I can’t say that I am a real gamer. First person shooter games tend to make me sick to my stomach due to the visuals. I’m terrible at side-scrolling games that involve lots of jumping, and puzzle games get repetitive. So I used to shy away from most games. However, I discovered that I do like horror games. I feel like a coward most of the time in real life, and if you know me you can attest to my many phobias. I feel so much braver in the digital world. One of my favorite horror video game series is Silent Hill. It’s not really a gore-centric kind of thing like slasher flicks. It’s more psychological, focusing more on surviving, and it really works. The are fun but scary and sometimes the gameplay sort of lingers in your head long after you put the controller down.
Silent Hill is a made-up town in the US. It seems like your classic small town that everyone would imagines is a picture perfect and magical place in the world to live, but it isn’t (Silent Hill at least, I can’t speak for other small towns. Maybe there are small towns that are magical and perfect places to live, I have no idea). There is a malevolent power lurking in the town that makes your thoughts a reality. While it wasn’t always a bad force, like everything else, it has been corrupted and is now evil. There’s The Order, which is a made-up religious cult that plays on the fears people have of religious orders, The Nurses (which play on peoples’ fear of hospitals and being sick), and Pyramid Head, a monster that has evolved as the series has.
I was hooked from the original game — I love that there are different endings depending on how you play. I wish more games did that. I think it gives them more playability than games you just “beat” after the final boss level. I like how that is something they thought important enough to continue throughout the series, even incorporating “joke” endings in to the series sometimes.
There are different protagonists throughout the series, but the town and many of the other characters are similar or the same throughout. Most of the time, the protagonist is lured to the town because someone they love is missing, or the town has mysteriously drawn them there.
I like the first three games the best. After that, they got a little more combat-reliant and less horror-centric. Of the later games, Shattered Memories is probably my favorite, as it is a Wii system reboot of the first game. I didn’t get a chance to play the original version of P.T., which has always made me mad – it was supposed to be the absolute best and it died when they cancelled Silent Hills. But you can play remakes of it that fans have done – there’s one called Corridors and another that was remade by a fan from Reddit, who used pieces pulled from the original game.
If you’re interested in horror games and have never given them a shot, consider doing so. Happy gaming, and don’t stay up too late playing!