Here’s The Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Mobile Strike Super Bowl Spot!


If the Celebrity Apprentice is canceled (and it looks like it will be, judging from the ratings that its been bringing in), at least Arnold Schwarzenegger can fall back on his job as the Mobile Strike spokesman.

For the record, I think Arnold was great in Maggie.  I’ve never played Mobile Strike and probably never will but I think he’s actually kinda charming in this commercial.

 

How to be a fulfilled artist… A Discussion with Tom Abernathy


I’m sitting in my office with the speakerphone on and listening to one of my artistic heroes – Tom Abernathy – speak as his creation The Freak from Destroy All Humans! 2.  Yes, this really happened and it was …. awesome.

Our discussion covers how Tom started his career, his past achievements, and what more he wants to give us.

When I first started speaking with him, I didn’t understand him.  Where was the angst-ridden melancholy that is so familiar in so many artists? Where was the bitterness?  I realized that his artistic process was totally different from that of a TV and movie writer who spends their artistic career in a great deal of isolation punctuated by a team of constructive criticism and clearly defined tasks.  His job touches all facets of the creative process, allowing him to fully realize his creative voice and vision.

Tom’s video game narrative career influenced or decided the dialogue, direction, and casting of many of our most beloved games. His career began in Los Angeles doing coverage – summarizing and reviewing scripts to determine if they were worth making.  He did this job for twenty-five dollars a script.  Through a connection, Joseph Donaldson, Tom was able to get a job writing scripts for Activision Studios.  It was not like today. Tom said, “The writing [for games] was terrible then.”  The video game writing done by the designers and producers who had little need for professional writers at that time.  His first game “Dark Reign 2” did not do well and Tom’s future as a professional game writer was uncertain.  However, something occurred in 2004 that made him eagerly look for work in TV, Film, or Games – he had a baby on the way.

Once again, Joseph Donaldson pushed Tom’s name forward as the head writer.  This was for Destroy All Humans!, a Mars Attacks set in the 1950s where you played the Alien Invader.   Tom had a unique take on both the people who inhabited the world and the Hero of the game – Crypto.

Tom brought the satirical humor to DAH!  Tom created the premise that “the 50s were Ward and June Clever and Eisenhower exterior, but everything going on in their minds must be depraved and wild.” Since Crypto was able to read minds, as he leveled towns and harvested human brains, we got to read and hear the unspoken, providing both comic relief and clues to completing missions.  He wanted Crypto to be “two parts Jack Nicholson and one part Charlton Heston.”

This was revolutionary because unlike the characters in “Doom” and other FPS, Crypto had a personality and a story.  Although Crypto would be insulted to read this, he had real humanity.  This will shock many fans, but “the original [Crypto voice] had a stilted tone like the 50s saucer movies”.  YIKES!   Tom wanted Crypto to be a “cowboy walking id, very American individualist.”  Therefore, it was “Jack Nicholson for id and Charlton Heston for cowboy.” He continued.  “[Crypto] needed the pomposity of Charlton Heston, [he] needed arrogance/confidence with swagger like Soylent Green. TOUGH!”

What was Tom’s role besides being the writer?  Were people lording over him? How much freedom did he have?  It turns out that he had A LOT of artistic control.  Why? “The [game developers] were in Brisbane and [he] only interacted with them by phone and email.”  Therefore, the geographic separation allowed Tom to have immense creative influence that would not have been afforded to him otherwise.  For example, Tom knew what he wanted Crypto to sound like and Tom was able to do the casting.  Yes, creatives – he got to do the casting.

DAH!2 Crypto was pitched as a James Bond/Austin Powers.  There was a pause in the discussion and I had to ask about The Freak and if it was true that he was the voice?  Yes!!! “The voice director, Doug Carrigan, and I realized that, in all our months-long work to get the important parts cast and recorded, there was one reasonably significant role we had totally forgotten about: The Freak. [We] were out of money and time, we had no choice but for me to hop in the booth and perform The Freak myself in what was probably the final 15 minutes of the entire series of recording sessions.  Apologies to Bobcat Goldthwaite; I had zero time to come up with an original take on the character, so I just decided to commit to the idea of Goldthwaite on a really bad acid trip.”  Yes, he did the voice for me and it was …. EPIC!!!

