Clowns. You either love them or you hate them. Though to be honest, these days it seems that people are more freaked out by them than anything else. From Killjoy, to Stiches, to the great Clown Scare of ’16, it’s not like we have been short of reasons to be scared of the wackos. And in this list, I count down the Top 10 creepiest clowns in videogames.
The only rule for this list is that these clowns needed to have originated from videogames. So no licenced characters from movies, comic books, or TV shows here; so you won’t be seeing the likes of The Joker or Pennywise. These nightmares in baggy pants were born in the pixel realm to haunt our gaming platforms. So let’s get this show on the road!
10) BLANCA – ANIMAL CROSSING (2001)
Kicking off this Top 10 of the creepiest clowns in videogames is Animal Crossing‘s very own Blanca. A seemingly cute cat character on the surface; however as we dig deeper, the true horror of this character starts to come forth. Horror that makes one wonder why some fans would be so keen to mod her back in.
In recent titles, she’d appear on April Fool’s Day where she’d mimic a villager, and if you guessed which was the real one she’d give you a prize. It is theorised that she takes inspiration from the Yokai known as the Noppera-bō, a spirit in Japanese mythology who, like Blanca, has no face but is largely harmless. But it is in those more recent appearances that she takes on elements of the Doppelgänger; a far more sinister spirit who mimics a living person bit by bit before replacing them entirely. So it’s best to get those guesses right as your villager’s lives might be on the line! As who knows what might become of them otherwise…
9) TRAGIC CLOWN – THE SIMS: LIVIN’ IT UP (2000)
The Tragic Clown is one of The Sims series’ greatest mysteries. Who is he? Where did he come from? Why won’t he leave us alone!? Whilst The Sims 3 gives hints as to who he once was (seeing as that is a prequel to the previous two games), he remains as enigmatic and creepy as ever.
The Tragic Clown first appears in the expansion The Sims: Livin’ It Up / Livin’ Large on lots where his painting hangs on the walls and when your Sims’s moods are sufficiently low. He will then appear on the lot to try and cheer them up. Only he won’t. And will only make their moods far worse. The only way to remove him is to set fire to the painting. Seemingly echoing the means of his original death if The Sims 3 is anything to go by. Sure, he might not be the most evil clown on this list, but for those growing up in the early 2000’s, his appearance was a spooky one.
8) JAXON DEBOX – SNACK ‘N JAXON (1984)
Blasting out of arcades and into your nightmares comes Snack ‘N Jaxon‘s very own Jaxon DeBox. An otherwise unassuming clown at first glance. The kind of thing you’d expect to see on a box of crackers or something. Nothing too out of the ordinary. However it’s when you start playing the game that the true horror of Mr. DeBox starts to make itself known.
The aim of the game is to feed DeBox by guiding his head around the stage to gobble up food that flies around the level. Nothing too spooky in concept. However in order to do this, DeBox stretches his neck out like he is something out of Evil Dead 2, and for some reason sneezes his own nose off. Sure, out of all the clowns on this list, ol’ Jaxon is the least evil. Goodness, he seems like a nice chap. Even if after seeing him in action I’d never want to have a meal out with him.
7) INFECTED CLOWN – LEFT 4 DEAD 2 (2009)
It’s a Zombie Clown! ZOMBIE CLOWN! Isn’t that terrifying? Just imagine it, walking home on a dark night only to be surrounded by scores of the Honking Dead. The guttural groans and slapping of clown shoes echoing all around you as you desperately hope to find safety. Scary, ain’t it?
The Clown Infected is one of Left 4 Dead 2‘s Uncommon Infected. Think of them being a step above the usual generic infected and a step below the Special Infected. This particular Infected is able to summon over nearby Infected with its squeaky clown shoes as it runs towards you. So you better take them out before they start running otherwise you’ll soon find yourself surrounded. Okay, sure, compared to most others on this list, the Zombie Clowns aren’t the most scary clowns in videogaming history. They are just zombies who just so happen to be clowns after all. But they are just creepy enough.
6) KINKY PINKY – NARC (1988)
Another Arcade classic fills the next entry on this Top 10 creepiest clowns in videogames list with 1988’s Kinky Pinky. Kinky Pinky was one of the many villains in the action packed anti-drugs arcade game NARC. They are first introduced in the title’s fourth level. Each level prior to and after introduces a new character / boss / generic goon who will appear throughout the level and sporadically in levels thereafter.
