by Sara Black
“What’s that on the wall?” I say.
“I have no idea.” Says my younger brother, sitting next to me on the couch.
“Should we go near it?”
“No, let’s go in that door instead.”
We back our character away from the red, pulsing fleshy thing on the wall. It’s the middle of the afternoon and the doors to my apartment are open to allow the sunlight and the sounds from outside in, but we’re nervous anyway. Even after hours of playing we’re still freaked out by the monsters leaping out of the corners, blood smeared walls and corpses discarded in hallways.
When contemplating writing about video games someone suggested Grand Theft Auto to me. I didn’t want to, not because of all the controversy, but because of the plot. GTA is an amalgam of stereotypes from gangster movies strung together to create interesting game play, but not an interesting story.
The plots of Silent Hill II, III and IV are creepy quagmires, with Silent Hill II being the best. In Silent Hill II the main character goes back to the city of Silent Hill to try and find his dead wife after getting a letter from her. Instead he wanders through the fog obscured city and finds a bizarre cast of characters perpetrating unspeakable acts against one another. Things appear to happen for no better reason than to horrify the player, yet a deeper narrative exists.
The thing is, I don’t like horror films. I’ve seen a few, but rarely do I seek them out. I don’t normally enjoy being deliberately scared. Even my foray into another horror style game, Resident Evil 4, didn’t bring the same excitement. Just shooting zombies wasn’t nearly as fun as imagining they unlocked some hidden facets of the main characters psyche.
“I wonder why the telephone doesn’t work.” The main character of Silent Hill III thinks out loud.
“She’s not so smart.” My brother says.
“No, that’s exactly what I’d be wondering if I stood in the middle of a blood drenched hell dimension.” I say.
And despite being a one person game, I find it more fun to play with friends.
Sara Black has a degree in Cinema/Television from USC. She watches far too much television, eats way too much sushi and is always writing a romance novel. This is the fifth in a series of posts on Pop Culture.
She will probably spend this weekend playing more Silent Hill IV with her brother and boyfriend.