I asked him about the DAH!2 side missions.  “Leanne Taylor did a ton of work [assigned] late in production.”  Leanne Taylor – from me- THANK YOU!!!

I asked him about getting Anthony Stewart Head to play Ponsonby, who would’ve been a get for the time.  This was an interesting story because it not only reflected the creative process for a narrative, but also the limits of their power.  Tom had directed and recorded another actor to play Poncenby.  “I had cast an older man who brought out the humor and after he was recorded, THQ UK Marketing emails – “We want you to cast a ‘name’ actor from the UK so we can sell more units over here.”  I was curious as to Tom’s reaction.  “Not great. No one ever bought a game because someone voice acted in it because you don’t see the actors!”

What’s Happening Now?

Infinite-Arms.com

“The story is like Matrix meets Fringe. “There are mechs, known as Metamods, that come in both software and hardware version.  The hardware versions are actual 3-D printed action figures as much as ten or twelve inches tall, with 200 coats of paint and more than 20 points of articulation.” I didn’t really understand this until I watched the above video.  There are toys and a video game component.  In other words, this will be really badass.  Most importantly, “you don’t have to pour tons of money into the game to be successful! Jumo the company behind the game- wants players to get value with or without investing money.” There are RPG components, platform, and toy components!

Given Tom’s track record of bringing story and humanity to games, this will be a MUST BUY for the holidays!

Cheers!

The Further Adventures of Jedadiah Leland In The Internet Archive


Tonight, I returned to the Internet Archive.  The last time I was there, I had promised that I would come back and play a game called Sex Olympics.  I was not really being serious when I wrote that but, as I have learned over the past few days, when you promise your editor that you are going to review a game called Sex Olympics, she is not going to let you off the hook until you do it.

However, before playing Sex Olympics, I decided to run another scenario through President Elect (1987, Strategic Simulations, Inc.).  

1 President Elect

The last time I played President Elect, I simulated the current election and the game predicted that Donald Trump would win 535 electoral votes and 56% of the popular vote.  (For the record, Hillary did win the District of Columbia.)  This time, I decided to see what would have happened if, in 1980, the GOP had not selected Ronald Reagan and instead given their nomination to North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms.

According to the simulation, independent candidate John Anderson would have received a lot more votes than the 5 million he won in the actual election:

2 President Elect3 President Elect4 President Elect

(For the record, in the actual election, Ronald Reagan won 50% of the popular vote, Jimmy Carter took 41% and John Anderson received 6.6%.)

But what would the electoral college look like?

7 President Elect

In the simulation, John Anderson won the most electoral votes with 233.  But it takes 270 electoral votes to win the election.

That’s not good.

6 President Elect

There you have it!  Jimmy Carter would have come in third but he still would have been elected President.  Jesse Helms would have returned to the Senate and John Anderson would have been screwed over.

Once that was settled, I was ready to play Sex Olympics (1990, Free Spirit Software, Inc).

8 Sex Olympics

In Sex Olympics, you are legendary porn actor and intergalactic superstud Brad Stallion.  You have been recruited to represent Earth in the Sex Olympics.  Your goal is to go from planet to planet and do it with as many aliens as possible.  But you have to be clever and you have to be quick because your main competition is Dr. Dildo and he appears to be much better at this than you are.

When the game starts, you are here:

9 Sex Olympics

You have a blond assistant named Sandie, who you can either ask questions or screw.  Since Sandie never had much to say whenever I tried to talk to her, I went with screw.

11 sex olympics

Yeah, that’s hot.

Unfortunately, neither talking to nor screwing Sandie helped me with my main problem.  I could not figure out how to get out of the damn room!  I clicked on both doors.  I clicked on the window.  I pushed the “e” key for east and the “n” key for north.  I tried to call someone on the phone.  No matter what I did, the same thing happened:

10 Sex Olympics

Finally, I figured out that you had to click use and then click a very specific place on the door on the west wall if you wanted to go outside.  Clicking on go and then the door won’t work.  Clicking on use and then clicking on door won’t work.  No, you have to click on use and then click exactly on the door knob if you want to go outside.

