When was the last time you really got excited about a game? It may have been recently (Splatoon is on my radar right now). You remember that feeling of anticipation for it and the coming satisfaction of tearing about in that world? Now imagine that feeling being ripped away because the company in charge of its development put its head squarely in its own butt, and you have Silent Hills.
This whole situation is frustrating not just because a game got canned, but because of the promise that P.T. (the “playable teaser” for Silent Hills) displayed. “You’ve never experienced anything like this!” the game shouted. And it was true! For me, at least. I don’t necessarily seek out horror games, but I don’t shy away from them either. I’ve played through most of the Resident Evil titles and seen Dead Space in all its spaciness. I’ve experienced some of the earlier Silent Hill entries. I jumped at the splish-splashy monster in Amnesia. But P.T. offered something…different. Something that landed deeper in my scare-center. Everything about P.T. was crafted perfectly to set you on edge. I haven’t had a piece of media land so well, maybe ever. I don’t recall another film or game that had me so excited to be afraid.
A good example of P.T.‘s – this demo’s – longevity in my brainhole was just a day or so ago. My cat had been a little sick this week, resulting in her having a couple of accidents in the floor. Because of this, I have had to ensure that she’s been using her box correctly and have had to watch her conduct her business. The life of a pet owner, I suppose. In any case, during one of these bathroom stops in the middle of the night, I found myself standing in the hallway peering into the laundry room, waiting on my cat. The light from the room poured out in a cone shape across the floor and onto the hallway wall, but, otherwise, the hall was pitch. Since the news of Silent Hills‘s death was in the news this week, I remembered P.T. I remembered traversing the same, dim hallway in a maddening, gradually more terrifying loop. I remembered the phantom that stood at the end of the hall. I remembered how unsettling that was. I was standing there with my back to darkness, and it didn’t feel good.
Months after playing P.T., here I was, a grown-ass man getting the willies while waiting on his cat to take a leak.
That’s the promise we had in Silent Hills. And it’s been taken from us. And we haven’t even started talking about the fan theories that turn this demo into something even more interesting.
It is odd for me to feel so frustrated with the death of a game. It’s just a game, right? Sure, but what a game it could have been!