In honor of this year’s day celebrating everything spooky and specter-like I decided to share the best horror Let’s Plays that I’ve come across over the years. Don’t see your favorite a horror series represented? Feel free to share it in the comments!
Keep in mind that Let’s Plays, especially those that deal with games in the horror genre, tend to include some explicit language!
Ah, Let’s Plays. Some people love them, some people just don’t get the appeal. I tend to treat them like entertaining podcasts that I listen to while writing or working out. For that reason, my favorite horror Let’s Plays aren’t really playthroughs that instill a sense of fear, but the ones that contain entertaining commentary that isn’t centered entirely on obnoxious overreactions to jump scares. I also appreciate Let’s Plays that show me games that I would not normally play. Without further ado, the five best playthroughs of horror games on the internet.
5. The Spoony Experiment – Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh
Phantasmagoria 2 is a fantastically weird and definitely adult-oriented point-and-click adventure title. The story follows seemingly uninteresting office drone Curtis Craig who quickly becomes swept up in events that rattle his sanity and leave many of the people in his life horrifically murdered. The game was made during the heyday of FMV games, so there is no shortage of cheesy footage to find entertaining. Visually, it is an interesting look into a strange and largely abandoned period of video game history.
The commentary really constitutes the meat of any Let’s Play and The Spoony Experiment captures the feeling of watching episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The commentator, Noah Antwiler, delivers jokes in a matter of fact manner, responding to the unexpected and just bizarre puzzles and solutions that occur in his playthrough. Though Phantasmagoria 2 might have once been an unnerving experience with cutting edge technology, the effect of the FMV footage has been severely dulled with time. While it would undoubtedly be a frustrating game to play, watching Antwiler struggles while empathizing with his baffled reactions proves to be a great deal of fun.
4. Kikoskia – The Last Door: Chapter One
The Game Kitchen, a newish indie studio based in Spain, successfully Kickstarted a pixel art horror adventure game, called The Last Door. Released over the course of five chapters, The Last Door succeeds in being surprisingly creepy. The first chapter centers on a man named Jeremiah Devitt the recipient of a cryptic letter from an old school friend who appears to have gotten into deadly trouble.
Kikoskia’s colorful commentary comes across as someone who is sincerely interested and enthusiastic about what he is playing. It is all very natural and smooth. A major reason that I enjoyed the playthrough of Chapter One was because it appeared genuinely good. I had only heard of The Last Door and never really intended to get around to actually playing it. However, the eeriness of the narrative and rapidly darkening atmosphere won me over, becoming one of the few Let’s Plays that has convinced me to play a game. It helps that all episodes of The Last Door are free. While most Let’s Plays can span hours, Kikoskia’s clocks in at around 35 minutes, making it a relatively quick look at a bit of well executed horror.
3. Giant Bomb – Fear Gauntlet
The setup is simple: Two Giant Bomb interns who claim to be total horror game pansies force themselves through a gauntlet of progressively scarier games in an effort to build up an immunity to the effects of the horror genre. Matt Kessler and Steve Ramirez have an engaging chemistry that makes their exploits highly enjoyable to watch. They begin with Luigi's Mansion and work their way up to Condemned 2: Bloodshot. Unfortunately the series appears to have gone on an indefinite hiatus following Giant Bomb's acquisition by CBS. However, the evidence of the two intrepid interns attempting to conquer their fears endures on YouTube.
2. Game Informer – OverBlood Super Replay
OverBlood is hands down the worst horror game of all time. Not only does it fail to scare at every possible opportunity, but the game itself, while mediocre for its time as an early PS1 title, has only become worse with age. It is the Troll 2 of video games. It is a crash course in how not to design an interactive experience. OverBlood's epic journey through sci-fi horror follows a frozen man named Raz Karcy and his trusty robot sidekick Pipo as they attempt to escape the confines of a mysteriously abandoned laboratory.
The Game Informer editors attempt to puzzle their way through the entire game and, boy, is it just a wild slog through poor game design and laughably executed scares. It is impossible to watch any part of OverBlood and not either be laughing at it or staring in disbelief.
1. Day – Amnesia AKA How Day Lost His Manhood
There is only one thing better than watching two self-proclaimed cowards try to muscle through scary games and that is watching a self-proclaimed horror game champion get reduced to a puddle of hysterical laughter and terror. Sean Plott, also known as Day, is one of my favorite people in the world. He's a great StarCraft II commentator and entirely comes across as entirely genuine. That sincerity really adds to the comedic value of watching as he throws himself into the experience of Amnesia: The Dark Descent with a reckless, cocky abandon. Observing that cockiness slowly degrade over the course of an hour is sweet, but seeing him soldier on beyond that is just amazingly fun. This is my absolute favorite example of a horror game causing someone to go bananas. While it might be a bit underwhelming at first, it is a delightfully slow ramp up into insanity.
Honorable Mention: Game Grumps – Sonic ‘06
While not exactly a horror game, the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game is so broken it’s scary. It comes complete with glitches that defy logic. The game design on display is so bland and uninspired. The jarring Final Fantasy-esque cutscenes involve characters that look completely out of place next to the traditional cast. The reactions and subsequent mental breakdowns this game provokes from the two hosts of Game Grumps are nothing short of a journey to the edge of madness. Nothing can prepare you. Nothing can save you.