I bet this crap never happens to Dr. Dildo.

Once I finally managed to get outside, I found the Big Thruster waiting for me.

12 sex olympics

Inside Big Thruster, I discovered all the planets that I could go to in my effort to defeat Dr. Dildo and prove Earth’s carnal superiority:

13 Sex Olympics

Let’s go to the big red one.  Why not?

14 Sex Olympics

The big red planet turned out to be planet of volcanoes.  This did not look promising but at least there was a village in the valley below.

15 Sex Olympics

I was heading into the village when suddenly…

16 Sex Olympics

That dog looks really mean!  Forget this, I’ll just go back to Big Thruster and visit another planet!

17 Sex Olympics

This little white planet looks promising.  Let’s see what it’s like.

18 Sex Olympics

Is that an igloo?  Let’s see if anyone’s down there!

19 Sex Olympics

This is a lot better than that killer dog on the volcano planet!  Let’s heat this igloo up!

20 Sex Olympics

“Inge has nothing to say.”  That line pretty much sums up the entire game.

21 Sex Olympics

Oh, I have to manually tell the game that I want to remove my clothes?  Sorry, I just assumed that it was implied.

22 Sex Olympics

Is it usually this difficult to have sex with a blue-skinned alien on an ice planet!?

Things got a lot more difficult when I was suddenly told that I had been arrested for indecent exposure and sent back to Earth!

23 Sex Olympics

I don’t have time for this!  I’m trying to defend the honor of Earth!

24 Sex Olympics

Good for Dr. Dildo.

Eventually, I was released from jail and I was sent back to where it all started.

25 Sex Olympics

And that’s when I said forget it.  This is too much trouble for a planet that is not even willing to support me.  Dr. Dildo can have the medal.  Brad Stallion is retired!

After being left disappointed by Sex Olympics, I decided to try playing a game called Survival In New York City (Keypunch, 1986).  

27 Survival in New York City

Survival in New York City is a text adventure game from Keypunch, a company that was notorious for stealing other people’s games and releasing them without any designer credits.  That appears to be the case of Survival in New York City.

It’s still not a bad game.  You wake up in an alley in New York City with no memory of who you are or how you got there.

28 survival in new york city

Your goal is to not get killed while exploring New York.  That is easier said than done.

29 Survivla in New York City

A piece of advice: Don’t go near the teenagers until you have figured how to get a gun.

I played Survival In New York a few times.  I got further every time but I still ended up dying.  Sometimes, I was killed by teens.  Sometimes, I was killed by Hell’s Angels.   It is a game that I will be playing again.

After that grim journey through New York, I decided to finish off my visit by playing a classic, Lemonade Stand (1973, Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium).

30 Lemonade 2

30 Lemonade

Lemonade Stand was the very first business simulation game.  You have a lemonade stand.  Every day, you decide how much lemonade to make, how many signs to make, and how much to charge per glass.  If you do a good job, you make money.  If you do a bad job, you go out of business and have to live with the shame of failure for the rest of your life.

For some reason, I decided to open my lemonade stand on a cloudy day.

31 Lemonade

Because of the bad weather, I did not sell any lemonade on that day or the next.  Finally, on the third day, I decided to take a chance and see what would happen if I tried to sell on a cloudy day.  It was time to take a risk.

32 Lemonade

I know that some people would say, “With a 50% chance of rain, why even try?”  I’ll tell you why.  In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.

Besides, what’s the worse that could happen?

33 Lemonade

At this point, I did what any gamer would do when the game was not going his way.  I quit and started over.

34 Lemonade

Sunny!  Now, this is more like it!

35 Lemonado

I took a chance.  I invested all of my money in making lemonade.  Unfortunately, that left me no money for advertising.