However, unlike many of the other baddies you see in NARC, ol’ Kinky Pinky and his gang appear rather infrequently throughout the rest of the game. Only making surprise ambush appearances when the player least expects it. Leaping from the background, weapon drawn, ready to strike and letting out a loud death rattle when you do off them. And when they aren’t lurking in the dark ready to kill you, they are strolling towards the player jauntily grinning from ear to ear, knife drawn and ready to kill. All the while staring at the player and shattering the fourth wall in the process and letting you know you’ll never be safe from him. Even in the real world.
5) MR GIGGLES – TIMESPLITTERS 2 (2002)
Hailing from a dearly missed series, Mr. Giggles take out the next slot in this list. With a sinister backstory involving him eating his own family and a horrifying look, he is one of the most physically frightening clowns on this list. With purple skin and a deformed face and large, gnarly, sharp teeth, he is a terrifying sight to behold. And don’t go taking him up on his offer to see what is in his pocket.
Mr. Giggles was my first exposure to the idea that clowns could be scary; oh sure, there was the gag about that in some cartoons, but this was the first time I saw one that was legit creepy for me. Mr. Giggles appears in Timesplitters 2 and Timesplitters: Future Perfect as an unlockable character along with his other creepy circus friends. Will he return in the long-teased new Timesplitters game? Well at this point we don’t know if it is actually happening or not. But in the meantime, we can take great solace in the fact that Mr. Giggles will continue to live on in our hearts and minds for years of therapy to come.
4) THE GAFFER – ZOOL: NINJA FROM THE NTH DIMENSION (1992)
Oh boy! Was this one a shock when it suddenly appeared during my first playthrough of the game. There I was, minding my own business, playing through of the remastered version of the game for my review, when I come across a fun fair themed level. “Oh that’s neat” I think, not realising the horror that was soon to appear.
Suddenly blood starts to rain from the sky and from the shadows comes a horrific sight that will haunt my dreams forever more. An evil known as The Gaffer. The Gaffer is the penultimate boss in the game; he is a large, bloated clown with raiser sharp teeth and eyes on stalks. Eyes which they shoot at you as projectiles as the Gaffer sinisterly floats towards you. Then, between rounds of combat, BALLOONS! Because we all float down here…
3) ADAM – DEAD RISING (2006)
Oh boy, here is a blast from my gaming past. Hailing from the Xbox 360 classic Dead Rising is Adam. Originally he was just a normal mall clown (or as normal as such things are) who spent his days entertaining the kiddies and customers of the mall. However when the zombies came, he flipped his lid, grabbed a pair of chainsaws and went on his spree. Kidnapping guests and forcing them to ride the rollercoaster in his area of the mall until they cheered up, or died, whichever came first.
Adam can be a difficult Psycho to deal with thanks to him having ranged attacks that can stun the player and his chainsaws doing a ton of damage. But if you can defeat him, you get to use those chainsaws yourself, you get an insanely useful shortcut and are treated to Adam’s death scene. A death which feels like the greatest and goriest special effect Tom Savini never made! Adam has proven to be one of the most, if not THE most memorable psycho in the entire Dead Rising series.
2) KEFKA PALAZZO – FINAL FANTASY VI (1994)
Come on, had I not included this one on the list then people would go nuts. Kefka Palazzo is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VI. A twisted monster of a man with a laugh which still sends chills down the spine of many a gamer of a certain vintage. Originally he was a Magitek Knight from the Gestahlian Empire; basically a Knight who has been given the ability to use magic. However the process sent him a little insane.
“How insane?” you ask. Well, he now has a nigh unquenchable lust for bloodshed, wishes to become The God of Magic and plots to destroy the world. And he became a clown. Because clowns are the embodiment of true evil. Sure his creepy laugh has been overused in recent years, including being a generic evil laugh in many online Creepypastas including Sonic.exe, but that doesn’t take away from the frightening foe that he is.
1) SWEET TOOTH – TWISTED METAL (1995)
When it comes to creep videogame clowns, there is always one name that shoots to mind. And even if you don’t know his name, you sure remember that eternally burning head of his. Sweet Tooth, or as he was once known Needles Kane, is the defacto mascot of the Twisted Metal franchise. Be it in the original continuity, the kid friendly Small Brawl, the outright terrible games by 989 Studios, the dark Twisted Metal Black, or the edge-lord Twisted Metal (2015).
His motivations might well have changed from game to game, from wanting to be reunited with his best friend (who happened to be a lunch bag), to getting revenge on the man that cursed him with his fiery scalp, to becoming the new head of the Twisted Metal contest, but ol’ Sweety is always horrifying and a merciless monster of a man. And like a good slasher villain, just when you think he and his series are dead, he always comes back. And will be returning again soon in an upcoming TV series.
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