Psychological study finds scariest Xbox game

Posted by Mike Luttrell

A group called Vertical Slice has just completed what is without a doubt one of the most unique video game studies to date.

The marriage of video games and psychology has been the subject of many studies. Perhaps too many. But usually the purpose is to figure out if violent video games somehow make a person more violent.

There's nothing fun about that. So Vertical Slice, which refers to itself as a "Usability Studio," decided it would be intriguing to use science to figure out how "scary" games compare against one another.

The limited study only focused on Xbox 360 titles, presumably because it is the console best known for having the most bone-chilling games on the market. Sure, PS3 has franchises like Resistance and Killzone, but the Xbox 360 is much more often considered a shooter platform with a higher concentration of M-rated projects.

The study involved six subjects who were geared up and monitored as they played through a selection of titles deemed to be among the scariest available on Xbox. This data, combined with a database of complex psychological intel from more than 500 other subjects, allowed Vertical Slice to see how each person's reaction differed from game to game.

Among the metrics in the study were skin temperature, heart rate, and the amount of sweat. Thankfully, Dance Dance Revolution was not among the titles.

The ones that were included Alan Wake, Resident Evil 5, Dead Space 2, and Condemned.

The Winner? Dead Space 2.

The game's use of dramatic cutscenes, surprise monster attacks, and kill-or-be-killed mentality was apparently more effective than any of the other three.

So the next time you invite your friends over for game night, instead of offering to play Dead Space 2, say you want to play the "scientifically proven scariest game on Xbox."