Friday, July 3, 2009

In my restless dreams, I see that town.

Video games are entertaining. We know this. They’re fun, immersive, mesmerizing and, at times, controversial methods by which thousands of people choose to lose themselves for varying periods of time. However, one quality of video games that has always meant a lot to me is their nostalgic value. In the same way that music, movies, and books can lure you back to years past, video games can very much do the same. Accordingly, as I found myself in somewhat of a slump yesterday I was filled with the desire to play a game from my younger days – a game that I consider to be the greatest video game of all time: Silent Hill 2.

Now, Silent Hill 2 is not a perfect game: it has tank controls, backtracking and truly ridiculous voice acting but, to me, it is the greatest game of all time. Silent Hill 2 was the first time I became truly aware of video games and what they were capable of. For the first time, it wasn’t the gameplay or the graphics that trapped me inside a digital world but the story.

James Sunderland receives a letter from his wife, Mary, telling him that she’s waiting for him in their “special place”, Silent Hill. Only thing is, Mary died three years prior. Having no idea what he’s going to find, James sets out for the eponymous town and uncovers terror in the foggy streets: living mannequins with two sets of legs, deformed nurses, people wearing straightjackets made of their own skin and a makeshift butcher wearing a pyramid-shaped helmet who stalks James everywhere he goes, dragging his giant knife behind him. As he fends off these abominations James comes to realize the truth about Silent Hill and the fate of his beloved wife.

This story - its unfolding - has never been topped for me nor do I think it ever will but, thankfully, I don't need to wait another Silent Hill 2 to be developed as the game was given a port to the Xbox complete with a new sub-mission that enables me to play it whenever I feel a yearning for the quiet chaos of that town.

However, it’s been a long time since the series was really good and though I would love to see it return to its former glory, I remain very skeptical about the forthcoming Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Still, I can’t help but cross my fingers that this new installment will breathe new life into the series by, hopefully, returning it to its roots. Until then, you can find me in the Grand Hotel, across Toluca Lake. Check the front desk for a key.


  1. You already know this but I just could NOT get into SH2, although I appreciate its story.

  2. Oh yeah, you're not alone. A lot of people don't like the series and this game doesn't hold up too well these days. I just love that dumb son-of-a-bitch ;)

  3. Mostly it is the fact that it IS horror game, and it is quite horrific. To me, it took 2 years, and a livestream channel with three people watching (just friends) to get through the first parts. And even though you killed all enemies in one place, the game still is creepy.

    For my bad - I have been already spoiled by few review videos. The game cannot hit me anymore, maybe, but though, telling really good story I am already aware of.

    Yet, even with this fact, the story is something nothing even tried to attempt to re-tell. And it is that kind of story you would like to give as good book to your mother "read this, this is one of greatest stories" - and yet it cannot be done - Silent Hill can only work as a game...

    I am on my train to finish it though. Ironically, only silent hill game I am NOT yet spoiled on is Silent Hill 4 (I do not count games not made by team silent) - and that made me really shun it for the even more awful controls than the tank controls. FOR ME, the tank controls work - I have gotten used to it through resident evils, and silent hills now, to lose that to even more awkward Forced 2D control, ouch.

    Anyway, Silent Hill 2, on of greatest stories in gaming history. amen.