36 Lemonade

I ended up throwing out 70 glasses of lemonade but I still made a profit.  That’s the important thing.  Now, my fate and the fate of my lemonade business depended on tomorrow’s weather.

37 Lemonade

Oh yeah, baby!  Hot and dry!

38 Lemonade

I had learned my lesson from yesterday.  I made less glasses but I paid for two signs.  And I charged a little more because it’s hot and dry.  People are suffering out there.  They need my lemonade and I need their money.

39 Lemonade

$4.15 in profit!  I am a business genius!  Get out of my way, Bill Gates!  Look out, Warren Buffett!  There’s a new player on the block!

But then I asked myself, “When did this crazy business become all about money?”  It was supposed to be about the lemonade.  I had made my money and proven my point.  Taking my $4.15 with me, I pressed ESC and retired from the lemonade game.

I never looked back.

After that, I left the Internet Archive.  I was through exploring for the night but I knew that I would come back in the future and simulate another presidential election or attempt to survive in New York City or maybe I would even get back in the lemonade business.

But you can forget about the Sex Olympics.

Dr. Dildo can have that medal.

It’s Great Detective Pikachu!


Apparently, it’s not just Satan who is solving crimes

Look, I’ll just be absolutely honest here.  I know next to little about Pokemon.  I neither speak nor read Japanese.  I don’t have the slightest damn idea what is actually going on in the video below but it sure is cute!

Apparently, Great Detective Pikachu will be released on Nintendo 3DS in Japan on February 3rd, 2016.  There’s no set date for a Western release.

BlizzCon 2015: World of Warcraft: Legion


BlizzCon is always more exciting, for me at least, on odd numbered years, and the reason is obvious enough: it is when Blizzard have historically announced the next expansion in the World of Warcraft franchise. Not so in 2015. With a great deal of “huh?” and “did something important happen a few weeks ago?”, Warcraft gamers have been slowly coming to learn of Legion, which was announced at a convention in Germany back in August.

A bit anti-climatic to say the least, the announcement might have come early to fit the company’s time table; unlike previous expansions, Legion will be released in the middle of the year instead of at the end. I thought that Blizzard would at least, well, pretend like Legion was a secret during the opening ceremonies–they did as much years ago when they “revealed” Starcraft II after announcing it previously in Korea. So I decided to remain blissfully ignorant of World of Warcraft: Legion and wait for the meat and potatoes showcase. It didn’t quite pan out as I expected. This is the trailer they presented:

I enjoyed it. Watching Sylvanas duke it out with the demon got me fairly excited. But if this was all you had to go on, you would have approximately zero idea what Legion was about save exactly what its name implies: The Burning Legion. In that sense, the opening ceremony to BlizzCon 2015 was rather disappointing. I was expecting a broad four minute cinematic showcase of the new world that Legion would open up. Instead I got a narrow four minute cinematic showcase of Varian and Sylvanas fighting demons. Meh. Cool video; not what I was hoping for though.

But thankfully there was a World and Content Overview. (And a Q&A panel later tonight.) So here is the rundown on everything Blizzard revealed about Legion:

PLOT

Where Warlords of Draenor left off, Gul’dan had opened a portal for the Burning Legion to invade alternate-reality Draenor and the horde and alliance had stopped it, but Gul’dan escaped. In Legion, he arrives in main-timeline Azeroth and heads to the Broken Isles–a remnant of ancient Suramar which holds the tomb of Sargeras–under orders from Kil’jaeden. (Sargeras is basically the highest-tier bad guy in WoW lore–a titan who turned evil and commanded the Burning Legion. Basically, Kil’jaeden’s boss.) A portal is opened, the invasion begins, and here we are. Oh, and Illidan Stormrage is back, because why not?

It’s pretty straight-forward stuff, and for as cataclysmic as a Burning Legion invasion might be, this one is apparently isolated to the new continent. (Don’t expect anything like the terrain-changing rampage that Deathwing went on at the launch of Cataclysm.)

