I have written about this very experience... twice now. Once for my impressions of Silent Hill
, and the other for that look into my experiences with horror games in general
, which is probably my favorite blog I've done. And which is why I'm totally pissed at Niero for not moving over the comments from the older site like he said he would. God dammit
Never have I had the moxy to actually write a whole blog on it. Because while it was the scariest singular section of any horror game I've played, I don't wanna overstate it. I don't wanna overhype it. For you or even me. One day, those who haven't played Silent Hill yet may want to and they should, for one thing, go in completely blind. And expect nothing more than a good time. I don't want them holding a mindset of IT'S GOING TO BE SO SCARY DUDE BOY YOU'RE GONNA LOOOOOVE
So stop reading, you Silent Hill virgins. Pretend you never saw this. Screw Bloggers Response. I don't care if I risk many of the right people not reading this. You're not going to read this. NO.
For the rest, huddle together and I shall tell you a tale.
I played Silent Hill 1 only just early last year. So it took me long enough to get really into the Silent Hill franchise and that makes me a sad kangaroo. If I had been following the series since I very well could've been (back when I first played Silent Hill 4: The Room), I would be one of those guys that gets devilishly upset everytime Konami wrongs the brand. And I want to be one of those guys. I want to be one of those guys that draws DeviantArt fanpics of Harry Mason and Pyramid Head. I want to be one of those guys that regularly frequents Silent Hill Memories
or the community forums
. Alas, I'm still what you might consider a casual fan. A very supportive, but casual fan.
Anyway. As I said, I decided to start my adult journey into Silent Hill with the first one, naturally. And oh so nice of Sony's PSN Marketplace to provide me with a digital download, instead of me having pawn a PS1 and a physical copy off of some scheming ebay'er.
I went into it with the most open of minds. It didn't need to be scary, it didn't even need to be fun. All I wanted was to experience a piece of gaming history, in the end. A contained, interactive museum with grimy, dusty walls and uneasy attendants. But, at least I didn't have to leave my room to see it.
However, it immediately hooked me. The intro had some of the most effective horror pacing I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It starts out innocently enough, but then a car crash. Your daughter is missing. You carefully, but anxiously venture forth to see where she has gone. Suddenly, a disturbing ambiance starts to bleed into your surroundings. Hardly anything feels normal, and pretty soon nothing is right. You scream out to yourself "WTF?!" at every glance of something new. Finally, you are attacked by screeching demon children. You try to run and it's no use as you're cornered and you await your death.
"Why like this? This can't be!"
You then awake to find it was, thankfully, just a nightmare.
... or was it?
All within the first several minutes. It didn't feel rushed or anything. It was so expertly crafted it was insane. A game so primitive by today's standards did horror better than the best of any modern classic. Whether it be Dead Space, Amnesia, or the likes of Lone Survivor, they can't touch this.
And that's.. only the beginning.
The reason I'm typing up this blog is the school section (pictured above). The main presentation. Grab your popcorn and drink.
However, it began as any other section of the game before it. Another play area for some puzzles and such. What could this game possibly
show me that's so freaky and disturbing as to top that awesome intro? This isn't all that sc-
Boom. It hits you without warning. The school changes from your average, dark, thoroughly empty, haunted school into a hell suitable for only the evilest of souls. Or those innocent, but unlucky enough to find themselves trapped inside it as you have. Most of the walls are depressing, but vivid shades of brown, with bloodstains and wrapped, human-like corpses hanging from chains penetrating their insides. Are
they corpses.. or can they just not move, unable to speak of their unimaginable pain?
Certain other rooms have undergone an even more horrid makeover. It's hard to describe, it's so otherworldly.
This... is where I wanted to stop playing. This is where I first experienced true fright from some piece of media. The game had achieved absolute horror. I could not even stand walking around, let alone having to trek through the enemies so keen on making this crazy situation not only mentally painful but physically painful.
"No.", I said. I knew it wouldn't last forever, so I kept on going. "It's just a game.".
But then, with my progress halted for the moment, I reconsidered. I was tired of being here. Enemies kept coming, the music (or lack thereof) grated on me, everything stared back at me with figurative black, brown and red eyes with each second seeming like hours passing. Walls were getting closer together, and aren't we all a little bit claustrophobic?
And, mind you, this had nothing to do with the gameplay. It was the horror. This insane horror. I was on the verge of honest-to-goodness whimpering at the thought of being here any longer. I believe at least half my brain had left this reality and had unwillingly been pulled into the game's. It was far from simple immersion.
Finally, a break. Or so to speak. A boss. This signaled the end of this nightmarish thrill ride. It was as if I could feel myself trying to hit this thing with my own body, everything moving much slower. I couldn't do it, I thought.
But I triumphed. I could hardly believe it, but it was seemingly over. No more of this unrelenting nonsense. I soon walked out of that... "school" and back onto the refreshingly open streets of Silent Hill.
And I haven't picked the game up since.