Hello! I'm drunk! I want to write about Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, a game I have spent more time playing, and trying to write about, than any other. My feelings are so complex and personal that they will never come out *just* the way I want them to. So. Fuck it.
I don't have all that much to say, really. I played Shattered Memories every weekend for a year after its release, and many times after that: as such, I want my writing on the game to be this complex, multi-layered thing. I can't face up to the idea that all those weekends were a waste of time. They were, of course. I'm not left with much to say, other than: Shattered Memories can go fuck itself.
Shattered Memories is not a good game: it is a horrible, hateful game. It is a shallow, cynical thing that presents itself with just enough postmodern panache to appear meaningful. Shattered Memories is a firework display. It approaches its themes - grief, stunted sexuality, mental illness - as tools in the gamemaker's toolbox, to be intricately arranged to elicit 'ooh!'s and 'aah!'s. Shattered Memories is a game that thinks mental illness is *interesting*. Shattered Memories is a game that thinks a child's grief is *interesting*. Shattered Memories positions itself as a shoulder to cry on, as a sympathetic ear, as a desperately needed relief from the inhumanity of AAA gaming. Shattered Memories says that it cares.
Shattered Memories does nothing wrong: Shattered Memories is a good videogame. Whatever that means. It came about during a time in my life when I needed *something*. Anything. I was alone, for the first time, and feeling a sadness that I had only ever read about in books - I had never quite understood that sadness so deep and damaging could actually be real.
Shattered Memories is about a poor wee girl. That poor fucking wee girl. Don't you just want to hug her? I did. I loved her to bits. That girl exists more in my head than in the writer's. Think back: What do we learn about her? What are we told? She's an afterthought. She is there to elicit a 'gee-whizz!'. She doesn't exist. With a bit of clever non-linear plotting, though; with the accompaniment of one of Akira Yamaoka's compositions, though: you will think she's real. You will cry for her.
Shattered Memories is the seventh videogame in the Silent Hill multimedia franchise. Its production was greenlit by Konami Computer Entertainment because it hastily reconstructed itself, and was able to bill itself as a 'remake' of Silent Hill 1. Shattered Memories was a business decision. Shattered Memories was a 'bold' experiment in videogame storytelling. Shattered Memories was my life for the best part of a year.
Videogames are not *just* videogames. You can't have it both ways. You have argued for years that videogames are art. Don't be surprised to find that somebody listened.