A screenshot shows a 2D monster attacking a player in a brick corridor.

Screenshot: MikroProse / Kotaku

Legacy: Land of Terror It was this box on the shelves in the tiny box office my father used for a study. These shelves were a cluttered mess of PC game boxes (actual box included Apocalypse came, my father was one of the seven people in the world who did not pirate), notebooks, square paper for RPG map drawing, containers filled with pipe tobacco and anything else in the form of fountain pens, straws, screwdrivers, and pencils.

I would take the box out and look at its front cover, dark but for the two lighted windows at the top, that horrible, dizzying mansion, with lightning crackling from the sky to its roofs. This made me shiver. I doubt I even noticed the two evil-looking stone creatures sitting on either side of the front door – the building alone was enough to shake me.

One evening, while my parents were out, I finally decided it was time to play. Out of all six floppy disks, he built the thing with a tremendous sense of dread. Then some hard drives cracked, I was faced with a much more complex introduction than I expected, the game is much more of an RPG than first-person horror. I created a character, read his story, and entered the mansion.

Given all that anticipation, you might expect this story to turn into the massive upswing that awaits me now, but eeeeeeeeeeek: The game has always scared the fans shit without me. Its terribly soft wood-paneled walls and red carpets aren’t a visual treat, but what I remember frightening me so early on is, chasing after. In a great horror game, you know the feeling of panic and frenzy when you slouch hard in your seat only to encourage your character to move faster, descend down that corridor to hell and get away from the creature that follows. A sense of otherworldly danger that tenses your muscles? It was, I was a kid, I was at home by myself and I said no very sternly.

I haven’t played since then. I remember my dad trying it later and telling me he found it too frustrating. In the cold light of exactly 30 years later, I imagine this 1992 Microprose creation probably doesn’t have the same scare ability. But then, just looking at the cover still gives me those 14-year-old heebie-jeebies and I don’t want to find out. —John Walker

Now that we’ve uncovered our childhood traumas, please share your stories of when a video game stupidly scared you as a kid. Your therapist will likely confirm.

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