Illidan’s role is going to pick up from Black Temple. Blizzard are retconning the invasion of the Black Temple in Burning Crusade to say that Illidan opened a portal to a demon prison world (Mardum) and sent the future-Demon Hunter class elves on through. Inside, they infuse themselves with fel energy in a way that does not bend their will towards the Legion. (In practice it’s something akin to Death Knights–a horde/alliance aligned variant of a traditionally evil class–and they’ll begin at level 98.) The Demon Hunters return to the Black Temple just in time to be defeated by the horde/alliance and imprisoned by Maiev. Their plot line resumes in the present, where they break out of the Vault of the Wardens and choose their factions.

That was all Blizzard had to say about the main plot overview. But when they got into discussing different zones, things got interesting. Apparently, Legion is going to double up as the Emerald Dream expansion. (I’m kind of torn on that because I always hoped it would be its own independent expac.) Basically, the Emerald Dream is an alternate dimension containing the blueprints of Azeroth as it was first formed. It’s where druids derive their power, and Ysera and the green dragonflight existed to protect it. For about as long as WoW has existed, it’s been plagued by a mysterious corruption, and in Legion we finally get to engage that head on.

A third plot device that’s coming into play here is the Vrykul. Apparently a large contingent of their people came to the Lost Isles prior to the events of Wrath of the Lich King, and their lore will be explored and fleshed out in the zone known as Stormheim. From the sounds of things, Blizzard intend to push the story pretty far via quests and dungeons, possibly diminishing expansion-tier lore into a single zone. I started worrying about this at first. I began to wonder if this was going to be a slap-together “various plotlines we didn’t think we could base a whole expansion on” expansion. But when they started showing the artwork for it all, I got over myself pretty quickly. They didn’t slap a random winter zone into the middle of the continent or anything cheesy like that. The art looked really tasteful and appropriate for this expansion’s overall flavor without breaking from Vrykul standards. Hey, if the vikings could settle south in Europe they can do it in Azeroth too. (I guess we don’t technically know where in Azeroth the Lost Isles will be yet.)

LEVELING EXPERIENCE

Legion will begin with a 40-player scenario sequence (I cringed at the thought of how queues for this might work months after the launch when most players have already done it) where the alliance and horde invade the Broken Isles and establish their footholds. Blizzard showed a video of it. It looked, well, pretty damn awesome.

From there, I’m a little bit suspect of the way things will go down. There are four main questing zones surrounding the max level destination of Suramar: Azsuna, Val’sharah, Highmountain, and Stormheim:

The problem is, you don’t explore them in a set order. Blizzard got it in their heads to use the scaling technology we saw a lot of in Warlords and make all mobs scale as you level, so you can choose which order you tackle the zones in. It sounds like an absolutely terrible idea to me. First of all, so much for going back and finishing the story lines in lower level zones once you’re strong enough to speed through filler “kill 15 of x” quests. They’re now guaranteed to be a tedious waste of time no matter what your level is. Yay!

And this is going to be an absolute nightmare for pvp servers. Seriously. At least before, players 10 levels above you had to go out of their way to find you and pick a fight instead of taking on players their own size. Now a level 100 and a level 109 will routinely find themselves doing the same leveling quest. It doesn’t stop at that, either. It was later mentioned that, thanks to scaling, areas can function as both leveling zones and end-game questing areas. Uh, thanks Blizzard. There’s nothing this dwarf loves more than competing to complete a quest at level 100 against three full-conquest geared horde at level 110.

END-GAME QUESTING

Like it or not, daily quests are coming back with a vengeance. I absolutely loved command table missions in Warlords of Draenor, because you were pretty free to do whatever you wanted within the mission area and gain credit towards the same objective. Legion‘s variation didn’t sound particularly bad though. Instead of picking up dailies from a central hub, there will be daily quest regions with objectives listed on your map–presumably dozens of them–and you can pick from a huge variety throughout the continent to do whatever you’re in the mood for on a given day. Blizzard described their intention as to “overwhelm you with options”. And I like that. Part of what made Warlords of Draenor the most fun thing Blizzard has created in a long time was this sense that you never had to do the same content twice or run out of activities. I get the impression that in Legion they are taking that idea and pushing it even further.

