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  • Acorn Story: A young boy journeys through a wood full of dangerous obstacles alone with nothing but a simple lantern.
  • Alice: Madness Returns: Alice has become an orphan after a house fire killed her entire family. The events have traumatized her so much that she's been sent to a children's orphanage owned by a therapist who offers to help her in her time of need. However, near the end of the game said therapist is revealed to be the Big Bad who burned her house down after Alice's sister warned him to stop stalking her. Even worse, his orphanage is really a front for a bordello of child prostitutes that he pimps to other child molesters like himself. The only reason he's been giving Alice therapy was so he could erase her memories of the crime he committed and make her another prostitute.
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  • Back In 1995: The driving motivation for why Kent came back to the city is to find out what happened to cause his daughter to disappear.
  • The original Black & White begins like this with a couple desperately crying out for divine intervention after their child ran off into shark-infested waters. Black & White 2 begins with you saving a handful of villagers while their city is being invaded and burned, everyone they know is killed, and even the once-familiar landscape is rent asunder by "natural" disasters.
  • Dying Light:
    • Screamers are zombified children. But even more horrifying than them being the typical biting zombie, they have their FLIGHT instinct turned Up to Eleven. When they are undisturbed, they perpetually wail like a terrified child in distress. When they see you, they scream in abject horror. When you kill them, instead of splattering them like all other zombies, you cradle them in your arms and tenderly calm them down before regretfully snapping their neck. In that small, hideous rotting body ravaged by the virus, there is a defenseless, terrified child spending its every waking moment afraid of everything around it.
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    • The game features a parental kidnapping, when a child's father takes him away from his mother, threatening anyone who stops him with a firearm that the player found for him. Made worse by the fact that everyone but the father seems to know that he's taking his child into danger by leaving the safe house at the Tower in an attempt to find shelter in Old Town.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: At the of the Monster Hunt single player campaign, Genn Greymane tells his daughter Tess to be careful because she is the only child he has left. This conversation is played out like a father worrying about his daughter venturing out into the unknown. It depends on the player on whether or not this fear is fulfilled.
  • Iru: Near the beginning of the game, Mizuki comes to one of the teachers about his brother, who went missing three years ago when he was a student at the school.
  • Planescape: Torment runs on nearly every dark trope ever, and this one is no exception. Listing every character that plays on an adult fear would take a page of its own, so sticking to party members:
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    • In a very long fantasy metaphor for abusive personalities, the Nameless One destroys everything he touches and hurts everyone he cares about. No matter how much some of his incarnations might want to, he will never be able to stop. He finally does stop by committing suicide.
    • Dak'kon has sworn a vow of absolute obedience to someone who is frequently a complete monster, resulting in plentiful on-screen psychological abuse if the player has the stomach for it. And that's not even touching on lost faith or having lived through a genocide. Ignus and Vhailor have lost their basic humanity to traumatic experiences and zealotry. Annah's relationship with her father figure isn't exactly a healthy one, and she promptly finds herself drawn towards an equally unhealthy relationship with a much (much, much) older man. Fall-From-Grace was sold into slavery by her mother. Morte was physically abused but stuck around out of the conviction that it was somehow his fault and he deserved it, and Nordom is the very picture of childlike innocence lost.
    • Deionarra is a literal Love Martyr, but what sends this into Adult Fear territory is that her relationship isn't some Fantastic Aesop — she's simply so enthralled with romance she doesn't realize her lover's true nature until it's too late... rather like many real world people in abusive relationships.
  • Lady Kerri (Hubert and Asbel's mom) from Tales of Graces. Let's see: Your kids love you but are either afraid (Hubert) or slightly resentful (Asbel) of your husband. Your husband isn't helping matters any due to him generally being emotionally constipated mixed with a short temper triggered by Asbel almost daily, so in short she's the Only Sane Man. One day, you have to then ship of one of your children to another country and explain it to his older brother, but before you can, said oldest runs off somewhere. You then get news that both of your sons were almost killed but can only see one of them since the other has already been sent away. Your child then decides to run away from home and disappears for 7 years. Your husband then dies causing your sons to come back home. Only when they get back, they are at each other's throats, the youngest son hates you, and the oldest is exiled from the village. It's really surprising she didn't go into an Angst Coma.
  • Zombie Playground: The whole premise is a kid alone in a school full of zombies. Luckily, they can fight them off.
  • In Heavy Rain, the very beginning of the game gives you the pleasure of playing as a parent who loses his child when he gets run over. The entire game focuses around catching a serial killer who drowns children in rainwater, and the worst part is nobody really has a clue who he or she is.
  • Silent Hill
    • In Silent Hill, you get to play a parent who is desperately searching a dangerous city for his missing child. You get to spend a lot of time in the dark where monsters are lurking.
    • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, the (very liberal) remake of the original game, takes this even further, as the game actually focuses on a veritable cornucopia of Adult Fears - loss of family, social alienation, substance addiction, deterioration of love, sexual insecurities, death, the works - even more than monsters, and the occult theme is axed entirely from the plot.
    • Silent Hill 2 is about a man who has been deeply changed by his wife's early death. The fact that James killed her is another Adult Fear: the fear of failing a loved one and of selfishness. James's guilt is overwhelming, hence his punishment. Due to his wife's long sickness, James is also sexually frustrated, and angry and guilty enough about it that the town creates a physical manifestation of his dark impulses toward sexual violence.
    • Silent Hill: Downpour deals with Murphy Pendelton and the guilt he has over not being able to save his son from their neighbor, Napier, who kidnapped, raped, and murdered poor little Charlie.
    • Silent Hill: Homecoming has the main protagonist getting his entire family abducted by cultists from the titular town. He later finds out that the reason there are still people living in the town is because the families that founded the town have been sacrificing the first born child they've had every few years in order to appease the monsters. In fact, the main protagonist was one of the children that was intended to be sacrificed.
  • Live A Live: A plot point: Oersted. By the end of the relevant chapter, everyone in the kingdom believes him to be an evil monster after he's manipulated into murdering his king, the only people who believed in him are dead, and he's killed his own childhood friend after finding out that said friend had masterminded the above manipulation, simply out of sheer jealousy of Oersted's fame and success. To cap it all off, the woman he loved had just declared her love for said dead friend and given Oersted a rather misplaced bitching out for not being a better friend to the poor unappreciated guy, and then offs herself. After such an emotional roller coaster, he snaps into Unstoppable Rage. The Adult Fear sets in when you sympathize with him through the whole thing, and then realize that, if you went through the experience of having everyone you care about either die for your sake, or viciously turn against you and declare you to be a murderous monster like that, you could very well end up in the same boat. His last words say it all: "With hatred, anyone can become a demon."
  • Gears of War has this in spades. All of the named characters have had family and friends, and some of them had children - and they all lost a great many of them on E-Day and during the war that followed. Dom's life, especially, after losing his brother and kids, the only thing that kept him going was the possibility of finding his missing wife, Maria. In 2, he does find her - after she had suffered years of torture, malnutrition, and lobotomization that drove her into irreversible insanity. The only way to save her is via Mercy Kill, which Dom has to personally deliver. Imagine crusading for years to find someone dear to you in the midst of a global war zone, only to be forced to kill them immediately afterward.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2's final act, if you get past the True Art Is Incomprehensible part. The US is controlled by AI programs and the point of the plot is revealed: They figured out they can make anyone into what they want, given the right set of circumstances. Oh, and the main character's love interest? Set up by them. It even makes you question whether she actually exists. Let's see: Fear of loved ones having ulterior motives? Check. Fear of not knowing what's actually real? Check. Fear of having no control in your life? Big check.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3:
      • The game has Parental Abandonment in the form of The Boss' betrayal of Snake. While they aren't actually related by blood, Snake has clearly come to see The Boss as something of a surrogate mother, and the only family he really has. Her betrayal is something he spends the rest of the game coming to grips with, in addition to the fact that he has to kill her. And then it all turns out to be an elaborate ruse, and despite everything that happened, The Boss still respects and loves Snake. And he still has to kill her.
      • Cut away the trappings of Cold War spy fiction, and Tatyana is a woman who is being physically and sexually abused by her boss, Colonel Volgin. The fact that she's actually a super-capable secret agent can either mitigate this or make this even worse, as the nature of her undercover assignment is such that she's forced into being raped by a psychotic sadist.
    • Likewise, Metal Gear Solid 4. First: Snake facing his declining health and dealing with a terminal illness. Part of Otacon's emotional arc is about coping with the long-term illness of his close friend and partner. There is also the question of children growing up — and possibly outgrowing you. ("It's okay if you want to live outside now.") Hideo Kojima said in interviews prior to the game's release that he hoped the story and emotions would resonate with older players, ones who had been following the series for some time, and did they ever.
    • From Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the story of Strangelove's death. Imagine walking in on your husband about to do something horrible to your child, and when you try to stop him, he murders you. Slowly. In front of the child.
  • The adventure horror game Sanitarium has a strong theme running throughout it of child endangerment. One of the first chapters takes place in an abandoned town where all of the adults have disappeared and left the children alone, who are slowly being turned into deformed abominations. That same chapter features the story of a young girl who was killed by her abusive father while the townspeople turned a blind eye. Another chapter has you play as a young girl in a Circus of Fear, and other chapters feature things like alien babies being thrown into a furnace. As the game progresses and you learn more about the main character, you find out that he and his wife had been searching for a cure for their unborn child, who is suffering from a fatal disease. This is compounded by the fact that the protagonist was severely traumatized by the death of his little sister when he was a boy.
  • Killer7, already a pretty disturbing game, has the scene where Curtis Blackburn confronts his former partner Pedro (who has turned against him) and reveals that he killed (and probably raped) Pedro's wife - in front of his son - before killing his son as well. At the same time he mocks them, commenting on his wife's "unique" mole and calling his son a "sissy" for not trying to save his mother. When Pedro babbles his daughter's name, Curtis tosses him his daughter's head. Curtis then kills Pedro, but by that point the man probably welcomed it. It's later shown that Curtis kidnaps and rapes young girls. And then makes hauntingly creepy taxidermy dolls out of them.
    • And Susie, who seemed to have had a decent life but killed her own mother just because she wanted her to go to school. A reminder than no matter how good a parent you are, sometimes your kid can turn into an Enfante Terrible.
  • BioShock:
    • BioShock:
      • You might find some audio diaries belonging to a Mrs. Lutz. Her daughter has been kidnapped and for the longest time she and her husband don’t know where she is. One day she finds her little Masha. Masha has been transformed into a little sister, harvesting the plasmid-strewn blood of a corpse. She neither recognizes nor acknowledges her parents. The Lutzes are later found in a hotel room, they committed suicide out of grief, their daughter’s picture is found near their bodies.
      • You can also find a family in Mercury Suites. A mother, father, and three little girls. All dead.
    • BioShock 2:
      • The introduction scene of the game. Super effective against anyone immersing themselves in the perspective. Double that for male parents.
      • When you set the Little Sister in your care down to gather ADAM from a corpse, you usually can concentrate fully on the hordes of crazy lunatics charging at you since there is only very little chance that she will take any real damage. But when she screams for help, you will stop whatever you are doing or dealing with and instantly charge back to smash a giant drill through someones brain.
      • Imagine you were given the task of taking care of a group of small children while they're on a trip to an amusement park for a sleepover, to give their parents a reprieve while they celebrate the New Year. Now imagine that suddenly you hear mass fighting and explosions that are happening throughout the city, so much so that you and your children are accidentally locked in the amusement park with dwindling food and water for longer and longer periods of time - long enough that you are faced with the very real prospect of watching those children die of starvation while you suffer the same fate. This is what befell Nina Carnegie, and you find her audio diaries in Ryan Amusements, which tell you that she starved herself to death so the kids she was looking after would have more food.
