Tag Archives: silent hill

Thoughts

My mind has been racing with thoughts lately. I’m collecting things in my head and can’t let go. I don’t really understand it, but I think it might have something to do with acupuncture.

Honestly, I was skeptical that acupuncture would do anything at all for me. But doctors hadn’t done much for me either, so I figured I had nothing to lose. And I think it might have helped me. But see, I’m really good at experiencing weird side effects from things. Maybe it’s just that I’m feeling better and now my brain doesn’t have as thick a fog of pain to fight through, or maybe that needle to the head opened something up. Whatever the cause something has definitely changed.

Mostly, the things I’m collecting in there make sense; stories and motifs that I’ve always been drawn to.

But I’m also suddenly really into wrestling and I’m very confused about that.

Look at this stupid shit I'm watching

Look at this stupid shit I’m watching

Anyway, back to the stuff that does make sense.

I decided to play through the old Silent Hill games after PT had such an impact on me. I rage quite the first one pretty quickly because the controls were awkward as hell and the graphics just didn’t hold up to today’s standards. Then I played the second one. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

Silent Hill 2 isn’t like the other games. There are no nonsensical plots about cults and gods. Silent Hill is not just a spooky town, it’s the personal purgatory for the characters within the game. The monsters aren’t just monsters, they symbolise the emotional state of the protagonist. The game deals with some very heavy and dark themes. The fact that these are horrors that happen in the real world just makes it all the more disturbing.

This scene in particular, despite the slightly shonky voice acting, is one of the most heartbreaking scenes I’ve ever seen in a video game.

So I was already obsessing over Silent Hill 2 when I began to read a book called The Drowning Girl, by Caitlin R Kiernan. It’s a very surreal trip into the mid of a schizophrenic girl trying to figure out which parts of her mind are truth and which parts are… less true. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but by the end I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t get it out of my head. I feel like I need to read it seven more times before I will really understand it. It’s a fantastic piece of weird fiction, quite unlike anything I’ve read before.

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So now my head is full of psychological horror and fog and ghosts and unreliable narrators and surrealism and monsters.

And wrestling! What the fuck!?

What even is this shit?

What even is this shit?

So I really need to do something with all of this stuff in my head. I still have so much work to do on my current manuscript but I can’t just ignore all these thoughts I’m having. I don’t know if anything will ever come from it, but I’ll just follow the thoughts and see where I end up.

Hopefully not back at wrestling.

Oh I give up

Oh I give up

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Disposable

So I’m really pissed off about two things right now: Silent Hills and Twin Peaks.

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After years of disappointing sequels, Silent Hills promised a return to form for the Silent Hill franchise, thanks to the involvement of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, who created a playable teaser for Silent Hills that was so innovative and brilliant that it blew everyone’s mind with only 20 minutes of very simple gameplay.

The Twin Peaks revival was supposed to give the series a chance to find closure after studio meddling left the second season in tatters. It was subsequently cancelled thanks to the sheer drop-off in quality.

But now the powers that be behind these two projects, Konami and Showtime, have decided that they don’t actually need the creators of these projects to bring these projects to fruition. Konami doesn’t need Kojima’s genius to make a game so scary that players will “shit their pants.” It’s not like the Silent Hill franchise was suffering from derivative gameplay and poor sales and slowly sliding into irrelevance, right?

And it’s not like Showtime actually needs the creator of Twin Peaks to create more Twin Peaks, right? They did fine without him last time didn’t they? You know, when the show got cancelled because it was so fucking terrible?

I hate this attitude. I hate this belief that that the actual creative talent behind a project is completely disposable. What could Lynch have possibly wanted that Showtime wouldn’t give him? Did he want to be paid in golden unicorns? Did they think he would do it for free in exchange for the exposure? And after the resounding success of PT, why the hell did Konami think they could recapture that brilliance without the person responsible for creating that brilliance?

People want people to make art, but they don’t want to actually value the artists. And so they toss the artists aside and then sit back and scratch their heads in dumb befuddlement as they wonder why all of a sudden the art fails.

So screw you, Showtime and Konami. If I wanted to play a half-assed Silent Hill game, I’d play one of the half-assed ones that already exists. And if I wanted to watch a Twin Peaks show without David Lynch, I’d just watch that Wayward Pines show that literally no one cares about.

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Haunting Ground

I love survival horror games, though I haven’t played as many of them as I would like. I tried to play Silent Hill on the Wii once, but I panic-waggled the remote so hard that I injured my shoulder. I did manage to complete Amnesia: The Dark Descent though, so I can be pretty hardcore when I try (just don’t tell anyone I only played it during the daytime and I screamed the whole time).

Yaaaaay I’m so hardcore!

With the popularity of  games like Amnesia and Slender, there’s been a resurgence in survival horror games that emphasise the survival aspect of survival horror. No more overpowered weapons.  No more copious supplies of ammo.  All you can do is run, hide and hope to god that you maintain your sanity long enough to find a way out.

I love these sorts of games. They really compliment my play style of freaking out and flailing madly while bumping into walls and crying like a little girl.

An old favourite of mine is a PS2 game called Haunting Ground (known as Demento in Japan).

In Haunting Ground, you play as Fiona, a young girl who awakes from a car crash to find herself held captive in a mysterious castle. The creepy inhabitants of the castle are out to get you (and your ovaries, or something like that) and you have no choice but to run and hide when you see them coming. The castle is littered with hiding spots, but the enemies aren’t always easily fooled. Hide in the same place one too many times and they will flush you out.  If Fiona panics the screen becomes blurred and her movements grow increasingly difficult to control, which usually results in death. Her death is never actually shown, but the sound effects that play over the game over screen suggest some truly horrific things are being done to her.

Your only protection against these creepy bastards is a dog named Hewie. Hewie will attack enemies, help you solve puzzles and warn you of imminent danger.  But you need to actively build your  relationship with Hewie. Pet him and praise him often and he will be more responsive to your commands. Kick him too many times and he won’t come to your rescue at all, potentially ending the game early. It’s kind of like Nintendogs meets Silent Hill.

I played this quite a few years ago so I’m not sure how well it holds up today, but if you can track down a copy it’s well worth a play. The atmosphere is suitably chilling, and the soundtrack is incredibly frightening. The companionship of Hewie never feels like an escort mission (if anything, Hewie is the one doing the escorting). If I could compare it to anything I’d say it’s almost a survival horror version of Ico. At the very least it will keep you satisfied until Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs comes out.

If, of course, you think you are going to be able to handle that one!