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Scarier than a busted gut-shot draw...

Still no poker on my end - though I'm sure this is no surprise to any of you with two kids under the age of two! Sometimes I wonder what the hell my wife and I were thinking. And then, I look over at my two boys and I know that I wouldn't have it any other way! They are without a doubt the very best of all things in my life, along with my wife.

However, this post is not about family. It's about my Xbox 360! In honour of Hallowe'en, I thought I'd post about some of the scarier games coming to a next-gen console near you.

The following was cross-posted at The Greedy Gamer:

Since the birth of my first son just over a year ago, I've found that it takes quite a bit for a video game to scare me. After getting less than 5 hours sleep for well over one year's time, I find that I'm just not as jumpy anymore. What used to terrify me just isn't that scary anymore - probably because I'm half asleep at the best of times.

In my opinion, the scariest game that I've ever played (and finished) is Condemned: Criminal Origins. It's the perfect blend of spooky environments, jump scares, gruesome imagery, and gripping story. There were a number of times when I'd find myself contemplating putting down the controller rather than wander down a dark hallway or investigate an abandoned department in order to give my heart a rest. It's never a good sign when you can't hear the game over the sound of your own heart beat.

Although BioShock, Clive Barker's Jericho, and Dementium:The Ward all have their fair share of frightening scenes, I don't think any of these titles comes close to delivering the terrifying thrills of Condemned: Criminal Origins. So now I'm left to wonder if 2008 will be any different? Are there any games coming out that will make me poop my pants due to the sheer terror I'll watch unfolding on the screen?

Let's see...

Capcom pretty-well invented the survival-horror genre with Resident Evil. Next year, Capcom is back and ready to challenge for the title of scariest game with Resident Evil 5. The extended trailer below shows a game with great graphics and great atmosphere. If the game can live up to the hype, horror fans and Resident Evil fans should be in for a treat (hopefully) next year.

EA is ready to throw its hat into the survival-horror genre with Dead Space. The game's premise involves a large planet-cracking ship - the USG Ishimura - that goes silent and Isaac Clarke, an engineer, is sent in to fix things up. When Isac reaches the Ishimura, he realizes that there is something far worse than a simple systems' failure on his hands. Judging from the clip below, Dead Space is poised to scare the living daylights out of gamers in Q3 2008.

I've only played one Silent Hill title (Silent Hill 2) and my reaction to the game can be best described as "WTF?!". Unlike some horror games that rely almost exclusively on jump scares, Silent Hill excels equally well in creating creepy environments, disturbing imagery (e.g. Pyramid Head vs. Legs), and nightmare-inducing creatures. Silent Hill 5 will undoubtedly raise the bar for survival-horror games yet again. If I play this game, it'll be with the lights while in the company of my wife and kids (eyes and ears shielded, of course). Although I don't think Silent Hill 5 will be the scariest title next year, it's right up there with the best of 'em.

I think the scariest game next year will be Condemned 2: Bloodshot. Watching the video below and perusing the various screen shots that have emerged have convinced me of one thing: Condemned 2 will be scary as f*ck! Not only will Bloodshot have the jump scares that will cause me to throw my controller across the room: it also has creepy subject matter. Hunting down serial killers and investigating the causes of an evil spreading throughout society are all terrifying when coupled with solid gameplay and creepy locales.

After reading about these games, browsing the screen shots, and watching trailers and gamplay videos, I only hope that my fatigue levels remain high enough to desensitize me to the horror I'll be facing in these games. A couple weeks of solid sleep and I may lose my nerve...

Here's hoping that everyone has a safe and fun Hallowe'en. For those of you attending parties, please have a drink for me. I think I'll be spending most of my evening driving my kids from grandparent to grandparent or possibly handing out candy to the kids in my neighborhood.

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