      • The mere existence of Ryan Amusements. It's pretty grim to be anyone of any age down in Rapture, just short of being Andrew Ryan himself, but the "entertainment" there invokes the shadow of real-world attempts to indoctrinate children with adult political ideologies — or to foster fear and mistrust of the outside world to quash any will to escape. Even if they were cruelly duped, many of the adults in Rapture chose to come there; the children of Rapture made no such choice. (The Journey to the Surface ride plays on adult fears itself in-game, as well as scaring children; the threats posed by the "parasite" include a nightmarish version of the draft where young children are torn from their parents and sent off to war.)
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect 2:
      • Morinth. She's a mutant asari called an Ardat-Yakshi that experiences an extreme high whenever she takes part in sexual intercourse with another being, and anyone taking part in it with her experiences a brain hemorrhage and dies. She is very crafty, having been alive for centuries, very good at avoiding capture and detection. She targets individuals that have some form of creativity that intrigues her, feigns becoming their friend before eventually bringing them into wherever she's residing in, and then murders them. In short, she's a space-born serial killer. To add to this, on Omega, you meet the mother of one of her victims, who just one day found her daughter dead from Morinth's handiwork.
      • It goes the other way as well. With Morinth, Samara goes through two of the worst nightmares a parent can face; her daughter is a vicious sociopathic killer and developed an incurable genetic condition passed down from her parents. Both can often leave a parent feeling that they failed in their duties as such, even though it is through no fault of their own. As if that was not enough, she dedicated her life (which for an asari is hundreds of years) to killing her. Bad enough that your kid is a serial killer... now imagine you have to be the one to execute them.
    • Mass Effect 3:
      • You don't have to go much farther than the very first mission of the game, where Shepard tries to rescue a terrified young boy during the Reaper invasion of Earth. At the very end of the mission, Shepard sees the boy climbing onto an evacuation shuttle which is then blown to pieces by a Reaper.
      • The excellent Daylight Horror level Sanctuary is one of the creepiest places in the whole series. There are no monsters, no jump scares and not even a lot of corpses. Just a huge and well lit reception terminal that appears way too fancy for a refugee camp that was opened just two months ago, and it's entirely deserted. However, the PA is still working and there are lots of notes on the many receptionists' desks, informing newcomers that they have to hand over their personal possessions until they are cleared to move from the reception area to the main habitats, and security is heavily screening for any unallowed communication devices inside the compound. Also, refugees can gain better accommodations in the habitat complex if they volunteer as receptionists while they are waiting to be cleared. And the administration staff refers to it not as the reception area, but as Processing. It's either a cult center or a concentration camp, and the place is massive. The truth is that it is actually much worse than either of those, with the refugees being used as test subjects for Reaper technology by Cerberus.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda:
      • Vetra signed up to the Initiative and brought her little sister along, and has to deal with the guilt as the situation with the Initiative goes From Bad to Worse, even wondering if she's endangered her sister for nothing. And then there's her loyalty mission, where it turns out Sid has been trying to break into the Lovable Rogue game like Vetra, not quite getting it's dangerous until she's pissed off an unstable crime boss, and winds up being held hostage.
      • Jaal was born in a prolonged war, noting that for his species every day a kid is orphaned thanks to the kett, and he's no exception (his dad went to work one morning, and never came home). His loyalty mission has to deal with the thought of three of his siblings falling in with a terrorist group. One of whom goes as far as to shoot another when he gets cold feet.
      • The Ryder twins' mother, Ellen, died prior to the trip to Andromeda from a terminal illness caused by repeated exposure to element zero. The player's ability to make the player twin a biotic prior to becoming Pathfinder means that at least one of the exposures that contributed to Ellen's illness occurred while she was pregnant. As explained back in the first game, prenatal eezo exposure only has a ten percent chance to cause biotic powers in humans; thirty percent of the time they end up with brain tumors that kill them before their third birthday. As one of the lead researchers in the field - she invented the implants that were in use at the start of the first game - these statistics would not have been lost on Ellen. The fact that Ellen's research came so close to killing her children explains a lot about why she is so accepting of her own death. It was the twins' father, Alec, who couldn't handle watching his wife slowly die, which drove most of his actions.
      • Speaking of Alec, within a matter of hours after waking up in the Andromeda, one of his children ends up in a coma because their ship hit an unforeseeable obstacle at exactly the wrong time, then his other child almost suffocates from a toxic atmosphere because their helmet was broken by a freak accident.
  • For those who are lonely and/or prone to depression, there's probably nothing scarier than the ending of Yume Nikki. In a nutshell, Madotsuki finally kills herself, and the only ones who mourn her are the monsters from her dreams.
  • Nicole
    • The entire mystery plot is one big adult fear. There have been three kidnap-victims at the college, girls who disappear and suddenly reappear a few days later, with no memory whatsoever of what has happened and don't even remember their kidnapping at all. The girls don't seem to have been physically hurt or worse, but they are still missing a good chunk of time for themselves.
      Then Nicole is on her way home one night, walking alone to her dorm, in the dark. That's already a regular recipe for something creepy to happen and she even hears noises behind her. Scared out of her wits, she starts to run home like crazy, only to realize in her room that her roommate, Chaundra, thinks she might have mistaken the noise for something harmless. And she's lost her phone.
      She thankfully gets her phone back from the lost-and-found the next day, but sees a draft message on it that she didn't write yesterday. It's a message from the one who followed her and had access to her phone, including all her social media sites since Nicole uses auto-login. He could have seen everything about her and gotten information. The draft is a warning about walking home in the dark.
      Nicole gets more messages, first by an anonymous poster, who then uses the pseudonym 'CANSTEELSEAU'. And he's writing her messages, mentioning how she got her phone back and how she looks good in red. This guy is watching her. Right. Now. And the next time she walks home alone at night, CANSTEELSEAU reprimands her for doing this again. And then says Nicole will be his fourth victim. It goes downhill from there.
    • And ignoring Nicole's fear about the entire thing, think of her family. Her mother mentions the disappearances when she first talks to Nicole on the phone. Poor woman, think about it. Her daughter is at the college where girls her age have been disappearing. She isn't just in the range of the victims' similarities or crime-scenes and things have been happening here and there, she is directly where it happened. Always. Worst part is, Nicole never even tells her parents that she was being targeted - not until everything is over. Your child is being targeted by someone who kidnaps girls, but they won't tell you and you have no idea in what sort of danger they might be in.
  • Modern Warfare 2's mission "Of Their Own Accord" opens with an automated Emergency Broadcast System message as the Ultranationalists invade the United States. That single EBS broadcast is enough to scare the piss out of anyone viewing it, because it indicates just how far along the "To Shit" meter everything has gone.
    • The opening gameplay section of the level shows a bunker underground, filled chock-full of hard-pressed and wounded defenders. You follow your squad leader out of the bunker...and you're a literal stone's throw away from the Washington Monument and the White House and you can see the Capitol off in the distance. That's how far the Russians have gotten. There's a point later on in the level where the background chatter tells the player enemy tanks are attacking a building chock full of civilians. Two A-10 pilots try to stop them...and fail. One of them doesn't make it. What's worse; dying before you failed to save dozens of people, or living with the knowledge?
    • "No Russian", where the squad you're with commences a terrorist attack on an airport. That airport may very well be your local airport. The game gives you the option to skip this mission with no penalty because it is that bad.
    • "Wolverines"; imagine heavily armed foreign invaders were fighting your nation's defenders on your soil. Now imagine it's happening in your suburb.
    • Also, Modern Warfare had a wonderful Fridge Horror scene that qualifies as Adult Fear: "Death From Above". You play as an AC-130 gunner, and it becomes terrifying as you begin to feel the detachment from killing that such a one-sided conflict presents.
    • The entire plot of the first game seems fairly standard action-movie fare, the violence firmly detached from the homes of the player-base Until a terrorist wipes out his home city, and a player character, with a nuke, as you can only watch helplessly as your heli goes down, and then you die of radiation poisoning. And then several ICBM's gets launched at the US east coast, just for good measure.
    • Modern Warfare 3 had the level where you played a father on vacation in London with his family, videotaping his daughter running around enjoying herself right before a truck bomb blows up next to her.
  • A trailer for the game Dead Island, has a man desperately trying to save his wife and young daughter from the zombies. None of them survive. Watch it here.
    • During the Church missions, Sinnamoi radioes to the player that there is an unseen 10-year old at the lifeguard tower who is delirious and possibly infected. Some of the survivors want to isolate and/or kill her. After a few more missions, the update is that she died. HOW she died is not said...
    • Ryder White's campaign plays an even harder fear, especially for those that serve in the military. It's bad enough that your wife is caught in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, but what if you're ordered by a superior to eliminate her?

Given its modern-day Urban Fantasy setting, Persona is rife with this:

  • Persona 2:
    • The backstory of the real Masked Circle in Innocent Sin is full of this. It all started with five children who played together at a shrine. One of them had to move away, so three of the children tried to lock her into the shrine along with the only one thought it was a bad idea. The two children were inside the shrine until nightfall, and their family had no idea where they were. You think that's bad? It gets worse. By a freak twist of fate, a passing arsonist lights the shrine on fire. One of the children manages to get the other one out in time, but when he runs to get help, the arsonist stabs him in the back and leaves him for dead. It's so bad that the boy activates his Persona for the first time and sets the guy on fire. Meanwhile, the girl who was locked inside the burning shrine activates her Persona, which keeps her alive, but barely. Both children end up hospitalized, and everyone thinks that the girl is dead. The three children who locked them in think that it's their fault that she's dead, and the girl now has a crippling fear of fire that lasts into adulthood. This is the backstory of five of the six player characters of Innocent Sin. All of them were so traumatized by the event that they blocked off the memory, and the fact that they were friends long ago. Imagine being the family of one of those kids, waiting up all night for your son, little brother, or daughter who didn't come home when they should have, and then getting a call from the police that says that they're in the hospital. Or finding that your son or daughter did something horrible that they won't tell you about.
    • The plotline of the Suou brothers in Eternal Punishment also qualifies. Katsuya Suou's younger brother didn't come home one day. Katsuya keeps on asking his brother's schoolmates for his whereabouts, but they don't know anything. He keeps on asking everyone, but no one knows anything. When he finally finds his brother Tatsuya, Tatsuya is fighting a serial killer. Tatsuya is about forty levels higher than Katsuya, which just raises more questions about how much he's been through. When Katsuya tries to talk to him, Tatsuya kicks him out of a moving blimp. It's pretty clear that he's involved with something bad that he's trying to shoulder on his own. Tatsuya is always one step ahead of Katsuya, and when he finally tells Katsuya what's going on, he starts with, "I'm not your little brother." Tatsuya remembered the timeline of Innocent Sin, where he couldn't save the world. By hitting the Reset Button, the world of Eternal Punishment was created. The price was the memories of the real Masked Circle being friends, and one of them remembering the old timeline would shake the foundations of the new timeline. Tatsuya couldn't let his friends go, and remembered them when it would destroy the world. The whole time, he was trying to prevent the end of the world, knowing that it was his fault. He couldn't tell anyone without risking the timelines merging again.
