Common tropes in first-person horror games

Ever notice how modern horror games used to scare everyone because the mechanics shown were fresh and atmospheric? Games like Outlast and Amnesia set the bar of how something less can effectively scare any gamer; no matter how brave. Sadly, genres like these are a dime and a dozen and people are slowly getting sick of some games that follow the same formula. This article will talk about the common tropes in today’s first-person horror game genre. (flashlights and all)


  • Flashlights

Also known as, “the first thing the protagonist sees”. The flashlight is the most trusted tool in modern horror games. Most of these environments tend to get pitch-black, so a good flashlight can really save their life. The only problem with these torches is it tends to run out of fuel/batteries in such a short time; making the player an easy target.

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  • The Color Brown

The most dominant color in all of these games. May it be wood, concrete or dirt, everything is brown! Another common trope is the ever similar dark hallways that makes running and hiding difficult for the player.


  • No means to fight back

The helpless protagonist trope has been around since the 90s, but c’mon! ever heard of resistance? They can’t even struggle, set a trap or kick the killer away. The only thing to stop a monster is by either hiding or closing a door; to make matters worse, one look is enough to kill the player, resulting in a game over.


  • Jump scares

There is nothing wrong with jump scares, but the genre relies on these tactics too much that it results in annoying the player rather than scaring them. Ruining an otherwise creepy atmosphere.

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  • Forced collection

One of the most common tropes in modern horror games. This trope is designed to force player in collecting a number of objects in order to progress through the game. The objectives range from “collect 10 pages” to “power-up 5 generators.”

Juan Paulo Pereña

Writer and game reviewer. Likes movies, a bit of comedy and a good show to binge on. A fan of video games and video game culture in general.