Among demons, vampires, and all kind of monsters, ghosts are a popular figure in video games and pop culture in general, and it's up to you to believe in them or not. But horror video games are not the only place where you can find spooky ghosts, although you can be sure it’s indeed a good place to start looking.
This time we won't talk about Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, the popular enemies in Pac-Man, just because ghosts in video games have evolved a lot since then. Even though we have friendly specters here and there, and sometimes even the possibility to be the ghosts ourselves, this is a list of video games you don't wanna miss. Grab the nearest white blanket and prepare for the show!
- System: GameCube
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Nintendo, n-Space
- Release Dates: Aug. 15, 2005
Being a GameCube exclusive, maybe you never heard a thing about this game, but we're pretty sure that a name like Shigeru Miyamoto will ring a bell. In this case, Miyamoto is not producing a family game like Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda but a more adult one, where a ghost soul needs to find his body to regain its physical form.
After a failed undercover mission, a paranormal investigator named John Raimi ends up as a victim of Volks Corp., a powerful group of people he and his team were after. While he wasn't brutally killed like his teammates, Raimi is experimented on, with his soul torn apart from his body... and a set of paranormal abilities emerging. As you can tell, Raimi is not the only ghost in here, so you'll find both enemies and allies no other human could see.
- System: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: SCE Japan Studio, Acquire
- Release Dates: Oct. 1, 2013
Rain is another not-so-popular game, but it definitely deserves your attention. Here we play as a sick boy who sees a ghostly figure outside his house, thanks to the raindrops casting a silhouette. Oh, but the girl he sees is not alone, and suddenly she starts running away from another invisible thing, apparently a monster of some sorts. Would you follow 2 ghosts around the neighborhood during a rainy day? Probably not, but that's exactly what our hero did...
The rain is the only reason our character can see this ghosts, and so it becomes a huge part of both the gameplay and the story itself. Without knowing for sure if ghosts are indeed real or just a consequence of the fever, the boy ends up in some kind of parallel world full of specters and shadows, trying to save his new friend and finally coming back to the real world. If you like playing hide and seek, then you will love this adventure!
8. Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul
- System: Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4
- Publisher: VRWERX, LLC
- Developer: VRWERX, LLC
- Release Dates: Aug. 15, 2017
A huge franchise like Paranormal Activity is obviously a nice target for the gaming industry, but it doesn't mean a game based on the movies would be an instant hit. However, this time we're talking of a VR experience, so it's more about the fear you feel and not the story itself. The Lost Soul is an original story full of jump scares, puzzles, hidden items, creepy stuff, and everything you would expect in a VR horror video game. Definitely not for the faint of heart!
As soon as the game starts, we're on our own... but not alone. Our mission is to explore the haunted house we're in to find some clue about the situation, and sooner than later we are involved in some kind of ritual to help a little girl. This is not a game about ghosts... or is it? It's ultimately up to you what to think about the story, and what does "paranormal" truly mean. We don't want to spoil it for you!
- System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Vivendi Games
- Developer: Monolith Productions
- Release Dates: Oct. 18, 2005
F.E.A.R. is a video game that combines action with survival horror elements, fueling on games like Silent Hill but ultimately gaining a place of its own in the horror genre. The antagonist of the game is none other than Alma Wade, a girl heavily experimented on, and thirsty for revenge. Naturally, our goal is to stop her while learning what happened to her in the first place, and how can we "help" her.
Even though Alma is not a ghost, her psychic powers allow her to manifest herself as a specter even after her death and, like many other ghosts, she can also possess a body if she needs to. If she feels like it, this abused girl can send you to the Almaverse, a hellish place inside her twisted mind. To be honest, a lot of things in the game point to Alma being a ghost even though there's an explanation for her not being a ghost. Lucky for us, this is a shooter video game so, unlike every other ghost video games, you can trust your life to a ton of bullets.
6. BioShock Infinite
- System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
- Publisher: Take-Two Interactive, 2K Games
- Developer: Irrational Games
- Release Dates: Mar. 26, 2013
In the third game in the BioShock saga, we play as detective Booker DeWitt, a man sent to the floating city of Columbia to search for a girl. Just like in the previous games, in BioShock Infinite nothing is what it seems, so retrieving Elizabeth won't be an easy task at all. Be prepared to unravel a lot of secrets about Elizabeth, Columbia, and Booker himself!
The main antagonist here is Zachary Hale Comstock, the tyrant founder of Columbia, but remember this is a list for video games with ghosts. That's why we need to talk about his dead wife, Lady Annabelle Comstock, who still appears in Columbia as a ghost-like creature called Siren, full of anger and with some unresolved things in her mind. The story here is outstanding, and the scientifically-explained paranormal elements play a major role in the plot.