  • Persona 4:
    • The last victim of the kidnapper is your little cousin Nanako. Her father Ryotaro Dojima goes through absolute hell, alongside you. Plus, you know how in Real Life, serial killers tend to be people the victims know, right? Well, the guy pulling the strings here (including manipulating said kidnapper) is none other than Tohru Adachi, Dojima's partner. He's visited the Dojima residence on multiple occasions as a seemingly-trustworthy guy, and knows Nanako very well... Not to mention that if you want to give in and punish the kidnapper Namatame under the false impression that he's the true culprit, you will get the Bad Ending and Nanako will die. It's a really easy option and one that many newbies are likely to take, and then BAM. Kid is 100% dead, and you'll lose the chance to get her "fixed". And this is amped up in Persona 4 Golden: Adachi is actually one of your Social Links. So make the wrong decisions while following said link — and Adachi not only gets a Karma Houdini, but he mocks you over it even when you're leaving Inaba.
    • Know how many people easily kill Namatame believing that he was the culprit? To this day, many innocent people are easily accused of crimes they never committed and sometimes get the death sentence.
    • Namatame himself also had it very rough. Not only was his whole life destroyed because of his affair, he also had to sit and watch two people, including his lover, dying right in front of him, helpless to do anything. And then, right after that, he was tricked into almost murdering several innocent people. No wonder everyone thought he was mentally unstable at the end of the game.
    • The Death Arcana social link in the game revolves around an elderly lady, whose husband suffered from something that is heavily implied to be Alzheimer. Just as one would think, the social link is about the sadness and horror one experiences, seeing their beloved slowly succumb to such an illness. Their loved one is forgetting things, simple things, like whether they brushed their teeth that day, what they had for dinner... and her. The elderly lady watched her husband forget all the memories they made over years of their marriage.
    • Dojima's wife was killed unexpectedly in a hit-and-run, leaving him to feel unworthy as a father to Nanako. He devotes all his time trying to find his wife's killer despite so little leads, keeping his distance from Nanako, getting drunk, working late and consistently breaking promises to her, all the while telling himself that Nanako would understand one day.
    • Junes is seriously threatening the local businesses and livelihood of many in the shopping distinct, to the point families are splitting up because of it.
    • Saki's parents outlive their daughter who was brutally murdered. They have a hard time coping with her death, refusing to talk about her but their son reveals they've been crying over her every night.
    • The killer himself also qualifies as this. Having teached by Education Mama parents throughout his childhood, having no money, being abused by peers at work and being thrown into a rural town with nothing to do; All of these convincing him that there's no choice other than to go out and kill to relive stress.
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth manages to sugar coat this with a Crapsaccharine World setting in a Yasogami School cultural festival. One of the Deuteragonists, Rei also looks like and acts like a normal girl, aside that she's kind of a Big Eater. In reality, the truth is much darker: Rei is actually a ghost called "Niko" who died of a terminal illness, presumably cancer. Niko meant "Second Child," which means that her parents probably didn't hold her in a high regard and in fact, they even refused to meet her at the last moment. While she wanted to do stuff such as get married or go to a festival, she cannot, since she has to spend the rest of her short life on the hospital bed before she succumbs.
  • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth: As a Persona 5 spin-off, Persona Q2 has this as well, and managed to portray an even more realistic but equally disturbing scenario as Persona 5.
    • All of the labyrinths are disturbingly accurate metaphors of potential childhood traumas that can kill off a person as easily as anything seen in Persona 5.
    • Kamoshidaman portrays how school teachers are basically unresistable by their classmates, regardless if they are wrong or right.
    • Junessic Land portrays how a newcomer student is being driven into becoming a bully because everyone that is not related to the bullies isolated them.
    • A.I.G.I.S is a portrayal of parents actively preventing their children to get a job that they wanted and denying its worth.
    • The fourth labyrinth is a compilation and embodiment of a girl's childhood traumas and depicts how she got driven to suicidal depression.
    • The Theater District is a place where people who had been given up life and submerged themselves in depression and withdrawal infinitely submerge themselves in it.
    • The first thing that comes to mind is the Persona 3 female protagonist. When venturing the movie labyrinth A.I.G.I.S., she encounters what appears to be her S.E.E.S comrades, aside that they don't recognize her at all and the recognition is one-sided, since the female protagonist can still recognize all of the S.E.E.S members. It was pretty clear that these are just identical looking Doppelgangers from another reality, and the female protagonist was here alone all the time. Now her Stepford Smiler just crashed and she just felt...isolated and maybe a bit traumatized, since the female protagonist values her comrades a lot and Hates Being Alone.
    • It was revealed in the end-game that Hikari, the Deuteragonist of the game is in fact completely screwed up in her childhood, with her tormentors destroying her emotionally and only emotionally, there are no murders, no deaths, no physical/sexual abuse and no terminal illness; All just because she acted differently from others. Suprisingly, the traumas are very mundane even for video game standards, but it doesn't make them any less disturbing. These include her primary school teacher labeling her as a scapegoat for poisoning the class rabbit that she probably didn't care for, befriending a bullied student only to be bullied in return and isolated by her Girl Posse friends in secondary school, and then having her film director future wish rejected by her relatives who threatened to talk with her father. This drives her into becoming a borderline suicidal shut-in, which is only made worse by having her Living Emotional Crutch father asking her the exact trigger word that people said to her before they poured in more abuse. Even though he was actually expressing genuine concern towards her deteriorating mental health, it doesn't stop her from being destroyed completely. This caused her soul to be "imprisoned" in one of Nagi/Enlil's Cinemas where she escapes reality by watching movies made of pure negativity. Obviously, this doesn't end well. The entire situation is simplar to the Hikkikomori phenomenon, just imagine the computers as theaters.
    • Oh and remember that there are actually grown men and middle aged women in Nagi's Cinemas too, and they don't seem to be particularly cheery, either.
  • Rule of Rose does a reversal of this trope, showing how serious and poignant child's fears can be: abandonment, loss of parents, rejection, bullying, betrayal... Notably the game only implies, but refuses to show the genuine adult fears, like child abuse and murder.
  • Shadowverse: Rowen fears that he might accidentally kill his family if his dragon curse goes into a rampage. He attempts to prevent this from happening by not going home until he can control the curse. Isabelle has also shown signs of this trope in the past – the fear of having your loved one die in the middle of a war.
  • MOTHER 3. Imagine your spouse being killed by a creature acting against its own will. Frightening enough. Now imagine your child, only about 7-9 years old, going to avenge their parent's death, and going missing. Imagine never finding him. Then, imagine said child getting captured and reconstructed into a soulless fighting machine, being used to help destroy the world. Not done yet, the shock is so terrible that you spend years trying to find him, and become withdrawn and distant from the twin who is still with you. Finally, as you have to witness said child attempt to kill you and your other child, eventually coming out of the haze only to decide to commit suicide in front of the other child. They don't call it "heartrending" for nothing.
    • Its prequel, EarthBound, gave us an interesting case with its final boss, Giygas. He's meant to represent the moment that Ness loses his childhood innocence, and does so by being very, very... different from the other game's bosses, or the rest of the game in general for that matter. To elaborate: Every other evil creature Ness has to defeat in order to find the strength to defeat Giygas, are all things little kids are afraid of: giant rats, zombies, ghosts, human-sized bugs, angry dogs, stereotypical aliens, and the like. Once he has done so, he enters his Magicant, where he has a one-on-one fight with his inner demons, which, to him, looks like one of the Mani Mani statues Giygas has been using to rally all those creatures to fight him. Once he wins, him and his friends confront Giygas, after going back in time, knowing full well they may never come back. Giygas's lair, called "the devil machine", looks like something H.R Geiger would come up with during a really bad fever dream, already a massive contrast to the rest of the game, then we meet Giygas. He's a horrifying, indescribable, ethereal Eldritch Abomination, babbling out things like "It hurts, it hurts!" and "I feel...G O O D...", and he attacks Ness in ways that aren't understandable to the human brain. Oh, and did we mention that he symbolizes murder and rape?note  Yeah, we're definitely not fighting monsters under our beds anymore. This idea is further strengthened when you read where the creator got the idea for him.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask does this intentionally, since it's a deconstructed coming-of-age story made to contrast with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Lots of the NPCs are dealing with very adult issues, and Link gets to see both sides of these things from different NPCs. A father is grieving for the loss of a son who is missing and presumed dead, while a toddler is raging because of the death of his father. A newlywed is about to die and laments that he will never be able to see the his children born, while a child is about to lose her father to a illness. One man can't show his face to his fiancée because he broke a promise, while another has been imprisoned because his friend's family thinks he is responsible for her disappearance. A woman about to be wed fears that her fiancé left because he no longer loves her, while a wife can't work and can barely function because of her husband's disappearance and the deteriorating health of her children (and there is nothing she can do about it.) Guards are torn between doing their job and fleeing for their lives, while soldiers obey orders for a war that has already ended. The soldier who is wounded and invisible to everyone, so that no one rescues him; another adult lost and injured while her sibling, who has the power to help her, is unaware of her sister's predicament. There's also the robbery of an elderly woman and a young woman forced to grow up too soon by the death of her father, who must run the family business that's being threatened by a rival business, who THEN has her little sister and the family's source of income both disappear one night—an event about which the little sister warned her, but the older sister did not believe—followed by the little sister's return: completely traumatized to the point of being catatonic.
    • Wind Waker and Twilight Princess have this too. In the former, Ganondorf has various young girls kidnapped because they share a couple physical similarities to Princess Zelda, among these is Link's child sister. The parents of these lost kids are appropriately freaked out. In the latter, the children of Link's hometown are stolen by Bulblins and much of the first half of the game is about Link tracking down and rescuing all of them.
    • In Skyward Sword, Link has to deal with the kidnapping of his best friend, as well as a number of instances where she was helpless and would have been brutally killed by a demon if he hadn't intervened. Also, at one point in the game, Link has to outright tell Zelda's father that his daughter is not coming back. Also, Kukiel's mom is shown to be completely terrified when Kukiel suddenly disappeared. She went out to play and never came home. When you ask around, all people can tell you was that she was last seen playing with a strange man. And from all evidence, he took her to his house. Turns out the guy is harmless and sends her home the next morning, but still!
    • In A Link Between Worlds, a number of parents and loved ones of the Seven Sages become quite understandably distraught when they are kidnapped by Yuga.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, King Dorephan's daughter was chosen as one of the Champions of Hyrule, being a dangerous job in defending the kingdom against Ganon when he returned. And sure enough when Ganon did return, his beloved daughter was killed by Ganon's forces and Dorephan outlived his daughter. Even after a hundred years later, he still mourned the loss of his daughter.
      • [[spoiler: King Rhoam's journal reveals that he hadn't seen his child Zelda since their last argument a few days ago. He regretted treating her harshly and resolved to be more kind to them. This was his last journal entry before Calamity Ganon returns and he himself is killed and he never saw his child again.
  • A primary theme in NieR. The world around you is dying, and your daughter/little sister is terminally ill. Then some monster steals her from you. Are you prepared to get her back, regardless of the horrible, irreparable consequences?
    • New Game+ flips this on its head. You're on the verge of saving the world. You've waited an eternity, but you've finally been reunited with your daughter/little sister. Then some monster starts slaughtering his way through your friends and allies, the innocent and the guilty, to try and take her away from you again. What are you prepared to do to keep your loved one?
  • An old one for video games, but has to be said. King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human has Graham paralyzed by grief. His son was kidnapped from his cradle and enslaved by his enemies somewhere, his kingdom has been burnt to cinders by a dragon that his best efforts cannot defeat with innocents suffering and dying on his watch...and then his only remaining child offers herself up as a Human Sacrifice. The canonical game doesn't play it up, but the Fan Remake games and Fan Sequel The Silver Lining don't make an attempt to downplay it. It's bad enough that Graham's falling deathly ill at the start of King's Quest IV is perfectly understandable after years and years of extreme stress.
