- Found footage games provide a more intimate and realistic experience compared to traditional horror movies.
- The use of restored films and VHS-style visuals adds to the immersion in games like The Final Take and Michigan: Report From Hell.
- Found footage games, such as Simulacra and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, incorporate unique gameplay elements that allow players to actively participate in the found footage experience.
Found footage is a technique where viewers experience everything firsthand entirely through the perspective of a camera. The footage is supposed to represent actual events that were recorded by someone during the event. The footage is eventually located, and viewers get to experience it from the perspective of those on film.
This point of view provides a more intimate connection to the story and its characters compared to the safe distance of traditional horror movies. Found footage terrifies us due to its sense of realism and experiencing something that was lost before. Horror games that use found footage are rare and the ones that exist use it in their own unique ways.
Updated October 19, 2023 by Gabrielle Castania: Before the end of spooky season, we’re updating a few of our horror game lists to be sure you’re getting the best scares possible with these found footage games.
13 The Final Take
The Final Take is a found footage game where you discover the stories of three different people using restored films. Though the stories may seem individual at first, you discover that something sinister connects them.
Each film is an homage to the 1980s with coloring and visual effects to mimic the popularity of VHS tapes of this era. You play through each scenario firsthand, so you get the full, terrifying experience before uncovering the truth.
Feeding_Log_01172013 was created for Ludum Dare Game Jame in 2022. The protagonist finds a classified tape that shows someone feeding caged specimens in a secret area. You can play, pause, and fast-forward the tape, and the storyrequires you to do them in the proper order.
Feeding_Log amps up the terror through its use of spatial audio, so we recommend you play this game with headphones for the full effect. Listen carefully and proceed slowly to make it to the end of the tape!
11 FeedVid Live
On the heels of the Covid lockdowns has come a new sub-genre of found footage horror – hijacked feeds from Zoom meetings on unprotected computers. It also calls on the popularity of Twitch to amp up the scares and involve you in the horror.
After being gifted a subscription from an anonymous source, you find yourself in a live stream. As the game progresses, you become the director of a snuff film, where the viewer count increases based on your decisions.
Konami released Lifeline in 2003 on the PlayStation 2. An alien invasion happens during a space party that you are attending, and the only survivors are you and an employee at the hotel when all is said and done.
By using the hotel’s surveillance and communications system, you guide an employee through puzzle-solving and fighting aliens. The coolest part about this game is that it is all voice-activated, with voice recognition registering 100,000 unique phrases.
9 September 1999
September 1999 is a free-to-play horror game that only takes five minutes and 30 seconds to play. And though it’s easily one of the shortest horror games, September 1999 doesn’t need more than that to tell its story.
The game is told in first-person using a VHS style. We recommend you go into this game completely blind, as you don’t want anything to be spoiled for you. September 1999 is currently available for free on Steam or itch.io.
8 Michigan: Report From Hell
Developers Grasshopper Manufacture released Michigan: Report From Hell on PlayStation 2 in 2004. A mysterious fog has appeared in Chicago (the name of the game comes from Lake Michigan, which borders Chicago).
Three members of the ZaKa TV news crew go on location to discover the source of the fog. You take on the role of a rookie cameraman, viewed in first-person from the lens of the camera. Through the lens, you can tag interesting objects, creatures, or other things for the other members of your crew to investigate.
7 The Survey
The Survey is an indie game made by Rober Gammon. In it, you play Marcus Walker, who wakes up in a vacant home. As you explore, you realize things are a bit too silent for your liking, before finding a phone with a note saying someone – or something – is watching.
You will uncover the story through audio tapes and journal entries as you progress through the game. The Survey relies on puzzles, exploration, and atmosphere, all of which create a scary experience that doesn’t rely on jump scares.
6 Amanda The Adventurer
Amanda The Adventurer subverts a popular children’s television show, which feels innately creepy – you will not look at children’s television characters the same again! The story begins when you find dusty VHS tapes while cleaning your house.
You don’t remember ever watching Amanda The Adventurer, but you sure have feelings of nostalgia, so you decide to watch them, anyway. What seems like a cute and innocent show starring Amanda and her sidekick slowly turns unsettling over three episodes, where you finally discover Amanda’s true form.
5 Slender: The Arrival
Slender Man took the world by storm when Eric Knudson posted it as a creepypasta meme in 2009. The official Slender Man video game adaptation is Slender: The Arrival. Blue Isle Publishing collaborated with the original creator of Slender Man Eric “Victor Surge” Knudson and Mark Hadley to make something truly spooky.
The developers consider this to be a re-imaging or an expansion of Slender: The Eight Pages, and they estimate an average playthrough to be about two hours. Slender: The Arrival has a carefully crafted atmosphere that leads into some very well-done jump scares.
Simulacra is an award-winning game that takes the found footage horror genre straight over to your phone. It is billed as the spiritual successor to Sara Is Missing and provides the same horrifying FMV experience.
You find a lost phone, and your goal is to discover what happened to its owner, a woman named Anna, by going through different apps and data on her phone. If you can’t get enough of this title when you’re finished, then check out Simulacra 2 as well.
Outlast is a survival horror game where you take on the role of investigative journalist Miles Upshur. You break into an abandoned mental health facility, Mount Massive Asylum, after receiving an anonymous tip
Located in a remote part of Colorado, the Murkoff Corporation uses this asylum for what they call “research and charity.” Outlast offers one of the more unique takes on the found footage genre, as not only do you discover footage, but you also create footage that you will discover later in the game.
2 Her Story
Sam Barlow, creator of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Aisle, also created Her Story. It is a full-motion found footage game where you view recorded clips from a police database.
Using these clips, you discover the story based on interviews with a woman about her missing husband. Her Story won twenty-three awards in 2015 and 2016 for Best Narrative, Best Performance, and Best Mobile Game across multiple platforms.
1 Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard includes found footage segments by utilizing four VHS tapes in its gameplay. What it does differently from other games on this list is that it takes you into the found footage and let you play out the scene, so you can experience it firsthand instead of just watching.
For example, the first VHS tape you find has you playing as a cameraman on a documentary-style ghost hunters show. Each VHS tape embodies famous found footage shows and movies. One tape builds tension using anticipation and a well-built atmosphere while another has you being chased by a killer.
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