10 Biggest Jump-Scares In Non-Horror Video Games

That piano from Super Mario 64 still gives you nightmares...

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Jump-scares have been a part of cinema since the dawn of...well... cinema, and it was only a matter of time before this shocking technique made its way into the realm of video games.

Even though it's a gimmicky way to spook players, you can't argue with the results. After all, some of your most memorable gaming moments probably involve something or someone giving you the fright of your life. Creepy titles like Eternal Darkness, Silent Hill, and Five Nights At Freddy's have scared the figurative crap out of us more times than we can count.

However, some of the most petrifying moments occurred in games that aren't classified as scary. In a way, jump-scares in non-horror titles have the potential to be more terrifying, since we don't see it coming. While playing Resident Evil, Alien Isolation, or Until Dawn, we're anticipating a monster or zombie to lunge at us every five minutes. While playing Batman or Super Mario, you don't expect to suffer a fright-induced heart attack. As such, we are totally unprepared when we are confronted with a huge dose of nightmare fuel.

Although these games weren't meant to curdle our blood, the jump-scares certainly did.

10. Lurker Shark - Jak And Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

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Naughty Dog

I know what you're thinking. How can ANYONE find Jak and Daxter scary? Just look at the cutesy graphics. It's not exactly Dead Space, is it? That goes double for the original, since Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy really leaned into the cartoony vibe.

But the second you took a dip in the water, it became a horror show. After spending a couple of seconds in the ocean, a lurker shark appears out of thin air and begins hunting you. If you don't get back on dry land quickly, this monstrosity will gulp you down in one go.

Now, insta-kill fishies are nothing new in video games - let's not forget about Big Bertha in Super Mario Bros. 3. - but the lurker shark is far more spine-chilling. Not only does he come out of nowhere, he's indestructible. So long as you are in the water, he's always on your tail. And if you think you're safe from this behemoth while in shallow water, you're in for a rude awakening. The only way to avoid being turned into fish food is to stay out of the water entirely.


James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85