The point of a horror game is to scare the living crap out of you using any mean necessary. That’s why over the years developers had learned quite a lot of tricks to get to you. Worse, since videogames' extremely interactive, it’s much, much scarier than something tamed like movies. Especially when it comes to jumping scares.

Just imagine you’re walking down a dark corridor, minding your own business and taking in the creepy, eerie atmosphere then suddenly something or someone jumped right up to your face. It’s the oldest trick in the book but it’s still the most effective out of all: Done right and it’s more than enough to make you crap bricks.

In the entire history of gaming there’s been quite a lot of exceptional moments in horror games where a jump scare’s done so well they turned from horrifying to fascinating. They’re even more entertaining to watch in reaction videos on YouTube where gamers freak out, throw their headphones, or fall right out of their chairs at a jump scare.

Want to know more? Well, here are ten best jump scares ever made in horror games.

Alien Attack

If you’re a fan of the extraterrestrial monstrosity that’s the Xenomorph then Alien: Isolation must definitely be a game that you either had played through or must play through. The Alien community’s been waiting for such a game for decades and when it finally came out it didn’t disappoint at all.

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With the creepy atmosphere and a true apex predator at your back, Alien: Isolation is just the thing that fans of Alien have been waiting for decades.

The game’s pacing was slow and steady, each second passing by was filled with silence and a kind of tension that could run chills up and down your spine. The Xenomorph - or Alien - suddenly became an impossible force to stand against and you’re its prey. You can barely fight, you can just run or hide in a locker somewhere in the derelict space station. Using stealth to your advantage, you must avoid being detected at all costs: Hiding under beds, desks, slipping into lockers ... everything to stay alive.

But playing the game, however, you definitely cannot avoid being detected at one point during the entire game. It doesn’t really matter how good you are it’s inevitable. When you do, though, you’ll definitely feel the cold panicky sensation as you grapple with your keyboard and mouse or controller to get the hell out of there. The panic would be ten times worse when you round a corner and see the Alien just standing there waiting for you with open arms. At that point ... don’t even bother to run. Just close your eyes and accept your fate.

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You're done at this point. There's no saving you now.

Alma On the Catwalk

True to its name, F.E.A.R is quite a huge icon in the horror genre. But not because of it spearheading quite a lot of common tropes now commonly seen in modern horror games. No, it’s more because of Alma: The primary antagonist of the game that F.E.A.R is such a damn terrifying game. A grim, bloodied girl with long dark hair and a striking red dress. Alma can appear anywhere, anytime she wants and she can also disappear just as quick. This is not a fact that you learn over time: You’d learn it fast and hard when you began to climb down the now-infamous ladder sequence of the game and met her straight on. When you first turn around to grab onto the ladder, you’d see nothing. But when the main character looked down the ladder to find his footing then looked up again ... guess what, she’s there. Laughing at you and your misfortune of being stuck there with her.

This is the kind of sight that's going to force your soul out of your body with fright.

It’s guaranteed that your bones would jump right out of your skin.

Ashley’s Ghost

Until Dawn is a fantastic narrative, a choice-based video game. But following the horror-centric theme, it’s got ample time and opportunities to scare the living crap out of you from time to time with jump scares. The first of which is when you were put into the shoes of Ashley. Opening the door into a room, the camera would forebodingly zoom into the empty room, panning left and right to really, really assure you that there’s nothing worth freaking out in there.

You know how that goes. The moment you step your foot into the room, a ghostly lady with decomposing skin, milky white eyes, and bloodied mouth jumped straight into your face and screamed directly at you through the screen.

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You were just minding your business ... then this lady popped up out of nowhere.

Granted that’s a bit of a dicky move and also a cheap trick in hindsight ... but you can’t deny that in the heat of the moment it was good.

Broken Neck Ghost

The sight that’s now called the Broken Neck Ghost from Fatal Frame is pretty similar to Ashley’s ghost in Until Dawn. But in this case, the Broken Neck Ghost was far more masterfully done and more effective in comparison. The same motif still goes: You walk into a seemingly empty room completely and blissfully unaware of the danger lurking within. Then the camera shifted away into a whole new angle and there you go: A creepy lady with her neck broken slid smoothly into the field of view. Granting you what probably is one of the most horrifying sights in the history of gaming. Though if you’re a modern-day gamer you might not find it as effective, for the time, though, it’s legendary. For some, it still is up until this very day.

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Even now, this sight creeps me out. No kidding.


Outlast definitely isn’t a joke. While other horror games try to build up the atmosphere and the tension over the course of the entire game, Outlast hurls everything it’s got at you in the first ten minutes. In only that short time, you would be entreated with the sight of creepy, disfigured, and batshit insane patients amidst a bloodied mental asylum. Then, you would be able to get yourself the greatest jumps scare in probably the entire game when you slowly open the door of the library.

