Most Goths don't seek out Goth video games, and that's a pity. If you love the dark, dark fashion, dark lifestyle, dark food - in all its literal and figurative senses – and horror movies, and twisted psychological tales, these games put you in the driver's seat like no other medium can. Forget novels, TV shows, and films: these Goth video games make you the center of a story that truly thrills, even though it may steal your soul or drive you mad.
1. Alice: Madness Returns
Alice in Wonderland's trippy, punitive feel has struck a chord with Goths for decades. In recent years, game maker American McGee has turned Alice's wonderland into a very believable Gothic world replete with familiar faces and savage beasts. Alice: Madness Returns, the sequel to American McGee's Alice, imagines massive worlds that are both gorgeous and disturbing, and a host of icky monsters. Jump, twirl and float in Alice's platforming sections, then break out your wacky weaponry when the onslaught comes. A hobby horse, parasol, pepper grinder and teapot are among the array. American McGee gives this dreamworld substance by grounding Alice's character in her real, Victorian-era life and the traumas that gave rise to her Wonderland.
2. Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City
Batman's dark attire, brooding nature and grotesque nemeses put him solidly in Goth territory. In Arkham Asylum, an element of real horror is added to this black brew. When Batman discovers that the Joker intentionally imprisoned himself in the asylum, he's forced to brave its corridors alone to save Commissioner Gordon. Live out your superhero fantasies as you take on the Joker, Bane, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and more in the mazelike asylum and the island around it. A twisted and explosive ending is the icing on the cake. Batman: Arkham City, is the critically-acclaimed sequel to Asylum. After Batman is thrown into a new super prison – Arkham City – he must take down the prison's sinister warden with an expanded array of combat moves and gadgets. Solid writing and voice acting from series veterans, plus a more open world, give Arkham City an edge.
3. The Path
Indie game company Tale of Tales spun this eerie psychological title out of Little Red Riding Hood, which needs little elaboration to make an encounter with a wolf an allegory for the dangers and temptations of womanhood. Choose to play as one of six sisters aged 9 to 19 and explore the woods. With no map to guide you initially, you have to stumble onto special locations on the large map to trigger unique experiences. Ultimately, you have your fateful meeting with the at times seductive, at times menacing Wolf. The girl's story culminates in a haunting dream-like sequence in grandmother's house that begs personal interpretation.
4. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
The little known Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, released in 2004, is one of the finest Goth games in existence both in terms of its Gothic aesthetics and sheer game quality. In this vampire-themed RPG, you first create a character that belongs to one of seven unique vampire clans and choose its abilities. You soon find yourself mixed up in a plot involving a device that spells the end of all vampires. Explore several cities, choose your path through dialog choices, and engage in first-person combat. While the game's development and release were plagued with issues, devoted fans have spent the last 10 years fixing game bugs and improving the overall experience. The game's stellar writing and voice acting remains intact. You can pick up this gem on Steam.
5. Skyrim: Dawnguard
Skyrim, the fifth entry in Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series, broke new RPG gaming ground with its epic scale and seemingly endless amount of quests. Dawnguard, a Skyrim add-on, casts an old-school Gothic light on this beloved game. Choose to become a Vampire Lord and side with the forces of darkness to destroy the sun itself. Vampires can create undead minions, feed on the living, transform into bats and much more. Or, enter the ranks of the Dawnguard, which strives to destroy vampires and save the light. There's much more in play in Dawnguard. Take up one of two massive Gothic abodes, battle new Gothic enemies like Gargoyles, Death Hounds and vampires, and take advantage of new spells, weapons and other items.
6. Dream of the Blood Moon
If you're a gamer, you've heard of Slender, a bare-bones exploration game that still manages to induce nightmares. Dream of the Blood Moon emerged from the pack of Slender clones to establish itself as an atmospheric vehicle of terror. You slip into a dream under the light of the moon. Fog envelops you in a lonesome forest. As you explore, you find puzzle areas that yield blue tears. But beware the witch that chases you! This game, made in two months by a single person, is available to download for free.
7. The Resident Evil Series
The Resident Evil games are firmly in the Survival Horror category; you struggle only to make it out of the game alive. Nowhere was this series Gothier than its very first title, Resident Evil, originally made for the PlayStation and later re-released on Gamecube. As part of an elite police force, you explore a sprawling mansion crawling with zombies, monsters and mutated monstrosities. You battle these terrifying creatures only with your wits and limited items. Get used to the heebie-jeebies as you tiptoe around the dark, dusty rooms only to be ambushed by the undead. The latest title in the franchise, Resident Evil 6, adds more dimensions to this formula for better or worse. Play in an expanded urban world from one of several perspectives. Run from and massacre hordes rather than run into a lone zombie. Everything's bigger, louder and more epic, with just enough terror to still merit the title.
8. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
For those with a stomach for truly intense survival horror, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a delicacy. In this, what has been described by some as one of the scariest games ever made, you play as a man in early Victorian-era England exploring a castle infested with monsters. Next to your health bar you'll find your sanity meter. As you interact with the castle's evil denizens and spend more time in darkness, your sanity slips and you experience visual and auditory hallucinations. With no weapons, your only defense against the enemies that chase you is to run, hide or barricade yourself.
9. Devil May Cry
The Devil May Cry franchise is the cooler and faster-paced cousin of Resident Evil with an highlight of steampunk styled clothing. After all, the first Devil May Cry game was intended to become Resident Evil 4 while in development. As a modern-day demon hunter, you hack and slash your way through groups of enemies much like in God of War, which was released several years later. As in God of War, you're able – hell, expected – to perform stylish combos, and are graded on them. Platforming and occasional puzzles add depth to the game's slick design.
No list of Goth games in complete without Castlevania. The iconic series started in 1986 and has spawned an average of one game a year since. The diverse series has a handful of common points, namely a vampire-hunting family named the Belmonts and a trusty whip called Vampire Killer. Hack, slash and platform your way to Dracula and other evil mythological beings you must slay. Various titles feature RPG elements, open worlds, diverging story paths, multiple endings and more. Castlevania's strong and varied artwork over its existence is on its own worth a look from any serious Goth.
From RPGs to platformers, experimental indie games and massive open worlds, Gothic video games run the gamut of the player experience.
What do you think of the games on this list? Which would you add to it? Comment below.