Horror games really know how to get ya. Thanks to the medium's interactivity, jump scares become even worse when you're playing a video game. There you are, simply doing your thing and exploring an area, when BLAM!, out comes some zombie or ghost or whatever else to scare the absolute pants off of you.
There have been many quality jump scares throughout the years, many of which have resulted in hilarious YouTube compilations as gamers scream, jump, and throw their headphones off in surprise. But there can only be ten.
These are the ten most terrifying jump scares in horror games, ranked!
10 The Alien Attacks
Alien: Isolation was the game all Alien fans had been waiting for for decades. It was slow-paced, it was filled with tension, and it made the alien an unstoppable force that stalked you through the halls and into random lockers. Because the alien couldn't be fought, you were forced to quietly stalk around it and hide under beds/in lockers to avoid its detection. But sooner or later you would be spotted, and it would often result in a loud scream and a few panicked smashes of the controller. It was even worse when you would turn a corner and come face-to-face with the alien. At that point, you just had to jump and accept your violent fate.
9 Alma On The Ladder
F.E.A.R. is undeniably one of the scariest video games of all time, and much of its effectiveness stems from Alma, the terrifying little girl with long black hair and a red outfit. The thing about Alma is that she can pop up literally anywhere, and gamers unfortunately learned that firsthand while descending the infamous ladder. Upon turning around to descend, you don't see anything. But then the character puts his head down to find his footing, and upon looking up again, Alma is standing directly in front of you and proceeds to laugh at your misfortune. It's almost as if she's laughing at the player for jumping ten feet out of their chair.
8 Ashley's Ghost Thing
Until Dawn focused primarily on choice-based action, but it still found time to scare the pants off you with some well-timed jump scares. One of them comes while you're playing as Ashley. You open a random door, and the camera slowly zooms into the empty room, proving that no, there is nothing in here to scare you. But the second you step foot into the room, the camera again zooms in, and a horrifying ghost lady with a bloody mouth shoots from the ground and screams directly into the camera. Yeah, it's more than a little cheap, but it's certainly effective.
7 Broken Neck Ghost
The broken neck ghost from Fatal Frame is constructed similarly to the Ashley ghost from Until Dawn. Only (in our opinion), it's much more effective. You open a door, fully expecting some type of ghost or scary thing to pop out. Only, it doesn't, and you enter without a care in the world. It's only then that the game literally shifts to a different perspective, and a ghost with a horrifying broken neck slides into the camera's frame, giving you a good shot at one of the creepiest sights in gaming. It's not as effective by today's standards, but you should still respect one of the most legendary jump scares in video game history.
6 The Library Door
Outlast didn't mess around. Within the first ten minutes of the game, you were subjected to creepy patients, a horrifying hospital, and a jump scare for the ages. This one came at the very beginning of the game, as you were slowly opening the door to the library.
Once you reached a certain threshold, a body came flinging down from the ceiling, complete with a scream and the expected loud music cue. We're docking points for predictability, as we kind of expected a door-based jump scare sooner or later - we just weren't expecting it from, like, the second door we ever opened!
5 The Boy Of Silence
BioShock Infinite isn't even a scary game! But it does contain one of the most effective jump scares in all of gaming. After opening a security gate, you are prompted to "rescue Elizabeth." As you turn around to do just that, you come face to face with a Boy of Silence, you proceed to scream at the top of its lungs before disappearing in a cloud of... something. Again, this is a little cheap, seeing as how there was absolutely no warning or precedent towards this jump scare, but it's effective all the same, especially if you hated the grotesque and terrifying Boys of Silence as much as we did.
4 Demonic Mirror
Doom 3 was far slower than its predecessors, allowing for players to stew in the tension and incredible atmosphere. It also provided a ton of quality jump scares, including the infamous demonic mirror. Upon inspecting a bathroom mirror, a loud music cue suddenly plays and the camera zooms into the mirror, which now shows a demonic red background and the character's face slowly aging/decomposing. It doesn't sound like much, but it is entirely unexpected, as we looked through dozens of mirrors throughout the game. For one, a Doom scare didn't stem from a demonic monster, but a mirror. Now that's a tough act to pull off!
3 The Locker Room
Silent Hill is one of the all-time greatest horror games, but it isn't especially known for its jump scares. Instead, it relies on psychological torture to torment its audience. But that's not to say that it doesn't contain one of the greatest jump scares in gaming history. The best part about this sequence is that it is a masterful example of misdirection.
We expect something scary to happen with the bloody locker, considering A) well, it's bloody, and B) it can be seen and heard moving. However, nothing is there, and we turn to leave - only for a body to randomly fall out of one of the lockers. Now that's how you execute a jump scare.
2 Mr. Tibbits
While we're on the subject of scary locker-based jump scares, let's mention Mr. Tibbits, perhaps one of the scariest jump scares in all of gaming. Condemned: Criminal Origins sees you photographing various bodies and crime scenes, and as such, it isn't out of the ordinary to be photographing the deceased Mr. Tibbits. However, what was NOT expected was that the obviously-deceased Tibbits would suddenly jerk awake and grab at you in a call for help, complete with the accompanying music cue. It's enough to give someone a heart attack, and it very nearly did.
1 Window Dog
Anyone who played video games back in the '90s has fond memories of the infamous dog jump scare in the original Resident Evil. As you're walking down a hallway, simply minding your own business, a dog comes BURSTING through the window and begins chasing you, resulting in screams of "Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!" This jump scare doesn't look like much today, and it's unlikely to scare audiences, but back in the day this was the absolute pinnacle of horror in gaming. That dog has been firmly implanted into our collective memories, and it will forever remain the undisputed king of the video game jump scare.