Let me start off by saying I'm the worlds biggest chicken --- I slept with the bathroom light on until I was 15. That being said, I've always enjoyed horror movies and games 'cause I'm a masochist like that. When I was 11 or 12 I remember opening some gaming magazine and literally dropping it --- I was that startled by the picture. I tentatively picked up the magazine and slowly tried to find the page I was previously at. Every turn of the page was sheer terror for me: I knew what horrors awaited me. I finally found the page I was looking for and I was then able to put a name to the game that would scare me for years --- Fatal Frame.
I could never muster up the courage to pick up the game when it first came out on PS2, but later on in the year it was released for Xbox and I then decided to get it. I found the box for the game at my local Gamestop and nearly decided not to get it. However, my mother was with me and at 13 I was determined to show her that I was no longer a "scaredy-cat" at the counter my mother cemented my choice to get the game when she remarked how it looked too scary for me and I was determined to prove her wrong.
I still get uneasy looking at this.
I got home and instead of running to put the game in my Xbox like I usually did, I found excuses to do other things: homework, eat dinner, bug my siblings, etc. The day soon passed and it was time for me to go to bed, so I never played the game that day --- much to my relief. In fact, the game went unplayed for days, which soon turned into weeks. It wasn't until the weekend before Christmas break that I mustered up the courage to pick the game up. My parents were both out of town --- how this was a good idea on my part is beyond me --- and I had my run of the house for the weekend. I moved my Xbox to the family room which had both the largest tv in the house and a surround sound system. I turned off the lights, settled on the couch and got ready for what I was sure would be a long and terrifying night playing.
The game started up and even as the opening cinematic played I couldn't help but squirm in my seat and look around my house. The girl's ominous voice, coupled with the music and atmosphere frightened me that much. When i given control of my character I nervously walked around the first room of the house, my heart pounding. Everything frightened me --- the play of a shadow; even a the sudden change of a camera angle. The first ghost startled me, but wasn't as frightening as I expected, it gave me a false sense of confidence: I felt that I could do this. This was soon destroyed as I watched my character open the door at the end of the room. I cautiously entered the next room and for the first time jumped when the ghost overhead appeared. On guard, I continued through the room and found the notebook that triggered the first cutscene. The cutscene did a lot to freak me out, but didn't frighten me at first. Then the ghost jumped out at me. Not only did I jump, I fucking screamed and ran across the room to turn off my Xbox.
The damn Xbox off I turned on all of the lights in the house and retreated to my room. I couldn't sleep the entire night, instead I stayed awake, watching tv and jumping at every noise I heard in the house. Dawn finally broke and I ventured into the family room to retrieve my Xbox. At this point the damn thing had become an object of terror for me and I removed the game and put it back into its case, trying not to look at the game's case. I then proceeded to hide it in a drawer where it stayed for three years. I stayed up all that night and could only go to sleep during the day on that Sunday. My parents finally came home and I found it safe enough to sleep at night again, but not without a night light.
I later would find the game in the drawer I hid it in several years later and played it through. The game still scared the life out of me, but I was able to make it through by only playing during the day. Everything in the game was scary, every environment or room an object of fear to me. If I made it to the doll room when I first picked up the game I probably would have needed therapy to undo the damage it would of done to me. Even today I can't play the game at night or when home alone and for that reason this game has become what I fear.