3 of the Best Scary Games of the 1980s

There are plenty of scary modern games available but, as with most game genres, it all began back in the 1980s. Sitting beside the Pacman arcade table or the Donkey Kong machine in your local arcade was usually a selection of scarier offerings.

Of course, by today's standards, the fear factor offered by these games was minimal. That said, the scary games of the 80s still packed a punch, not least because they were the first introduction many had to battling ghosts, demons, and monsters.

As it's Halloween, we thought we would look back on some of the best scary arcade games from the 1980s:

• Haunted House

• Splatterhouse

• Castlevania

Haunted House

Haunted House is one of the earliest horror-style video games and is loved as a classic by many Atari fans. It first became available on the console in 1982 and features the box art Atari is famous for. It is a survival game where you are trapped in a mansion and must escape while avoiding spiders, bats, and the ghost of the mansion's owner, Mr Graves.


Splatterhouse is a beat 'em up side scroller that gave many children and teenagers a fright when it first arrived in the US in 1989. You control Rick who is trapped in a mansion with his girlfriend Jennifer.

The twist, however, is that Rick died and was resurrected by Terror Mask, becoming a mask-wearing monster himself. Jennifer becomes a monster too before being killed by Rick, transforming back to human form, thanking Rick, and dying. Rick must then do battle with the numerous monsters and scary creatures of the house.

The game's developers used some of the classic horror films of the 1980s for inspiration to create the characters – films like the Evil Dead series and Friday the 13th.


Castlevania is the first game in a long series from the developer Konami. It arrived in US arcades in 1986, instantly capturing the imagination. You control Simon Belmont, a whip-wielding vampire hunter who must defeat Dracula. Before getting to Dracula, though, you have to fight other monsters including Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper, and Queen Medusa.

Getting through all those monsters involves battling through 17 stages before encountering and fighting Dracula in the 18th.

Did you know you can play many of your favorite 1980s games again today on a classic arcade machine? Check out our fantastic collection now.