Next to arachnophobia, coulrophobia, which is the fear of clowns, is considered to be one of the most common phobias in the world. And, of course, where there's a phobia, there's a hungry-eyed video game developer with a sweet tooth for exploiting fear. This has been the case for decades, with phobias being just one of the many sources of inspiration to help lay the foundations for a video game.
There is some good news to this, though. And you may not believe it, but video game clowns aren't all that common in this day and age. That said, anyone with an underlying twinge of curiosity burning in their brains can still access such a portal if they so wish to. The question is, which video game clowns are the scariest of the bunch? More importantly, which video games should coulrophobes steer clear of as we approach the Halloween season?
5. Adam the Clown (Dead Rising)
On the surface, Dead Rising is a pretty humorous game. Although coined as a survival horror with a deep Dawn of the Dead feel to it, its sandbox style of gameplay definitely leans more towards being a parody than an ode to one of the all-time greats. That said, there is a small chunk of it that stays true to its horror roots, and it's mostly in the form of its psychopaths that roam the zombie-riddled hallways of Willamette Mall.
When out exploring the mall in search of survivors, players can bump into Adam the Clown, a former children's entertainer whose purpose is to capture, torment, and ultimately torture fellow mall-goers. Equipped with two chainsaws and a worryingly sinister smile, the ex-clown can engage in battle with the player, which is, in all honesty, just as terrifying as it sounds. And honestly, the creepy high-pitched laugh doesn't help a great deal, either.
4. Theodor (Don't Be Afraid)
Don't Be Afraid has its fair share of twisted folks tiptoeing about, a lot of whom players can either interact with, or completely avoid for the sake of keeping a lid on their sanity levels. One character that players should try and steer clear of, though, is Theodor, a serial killer with an oversized and downright creepy clown persona.
After being captured by Franklin, a tainted soul who only wishes to put children through an endless nightmare, you must solve a series of puzzles in order to escape its perplexing hallways. Within the labyrinth, of course, you will find Theodor, a failed clown who has the power to not only toy with your emotions, but physically chase you and beat you to a pulp. Let it be said that, if you're a big fan of chase sequences, then you will probably love this. Coulrophobes, on the other hand, will despise every moment.
3. Pennywise (Death Park)
There isn't a clown in the world who doesn't idolize the universally feared Pennywise. Besides being in the award-winning IT saga, the character has also found fame in the gaming industry, mostly through Death Park, a mobile series that adds a variety of horrifying creatures and famous clown folk to an open world-like puzzle-heavy experience.
In Death Park, players take on the role of a puzzle-solving techie whose purpose is to escape an abandoned amusement park laced with killer clowns and slideshow monstrosities. In order to solve the code and make way for the hills, one must first engage in the most terrifying game of hide and seek ever conceived, one where Pennywise himself pulls the strings and tampers with the rules. With that, anyone who's brave enough to enter its compound can expect unencumbered thrills and a whole lot of post-game paranoia.
2. Zombie Clown (Left 4 Dead 2)
Thanks to its extensive range of unique and undeniably deadly characters, Left 4 Dead retains its position as one of the most memorable four-player co-op games of all time. Besides having enemies like the Witch, the Boomer, and the Hunter, the series is also remembered for another type of enemy: the Zombie Clown. Although confined to a single campaign in the second game, its role definitely left one of the biggest impressions — especially on those plagued by coulrophobia.
Of course, zombies in Left 4 Dead aren't overly scary, given the fact that most of them can be beaten to a pulp with a well-placed smack or two. But for anyone lumbered with the fear of clowns will strongly recall the terror that came bundled with the infamous Dead Carnival sequence. The fact that they could not only sprint, but pounce, hide, as well as stalk your shadow, were all extended reasons to despise the undead enemy.
1. Mr Tatters (Emily Wants to Play)
Emily Wants to Play is an indie horror game that might've slipped your radar a few years back. Shame, because it actually brought quite a lot to the table, especially for those who dared to confront their fear of clowns. Although the story revolved around the titular character, Emily, a large portion of it also featured Mr Tatters, an evil clown with a knack for stalking its prey through the dead of twilight.
Emily Wants to Play follows an unnamed character as they venture to a dark and dreary suburban home in the dead of night. The residence in question, of course, belongs to Emily, a rather tainted child with a rich and intensifying desperation to play a series of sadistic games. As players, you must survive from 11pm to 6am, during which you will encounter not only Emily's wicked mind games, but Mr Tatters, a terrifying ally who only wishes to make your night even more of a living nightmare. Joy.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any video game clowns we should have mentioned? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.