5. The Evil Within
- System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Developer: Tango Gameworks
- Release Dates: Oct. 14, 2014
Another detective here, but this time the story is way darker and scary. Sebastian Castellanos and his 2 companions arrive at the Beacon Mental Hospital in the fictional Krimson City, only to discover the slaughter of both patients and staff. Apparently, some supernatural creatures are responsible for the massacre, and Castellanos is the next victim.
There are a lot of enemies in The Evil Within, and some of them are ghosts. While we try to escape from the hospital, our investigation leads us to Ruvik (born as Ruben Castellanos), the main antagonist of The Evil Within and another creature we can catalog as a ghost, considering he's neither alive nor dead, living without a physical body. All in all, this game is a perfect combination of classical horror video game enemies, from ghosts to deformed monsters, and a mad scientist too!
4. Silent Hill 4: The Room
- System: Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: Team Silent
- Release Dates: Sep. 7, 2004
Henry Townshend, the protagonist, is the new tenant of South Ashfield Heights' room 302, waking up locked inside of it. With the door and windows blocked, and not knowing how to escape, Henry discovers a hole that could be the exit... but that's just the beginning of his worst nightmare. As you can tell, Silent Hill 4 is another entry based on the mythology of the Silent Hill town, but it has a very different gameplay compared to the previous games.
The plot of The Room presents us a serial killer, Walter Sullivan, a religious fanatic who must kill 21 persons for a certain ritual. In the game, Sullivan's victims appear as ghosts, just like him. With a handful of endings for us to discover, It's up to us to save the future victims of Sullivan... or to contemplate his work and see how we become part of the ritual.
3. Beyond: Two Souls
- System: PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Developer: Quantic Dream
- Release Dates: Oct. 8, 2013
Beyond: Two Souls is a video game based on the link between a girl and a ghost, an awesome interactive drama created by Quantic Dream. Jodie Holmes is a girl born with psychic powers, and the strange ability to interact with a spirit she calls Aiden. This entity is a pivotal part of Jodie's life, for better or worse, and so she struggles to live a normal life with or without him.
In the game, we play as both Jodie and Aiden, and the main goal is to understand the true origin of Aiden and why is he so attached to Jodie. As the story progresses, we also discover the relationship between our world and the Infraworld, where the entities reside and where dead people live their afterlives. Beyond: Two Souls is another example of a pseudo-scientific explanation for ghosts, an excellent game that raises a philosophical debate with a very well crafted story.
2. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Luigi’s Mansion 2)
- System: Nintendo 3DS
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Nintendo EAD
- Release Dates: Mar. 24, 2013
With the help of our Poltergust 5000 vacuum, our goal in this game is to eliminate all the ghosts that haunt the mansions we visit, just like any other ghostbuster would do. Some hostile and others simply naughty, each ghost in the game has its own quirky personality, expanding the ghostly characters beyond King Boo and his minions.
Luigi's Mansion was originally a GameCube exclusive (now available for 3DS too), and the sequel has not only an improved gameplay but a co-op mode! If you want a video game with lots of ghosts but you're not sure about horror stuff, then Luigi's Mansion 2 is the perfect option. Time to shine, green Mario!
1. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (Project Zero II)
- System: PlayStation 2, Wii and Xbox
- Publisher: Tecmo
- Developer: Tecmo
- Release Dates: Nov. 27, 2003
So, what's the best video game with ghosts? Obviously, that award goes to the Fatal Frame saga, known as Project Zero in Japan. This franchise full of ghosts has 5 main titles and a couple of spin-offs to choose from, but this time we'll settle for Fatal Frame II, simply because it's the best of them. In this case, the protagonists are the twins Mayu and Mio Amakura, lost in an abandoned village full of ghosts and spirits.
In Crimson Butterfly we must investigate a macabre ritual involving the twins, which helps explain the supernatural background of the village and the existence of these ghosts. Using the Camera Obscura, our only "weapon", we can discover where these ghosts are, drive them away or even damage them. How would you feel if you were trapped in an abandoned village full of ghosts, during an eternal night? For the twins, the ritual is all about kill or be killed, so ghosts aren't the only thing to look out for!
Ghosts play a huge part in pop culture and horror fiction, just like they do in all kind of video games. We could also mention a dozen of old video games where ghosts were common enemies, but we felt like this list was better with ghost characters who actually have a significant role in the story. As you can see, not every game on the list is a horror video game, so now it's up to you to choose the titles that better suit your taste. If you feel like it, remember you can always leave us a comment with your impressions on these games, but you can recommend us other ghost video games too!