  • Night in the Woods: This could be called "Adult Fear: The Game" with how often it plays at grown-up concerns and worries:
    • The game starts with Mae walking home through the woods because her parents didn't know she was coming home that day. Mae is a tiny 20 year old "naive" girl in her aunt's words, who wanders through the dark and jumps on power lines. Aunt Molly, who is a local cop, finds Mae, chews her out for being reckless, and takes her home. Mae's dad feels really guilty when she tells him that he forgot the day she was coming home. It gets worse when you find out a cult has been kidnapping people who wouldn't be missed, and Mae was a sitting duck. If not for her aunt, she would probably be sacrificed by the cult.
    • There is also Mae dropping out of college, having to go home, and now wondering what she will do with her life without an education or hope. In addition, Mae has an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness that could possibly be a dissociative disorder. It's not clear, though, and it's best not to presume. You would expect that Mae would be able to find therapy, cognitive behavioral methods, or medication, but all her doctor gives her is a journal as a form of treatment. Not in addition to other methods, just "keep a journal" and that's all. At college, Mae was still unable to find better resources and dropped out.
    • The town of Possum Springs is on the verge of going belly up due to the closure of the mines and factories in the area. The only thing keeping the town going is the local Ham Panther, (possibly) the highway access to the nearby parks, and a cult of townsfolk who are appeasing an elder god to keep the town prosperous. And even that's pretty ambiguous.
    • Mae's parents are concerned about losing the house to the bank after taking out a mortgage to pay for Mae's tuition. Mae also feels really guilty about this, knowing the sacrifices they made.
    • Bea is constantly surly and resentful because she has been forced to act as de facto manager to the family hardware store after losing her mother to cancer and her father's subsequent meltdown. Her father even warns her of potential sexual assault from one of their staff, but they can't fire him because he's their best repairman and losing him would be a major blow to their business.
    • Pastor Kate is fighting furiously against the town council to start a program to help get the homeless off the street. She ultimately does not succeed.
    • Casey, a young adult friend of the gang's, has been missing for nearly a year, with his parents and friends concerned for his safety. Sadly, he wasn't that far away, being one of many sacrifices that "nobody will miss".
    • Mae's constant nightmares begin taking their toll on her mental health, and everyone can tell.
    • Even the background characters deal with adult fears. A pair of Smelters fans grow distant as one of them reveals he plans to move out of town, a coworker convinces a woman to stay at a job she hates because it might pay better than going to work elsewhere, etc.
    • In the climax, when Mae convinces her friends to find the ghost, she ends up with a serious head injury. Her aunt finds her and bring her home, but Mae's parents are worried sick when she wakes up and wanders to her friends' place. In the epilogue, Mae agrees with her mother to set ground rules since she nearly died.
    • During one of the hangout sessions with Germ, he'll recount a pretty chilling story of being followed on his way home by one of the transients he met, where he had to hide in a tree to wait for the man to go away and then make a run for it.
    • The whole group nearly gets buried alive inside a collapsed mine with nobody knowing where they are.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem:
      • One of the main villain, Lang, who not only massacres whole villages if one person rebels, but kills boys and rapes girls. You can imagine how well that was taken by Marth and his group. It's also invoked in the backstory of Lena's pupil Marisha (which involved her going into hiding and having to pretend she's much younger than she truly is to avoid him or his troops) and in Jubelo and Yuliya's (as the fallen heirs of Ludvick, Lang and others kill their guardian and then use them as pawns).
      • Princess Maria, whose own brother Michalis uses as a hostage to force their sister Minerva to fight for him. As a result, Maria spends a long part of her life as a hostage, and Minerva can't do anything but fight on the evil Michalis' orders to ensure she won't die.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War:
      • The "child hunts," a horrifying project in which boys and girls from all the Jugdral continent are kidnapped, brought to different cities, and then are forced to fight until they die. The few who survive end up as nobles of the empire, who are nothing more than more that puppets for the Loptyr Sect. The parents are more often than not killed when they try to protect their children. The heroes, several of them being very young teenagers not much older than these kids, have to fight themselves to save these poor kids (and in the midquel Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, more than one character who joins the troupe actually does so specifically either to thank them for saving the children, or to make up for having been on the side of the Empire); meanwhile, more than one villain in the game is troubled by the existence of such deals, and those who aren't are very cruel. Emperor Arvis is horrified by the child hunts, and his teenaged son Julius leads them. In fact, the boy is actually the vessel for the Loptyr God, and has stripped Arvis of his authority so he can't do anything about it.
      • Mareeta's backstory involves a lot of these. She was an innocent girl living in hiding with her fallen prince father, who did what he could to keep her safe and next to him. They were doing fine as travelers, but once Galzus was distracted for a mere second, young Mareeta was kidnapped by slave traders and taken into a slave market. Thank God Eyvel was there for her, but if she didn't... This is invoked again at the beginning, when Mareeta and Eyvel's other daughter Nanna get caught by the enemy, and you have to fight a Brainwashed and Crazy Mareeta who's under the influence of an Evil Weapon...
      • King Trabant exploits adult fears twice. In the first part, the whole Yied Massacre happens when Trabant attacks Ethlyn, Quan and their troops and, after killing Ethlyn, he stages a cruel Sadistic Choice to Quan: either he drops his powerful Gaebolg lance or his three year old daughter and heiress Altena dies]]; as a result, Quan drops the Gaebolg...only for Travant to kill him anyway and take both little girl and sacred weapon to his kingdom. In the second part he forces a powerful general named Hannibal to fight Seliph's group via taking his adoptive son (Sylvia's son Corple, or his expy Sharlow if she died childless) as a hostage; either Hannibal wipes out the rebels, or his child dies.
      • Ares is also brutally slapped in the face with one of these, when his prospective love interest and companion Leen (or her expy Laylea) is incarcerated by their boss Bramsel, who is a known Dirty Old Man. As Ares finds out, he LOSES it and rushes back to the castle, despite his leader Jabarro's warnings. It's strongly implied that, while he finds Leen/Laylea mostly unharmed, she has already been molested or downright raped by Bramsel.
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening:
      • You're an amnesiac young man/woman taken in by a kind prince's troops. You're rebuilding your life, fighting by your companions, making friends, and maybe even getting a girlfriend/boyfriend of your own if you're lucky. And then you and your True Companions find out that you are not just the son/daughter of a Evil Sorceror, but you are to become the Soul Jar to an Evil God. And kill your Prince (who may or may not be your female self's husband). And doom your world to a Bad Future, where all your newfound friends are dead and their children (including your kid/kids, if you're married) are fighting a hopeless war. Also, said Evil Sorceror had another daughter, the local Dark Action Girl. A woman who believes him to be her savior, who took her into after saving her life. And then it turns out that she was kidnapped, experimented on, and brainwashed by him... therefore her whole adult life has been a massive lie. Discovering such shit must be devastating for anyone, and it does hit her hard.
      • In the Hot-Spring Scramble DLC, Male!Morgan tried playing dead in the water to lure Risen for a surprise attack, but unfortunately forgot to tell his allies about his plan, leading them to genuinely think he was dead. Morgan's mother (Female!Avatar) is briefly mentioned to be "bawling her eyes out" when they found Morgan floating the water.
    • Corrin in Fire Emblem Fates learns s/he was kidnapped from birth and is actually the lost prince/ss of a nation their adoptive homeland is at war with. Later they must choose between their adoptive family or their biological one. The side not picked takes it rather harshly and the effect it has on them is dire.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • Seteth goes through this in Chapter 6 when his younger sister Flayn goes missing. It gets even worse when you find out that she was abducted by Jeritza, a teacher at the academy and somebody Seteth and Flayn would have trusted. On top of all that, Seteth is in fact Flayn's father, making his near-month of panic that much more understandable.
      • For Jeralt, his wife dies in childbirth, and the baby doesn’t behave as one would expect from a baby, no crying or laughing. After taking the child to a doctor he discovers they have no heartbeat. And what he doesn’t know is that his child was actually stillborn.
  • Pokémon Black and White has N's upbringing by Ghetsis - He was locked in a room with many toys, socially isolated, raised with abused Pokémon to believe that trainers were evil and abusive, and emotionally abused, so that he would become a Tyke-Bomb for Ghetsis to take over Unova. Implications are strong that once Ghetsis plans succeed, Ghetsis plans to dispose of N. To rub salt in the wound, one of the Plasma agents mentions that N might not actually be Ghetsis' son. The sequels, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, confirm this, revealing that N was orphaned by his real family until Ghetsis found him in the wild and raised him as his own child.
  • Happens in Pokemon Platinum with an elderly man who laments that he knew his grandson was living in an emotionally unhealthy home (whether it was abusive or just that severely neglectful is left to speculation), but didn't do anything to help until it was already too late to save him. It's heavily implied that his grandson is Cyrus, the Big Bad of the game, responsible for almost destroying reality. Imagine living with the guilt of knowing you could have prevented that and didn't.
  • In Deus Ex the player has the option to read the emails of a cyborg government agent. In one email he expresses fears about new innovation's in cybernetics that will render him obsolete and useless thus forcing the government to fire him and leaving him without specialist care he requires to function.
  • One of the central conflicts in Deus Ex: Human Revolution are the consequences of augmenting. Those who do augment get better paying jobs and an edge on their non-augmented competition, but also face scorn and discrimination in their communities, face feelings of disconnection with the rest of the human race and have to pay for an insanely expensive drug for the rest of their lives. Those who don't meanwhile are getting gradually rendered obsolete, largely in their chosen careers and being forced to accept degrading and often dangerous alternatives.
  • Milla Vodello from Psychonauts isn't just a bubbly party animal. Before becoming a Psychonaut she worked at an orphanage and formed very close bonds with the children there. The orphanage started burning while she was getting groceries, and she returned just in time to telepathically hear their last agonizing screams. The memory can be found in a hidden room that also locks nightmares away from the rest of Milla's mind.
    • Another example concerning Raz's father: Trying to protect your son by training him only to find out he's run away because you pushed him too hard. Though at the very least that training has helped save Raz's life and by extension, the world.
  • From the romance horror that is Catherine:
    • On day 3, Vincent unexpectedly finding out that Katherine is pregnant. This sort of revelation hits him like a truck, and it would with any other couple if they weren't planning on having kids (just yet).
    • Picture this: You've been going out with your girlfriend for the past five years, and she's been talking about getting married and making things permanent. It hasn't been the most exciting of relationships, but for the most part you're content with it. One day, you hit up the local bar, and the next thing you remember, aside from a nightmare that you barely even remember, is that you've woken up next to a random beautiful woman, and it's implied that the two of you did...things the night before. Still not freaking out? Not only does this woman not know you already have a girlfriend, but she threatens to kill you if she finds out you're seeing someone else. It certainly doesn't help that this Yandere girl does have everything you could ever want in a girlfriend, which now throws you into deciding between your longtime lover and this new girl. And just when you're contemplating how to get yourself out of this mess, you find yourself in several situations where these two women nearly find out about each other.
    • Katherine ends up accidentally murdering Catherine during a struggle. She reacts accordingly when she sees what happened. It's quickly revealed to just be a dream, but still.
    • The bosses of each level are the embodiments of Adult Fear. Vincent is pursued up the towers by his fear of commitment, his confused libido, his reluctance over parenthood...
