I was always behind on games. As a kid, we didn’t have the money for games or consoles. The first computer games I got to play were the Shivers series by Sierra. I don’t know if you have played these games, dear readers, but they were scary for their time. They were especially frightening for a ten-year-old. They may not be as terrifying as Slender: The Eight Pages or Silent Hill, but they did the job of making me have nightmares.
The first Shivers game came out in 1995. You play a teenager who is dared to spend the whole night in a haunted museum. These situations always turn out well. You discover that there are evil spirits, called Ixupi, possessing various objects in the museum. These nasty buggers steal your life essence away. You must trap them in jars. You also have to deal with puzzles, mazes, and the restless spirits of those killed by the Ixupi. The game did a great job of creeping you out. The Ixupi could attack you at anytime. The music in the game was eerie. I was creeped out anytime I had to enter an elevator. Inside the elevator, there was perky music. I hated that music. I just knew I was going to be a massacred to it. The background noises of the game made you feel the wind in your hair and the chill up your spine. I was usually alone when I played these games. I managed to get the end of the game but I had a few nightmares along the way. They mostly involved being trapped alone in haunted buildings. The only thing scarier than being trapped in an abandoned building is being trapped in a ghost town with a madman.
Shivers II: Harvest of Souls came out in 1997. I got it a little later. I was probably around fourteen when I played it the first time. Age did not help the fear factor. In the game you are trying to meet up with your friends in the town of Cyclone. Well, when you get there a creepy motel owner warns you off and you discover your friends are gone. It is up to you to save them from the grief-stricken madman. Going through the town caused me to break out into a cold sweat a few times. You never knew what was around the corner. The wind howls when you travel outside. The cemetery was the worst place — not only did you have the wind but there was haunting music playing the whole time. The thing that scared me the most was when the crazy man would call you. I would be exploring the barber shop or library and that jerk would call. I would jump about three feet out of the chair. I knew it could happen at anytime but it was no less scary. I would try to ignore his threatening calls. The voice on the other end was awful. Despite the frights, this game was a favorite of mine for a long time.
I wish I could play these games again. I would probably find them funny now. I would probably have to download emulators and a bunch of other stuff. These games would not register as scary now. Horror in games has grown since then. You have scary monsters, zombies, and a lot more gore. However, these games will always hold a spot of childhood terror for me.