Games, and phobias


For some strange reason No Man’s Sky makes me really afraid of the open wide spaces in it. I have tried multiple times to reengage with it over the years but it always ends up being very uncomfortable.

Strangely enough it the only space game to do so in my experience.


I used to be very scared of needles. This has gotten a lot better through the years but I still dislike it when games use syringes or similar devices to up a characters health or to poison enemies (like Hitman). It makes me wince a lil every time it happens.


I have the exact same phobia as you, OP, and I have no idea where it comes from, really. I also have a phobia around large industrial machinery, so my ultimate nightmare is being trapped on an oil rig or something similar in the middle of the ocean. I haven’t tried Subnautica yet, but I’m interested to see if it will trigger those same fears for me that it did for you.

I think I have the same sort of reaction you’re discussing around a lot of horror games. I often find myself wanting to play them because I’m a bit of a low-grade horror film fan (there’s a very specific kind of horror I enjoy), but something about actually having to play out a horror story myself sets my nerves on edge in a serious way. (The most recent example of this is Kitty Horrorshow’s “Anatomy,” which I only just managed to finish because of its length…although I was sort of a nervous wreck by the time I got there.)

I go back and forth with this. I’ll completely avoid horror games for a while, but then something will come along that piques my interest and I’ll go ahead and give it a shot. Sometimes I mange to push through because I’m so fascinated by what’s going on in the narrative (as in the Silent Hill games) and sometimes I just can’t do it (as in Amnesia).

I’d like to think eventually I’ll overcome these fears, but history has sort of proven that untrue. I don’t know if continuing to play them really helps or not, but I have no doubt I’ll continue to do it.


I’m so thankful for people who LP horror games relatively calmly because I am often very curious about their stories, and I largely laugh at horror movies and do not find them very spooky, but games are different. From a young age, the polygon graphics on PlayStation made it scary when something would sneak up behind you off-camera. Even in games that were very familiar to me, like Spyro and Rugrats, I have memories of being genuinely scared enough to have been nervous playing certain parts of them. So games that, by design, have monsters coming out where I can’t see? Can’t do it.
I think the difference is that in a horror movie, the set-up for scares is so blatant that you know when it’s coming, so it’s goofy when it happens exactly as planned. In spooky games, you control the camera. Just because you haven’t looked behind yourself in a while doesn’t mean that there is a monster stalking you, the way angles in film are so often purposeful. Not every mirror exists to reveal a bad guy. It’s much more unpredictable, and that’s where the horror lies.