  • The entire premise of the Max Payne series, which not only has his wife and baby daughter killed, but later leads to him being framed for getting too close to the truth, leaving him all alone in a Crapsack World with no-one to trust. Despite seemingly tying up all loose ends in the first game, it gets worse (hence the sequel).
  • Remedy also made Alan Wake, which opens with a successful writer who has a permanent case of writer's block. His wife takes him on a trip to a sleepy Northwest town...and then something happens, his wife is kidnapped, there's a Fed after him, there's some guy on the phone who says he has the wife, and people keep attacking him.
    • Later in the game, Alan ends up in a psychiatric retreat for creative people with mental problems. His wife is actually dead, he's had a psychotic break, and he's drugged to the gills. He even assaulted someone. It turns out the doctor running the joint is lying, and manipulating everyone there for his own ends, which is also an adult fair.
  • For a series known for its young and unrealistically pretty boys, Final Fantasy franchise has its share of Adult Fear:
    • Final Fantasy VI: Cyan losing his family when Doma is poisoned. Imagine, you, one of the finest knight in the realm, having no power to save your beloved ones. It gets so bad that later in the World of Ruins, an evil spirit grow powerful by feeding on his agony.
      • Strago completely lost his mind after the world come to its end and he become separated from his only family, his grand-daughter Relm. Shadow probably is like this too, if the WMG that he's Relm's father is proven true.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Barret has a break down after the upper plate smashes Sector 7, losing his friends and companions of Avalanche (except for Cloud and Tifa) and thought his adoptive daughter Marlene, too, had been crushed to death. Luckily, Aerith brought Marlene to her home in Sector 5 and is safe and sound.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Edea is the adoptive mother of all of player characters except Rinoa. Imagine, you're possessed by an all-powerful Sorceress from the future who force you to kill your children and unravel all that you built. The trauma is so bad that Edea can no longer act like a mother toward Squall and co.
    • Final Fantasy XIII explores the feelings of a single father whose only son is taken away from him by The Government, as well as those of a woman who loses her younger sister and of a man who loses his fiancée (same person) to a fate even worse.
      • What about Hope's father? His wife and son go away together for a nice little holiday, then suddenly they've been boarded on a train to Pulse (hell on earth or so the Fal'Cie would have you think); the train has crashed, and all escapees are being killed/rounded up for execution. Think about how he must have felt when he found all of this out. Oh - and when you do finally go see him, he has about two minutes to digest the fact that his wife's dead before the army attacks and his son is forced to flee.
    • In Final Fantasy XV, Regis knew full well the fate of Noctis, that his son would be destined for a life of pain and suffering and he could do nothing about it. And even worse, his armored spirit would be the one to deliver the final killing strike against Noctis in order to save Eos.
  • Granblue Fantasy: During the Dydroit Belt arc, most of the crew loses their memories of each other and as a result have wandered off in their confusion. In particular, everyone, especially Rosetta, is worried about the younger Io, who seems to be nowhere to be found, even potentially far away from the Dydroit Belt. Rosetta is quite relieved when she finds that Lecia found her and took her to the Enforcer outpost thinking she was an average lost child.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Frank Tenpenny. He's a selfish, corrupt monster. But because he hides behind a badge, CJ can't do anything about him.
  • Kingdom Hearts. Imagine this: It's stormy outside - really stormy. Your child has been in his room all evening. You go upstairs to call him in for dinner... the window's open, he's gone, and so are his two friends and their boats. He doesn't come back for years - during which you have no idea where he is, or if he's safe, or if he can ever come back. (The parents of the main characters never get more than a shadow in a doorway...) On the other hand, Word of God states that a world remains frozen in time once it is swallowed by the darkness. Also, due to events of Chain of Memories, the parents forget about their son until Namine restored Sora's memories, which means that they only started worrying at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II. Which might make it worse for them once they realize they completely forgot of their missing son's existence. Riku's parents did not lose their memories of him so they definably went through this.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Very little of the game is particularly scary for most people, because it's not that kind of game, but amidst all the Money Spiders and Eldritch Abomination Loot Pinatas, there's at least one storyline where one quest giver is the ghost of a little girl who doesn't understand that she's dead and her hometown is in ruins. You wind up helping her find her doll, among other things, because she's lonely. Not many quests get their own song.
    • Legion has the attack on the Exodar by the Legion, where many of the civilians you evacuate are children who can't find their parents. And the quest itself ends with Velen realizing to his horror that the Eredar you are about to kill is his own son, left behind on Argus and trained to hate his own father.
    • Speaking of Argus, on the planet killing a rare demon made by fusing together the corpses of draenei has a chance of dropping the doll of Uuna, a young girl; she was most likely one of its components. The girl's ghost can then accompany the player and gradually becomes happier... until she's dragged away in terror by void tendrils. When finally tracked down, she's in an otherworldly dead, pitch-black forest and is soon assaulted by unkillable shadow creatures. If the player doesn't hold them off long enough, they will pin Uuna down and eat her while she screams for her friend to help.
  • Along the same lines, Guild Wars 2 has a cemetery near the human capital of Divinity's Reach. Some of the inscriptions are hilarious, but there are some very sad ones, mainly any of the children burried there. (The youngest apparently died at the age of one.)
  • In the Dead Rising series, survivors will not hesitate to mention when loved ones have been brutally, savagely killed. In the first game alone, one of the very first encounters is a distraught mother who is distraught to the point of near-suicide, because she had to listen as her young daughter was eaten alive. One of the Psychopaths is a war veteran who is suffering a war flashback from the trauma of seeing his entire family getting eaten by zombies. The sequel, Dead Rising 2 gives players their own little bundle of adorable Adult Fear to worry over; Chuck Greene's daughter Katey. If she does not get her daily dose of medication, she not only dies, but turns into a zombie.
    • Imagine that, through no fault of your own, you get a disease. Said disease makes you a ticking time bomb, which will either kill you, or spread to someone else through your actions, even cause an epidemic. In order to keep this disease in check, you have to take daily doses of an extremely expensive medication that can be hard to obtain. And on top of all this, it also makes you subject to discrimination by both the public and the government. This is the reality for a Zombie Infectee in Dead Rising 2 and onwards, and it's very similar to the situation people infected with HIV and AIDS faced as its epidemic began to really spread in the 80's.
  • In Team Fortress 2 we learn of their world’s version of Santa, “Old Nick” an old Australian who kidnaps bad children and forces them to work in his munitions factory. Given the nature of this game, it’s considered humorous. Fast forward one year after he was introduced. BLU Spy, Scout and Soldier are forced to work as shopping mall Santas when Old Nick shows up to steal the kids. These three spring into action to save the children of Tuefort, even if the only weapons they have available are an icicle, a roll of wrapping paper and some Christmas ornaments.
  • The Indie Steam game Home is based entirely around Adult Fears, with no supernatural elements.
  • Also from Steam, Bastion
    • Rucks:
      • A nuclear deterrent-like weapon that you helped designed has wiped out all but four inhabitants of the major city/capitol you lived in, and the only people left are the enemies the weapon was supposed to be used on.
      • You have found a way to fix the world, only to see the means to do so undone. Twice.
      • You find three other survivors of the Calamity. One has to go and take on the entire world alone alone, one attempts to kill you and destroys all rebuilding efforts and one is seemingly kidnapped by your mortal enemies.
    • The "Kid" note  :
      • A school dropout who worked as a soldier on more than one five-year tour of duty in a position so emotionally exhausting that no-one has ever done more that a single tour of duty.
      • Returning from that tour to find that your mother is dead and all the money that you sent back home to her for the past five years has been stolen.
      • Waking up to discover that the whole world as you knew it is gone, and you have nothing left of the world as it was than the clothes on your back and your hammer.
    • For the Ura: After years of peace, you wake up one day to find that your entire civilization has been uprooted and thrown into the sky, as part of a plan to wipe you out. Worse, one of the leading members of the project that caused that disaster is still alive, and gathering power sources for some other mysterious super-weapon, and there's nothing that you can do to stop his followers. He has two of your people, possibly kidnapped, and another of his people seems determined to invade your home and kill you all.
    • For Ven: Your daughter brings a young man into your home with a man who insults you and belittles your culture; she then runs off with that man, who sets her up to be executed for treason for selling secrets, entirely based on her race. You are able to get them to spare her, but only in return for building a doomsday weapon that is designed for genocide against your people.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • Having your home and everything you built over last 10 years destroyed and then watch one of your children die protecting you.
    • It's clear that one of Leandra's biggest fears is to have her children and husband taken away because they are mages. She has already seen her cousin going through the same thing and then Bethany is taken by Cullen, specifically because she insisted on leaving her out of the Deep Roads Expedition. And this happens after she already lost one of her children.
    • Situation when Leandra is kidnapped is bone-chilling, mostly because how it's played out. Your mother has a new admirer, which is played as a sweet and charming background event, right up to the point that you realize the flowers she was sent are the signature of the serial killer you've been chasing. You first find out she is missing from a panicked Gamlen and go looking for her following a trail of fresh blood. Hawke's dialogue consists of desperately hoping that they are not too late which, as it turns out when they find her, they are.
  • Here is the plot of the first Art of Fighting game. A talented martial artist and dojo owner has a young adult son (whom he has trained in martial arts) and a teenage daughter. A high-class crime lord takes an interest in him, forces him to work with him, and ultimately stages a cruel Hostage Situation in which he must kidnap his own daughter, lock her away, lead a group of goons keeping the girl hostage, and then fight to the death against either his own young adult son or his equally young adult best friend, who don't know his true identity. Thank God the daughter managed to escape, explained the whole situation to her brother and friend, and things got better from then on.
    • It's even worse if you believe/apply the once very spread fanon belief that the death of the martial artist's wife, which took place quite a while before the story started, may have not been an accident.
  • One of the darker zones in Kingdom of Loathing comes from using a psychoanalytic jar to explore the psychoses of the Crackpot Mystic, an old man who lives in a shack and gives players access to the 8-Bit Realm, a low-level zone full of references to old-school video games. The game's trademark Hurricane of Puns and smarmy pop-culture references largely goes out the window in favor of a sidequest to fight embodiments of the Mystic's Anger, Fear, Doubt, and Regret, which have apparently overwhelmed him. Said embodiments take the form of pixellated monsters and power-ups which will taunt you repeatedly as you fight them.
  • Asura's Wrath, despite its fantastic, over-the-top combat and larger-than-life Buddhist Cyborg Warriors, has a very mundane and terrifyingly legitimate reason for Asura's titular wrath: He is betrayed by his comrades-in-arms, unable to protect his wife from being murdered while he was out defending civilization, and framed for the murder of his king. Furthermore, his daughter is taken from him and made to suffer. You'd be really upset too, if it happened to you.
  • Devil Survivor shows what happens when a block of a major metropolitan area is sealed off by military forces and forced to tough it out with no electricity or means of communicating with the outside world and food and other vital supplies arriving at a very limited basis. People go mad and fight over food rations, and some of the police show themselves for who they really are; granted, they use demons, but using guns wouldn't have made their cruelty any less worse.
    • For a more specific example, salaryman Honda wants to see his critically-wounded son undergo surgery, but said son is on the other side of the Yamanote loop, leaving Honda unable to stand by his son's side for the operation. In Yuzu's ending, Honda's son dies, plunging him past the Despair Event Horizon.
  • The King of Fighters has the God's Caliber Team ending, which is expanded in the Spin-Off game KOF:KYO. Your girlfriend, who for all accounts is an Ordinary Highschool Student, turns out to be the Barrier Maiden who will be subjected to a Human Sacrifice by the antagonists. And depending on the game, the Quirky Miniboss Squad is either about to abduct her or has already had her in their clutches for at least two days.
