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Tyrone Ries
Tyrone Ries

The Best RPG Horror Games for Every Platform and Genre


RPG Horror Games: A Guide to Fear and Fun




RPG horror games are a subgenre of role-playing games that focus on creating a sense of fear, suspense, and dread in the players. They often feature dark and gruesome themes, such as monsters, ghosts, demons, cults, madness, and death. RPG horror games can be found in various media, such as video games, tabletop games, and live-action games.


In this article, we will explore the history, types, challenges, and benefits of RPG horror games. We will also give some examples of popular RPG horror games that you can try if you dare.




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History




Origins and influences




RPG horror games have a long and rich history that can be traced back to various sources of inspiration. Some of the earliest influences include Gothic literature (such as Frankenstein by Mary Shelley), horror movies (such as Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock), folklore (such as vampires and werewolves), and other genres of games (such as adventure games).


One of the pioneers of RPG horror games was Call of Cthulhu, a pen-and-paper game based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft that was first published in 1981. It introduced many elements that would become staples of the genre, such as sanity meters, investigation mechanics, cosmic horrors, and multiple endings. Call of Cthulhu also spawned many spin-offs and adaptations in different media.


Another milestone of RPG horror games was Resident Evil, a video game that was released in 1996 for the PlayStation console. It popularized the term "survival horror", which refers to a type of game that emphasizes resource management, limited save points, fixed camera angles, puzzle solving, and combat against zombies and other creatures. Resident Evil also inspired many sequels and imitations in the video game industry.


Types




<h3 Video games




Video games are one of the most popular and diverse forms of RPG horror media. They allow players to immerse themselves in virtual worlds of terror, where they can interact with the environment, the characters, and the story. Video games can also use various techniques to enhance the horror experience, such as sound effects, music, lighting, graphics, and gameplay mechanics.


There are many types of RPG horror video games, each with their own style and focus. Some of the most common types are:


  • Survival horror: These games emphasize the survival aspect of horror, where players have to manage their resources, such as health, ammo, and items, while avoiding or fighting enemies. They also often feature limited save points, inventory space, and visibility. Some examples of survival horror games are Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and The Evil Within.



  • Psychological horror: These games focus on the psychological aspect of horror, where players have to deal with the mental and emotional effects of fear, such as paranoia, hallucinations, and insanity. They also often feature unreliable narrators, twisted plots, and moral dilemmas. Some examples of psychological horror games are Eternal Darkness, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and SOMA.



  • Action horror: These games combine the elements of horror with those of action, where players have to fight their way through hordes of enemies using various weapons and abilities. They also often feature fast-paced gameplay, intense combat, and gore. Some examples of action horror games are Doom, Dead Space, and Bloodborne.



Tabletop games




Tabletop games are another form of RPG horror media that can be played with a group of friends using dice, cards, boards, or other physical components. They allow players to create their own characters and stories, while following a set of rules and guidelines. Tabletop games can also use various elements to create a horror atmosphere, such as narration, description, soundtracks, and props.


There are many types of RPG horror tabletop games, each with their own system and setting. Some of the most popular types are:


  • Pen-and-paper: These games use paper sheets to record the characters' stats, skills, inventory, and other information. They also use dice to determine the outcomes of actions and events. The game is usually run by a game master (GM), who acts as the narrator and referee. Some examples of pen-and-paper games are Call of Cthulhu, Vampire: The Masquerade, and Kult: Divinity Lost.



  • Board games: These games use boards to represent the game world, where players can move their pieces or tokens according to the rules. They also use cards or tiles to reveal events, items, or enemies. The game is usually cooperative or competitive among the players. Some examples of board games are Arkham Horror, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Gloomhaven.



  • Card games: These games use cards to represent the characters' abilities, items, or actions. They also use cards to draw events or challenges. The game is usually strategic or tactical among the players. Some examples of card games are Munchkin Bites!, Nightfall, and Slay the Spire.



Live-action games




Live-action games are a form of RPG horror media that can be played in real life using costumes, props, or locations. They allow players to act out their characters' roles and actions physically and verbally. Live-action games can also use various methods to simulate the horror experience, such as special effects, makeup, lighting, and sound.


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There are many types of RPG horror live-action games, each with their own format and theme. Some of the most common types are:


  • LARP (Live Action Role-Playing): These games involve a large number of players who dress up as their characters and interact with each other according to a predefined scenario or setting. They also follow a set of rules that govern the combat, magic, or other aspects of the game. The game is usually run by a team of organizers who act as the GMs. Some examples of LARP games are World of Darkness, Cthulhu Live, and Dystopia Rising.



  • Escape rooms: These Escape rooms: These games involve a small group of players who are locked in a room or a series of rooms and have to find clues, solve puzzles, and escape within a time limit. They also often have a horror theme or story that adds to the challenge and atmosphere. Some examples of escape rooms are The Basement, The Hex Room, and The 13th Gate Escape.



  • Murder mystery parties: These games involve a group of players who are invited to a party where a murder has occurred or will occur. They have to find out who the killer is, who the victim is, and what the motive is. They also often have a horror theme or setting that adds to the intrigue and fun. Some examples of murder mystery parties are Murder at the Juice Joint, Murder at Skull Manor, and Murder at Mardi Gras.



Challenges




Game design




Game design is the process of creating the rules, mechanics, content, and aesthetics of a game. It is a complex and creative task that requires a lot of skill and knowledge. Game design is especially challenging for RPG horror games, as they have to balance several factors that can make or break the horror experience. Some of these factors are:


  • Fear and fun: These are the two main emotions that RPG horror games aim to elicit in the players. Fear is the feeling of anxiety or dread caused by the perception of danger or threat. Fun is the feeling of enjoyment or pleasure caused by the participation in an activity or game. RPG horror games have to create a balance between fear and fun, as too much fear can make the game unpleasant or frustrating, while too little fear can make the game boring or trivial.



Immersion and tension: These are the two main states that RPG horror games aim to create in the players. Immersion is the state of bei


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