Video games can create new realities that let our fantasies run wild, and allow us to experience things only found in dreams. In any given video game we can find ourselves in a vast ocean that needs exploring or in a medieval kingdom that needs liberating. However, games don’t just explore our greatest fantasies, they also take pleasure in creating our worst nightmares. Entire worlds of twisted, gruesome creatures, perverted landscapes, and situations that make our skin crawl are available to us.

In a way, video games can challenge our sense of reality and make us question the docile nature of the real world and wonder how much of the nightmare comes back with us when we put the controller down and walk away from the screen. It’s in these worlds that we explore our fears and enjoy a sense of despair, otherness, and feelings of the uncanny in the world. The settings play on our sense of safety, volition, and agency in a virtual world and can often bleed into and make us question the real world.

Games are often set in worlds that are intentionally designed to frighten us and make us feel uncomfortable by taking things that we find safe and familiar and making them dangerous and frightening. These worlds make mountains out of molehills and turn our expectations and our minds against use. But the nightmare is over when we turn the game off. Right? These are some of the best nightmare worlds in video games.

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