  • Fallout 3 has the massive unmarked quest dubbed "The Keller Family Refuge." It tells the story of a family of six before the Great War who had a somewhat strained relationship. Their son, Alex, was a member of the US Army National Guardsmen, and smuggled them a code for safe access to the National Guard bunker outside of DC, giving each of them a single digit of the code so that they would have to work together. He was caught, and arrested, meaning that he never joined his family. His brother, Ralph, elected to "walk into a mushroom cloud," rather than spend the rest of his life in close proximity to his family, particularly his father. The other four members of the family successfully entered the bunker—where their food supply began to dwindle. The father made several trips to the outside world, risking radiation saturation to find more food for his family. If you can manage to open the open the bunker, you find three skeletons—along with a Glowing One, a type of immortal mutant that only occurs from extreme radiation exposure—presumably, the Glowing One is the father, while the corpses are his wife and two remaining children, showing that the bunker was no oasis.
    • Fan theory has taken this tragedy even further. All Glowing Ones first go "feral," losing their rationality. It is unclear whether Father simply watched his family starve, or killed them himself in a thoughtless rage.
  • Fallout 4 has you play as a young mother/father in the pre-Great War United States. Nuclear war is a looming threat and it's oppressive inevitably can be felt through depressing news casts and door-to-door fallout shelter salesmen. And then it actually happens. And then you're forced to watch as your baby son is kidnapped by strange men and your husband/wife be murdered while you're trapped a few feet away in a cryostasis pod. And then when you're finally reunited with your son, you find that he's now an extremely amoral old man who barely knows you.
  • Sonic Lost World has the sudden kidnapping of Tails, whom Sonic saw as a little brother, and his (fake) transformation into a cyborg commanded to kill his own hero.
  • The plight of the father in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. He's a widower who falls ill, and his sons volunteer to go on a dangerous journey to find a cure. His older son doesn't make it back home. Considering the sheer guilt and sadness that must be eating away at the man, it's small wonder that he collapses to his hands and knees sobbing in the end as he faces his wife and his son's graves (even worse considering his son's grave is purely symbolic since his younger son had already buried him somewhere else far away).
  • The entire Auditore family is subjected to this near the beginning of Assassin's Creed II. Giovanni is arrested, along with his oldest and youngest sons, on trumped-up charges on the order of a man he trusted. Maria has the guards do...something...to her when she resists, and spends the rest of the game catatonic as a result. And when Ezio tries to prove their innocence, he is unable to fight through the crowd and ends up seeing his father and brothers publicly executed.
  • Trauma Center. In each game, over half of your operations will be on patients whose lives are in grave danger; "The patient's life is in your hands!" indeed. In Under the Knife / Second Opinion and Under the Knife 2, at least one patient in each of these games does perish before your very eyes despite your hardest efforts.
    • Under the Knife brings us Linda Reid, an Emo Teen that Derek operates on, only for her to retaliate at Derek for saving her life because she's been wanting to kill herself. While the source of her self-destructive expressions turn out to be GUILT, it's still a grim reminder that there are doctors throughout the world that have to deal with suicidal patients. Fortunately, she gets better in the next episode.
    • Trauma Team has a number of examples. Not being able to save your wife and daughter from a terrorism attack, accidentally causing the orphanage you call home to go up in flames, having to kill your wife because she tries to kill you in a fever dream caused by disease, knowing you're gonna die and pressing on in the hopes that you can be useful in saving others from your fate, and then there's what happens with Naomi and Alyssa...
  • In the final battle of Time Crisis 4, unmanned fighters are coming close to nuking the entire United States.
    Captain Rush: If we don't stop them, the entire country will go down in flames! We cannot let that happen!
  • In the flash game Monster Basement, the protagonist was kidnapped after hearing his friend scream for help. He has no idea where he is, but knows that if he doesn't get out soon, his kidnapper will come back to kill him. The end of the game also reveals that the dead monster in the cage is the protagonist's friend, which means that the protagonist spent the last part of the game with his friend's corpse in the room with him. Yes the friend is revived, but still!
  • In The Dead Case, the backstories of the ghosts all deal with this. The school ghost committed suicide after losing her husband and her daughter, the hospital ghost was injured while on his motorcycle and died in the hospital because of a mistake by the staff, and the church ghost found out her husband was a serial killer and ended up dying when he set the house on fire to hide his crimes. As for the protagonist, he was shot by the serial killer because his fiancée was the killer's next target and he was in the way. Stopping the killer from shooting the fiancée ends up being the game's climax.
  • Imagine the love of your life slowly dying, and despite all your skill, no matter how hard you try, you can't stop it. You can't even seem to slow it down. You're broke. You're desperate. You turn to embezzling just to have the slightest, the most minuscule one-in-a-million chance to save her. You get so obsessed that you start to drift away from her. You stop eating. You stop sleeping. You're worse off than before, because you can't even think straight anymore. Finally, you do one last, desperate thing, just to buy her a little time, knowing that she might not forgive you. Yet just as soon as you can finally rest—everything comes crashing down upon you. You're discovered. You're maimed. Both of you barely escape with your lives, and now you're even more broke and desperate than before—and you can feel yourself start to deaden inside. It's a miracle Mister Freeze took so long to lose it.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • In the first game, If you read the newspapers throughout the game, you'll find out that five children were kidnapped and killed in a family friendly pizzeria.
    • From Five Nights at Freddy's 3, while no one actually gets harmed, if Fazbear's Fright opened, there would be a serial killer in the same building as your children who could easily rip them to shreds and leave them with no way to escape.
    • The fourth game has nightmarish renditions of the animatronics attempting to kill a small child. In the safety of their own house, and their own bedroom no less. And the parents? Nowhere to be seen. It is implied the game is a dying dream resulting from a Deadly Prank.
  • The Getaway invokes this. It involves the son of the main character getting kidnapped by the mafia, who orders him tasks that are pretty sadistic, from forcing you to kill your best friends in your favorite bar to dealing in drugs. It is also impossible for him to refuse this because he is an ex-criminal, which invites policemen to blame all the crimes on him.
  • In Ori and the Blind Forest, a mother desperately rushes home to protect her children from the light burning up the sky. The mother is Kuro, the game's antagonist, and she doesn't make it.
  • In htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary, Mion is all alone underground when you first find her. That alone would be scary enough, but then you find out there are a whole bunch of shadow creatures looking to kill her as are all the traps and hazards along the way. And it only gets worse from there with her memory fragments revealing that someone broke into her room and killed her while she was asleep and other nasty things you later find out about her past.
  • Imagine walking down the street, a normal day, and then something falls from the sky. You, like most everyone else in the area, looks to see what the heck just happened. And then you're suddenly attacked, without warning. Everyone around you dies, and you barely get away, running for your life as more objects fall from the sky, but you don't make it because yet another object falls to the ground right in front of you, knocking you unconscious until you are woken by terrifying pain as you're killed. That is the life cycle of a civilian in XCOM: Enemy Unknown: powerlessness and overwhelming fear until you're dead. The terror missions are even worse, as you've been living with the reality of an alien invasion for weeks now, and it's terrifying but you're trying to live anyway because the incidents seem to be relatively isolated and UFO sightings are still extremely rare (though confirmed). Then a giant alien battleship shows up over your city and starts bombarding it, and you can't even run and hide. XCOM shows up and saves about 18 people. Statistically, you're not likely going to be one of them.
    • Imagine you're one of the soldiers who has to watch these inhuman horrors murder innocent people in front of your eyes, and you know death could come to you almost as easily. And that's the regular soldiers. XCOM troopers are sent into even more high-intensity combat, with higher risks. And if you're the Commander, you get to watch when you fail and get your troops hurt, mutilated, brutally killed, and psychologically damaged.
    • In XCOM 2, the aliens won, and the world is now a giant monocultural dictatorship. Even if you're innocent, ADVENT forces could kick down your door at any time. There's rumors people don't come back from ADVENT clinics. If you decide to live out in the wilderness, the government could show up to murder you at any time, just to make an example, and if you're lucky you'll be one of the troops who dies fighting. And if you stay in line, there could be full-scale battles anywhere on the planet, at any time, that might kill you, or at the very least wreck your car, home, office, that restauraunt you go to for lunch...
  • In Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Oswald Mandus is desperately looking for his missing sons, who he assumes are both trapped in the bowels of The Machine. He's completely unaware that, in a truly tragic Deconstruction of Papa Wolf, he himself murdered them to spare them both the terrible fate of dying alone with lungs perforated by shrapnel in the cold mud of the Somme. The man's sanity is already questionable at this point, but this revelation drives him completely to the brink.
    "I want my children, you UNHOLY BASTARD!"
  • Halo: Being told that a close friend has incurable, terminal condition that deteriorates the mind, and watching her suffer from it, is a major part of Halo 4's story. Cue Halo 5: Guardians where it gets worse, so much worse. Turns out your close friend has been brought back from the dead, but she Came Back Wrong: Now she's a power-mad yandere who is out to enslave the entire galaxy, and intends to lock you away in stasis for the 10,000 years it would take for her to bring her plan to fruition.
    • In the backstory of the series, all of the Spartan-I Is are kidnapped children who were replaced by "flash-clones", which died rapidly. They may also have motor and mental difficulties. Imagine literally waking up one day and finding your kid is...wrong. And dying.
  • In Tsioque the Good Queen has to leave and protect her kingdom. But while she's away her daughter, the titular princess, is captured by her royal Wizard who takes over and locks her in the dungeon, and she has to fend for herself to get away.
  • Toriel in Undertale. She lost both her son, and her adopted human child in only one day.
  • In The Walking Dead, your main character Lee has taken Clementine under his wing after her parents have mysteriously disappeared during the Zombie Apocalypse. However, halfway through the game as you play along and bond with her it's revealed that somebody has been privately communicating with little Clementine through her radio. That somebody is a Stranger who has been following Lee, Clementine, and your group for the majority of the game. He ends up abducting Clementine after convincing her to distrust Lee, forcing him to rescue her after she finds out too late about the stranger's intentions for her. It gets worse, on his way to save her, Lee is infected by a zombie meaning that he'll turn into one of them in a short amount of time. The final chapter is all about Lee rushing through wave after wave of zombies in order to save Clementine before it's too late.
  • Who's Your Daddy? is a game all about this. It's a multiplayer game where one player plays as a baby who invokes this trope by doing dangerous acts (Such as consuming things that you shouldn't and sticking forks into sockets), and the other plays as a father who tries to stop his child from doing these actions. It's played for laughs, though.
  • Many occur in Yandere Simulator...
    • Your child could be going to school with a sociopath, and with how well some sociopaths blend in with society (most of the time), you'd never know... until it's too late...
    • There's also the thought of someone stalking you, as seen in the cassette tapes.
    • Then there's the fact that any and all of your friends and acquaintances can suddenly turn on you if someone in power starts gossiping the right things. You can even be Driven to Suicide.
    • In the game's backstory, Yandere-chan's father was kidnapped by and forced to love her mother. In the present day, it's made obviously clear that he's terrified of his wife, and that he's scared that Yan-chan will continue the family tradition. Imagine raising a child, only to learn that she's become a stalker who will hurt people to get what she wants like her mother who did exactly the same things to you and other people.
