Never before has horror been done this right. This game, er, teaser sits easily on top of my list of scariest game/movie/book, whatever. On a horror-based checklist, it checks almost every checkmark and even adds its own for good measure.
Lately, horror has seen a bit of a revival thanks to indie developers and games such as Slender, Amnesia, Outlast, Daylight, that whole scene. You could also probably thank PewDiePie, Markiplier, and any other annoying ass Let's Player who screams at a mouse going across the screen. This revival of sorts came at a good time. Resident Evil 5 & 6 were action games, Silent Hill had a poorly received HD Collection released which was followed by a multiplayer hack and slash game for the Vita. Dead Space 2, one of the best horror games last generation, was followed up with a co-op action experience. The mainstream market was shifting and there was no room for horror.
P.T. came at a time of desperation for gamers who wanted their horror back on consoles, where it once was. It came for those who didn't fall for the Slender hype, who thought collecting pages was boring as hell (seriously, piss on all games that followed this trend). I don't claim to be the King of Horror. I've played a fair amount of horror games, watched a good amount of horror films, etc. But I say with confidence nothing has ever made my heart pump faster than P.T. did. Nothing filled me with dread like P.T. did. The game hits every single mark on what makes games scary. Every single one.
Let's start with the simple tropes. You're defenseless. Not a single weapon in the game. Even if weapons were around, not like you could use them. P.T. is almost like a museum. All you can do it walk around and explore it. And there's much to explore but on to that later.
The game is first person. You have no clue what's behind you and no clues aside from heavy breathing and shadows. At any moment, turning around can greet you with an absolutely terrifying death, adding a layer of intensity and dread to the whole experience.
Now a bit of a controversial part of P.T. is its scares. While the atmosphere certainly does its job, there are some jump scares but they are never just thrown in your face for no reason whatsoever. Getting grabbed can be avoided. Hear heavy breathing behind you or your shadow is spazzing on the wall? Don't turn around, avoid the heartache. There are parts where Lisa, the ghost, will charge you then disappear. You may say "pointless jump scare, game sucks, horror's dead", but even then that has a reason. She has just possessed you, meaning quick turns will guarantee your death and you must restart the whole final puzzle. Challenge is okay.
Speaking of Lisa, let's talk about her. She is absolutely terrifying. She's the only threat in the entire game, but she does enough damage on her own to want more enemies. Not to mention, she covers just about the whole house by herself.
Window? Check Bathroom? Check Upstairs? Of course Looming at the end of a hallway? Not once, but twice!
In your face? Duh.
So this game has the basics down. You're defenseless, you're vulnerable, its got scares, and its one enemy is absolutely terrifying. So what makes P.T. that much better and scarier than all that's came before it? It's use of mystery, backwards audio, foreign messages, a radio that speaks to you in demonic-sounding Swedish. People are only now just starting to find out this game. We fear the unknown. Watch the below video (unless you know Swedish, then bail)
That is hands down one of the most unsettling things I've seen in a game. While the message has been translated, imagine playing this without knowing anything and coming across this. You're already tense and full of dread and this starts playing. And then what does that code mean? 204863. Only recently was an actually logical solution found (whoever believed it was just Kojima's birthday is dumb, I'm sorry). While we're on messages found in this game, let's jump to backward phases heard in the game's pause menu. There's this one and this one. Backmasking is, for me anyway, one of the most unsettling and scariest things one can hear. It sounds unnatural, creepy, not right. So of course we fear it and finally a game has game along to exploit that. Another concept not explored since Eternal Darkness for the GameCube is the 4th wall breaking glitches. The game will glitch at a part sometimes sending you to a screen saying "Fix this damn bug!". Sometimes it sends you a screen of "This game is fictitious. It cannot harm you in any way, shape, or form". The creepiest of all of them says "Knowing you, I knew you'd find this game and play it." then goes on to say the man writing this (signed at the bottom as "J") will never forget the events of a day that happened 20 years ago. Is he talking about the events that went down before our character found himself in this home? Who knows?
And that's what really sells this for me. This teaser is so mysterious. While people have figured out its final puzzle, we haven't really figured out its story. Who is the fetus in the sink? Who's the voice in the radio? Who are we? There are so many questions, more unanswered than answered about this teaser. It's scary as hell, it's unnerving as hell. But its sense of mystery brings you back in, wanting to explore its every message. The game's randomness begs the question "Is there more to this"? That video with the radio does not happen on every playthrough. Maybe there's more stuff to be found, maybe not. That's the magic with P.T. You don't want to keep playing, but you have to.
On August 2nd, 2014, two of soccer's club giants, Manchester United and Real Madrid will face off in the one and only Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For these two teams to meet and play in an American stadium is absolutely GIANT for the growth of the sport here in the US and can't come at a better time with the World Cup just ending, which saw more Americans tuning into games then ever before.
Ann Arbor's very own Michigan Stadium is a 109,901 (can push to 115,000+) capacity football stadium. Earning its nickname "The Big House" for its size and energetic fans, Michigan Stadium is a landmark in American sports. It's no stranger to sports other than football, the stadium recently hosted the 2014 NHL Winter Classic, an annual outdoor hockey game. It's seen games of lacrosse, with the Michigan varsity team playing their home games at the stadium. But Michigan Stadium is about to host arguably its most important game ever.
Soccer gets a bad rep in the US. It's very much on the backburner of sports when compared to American football, basketball, and baseball. When the national team loses a game or gets eliminated (Women's team need not apply), people throw it off easy: "This sport is stupid anyway" said a 2010 headline.
It's embarrassing really and bless the Men's national team for putting up with it. However, the sport is undeniably on the rise here. As stated before, more American watched the 2014 World Cup Final with Germany and Argentina playing then ever before. The USA knockout round games against Ghana, Portugal, and Germany had millions tuning in. And Major League Soccer, the country's premier professional soccer league, only grows every year. Once seen as a lowerclass league, MLS teams got the rep of being a place for retirement for world-class European players. The famous example is David Beckham going to play for LA Galaxy. There's always light at the end of tunnel however. MLS teams as of 2014 are much improved and have even beat English Premier League, England's top pro league,teams. For a soccer fan living in America, it's a wonderful and exciting thing to watch unfold.
So coming out of the 2014 World Cup with great performances by American forward Clint Dempsey and a record setting performance with goalkeeper Tim Howard, American interest is at an all time high and tomorrow is the game to show it.
Tickets to the Man Utd/Real Madrid game were sold out in minutes. Game organizers expect it to break the record for highest American attendance at a soccer game, the final statistic that the sport of soccer has a future in America and that it is growing in the present.
You can catch the game on Fox Sports (TV) or WatchESPN (live stream) at 4PM EST.