Tales of the supernatural can be a fantastic addition to a game's main storyline. Hauntings are very personal, so there's bound to be an interesting narrative to uncover, and everybody loves a good, blood-chilling ghost story regardless of whether players came to a game looking for cowboy antics or the chance to collect a bevy of battle-ready pocket monsters.
While plenty of great horror games bring non-stop jump scares and genuinely terrifying moments, the smaller, self-contained ghost stories tend to stick with players longer, as they often stand out against commonplace settings and narratives. While much of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is about slaying dragons, exploring dungeons, and hoping you don't run into a game-breaking glitch, the mission where you're asked to investigate a haunted house in a bustling city stands out for its off-kilter pacing and departure from the typical high fantasy mood.
The best video game ghost stories give players a more nuanced look at the characters they're interacting with and manage to reach a satisfying resolution within a couple play sessions. While many such tales are just well-designed sidequests, a few have ties to real-life occult incidents, making them all the more unsettling.
The fate of Agnes Dowd is one of the many mysteries that haunt the vast frontier of Red Dead Redemption 2. If Arthur chooses to sit around the main camp's fire at the right moment, Reverend Swanson tells a chilling tale of Dowd's spirit drifting across the marshes of Lemoyne swamp, but even the good Father doesn't seem to know exactly how her immortal essence got there.
Reverend Swanson's tale is enough to scare away the average ranch hand (though the characters manage to laugh it off), but devout ghost hunters can head towards the Bluewater Marsh section of the map to put the story to the test. Set up camp near Lemoy swamp and Dowd's ghost should appear between 9:00 pm and 3:00 am. At first, Dowd makes her prescence known by howling hysterically, and if you follow her ravings you'll catch sight of her ghostly form hovering about the marshes.
According to some sources, you can only encounter Dowd's ghost 16 times - and she babbles about something different each time - though this may be nothing more than a 21st century video game urban legend.
"In my restless dreams, I see that town. Silent Hill." So reads the letter James receives from someone claiming to be his late wife Mary, urging him to go to their "special place" in the town of Silent Hill. While James is reluctant to believe a ghost wrote him a letter, the chance to see his beloved again is too great to pass up so he returns to the now-decrepid town.
From the moment James gets out of his car everything he encounters is a physical manifestation of his troubled headspace. The game's monsters are equal parts hypersexual and body horror (symbolic of the sexual frustration James felt while he watched his wife waste away) and the main demon seems hell-bent on punishing James for the way he handled Mary's sickness. While this is all pretty unsettling, the most disturbing vision is arguably Maria, who resembles a loose, club-ready version of James's late wife.
Over and over again, James fails to save Maria from meeting a grim end. However, after each tragic demise she returns to James with little explanation, only to be taken once again in an equally disturbing manner. The game's ending changes based on how the player receives Maria.
If James chooses to get closer to Maria, he can move past the loss of Mary and leave town with his new flame (though in the game's final moments, she appears to be falling ill.) On the other hand, if James stays loyal to Mary, a distorted version of Maria can become the game's final boss.
In the world of Pokémon, the line between the living and the dead is continually blurred. While most of the ghosts in Pokémon are either collectible creatures or easy-to-miss Easter eggs, Pokémon Red & Blue throws an unskippable nightmare at the player: the traversal of Lavender Town.
From the moment the hero arrives in this accursed village, it's clear something is amiss. The music is incredibly eerie - an urban legend even claims hearing the original Japanese music makes you want to harm yourself - and a menacing cave in a nearby rockface leads to the basement of the looming Pokémon Tower. A nearby NPC asks if you believe in ghosts; it doesn't matter what you respond, disbelief cannot shield you from what you're about to experience.
Upon entering Pokémon Tower, the structure's true purpose is readily apparent: you're walking through a massive Pokémon graveyard. Each floor of the labyrinthian building is broken up by countless Poké graves, and derranged trainer cultists skulk amongst the shadows. If that's not bad enough, malignant spirits rise up to block your path at various points; while these unnamable wretches were once normal Pokémon, spite has reduced them to amorphous blobs of hate, and while you can still do battle with them there's no option to catch them or have them join your party.
This cyclopean nightmare would be unsettling to encounter anywhere, but in a game that's normally aobut catching cute creatures throughout smiley forests and well-lit byways it's particualry hard to ignore.
While Lordaeron Keep was once the capital city of the Kingdom of Lordaeron, the place fell to ruin - and to the Scourge - after its final leader met an untimely end.
The story of Lordaeron's downfall begins with a mysterious plague sweeping the Northern end of the kingdom. Many begged King Terenas to make Lordaeron Keep a place of sanctuary, but he turned a deaf ear, preferring to look after the needs of the people inside the keep. A few weeks later, Terenas learned his son - Prince Arthas - had been acting strangely while on a mission to the North; Arthas destroyed one of the largest cities in the kingdom and had been exploring Scourge territory. However, when Arthas returned - claiming to have conquered the evils of the North - he was welcomed back with open arms, thus signaling the beginning of the end.
The kingdom held a massive festival to commemorate Arthas's return, but as the prince knelt before his father his thoughts were corrupted by a dark voice. Without warning, Arthas rose up and stabbed King Terenas using a sword imbued with dark magic. This ended Terenas's 50-year reign and brought ruin upon the settlement as a whole.
Flash foward in the timeline to World of Warcraft and Lordaeron Keep is little more than a desolate wasteland. Rumor has it you can still hear people whispering in the throne room, saying things like. "This kingdom shall fall, and from the ashes shall arise a new order that will shake the very foundations of the world." On top of that, if your character can detect invisibility, you'll find the ruined courtyard is filled with the ghosts of Lordaeron's citizens eagerly awaiting the return of their accursed prince.