    • Mr. Ronshaku is on the receiving end of this if you help Kokona. Ronshaku is a Loan Shark who has Kokona's father is terrible debt. So Yan-chan helps Kokona out by kidnapping Ronshaku's daughter. Imagine being in his position — one day, your beloved daughter doesn't come home from school. The next thing you know, you get an anonymous text with a video of your daughter attached. She's blindfolded, tied up, and begging for help in someone's basement. And they say that for every hour you don't comply to their demands, they'll chop off one of her fingers. Naturally, when the kidnapper demands you release all your clients from debt, you do so, despite this sinking your business — anything to get your daughter home safely. But even when you get her back alive and unharmed, she's permanently traumatized, going from an outgoing, talkative social butterfly to a Shrinking Violet who spends all her time sitting by herself in silence, unable to speak to anyone. Ronshaku is a monster, but no parent deserves that.
    • There is also the idea of Yan-chan using a Yakuza connection to kidnap the rivals, who would have their organs harvested, or be smuggled into to a foreign country. Imagine the families of the rivals who get kidnapped by a human trafficking ring. After they end up missing for so long, the police decide to call off the search. For all they know, the parents might think their daughter is dead, unaware that they're trapped in a human trafficking ring. The rivals being girls also leaves the implication of them being sold into prostitution in a foreign country where they don't speak the language.
  • Combat Instinct: The omnicidal Gnork completely destroy the civilizations of both planet Hivez and the Hrumians. In the latter's case, the Gnork don't protect their planet's environment, turning it into Mordor.
  • The plot of Mega Man Zero revolves around genocide.
  • Splatterhouse explores this in the third game of the original series, where two of the main objectives are to rescue protagonist Rick Taylor's wife Jennifer and their son David. Jennifer and David are rescued by making it to the end of levels two and four respectively, but only if the player makes it to the end of the level quickly enough. Rescuing both of them gets you the best ending, where Rick is reunited with his family, but failing to save one or both of them will get you one of three possible Downer Endings: Saving David only will end with Rick being a widower who has to explain to his son that his mother is dead, saving Jennifer and not David will result in Jennifer asking Rick where their son is and horrified when she learns their son's fate, and failing to save either of them results in an ending where it is implied that the loss of his family drove Rick insane.
  • The premise of The Binding of Isaac, that a young child fell into a dark world filled with monsters escaping from his mother who was trying to kill him was already horrible enough, but the Afterbirth+ ending gives us an even bigger pill to swallow: Isaac killed himself because he thought he was a demon who caused his sister's death and his father to leave the family after an argument. His mother was looking for him before she opens the chest he sealed himself inside, with his skeleton being his only remains.
  • Seraphic Blue - Any parent of a child who undergoes Defective Sera Human Infant Syndrome; now picture that you have a child who contracts a disease, the end result of said disease having both body and mind completely warped, turning them into mindless beasts who barely recognize themselves let alone their parents, Following yet? Now add into the mix, a law that decrees that all children who contract it are thrown out of the country like trash before they undergo the final stages of the disease, the child, separated from their parents and then subject to rampaging upon transformation, the agony of loneliness and sorrow before losing all sense of self, the last thoughts the child may have had may be them questioning why were they born and why do they suffer.
  • Yomawari: Night Alone kicks off the game with our young heroine watching her dog get run over by a truck. If that wasn't bad enough, she spends the rest of the game wandering her town at night, which is filled with spirits, plenty of which are deadly.
    • The sequel, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows, has two little girls also wandering around at night with plenty of deadly spirits, and one of the gets kidnapped. One of the two girls also commits suicide.
  • The Adventures of Willy Beamish has a situation which is harshly realistic: Willy's father Gordon informs his family at dinner that his agency has terminated him without any warning, leaving him scrambling to look for a new job in the want ads the next morning. Their reason for firing him? Meaningless Meaningful Words about public relations being in "a period of negative accelerated growth" to hide the fact they wanted someone younger (Gordon's still in his 30s). No mention of a severance package of any sort, and everyone he knows was expecting him to have earned a big promotion instead. Keep in mind; this game is from 1991, before the US's economic recession.
  • The Professor Layton franchise gives us a few examples:
    • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, it is Layton's reason for not taking Flora with him on his trip to find what killed his friend and mentor Dr Schrader. We also learn, late in the game, that Sophia fled Folsense and the man she loved so that her baby would not be raised in the vicious environment of this city.
    • In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, this is again the reason for him to try and leave Flora behind, and this is justified since Clive abducts her to lock her up in his giant fortress which will either destroy all of London or be taken down by the military with her inside.
    • Professor Layton and the Last Specter gives us Clark Triton, who is fully aware of what the villain is doing to his city and all of its inhabitants, but can't say anything or take action, because the villain abducted his wife Brenda and is threatening his son Luke. There is also the fact that Arianna and her brother live entirely alone in a crumbling mansion, but this time don't even have an adult to fear for them (even Clark, who is the closest they have to a legal guardian, doesn't seem to care much until the children are directly threatened.)
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In addition to the usual "being preyed upon while you sleep" fear inherent to all vampires, the Telboth vampire bloodline of Valenwood is known to prey upon children. The Telboth are then said to take the place of those children, eventually killing the entire family.
    • Skyrim has this at the center of the quest "Laid to Rest". In it, a resident of the town of Morthal survives a house fire that claims the lives of his wife and child. However, he almost immediately afterwards moves in with another woman. It turns out to be a case of Murder the Hypotenuse, where the husband set the fire intentionally to be with this other woman. The other woman turns out to be a vampire, who seduced and manipulated the husband to open the way for Morthal to effectively become a human farm for her vampiric brethren. And as if that was not enough, part of the quest also has the ghost of the daughter describe her death in the house fire.
  • While the game Creepy Castle has you facing several fantastical threats like the Heartbreaker and the Possessor, many characters suffer from more realistic and relatable burdens.
    • The people around Darking : what if someone you once greatly respected turned over time into a much worse one as time go on, most likely due to the loss of a loved one?
    • Darking: what if you eventually came to the conclusion that world peace could only be achieved through extreme, unpopular and perhaps even immoral means or that the happiness you feel is not worth the suffering you have to pay in exchange?
    • Luvaci: what if you ended up having to work for a Manipulative Bastard that will use any trick in the book to force you to do stuff?
    • Monsoon: Oh boy. What if you came to the realization that your job is wrong but you can't do anything openly about it because it would cost you the chance to accomplish the one thing that matter to you in life? Also, what if suddenly you lost almost all of your family and for kicker the only one that survived is the one responsible for the incident? On top of that, what if before said incident you had a fight with your family and never got to reconcile afterward?note  What if you suffered so much that the concept of losing all emotions sounded reasonable to you?
    • Moth, of all people: what if you felt you were unqualified for your current job but had to keep it anyway because leaving would mean getting other people into trouble? That you were not the great person other people think you are? What if you felt that you had to avoid getting into relationship to avoid losing or being lost to loved ones, a not so unreasonable fear when you have a dangerous job and also ended up having a hitman after you?
    • Storm: what if you came to the conclusion that the world can't be saved, that there's nothing that can be done about it except to end it all? What if you came to the realization as you came to your senses that you did some reprehensible things that you felt you shouldn't have done?
    • Ant Queen: what if you had to deal with a narcissist parent that only cared about you to the extend of how your existence would benefit them and had to go in damage control mode to prevent your friends being harmed by that parent? What if by putting your nose where it doesn't belongs you ended up on the wrong side of a criminal organization who wouldn't hesitate to shoot you?
    • The people of Floria: what if some people from far away put some kind of contraption or something near where you live to exploit natural resources and the result is that the nature all around start to die?
    • Possessor: what if at the end of your life you had to face the possibility that the values and beliefs you had were wrong?
  • The opening sequence of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor overflows with this: It begins with the protagonist, Talion, forced to watch as his wife and teenage son are ritualistically murdered by fanatical disciples of the Dark Lord Sauron in a dark magic ceremony to summon the spirit of the elf jewelsmith Celebrimbor. Talion is held down throughout by Orcs, and can only try desperately to keep his wife and son calm despite the panic and terror in his own voice before their throats are slit.
  • Pinstripe revolves around your daughter being kidnapped by a strange man on a train, who claims he's going to be her new father from now on. On top of that, nearly around you is too apathetic or obsessed with getting their next fix of the local Fantastic Drug to be of any help. And then you find out that you killed yourself and your daughter because you were driving while drunk, and the setting is actually Hell.
  • Cuphead may not take it too well for Elder Kettle: In the bad ending, his apprentices/grandsons become servants of the Devil after handing over the Soul Contracts to him.
  • The Spectrum Retreat: before Alex arrived at the hotel, he lost his son to a disease that the doctors were unable to identify, because him and his wife were no longer able to afford all the testing and treatment it required. It's also implied that they lost most of their possessions due to the debt they accumulated trying to cure Robin.
  • Since God of War (PS4) is essentially one long father-son bonding expedition, there's a lot of this going around.
    • One particularly harrowing sequence has Krato's son falling ill due to his divine blood which he inherited from Kratos warring with his perception of himself as a normal mortal. Kratos hurriedly but gently carries his son to the one person who can help him and screams and begs for her to save him. The fear and panic in his voice as he does so makes him sound like a completely different person.
    • When the Stranger and Kratos are fighting at Kratos's house, the Stranger sees through a hole in the roof, notices two beds, and asks who else lives there, implying he'll kill whoever Kratos is hiding. Kratos quickly brings on the pain in response.
    • At one point, Atreus is hunting in a foggy area and Kratos has to call him to see which direction he went. When Atreus doesn't answer, Kratos becomes audibly distressed. Even more so when he hears a furious stranger confronting his son, and he still can't see him...
    • Despite all the dangers he has faced, nothing scares Kratos more than his son repeating the same mistakes Kratos had made, as well as Atreus discovering what kind of person Kratos was. After Faye's death, Kratos admits he was simply not ready to be a father figure again after the traumatic loss of his first wife and daughter and he is terrified of failing as a father with Atreus.
    • There is Freya's reaction to the death of her son, Baldur. She had received a prophecy of his death and her misguided attempts to prevent it only ended up resulting in that death. Also, when she made Baldur immortal, she subjected him to eons of psychological torment, since he was also unable to physically feel anything, leaving him so consumed by hatred of his mother his only desire is to kill her. Imagine trying to protect your kid from danger and you just hurt them more.
  • Ian's Eyes has a young blind boy stuck in a zombie-infested school with only his seeing-eye dog to keep him safe from the undead.
  • Forever Home has Burns's backstory, where he was peer-pressured into joining a "peace-keeping" organization that was really a gang extorting the townsfolk. Eventually, he walks in on the leader, someone he trusted, killing his childhood friend. The leader threatens to kill him if he speaks, traumatizing Burns into silence and giving the former an opportunity to frame the latter. Bonus points for Burns's mother being horrified by the situation and being the only one to believe in him.
  • Played for Laughs in So uh, a spaceship crashed in my yard. when the spaceship, Aria, coerces you into repairing her.
    Aria: Well, you better help me get out of here, because a terrible fate will befall you if I remain!
    You: What's that?
    Aria: Each day I remain in your front yard... you will recieve a $30 fine from your homeowner's association!
    You: Nooooo!
  • The final chapter of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III has Rean spotting his youngest student and the one kid who helped him out the most during his time being a national hero, unconscious and being carried by a group of adults that he thought he should trust to a very shady place and being sacrificed to start the end of the world.
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker has Ivar, a hunter in Lake Silverstep Village who loved telling tall tales to friends and family - unfortunately, his children believed one of his stories about being able to see a silver dragon from a clifftop on the night of a new moon, and sneaked out of the house together to do so. So first their parents find their beds empty, and then they find their bodies, as they had both fallen from the cliff while trying to climb.