Outlast does not screw around: When they promised you a horrifying experience they actually mean it. And they made good of that promise only a few minutes into the game.

The moment you pass through the threshold, a body flew down from a ceiling, a deafening and blood-curdling scream sounded completed with a crescendo of the dark music in the background. Coming into the game everyone kind of expects there would be a jump scare related to a door at one point or another in the game. But what we didn’t expect is that it’d happen in the first ten minutes as well as on the second door we opened in the bloody game!

The Boy of Silence

So here’s the thing: BioShock Infinite isn’t a scary game at all. Yet it’s got what probably is one of the most effective jumpscares to ever be put into modern gaming. Later into the game, you would walk through a security door and given one simple objective: “Rescue Elizabeth”. But the moment you turn around from the control panel to go ahead on your quest, you suddenly come face-to-face with a Boy of Silence that’s been standing behind you the entire time. It then proceeds to scream directly into your face for a few seconds before disappearing into a plume of steam.

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Turning around to this while it's screaming at your face isn't what I'd consider a good, happy moment.

To be completely honest with you, I just sat there shocked for a few seconds before pausing the game to recollect myself. It’s completely unexpected in spite of the small buildups that’s occurred all throughout this segment of the game (The creepy wheelchair, the derelict mental hospital,...). But overall there’s no warning whatsoever so it’s rather cheap. But like I said, it’s so effective that it must have a place of its own on the list.

Demonic Mirror

Doom 3 doesn’t have the rapid-machine-gun-fire pacing like its predecessors. It’s built to literally marinate the players within the eerie, tension-filled atmosphere. All throughout the game, there are plenty of great jumpscares that could be made as beautiful examples of horror game development. But the best of the lot must be the demonic mirror sequence that’s become infamous by now. While you were inspecting a bathroom mirror, suddenly the camera would focus and zoom deep into the mirror at your reflection. The music would hit a strong, chilling crescendo and the background would turn a demonic, blood red. The main character’s face would quickly begin to age then decompose.

The unexpectedness of the demonic mirror scene is what makes this jump scare so good.

Though it doesn’t sound like a lot, the unexpectedness of it all is what made it so good. You expect jump scares from monsters and corpses peppered throughout the game, not a freaking bathroom mirror.

The Locker Room

Mentioning horror games and someone somewhere would immediately say Silent Hill. Such is the iconic quality of this franchise. But one thing about it is that Silent Hill has never been known for its jump scares. Instead, it’s known by its atmosphere and the painfully slow pacing to let players immerse into the nightmarish, parallel dimension of the quaint but dark town of Silent Hill. The player’s psyche is the one doing most of the torturing and scaring, not the game itself.

The best scene in the game yet in term of scaring the soul out of people must be the Locker Room scene. All because of a powerful play in misdirection.

Everyone expects something to happen inside of a bloody locker. All of it bad. After all, it’s - one - a bloodied locker and two, you can see and hear it moving. But when you do open it though, there’s nothing inside. But when you breathe a sigh of relief and turned around to move, a dead body suddenly fell out of another locker.

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Silent Hill is still a masterpiece of a horror game even until now.

A lot of pants were soiled when the game came out because of this exact sequence. Silent Hill continues to be a standard by game developers to learn how exactly to build a jump scare up until now. I think the infamous reputation it’s got is owned mostly to this one scene.

Mr. Tibbits

So while we’re talking about the unexpected appearance of dead corpses, let’s talk about Mr. Tibbits. Your job in Condemned: Criminal Origins is to photograph crime scenes so of course, you’ll have to deal with dead bodies here and now. By the time you’re tasked to photograph Mr. Tibbits, you wouldn’t be suspicious of much. It’s literally your job, after all. That is until the seemingly-stone-dead Tibbits jolted to life and grabbed you screaming for help. The music definitely didn’t help when it hit a blaring cue. It nearly gave me a heart attack and my case probably isn’t that rare among the players, either.

It'd have been fine if he'd just stay dead.

Window Dog

If you’re the older generation of gamers who’s been around since the 90s, you must definitely still remember the infamous scene with the “window dog” scene from the original Resident Evil. If you don’t remember or you don’t know about the scene, basically, you’re just walking down a corridor minding your own business when suddenly you heard the window broke and a demon dog leaped through. Hell-bending on chewing you out.

A surprise attack from an unexpected angle

That’s going to give everyone a lethal dose of adrenaline through the bloodstream. Though it sounds underwhelming for today, for gamers at the time though that’s literally the apex of horror video games. The dog’s forever imprinted in our minds as what a well-executed jump scare ought to be. So it’s really no surprise that it’s crowned the king of all jump scares to ever exist, new or old. Interested in more of our Top 10 lists? Check out this post for the 10 best horror games ever created.