10 Horror Video Game Tropes That Need To Stop

9. CONSTANT Jump Scares

dark pictures anthology little hope
Supermassive Games

When done right, jump scares can be an effective punchline to sustained sequences of suspense and dread. We know there’s something sinister stalking us. We can hear whatever it is skulking in the shadows; sometimes we might even get a glimpse of it in a doorway. It’s only a matter of time until it makes itself known, and the anticipation of this inevitability that makes turning the next corner so unbearable.

It's for this reason that a taut, suspenseful atmosphere is the most effective method in delivering a tantalising horror experience. Jump scares, in comparison, are cheap thrills that most of us can see coming a mile away.

In the same way as an over-reliance on jump scares can ruin a horror film, so too can they drastically undermine any game that leans on them too heavily. This is has become a particular problem where being caught by an enemy is accompanied by a loud jump scare, with Devour, Visage, and Poppy Playtime all being guilty of this.

It doesn't take long for these scares to become more annoying than anything else, and that is neither fun nor scary.


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