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These Horrifying Video Games Were Designed Specifically To Mess With Your Head  

Robert Carnevale
421 votes 167 voters 11.5k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the games that screwed with your mind.

Have you ever found yourself playing a game that sets itself up as one thing, then out of nowhere, it mentally throws you out a window? Unlike horror video games that make you want to sh*t your pants, games that mess with your mind will have you second-guessing your sanity. These are the kinds of trippy games with insane plot twists, crazy dialogue, or unexpected perspectives. 

This list exposes just how many of those types of mindf*ck games there are. They range from puzzle games to FPS to platformers. From wild surprises to subverting your expectations, these titles will definitely have you spinning in circles. Vote for whichever one has thrown you for the biggest loop. 

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Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Req... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Horrifying Video Games Were Designed Specifically To Mess With Your Head
Photo:  Nintendo

Why's the save menu not letting you save? Why's the volume on your monitor spontaneously going down? Why is your game becoming sentient?! These are just a few of the plethora of mindf*cks nestled into Eternal Darkness, an action-adventure horror title that plays its genre like a match of fourth-dimensional chess. Neither before nor since has a game come along that utilizes meta-scares as well as this one.

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Spec Ops: The Line is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Horrifying Video Games Were Designed Specifically To Mess With Your Head
Photo: WhatCulture

What appears to be a run-of-the-mill military shooter narrative flips the switch entirely after your character, the protagonist, orders a white phosphorous strike on a group of terrorists. While this would be a non-issue in other games across the genre, Spec Ops forces you to go downhill and peruse the aftermath of your actions. Spoiler: you didn't kill terrorists. Turns out your character's been suffering from a dissociative identity disorder and just burned a whole shelter's worth of civilians - children included - to death.

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Undertale Dupes You Into Thinking It Is A Standard RPG
Undertale Dupes You Into Think... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Horrifying Video Games Were Designed Specifically To Mess With Your Head
Photo:  Steam

A game that subverts its entire genre is bound to twist some minds, which is what Undertale is known for doing. As an RPG that allows you to show mercy to your opponents, this is a game that doesn't play by the rules and uses its quixotic ideals to bewilder and subsequently mold players into pacifistic optimists. Not a bad moral for a game that's aiming to hack your psyche.

Metal Gear Solid is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Horrifying Video Games Were Designed Specifically To Mess With Your Head
Photo:  Konami

Metal Gear Solid disguises itself as a tactical espionage experience for quite some time until Psycho Mantis appears partway through the story and transforms the game into a straight-up magician simulator. This boss reads your memory card and your inputs, meaning he'll know about your love of Castlevania and your next move in the same instance. But have no fear, he can be duped: the secret to ending Mantis's reign of psychological terror is to plug your controller into the Player 2 slot, at which point MGS will go back to being a regular video game and not an exceptionally harrowing episode of The Mentalist.

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