  • Stardew Valley has a great deal of this for a cutesy Spiritual Successor to Harvest Moon:
    • Jas is an orphan adopted by Shane and Marnie and often neglected due to worklife and personal issues. She is aware of Shane's depression and poor mental health and has seen him explode in a drunken rant more than once, traumatising her. Shane can also potentially lose his job depending on the player's actions, exacerbating his depression further and making life harder for Jas; a Saturday job helping out at the local store doesn't do much to help in raising a kid.
    • Leah like you fled the big city to get away from the rat race, but she also wants to get away from an abusive ex who discouraged her away from her dream of being an artist.
    • Alex lost his mother when he was a small boy, and his father was a drunk who beat him and made him feel "worthless" (that is the exact insult his father kept using); he was raised by his grandparents and has self-esteem issues around his intelligence.
    • Sebastian doesn't see eye to eye with his stepfather Demetrius, he feels overshadowed by Maru and sees himself as The Un-Favourite, and he is also hinted to have depression and social anxiety, plus a smoking problem.
    • Penny lives with her alcoholic mother Pam in a dim, stuffy little trailer by the river (the only trailer in town - everyone else has a house), and her daily life is split between doing chores and acting as a School Marm to the town's children. Since Pam lost her job as a bus driver, their relationship has soured greatly.
    • Kent is shown to have PTSD as a result of being a prisoner of war and has a lot of difficulty adjusting to civilian life, even though he and Jodi clearly care for each other.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the World of Light story mode is this where the cast faces off against Galeem and his army of Master Hands, only for nearly every single one of them is brutally killed. Many characters futilely tried to help their friends but all failed.
    • Shulk gets a vision of everyone getting massacred and tries to warn everyone to no avail.
    • Sonic is seen reaching a hand for Pikachu but Pikachu is caught and seconds later, Sonic is also disintegrated.
    • Palutena stays behind to protect Pit and Dark Pit. The light consumed her regardless without slowing down. The moment she is gone, Pit and Dark Pit are taken too.
    • The Duck Hunt Dog is so terrified that he is cowering in fear. The Duck, refusing to leave its friend, tries to pull them both to safety. It gets them both killed.
    • Several characters are seen fleeing and it's heartbreaking to realize that most of them are not running away with their friends. Falco, Diddy Kong and Rosalina are flying away alone because they most likely just witnessed their closest friends, Fox and Donkey Kong respectively, getting murdered in front of them.
    • Kirby is the Sole Survivor from Galeem's attack and he is all alone with no one to help or support him.
  • The Reveal of what "The Very Bad Thing" was in We Happy Few. Wellington Wells was tricked by the Germans into giving up all their children for the war effort and the town did not resist at all. They later found out that the Germany army would have been defeated if they fought back. Upon realizing the truth, the people understandably went mad trying to forget it. It is one thing to lose your child to war but it is another to unwittingly lose them due to your own foolishness.
  • Resident Evil 2 and its remake has several moments:
    • Marvin is the last of the police force still alive, having watched all his officers either turn into zombies or being brutally killed off. It's also strongly implied that Marvin had let his guard down when coming across a zombified officer and that was how he was bitten.
      Branagh: "...And don't make my mistake. If you see one of those things —uniform or not— you do not hesitate. You either take it out, or you run. Got it?!"
    • In the remake, Robert Kendo's daughter has been infected, most likely bitten by her mother. Kendo tearfully begs Leon and Ada not to kill his daughter before finally accepting there is nothing else to be done. He then takes his daughter into the backroom to "put her to bed", just like Mommy, and then we hear a single gunshot.
    • Sherry becomes infected and in the remake, she is shown in agonizing pain and struggling to breath. Annette is clearly conflicted between saving her daughter or leaving her daughter to die in order to stop William to save millions.
    • Annette is anguished after seeing her husband inject himself with the virus but she hesitates too long, holding out on the hope that the virus will fix him, and he escapes, causing chaos and destruction in the city. And Annette is well aware she is to blame for it.
    • William has moments where he appears to realize what is happening to him and occasionally he will say Sherry's name or say "help me". He cannot stop himself from attacking his daughter and trying to infect her.
    • The Birkins and Chief Irons helped to build an orphanage so they could have a steady supply of child test subjects for their viral and mutagenic weaponry experiments.
    • Chief Irons is terrifying because of how "normal" he appears compared to the zombies and monsters encountered in the game. He is a Dirty Cop and files show that he has a history of raping, abusing and killing women, as far as back in his university days. In the remake, he doesn't feign any civility with Claire as he holds her at gunpoint and beats down on her. He knows who Sherry is and attempts to get his hands on her as a way to attain the G-Virus from the Birkins. When Sherry escapes, he flies into a homicidal rage and hunts her down to torture her.
    • As Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles reveals, after the events of the game, Leon and Sherry are detained by the government where Leon is forced into working for them or else allow Sherry to be killed/vivisected/experimented on. To make things worse, as seen in Resident Evil 6, the government secretly went and experimented on Sherry anyways.
  • Until Dawn:
    • Due to a prank gone wrong, two sisters disappear and there was no closure for their families about what happened to them. Depending on the player's choices, Josh can also meet a similar fate where he can die or become a Wendigo, the Washington family can be destroyed over the course of a single year.
    • A group of teenagers become trapped in a mountain with a madman who wanted to torture and kill them. Chris, Sam and Ashley in particular are terrified for their lives and their friends as they attempt to flee from the Psycho. At one point, they are forced to watch Josh's brutal murder. Then, to make matters worse, they discover that Josh was the Psycho all along and had faked his death, all for the sake of "pranking" his friends in horrible ways for what they did to his sisters. They never thought they would be betrayed like that.
    • Since Josh was young, he's been treated by psychiatrists who have constantly misdiagnosed him as suffering from depression. His sisters' disappearance only worsened his condition and he soon stops taking his medication because he felt it wasn't helping.
      • Hannah's diary mentioned she had never known about this and laments how she didn't know her own brother. Imagine not realizing a loved one was suffering and how lonely they must have felt.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Nero is quite self-conscious of his demonic arm and thinks Kyrie will think less of him or downright reject him because of it.
    • Eva desperately tries to hide a young Dante in a closet when their home is being attacked by demons. She is fully aware she isn't going to make it and is trying to give Dante some pieces of advice to try and make a life for himself because she isn't going to be there to raise him. Afterwards, she leaves to try and find Vergil, only to be killed. She most likely died not knowing where one son is and fearing for both sons' lives.
    • Nero is attacked in his home by a man with murderous intent and his defenseless girlfriend unknowingly alerted them of her presence when she calls for Nero.
      Nero: Kyrie! GET BACK INSIDE NOW!
    • Nero's arm is taken and his reaction to losing a limb is something anyone in the real world could relate to.
  • Mortal Kombat 11:
    • After Sonya sacrifices themselves to destroy the Revenant Liu Kang's fortress, Cassie has to deliver the news of their death to their loved ones. Cassie had to break the news to her own father that his wife and her mother was dead.
    • Jax loses his wife who had been his Living Emotional Crutch. After her death, he became a recluse, not leaving his farm. When Earthrealm's communications went down and Jax is unable to reach his daughter Jacqui, he has a panic attack from the sheer stress of it all.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: A sidequest on Ord Mantell has you trying to find the young son of an elderly couple named Paul. When you do find him, he's become a Child Soldier loyal to the Separatists due to forced stim injections. Luckily, you're able to snap him out of it and are able to either send him off planet (Light Side) or send him back to his parents (Dark Side).
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners: Rin may be a little liar and a Spoiled Brat, but she's also only nine years old, prone to running away and bluffing her way into social situations just to be around others and get attention from them. This leads to her joining Ayuto's tour group despite not knowing anyone there... or anyone else knowing she's with them. Her parents are completely unaware of what she's doing. Bad enough on its own; worse when said tour group is roped into helping an amoral archeologist help explore some underground ruins, with him secretly regarding them as pure cannon fodder. And based upon your decisions, Rin can end up Killed Off for Real, suffering an utterly brutal death while her parents are nowhere around/completely unaware of what's going on.
    • Near the end of the game, it's revealed that Tsuchida went through a parent's worst nightmare the year before: his daughter was shot during the Luxor Massacre and he was forced to watch her bleed out, unable to do anything but scream at Kuroe for not doing everything in his power to save her.
  • The very premise of Orphan 2018 is that a young child is all by himself in a world that's been ravaged by an Alien Invasion.
  • The Secret World:
    • Callie James' backstory brings home the horror of the betrayal, exploitation and mistrust of those considered mentally ill. After her powers manifested, Callie didn't think she could explain her frequent "accidents" to anyone for fear of being considered insane; eventually, she divulged the truth to her grandmother, the only person she thought she could trust. "Gran" had her institutionalized. However, Callie was subjected to medical experimentation by the research group secretly running the mental hospital, sans consent; once the group realized she didn't have what they wanted, they through her out without even worrying about who she might tell - because nobody would ever believe her.
    • In "Endgame," a nun in Seoul happened to notice that several children from her ministry were vanishing, and with help from the Dragon, learned what the Orochi Group was doing to the kidnapped children. Whatever she saw frightened her so badly that she couldn't bring herself to continue searching, and she is now suffering a major Crisis of Faith.
    • Ptahmose's story. Imagine being forced to make a choice between sacrificing the lives of your own children and the safety of the entire world - and you don't just have to kill them, either: you have to condemn them to a state of perpetual paralysis in the middle of a hellish environment where nobody will ever find them. For good measure, you can still visit them, but your relationship with the older ones is now permanently strained, and at least one of them hates you. And imagine, after two thousand years of trying to hold the fractured family together, that it was all for nothing and the threat you tried so hard to stop is coming back anyway.
    • Also, Moutemouia's story. Imagine being on the receiving end of Ptahmose's desperate gambit, having to give up your own husband and children and being trapped alone in the desert with nobody to talk to but your increasingly-disparate siblings. For good measure, it's made abundantly clear that Moutemouia never saw her kids again after becoming a Sentinel.
    • The Fear Nothing Foundation in Tokyo. How well do you trust the people assigned to care for your kids? The FNF is there to put all those anxieties in the spotlight: a well-regarded youth club and self-help group, parents were taken in by the organization's squeaky-clean exterior, and were totally assured that sending their kids for group counselling at the FNF would be fine. None of them knew that the Foundation was actually a cult. Over the course of their time at their headquarters, the kids sent there are cut off from the outside world, subjected to degrading punishments, slowly mind raped into shedding all signs of individuality, and eventually completely broken by a traumatizing visit to the Third Floor. The final notes feature the kids declaring themselves no longer the "property" of their parents, before going upstairs to commit mass suicide. And one of them was also assigned to act as a suicide bomber, being responsible for the terrorist attack that kicks off the game.
    • And then we have the tie-in game The Park. Dear god, where to begin? Lorraine's experiences in the game seem to be a checklist of a an adult's worst nightmares: suffering mental illness and being unable to look after your child; being abandoned by psychiatrists and dismissed as cured despite being no better; being abandoned by your own mother for something that wasn't your fault; struggling to pay for basic utilities and being forced to raise your child alone in a house with no electricity; being judged a failure as a parent; seeing your child run off alone into a seriously-unsafe amusement park in the middle of the night with something that preys on children in the area. And worst of all being forced to despise your child against your own will... and then being forced to murder your child.
  • In the prologue of Dishonored, Corvo is completely helpless as he watched Daud killed Jessamine and took Emily. It's made worse when it's later confirmed in the sequel that Corvo just watched his lover being murdered and his daughter being kidnapped.

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