5 Things In Games That Terrified Us As Kids

These days, as adults, we sit in the dark and scare ourselves with the likes of Dead Space, but back when we were kids, games weren’t as advanced. Forget horror games, there were many more much frightening things to be scared of as a young gamer…

Running Out Of Lives


Back when video games first became popular, there was no such thing as auto-save, in fact, there was no such thing as saving your game full stop, you actually had to beat the entire game in one sitting. It’s hard enough to sit in front of a tiny TV for five hours on end without a break, imagine doing so with the nerve wrecking feeling that you’ll run out of lives. Every death made your heart rate rise a little, your fingernails became non-existent  and then, you got to the final level and you still died. Time to start all over again…

Lions, Tigers And Bears

tomb raider


Remember the first level of the first Tomb Raider game? It was terrifying as a child. First there were the bats, then wolves and then you made that foolish decision of jumping into a bear pit. Two friends of mine recalled dropping into that very pit, seeing the bear appear, screaming and turning off the console straight away. That may have been an over-the-top reaction, but Tomb Raider was very advanced for its time, so those 3D animals were something us young gamers hadn’t seen before. Good job those friends of mine next got up to the T-rex part…

Running Levels



A number of games involved the being-chased-by-something gameplay mechanic, but the dubiously difficult Crash Bandicoot made it iconic. The camera angle made it so you didn’t know what was coming next. Poor Crash risked falling into bottomless pits, running into a Nitro box or getting trapped in by wooden barriers. The first time you play these levels, you just want to get through them as quickly as possible. Now imagine trying to get all the boxes at the same time as running away from a giant boulder so you can get the gem. Terrifying and frustrating.

Swimming Levels



There’s something about water levels in games and how they manage to strike fear into the hearts of gamers. Not only were swimming characters hard to control in the water, you were constantly working against the clock, as if you didn’t get your character air very soon, they would drown. Plus there were a number of sea dwelling creatures out to hurt you, who knew fish could be so vicious until Mario came along?

One-Touch Death



Many iconic characters started as rather sensitive souls. One touch, hit or fall, and they would be dead. Not only did this make the game incredibly difficult, it also made us absolutely terrified all the time. This was taken to the extreme in Spelunker, the poor chap must have suffered from brittle bones disease or something because even if he tripped up, he would die. Spelunker became one of the world’s most difficult and frustrating games, that only the most skilled gamers could beat. One thing’s for sure, we are certainly grateful for having health bars and regenerating health these days.

Are there any gaming moments that had you running to turn off your console when you were younger? Let us know in the comments.