How to Play Horror Games Without Getting Too Scared
Venturing into the eerie and unpredictable world of horror games can be a daunting experience, even for the bravest of gamers. The spine-chilling atmosphere, unexpected jump scares, and intense gameplay often leave players feeling on edge. However, there are several strategies you can employ to make these terrifying gaming sessions more manageable and enjoyable. Whether you're a seasoned horror game enthusiast or a newcomer to this genre, these tips will help you navigate the scares with ease. From the camaraderie of playing with a friend to the clever use of game mods, this article offers nine practical methods to help you play horror games without getting too scared. So, let's dive in and explore how you can turn those fearsome gaming moments into an enjoyable experience.
1. Play with a friend
Playing horror games can become significantly less intimidating when you team up with a friend, whether they're actively playing with you or simply watching. When a friend watches you play, their presence offers moral support and a distraction from the game's intensity, allowing for shared laughter and commentary that lightens the atmosphere. In scenarios where the friend joins as a second player, the game transforms into a collaborative experience. This not only dilutes the fear through shared challenges and strategies, but also enhances enjoyment by introducing elements of teamwork and friendly competition. Together, you can tackle obstacles, strategize to overcome eerie scenarios, and celebrate your triumphs, making the horror gaming experience more enjoyable and less daunting.
2. Ditch the headphones
Ditching the headphones when playing horror games can be better for someone who gets easily scared because headphones can make the game more immersive and intense. Headphones can create a more personal and realistic sound experience, especially if the game uses 3D-sound technologies. You can hear the sounds of the game more clearly and directionally, such as footsteps, breathing, or screams. This can increase your sense of presence and involvement in the game, as well as your fear and anxiety. By ditching the headphones, you can reduce the impact of the sound on your emotions and create some distance between yourself and the game. You can also lower the volume or mute the sound completely if you find it too scary. Some gamers prefer to play horror games without headphones or with low volume to make the game less scary.
3. Turn on your brightness
Increasing the brightness in horror games can be an effective strategy to reduce fear and enhance your gaming experience. Horror games frequently employ darkness to build tension, fear, and an aura of mystery. By turning up the brightness, you make the game world more visible, reducing the likelihood of being caught off guard by hidden threats or jump scares. This simple adjustment helps you feel more in control and confident as you navigate through the game. Brightening the screen not only makes the game less overwhelming but also more enjoyable, as you can explore with greater ease and less apprehension. Additionally, brightening your surrounding space can further lessen the game's immersive scare tactics, providing a comforting sense of safety.
4. Play on easy mode
Playing on easy mode can make a horror game less scary by reducing the challenge and frustration of the game. Some horror games rely on difficulty to create tension and fear, such as limiting your resources, health, or save points, or making the enemies stronger, faster, or smarter. Easy mode can make the game more manageable and enjoyable, as you can have more options, opportunities, and advantages to overcome the obstacles and threats in the game. When you're mowing down terrifying creatures with just a single shot or two, these horror games quickly shift from being intensely scary to a lot more fun and manageable.
5. Mod your game
Modifying horror games with user-created modifications (mods) can make them less frightening and more enjoyable. Mods allow you to customize the game's graphics, sounds, mechanics, or content according to your preferences. For example, you can replace menacing monsters with less intimidating or even humorous ones, or alter the music and sound effects to be more comforting. A notable example is SMii7Y's video 'Modded Left 4 Dead 2 is Cursed,' which demonstrates how mods can make a game less scary.
Furthermore, adding new features or content can greatly enhance the gaming experience. However, it's important to be aware that modding can sometimes stray from the game's original design and vision, and might cause occasional crashes. Engaging in modding can be a fun and creative way to improve your gaming experience, but it requires some technical knowledge and awareness. To explore modding options for your favorite horror game, you can visit Nexus Mods for a variety of choices.
6. Limit play time and take breaks
Managing your playtime and taking frequent breaks during horror gaming sessions can be highly beneficial, especially for those who find these games frightening. Breaks are crucial to avoid physical and mental fatigue that can diminish your game performance and enjoyment. Horror games, being inherently stressful due to their constant demand for attention and emotional control, can exhaust players. Taking breaks helps in rejuvenating and resetting your mind and body. Additionally, these pauses are essential in moderating the fear and anxiety that horror games often induce, mitigating the physiological and psychological effects of the game's intense atmosphere. Moreover, limiting playtime can actually enhance the overall gaming experience, maintaining a sense of novelty and excitement. Breaks help in keeping the game fresh and engaging, preventing feelings of boredom or frustration.
7. Spoil yourself
Getting a sneak peek of horror games by reading spoilers or watching playthroughs can significantly ease the gameplay experience. Many horror games rely on surprise elements and unpredictability to create fear and tension. By observing how a streamer tackles the game or learning about key plot points in advance, you remove a lot of the shock and unpredictability. This foresight allows you to brace for startling moments and understand the game's mechanics better, making you feel more prepared and less anxious. Watching someone else play or spoiling the game ahead of time can transform an intimidating horror game into a more manageable and enjoyable experience. If you're looking for streamer recommendations, some popular choices include:
8. Watch something funny after playing
Watching something funny after playing a horror game can make it more bearable for you by changing your mood, reducing your stress, and distracting you from the scary images or sounds of the game. According to some studies, humor can help people cope with negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety, or anger, by creating a positive and relaxed state of mind. Humor can also lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, which are associated with stress and fear. Moreover, humor can divert your attention from the unpleasant aspects of the game and focus on the enjoyable and amusing ones. You can laugh at the absurdity, irony, or silliness of the game, or make fun of your own reactions or mistakes. Watching something funny after playing a horror game can help you forget the horror and remember the fun.
9. Play during the day
Playing horror games in daylight can significantly soften their intimidating impact. Daylight reduces the stark contrast between your environment and the game, making it less engulfing and intense. Simple adjustments to the game's settings, like brightness and sound, can also make your experience more comfortable. The daylight reminds you that the game's frights are fictional, allowing you to ground yourself in the safety of your surroundings. Moreover, daytime playing mitigates the negative effects commonly associated with night gaming, such as disturbed sleep or heightened anxiety, giving you more time to relax afterwards. Additionally, playing during the day opens up various strategies to manage any fear or stress, such as contacting a friend or switching to more uplifting activities.
While horror games are designed to deliver scares and tension, they don't have to be an overwhelming experience. By adopting these nine strategies, you can significantly reduce the fear factor and transform your gameplay into a more enjoyable journey. Whether it's through the comfort of a friend's presence, the strategic adjustments of game settings, or the psychological preparation provided by spoilers, each method offers a unique way to manage the horror elements. Remember, the key is to find what works best for you, whether it's modding the game to your taste or simply playing during the brighter hours of the day. Horror games, with their rich narratives and immersive experiences, can be incredibly rewarding, and with these tips, you can fully appreciate them without being paralyzed by fear. So gear up, embrace these strategies, and get ready to face those virtual horrors with newfound confidence and enjoyment.
Patrick Yu is a Senior Project Manager at Level Interactive and has 8 years of experience writing business, legal, lifestyle, gaming, and technology articles. He is a significant contributor to Acer Corner and is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan.