal Frame series that is horribly broken because the accompanying AR book doesn’t work right, it must be played in a very well-lit room and it isn’t at all scary.
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