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

Robert Carnevale
354 votes 143 voters 8.9k 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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see more on Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
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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#55 on The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

see more on Spec Ops: The Line
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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.

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

Alan Wake features the most traditional mindf*ck of them all: lighting tricks. Humans are hardwired to prefer light spaces over dark spaces. The game knows this fact and uses it against you, providing you with nothing more than a flashlight to demystify thousands of demons lurking in the shadows. Combine that with the classic horror fare, and you'll be scared witless by the time you reach the light at the end of the pitch-black tunnel. 

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#35 on The Best Survival Games of All Time

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see more on Alan Wake