10 Disturbing Moments In Non-Horror Games

Who said horror was the only place you could find nightmare fuel?

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People play video games for a multitude of reasons - to spend time with friends, to enjoy an immersive story, or simply because they wanted to experience a particular game. However, unless the stated genre is clearly horror, it is unlikely that players will be expecting many (or any) disturbing moments.

However, the genre of a game does not have to act as a limiter for content or a shift in the narrative. This means that any narrative has the potential to temporarily (or permanently) change direction.

These changes can range from a sudden jump scare, a hauntingly strange new location to explore or literal nightmare sequences.

These moments are arguably more disturbing because they are so unexpected. The idea that the safe haven of video game escapism can be deconstructed or replaced with unanticipated content can cause a palpable sense of dread or uncertainty in a player.

This can be especially true if the game has seemingly been an innocent mystery or primarily action-orientated until this point.

These sudden developments also prevent games from becoming predictable, and therefore trustworthy. The possibility for more disturbing moments - even if they do not occur- cannot be idly written off.

Therefore, whilst the idea of 'disturbing' can be subjective, these moments were definitely unexpected from non-horror games. Ironically, this may only add to the horror for some players. After all- who knows what could happen next?

10. Fake Flora Reveal - Professor Layton And Pandora's Box 

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First introduced in the original Professor Layton game, Flora is introduced as being a sweet and smart young girl. She also proves herself capable of assisting with puzzles and plot progression in a similar manner to Luke - the Professor’s apprentice.

After her rescue in the first game though, Layton seems determined to abandon Flora at every turn for her own “safety.” However, during the events of Pandora’s Box, Flora joins the Professor and Luke to unravel the mystery. So far, so wholesome.

However, it is only late in the game when the Professor reveals Flora to have been the antagonist, Don Paolo, in disguise. It is assumed that Flora would have been switched with Don Paolo near the beginning of the game, and several days have passed before this reveal.

Layton claims he’s sure Flora will have had fun with the cows in the field he has deducted she would have been left in but chooses to do nothing about this knowledge until he can reveal the antagonist.

The improbable success of an old and fully grown man impersonating a young girl and succeeding is also disturbing.


I am a writer from the North East of England with a love of video games and horror in any media or format. I also enjoy reading sci fi and fantasy novels- the more emotionally crushing, the better!