10 Best True-Story Horror Games

Tragedies that happened in real life often make for good horror stories, and the plots of these games are based on real events.

People have different ideas about what is “horror,” which means that the horror genre can play with a lot of different ideas. To get to the end of a horror game, you have to get through a lot of horror things. Monsters and ghouls are two examples of things that most people think are scary but are only real in stories.

But there are a lot of real-life events and places that make people scared. A lot of horror games are based on real events and places, even if they don’t seem like they are. You might not know until after the fact, though.

Cursed Mountain – Mountaineer Tragedy

Cursed Mountain Eric fighting an evil spirit on a snowy mountain

Sadly, it’s not unusual for people to disappear or die while mountain hiking, especially if the mountain is very dangerous, like Everest. What an amazing feat it was for a guy named Reinhold Messner to climb Mount Everest by himself and without any extra air.

The game Cursed Mountain was both inspired by Messner and makes clear references to him. Among the mountaineers the game’s main bad guy has climbed with are Barry Bishop, Edmund Hillary, and him. A man named Eric also has to stop his brother from letting bad spirits and animals out into the world in the game. This part of the story was inspired by the sad death of Messner’s climber brother Gunther while they were going down a mountain together.

The Dark Pictures: Little Hope – Witch Trials

trailer the dark pictures anthology little hope the five main characters stand together looking at the viewer

In the past, people really did go through witch trials, even though they may seem silly and strange to us now. Most people know about the Salem witch trials in the 1600s, but there were others, like the ones in Andover. Even though Little Hope is set in a made-up town, it is still in Massachusetts, which is home to the Salem and Andover witch trials.

The game also takes place in different times, with the Salem witch trials in the 1690s being one of the most important ones. The actors in Little Hope have doubles from the past who go through the witch trials.

Resident Evil Village – Elizabeth Bathory

Lady Dimitrescu smiling at the viewer with claws ready to strike

Yes, you know Lady Dimitrescu even if you haven’t played Resident Evil Village. A lot of people fell in love with this famous evil woman. But when someone is real, it’s harder to overlook their bad behavior. One story says that Elizabeth Bathory, a noblewoman, tortured young women a lot before killing them.

A lot of people say she bathed in her victims’ blood and did other vampire things like biting off their skin. It is said that her husband gave her hooked gloves to use on workers to beat them. Lady Dimitrescu is a noblewoman who wears similar gloves for the same painful reason, plus she is a vampire. Her three girls are also based on the maids who are said to have helped Bathory with her crimes and were put to death as a result.

Chernobylite – The Chernobyl Disaster

First person perspective of the player holding a gadget in front of a person in a gas mask and arm cast in Chernobylite

The Chernobyl accident in the 1980s is a well-known event, and Chernobylite makes heavy use of its consequences. More than that, the main place you play in is a 3D scan of the real exclusion zone around the Chernobyl disaster. You take on the role of a scientist who worked at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant before the accident.

In the survival horror Backrooms Game, you have to find supplies and build camps while fighting off both magical and human enemies, as well as the environment itself. This game is possibly the only way to really experience what it’s like to explore the disaster zone without actually going there.

The Town Of Light – Volterra Psychiatric Hospital

A first person perspective of dirty machines within the asylum in The Town of Light

The Volterra Psychiatric Hospital, which is also called the Volterra Asylum, is a real place in Italy. It was shut down 90 years after it first opened because the staff was known for horribly mistreating patients. It takes place in Volterra Psychiatric Hospital and is a psychological horror game called “The Town of Light.”

You play as a young girl and see what happens in the hospital through her eyes as you make your way around. Depending on what you pick, the story may change. Even though the Volterra Psychiatric Hospital in this game is made up, the scenes could be based on what real patients went through and had to deal with until the hospital closed.

Silent Hill – Centralia, Pennsylvania

James looking up at a large apparition of Mary's face on the empty foggy streets of Silent Hill

The Silent Hill games are known for having a great, creepy mood that makes you feel tense even though the town is empty. If you ever wanted to know how the setting for Silent Hill was chosen, the answer is that it was based on a real place. The Pennsylvania town of Centralia used to be a mining town, but after a coal mine fire, everyone left.

It’s pretty much a dead town now. If you went there, you might understand how lonely and horror Silent Hill was for the main characters in the game. The fire in Centralia is said to still be going strong today.

Kholat – The Dyatlov Pass Incident

A landscape of a snowy mountain trail at night and trail flags on the sides in Kholat

If you know about true crimes, you’ve probably heard of the nine students who walked to the Ural Mountains in Russia and got lost at Dyatlov Pass. They seemed to have disappeared, but their bodies were found months later in a strange way. In the survival horror game Kholat, you have to follow the walkers’ footsteps while famous actor Sean Bean tells you about your investigation.

There are dark monsters in Kholat that show up as you look for hints. While you look into what really happened, they won’t let you explore the woods on your own. Instead, they’ll follow you around. The story of Dyatlov Pass is told in an interesting way in the game.

Outlast – Project MKUltra

Trager holding a weapon and looking at the camera in the asylum hallway in Outlast

Project MKUltra was a CIA project where they tried drugs and methods that were meant to control and brainwash people. The fact that this happened in real life is already horror, but Outlast takes ideas from real events and makes them even scarier.

You play as a reporter who is looking into a hospital where people were being put through tests like MKUltra. Unfortunately, they’ve lost their minds and are now trying to kill you at every turn. There are dead patients and staff in the hospital, and you have to get to the bottom of the case while avoiding all the killer inmates.

Five Nights At Freddy’s – Horror In Chuck E. Cheese

Freddy Fazbear holding a microphone and looking at the camera while Bonnie and Chica stare from the shadows behind him

Lots of things about Five Nights at Freddy’s make it look a lot like Chuck E. Cheese, and that’s not a mistake. The animatronics’ angry faces were based on a real murder case that happened in Aurora, Colorado, in 1993. After the store closed for the night, a former worker shot and killed four Chuck E. Cheese employees and badly hurt one while they were cleaning up.

In the game, you are a security guard whose job it is to make sure that every night everything goes well. The place’s famous animatronics should worry about you, though, when they come to life. Of course, the game wasn’t based on real-life cases of animatronics becoming conscious and killing people, but it shows how dark events in real life can inspire horror stories that could only happen in fiction.

Neverending Nightmares – A Developer’s Inner Struggles

Thomas holding up a candle in a hallway while a ghost follows behind him in Neverending Nightmares

Sometimes, outside events aren’t what inspires your ideas. This is the case with Neverending Nightmares, a psychological horror game whose Kickstarter page says it was inspired by the lead designer’s trouble with his mental illness. Matt Gilgenbach is very open about the fact that his own struggles with OCD and sadness led to the creation of the game.

The main character in Neverending Nightmares wakes up from a bad dream. But he’s not really awake yet. You have to find your way through the nightmare world and avoid the symbolic creatures that are coming at you while you try to figure out what is real and what is just the main character’s inner struggles.