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

Robert Carnevale
253 votes 111 voters 5.2k 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. 


Metal Gear Solid is listed (or ranked) 1 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.

Also Ranked

#9 on Video Games That Should Be Movies

#22 on The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

#31 on The Best Classic Video Games

#20 on The Best Video Game Soundtracks of All Time

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Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Req... is listed (or ranked) 2 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.

Also Ranked

#61 on Video Games That Should Be Movies

#96 on The Best Survival Games of All Time

#11 on The Scariest Video Games of All Time

#21 on The Greatest Survival Horror Games of All Time

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Spec Ops: The Line is listed (or ranked) 3 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.

Also Ranked

#54 on The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

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The Stanley Parable is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Horrifying Video Games Were Designed Specifically To Mess With Your Head
Photo:  Steam

The Stanley Parable is special in that it doesn't feature just one mindf*ck moment - it sports enough that the entire game is built around them. You play as Stanley, whose sole goal is to subvert a narrative that wants to be subverted at every possible opportunity. The game will tell you to follow a yellow line to finish the story faster, only to punish and reward you simultaneously with very, very weird bonuses should you disobey. Pull the right stunts and The Stanley Parable will teleport you inside of a Minecraft map. And keep in mind that's only one example - the whole game is a mindf*ck buffet. 

Also Ranked

#2 on The Best Walking Simulators of All Time

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