It takes a lot for me to get scared. Movies have never done it for me; I’ve always thought terror mainstays like Jason and Freddy were more comical than frightening, and today’s scary movies are little more than a collection of lazy horror tropes. Interactive media is another story, though. I’ve let out my fair share of terrified gasps at Resident Evil zombies sneaking up behind me, and once let out a full-bodied shriek when I unexpectedly ran into an exploding Creeper. The first Silent Hill was one of the few games to leave me truly disquieted, and a number of other games have had decent attempts at creating a genuinely scary experience. Few of them match the terror of descending the Stairwell.
Based off of a selection of short stories titled SCP (Secure, Contain, Protect), the Stairwell tasks you with entering a narrow, ever-descending passage and trying to reach the bottom. You have no weapons or attacks of any kind, and your only possesion is a radio that quickly stops functioning normally. The path and entities you cross are to some degree randomly generated, but manage to create a level of tension that I find quite enthralling. Words can’t do it justice, just put yourself in a dark room with some good sound, and try not to poop your pants. Good luck.
It’s not perfect; the graphics are underwhelming and repetitive, and they are not ashamed of the occasional jump scare, but fans of the horror genre would do well to check this out. Follow this link to download it.
You can see a short video of the game below. The guy talking is quite annoying, so ignore him, but at least you get to hear him scream like a girl around the 2:01 mark.