10 Horror Video Game Tropes That Need To Stop

Random zombie-face jump-scares are BORING.

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Bandai Namco

If horror games have one job, it's to scare us senseless.

Whether it's all-time classics like Silent Hill or modern, spine-chilling hits like The Mortuary Assistant, we know when a horror game is doing its job when we have an urge to turn down the volume and think twice about walking down that dark hallway for fear of what could be waiting for us at the other side.

The more horror games we play, however, the more we become aware of the various tricks that developers have at their disposal to simulate fear.

Much like how we can tell when a jump scare is coming in a film when the sound dies down to an eerie silence and the camera slowly pans to the side, developers have likewise devised their own recognisable methods and tropes for delivering scares.

While these spooky tropes are by no means intrinsically bad, with likes of Madison illustrating that execution is what really matters, these tactics have become so prolific that horror fans can't help but roll their eyes and think "not again" when faced with the same set-up for the countless time.

10. Inventory Management Isn't Scary

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Especially within survival horror, inventory management plays a key role in keeping us on our toes. With limited space to store essentials like ammo and healing items, we must constantly make tough decisions about what we should pick up and what we’re better leaving behind and retrieving later.

Locations like lockers or boxes for us to store important items for later can alleviate some of this pressure. However, even then we still need to plan for what we’ll need to take with us during each visit to a safe room.

Inventory management has since become a defining aspect to the genre, with developers incorporating it at every opportunity - even if it's completely unnecessary.

Having to backtrack to storage boxes to retrieve specific items needed for progression is already a slight inconvenience. But, especially in puzzle-heavy titles like Madison and Visage, where items are plentiful and storage is limited, this trope has the potential to kill the atmosphere.

The back and forth from storage to puzzle locations can eat up a large amount of playtime while the scares are put on pause until we have what we need to continue.

When we don't need to manage resources, just let us carry what we need.


Glasgow-based cinephile who earned a Master's degree in film studies to spend their time writing about cinema, video games, and horror.