The more significant rewards of dailies won’t be “daily” in the traditional sense, either. They will be something more like “complete six of the dozens of daily quests in a given zone this week.” So you should never feel obligated to actually play every day in order to keep up with the content. As someone who likes to be geared for raiding early in an expansion but can’t be on every day, I really like that.

RAIDS AND DUNGEONS

Blizzard announced two raids for Legion. The first is The Emerald Nightmare, which I’m really looking forward to because the Emerald Dream is an obscure bit of WoW lore that’s intrigued me for years. We’re finally getting to see it out. The Emerald Nightmare will contain 7 bosses and open a few weeks after launch, similar to Highmaul.

Inside you’ll fight, among other things, Xavius, corrupted members of the green dragonflight, and–I thought this was pretty awesome–the one and only Cenarius, fully corrupted by the Nightmare’s blight.

I’m pretty stoked. This is the raid I’ve been waiting for for a long, long time (still wish it was a full expansion), and I don’t think Blizzard are going to disappoint. The brief video they showed of the place looked amazing.

The second raid is going to be Suramar Palace. This one will be central to the expansion’s main plot, with Gul’dan as the final boss. It contains 10 bosses, and its design is pretty unique from the sounds of it. Set in the highest palace of the Nightborn Elves’ capital, it’s going to be a bright and elaborate palace, not a dark grimy catacomb. (At least, as they described it. No preview was shown.)

Additionally, Blizzard is pushing to make dungeons central to Legion–or so they say–but I’m not sure that it’s going to have a real impact. I think most of us were quite relieved to discover that dungeons were one and done in Warlords of Draenor. It made them unique and enjoyable rather than mindnumbingly repetitious grinds. Blizzard are putting a lot of effort into redesigning dungeon scaling and reward systems for challenge mode, but it frankly sounded like an excessively complicated waste of time that no one is going to bother playing anyway. (Honestly, how many people do you know who do challenge modes? Out of a maxed out realid list of 100 people I can think of approximately zero.) But if that’s your gig, it sounds like there will be additional tiers of difficulty which incorporate additional mechanics.

The only thing that worried me is I got the impression dungeons might scale up to your current gear even if you don’t want them to. I’m really hoping this isn’t the case–especially with scaling coming into play in the world zones as well. It rather defeats the purpose of seeking better gear if it never makes you any stronger…

ODDS AND ENDS

There is something that might be a new major city but probably isn’t: Suramar. Elves created a barrier to protect the ancient capital of Suramar during The Sundering 10,000 years ago, and they have been living behind it ever since, unaware that the War of the Ancients was ever won. The city was described as “one of the most ambitious projects that this team has ever done”. Blizzard explained that the leader of the city turned over to the Burning Legion, and one speaker let it slip–seemingly by accident–that Dalaran will be moving to the Lost Isles from Northrend, so I doubt there will be a traditional hub here. “The Grand Palace of Suramar” is a raid, and the city features two dungeons. Yet Blizzard mention “aiding your allies in Suramar”. I’m not sure what to make of that, and wonder if the city will be divided into a “safe-zone” hub and the occupied districts. Is Suramar City a city or just a questing zone like Shattrath in Warlords of Draenor, but with a raid and dungeons stuck in the middle? Hard to say.

One thing Blizzard definitely confirmed is that we will be able to see it. Visibility distance will be increased to three times its current level. That might honestly be the most exciting announcement about the whole expac for me, and a pretty cool reason to go re-explore the world.

There will be moose, games where you roll around in a barrel, and male banshees (manshees). All of these points received special attention because 😕 why shouldn’t they?

Blizzard made no mention of whether or not there would be level 110 flying. I think no flying had a tremendously positive impact on Warlords of Draenor. It felt like the largest expansion in the game by far–a place you could get lost in like nothing since Vanilla WoW. But the decision saw its fair share of opposition, so it’s hard to say whether they’ll repeat the process in Lost Isles.

World of Warcraft: Legion is due out in mid-2016. It looks pretty good, and has manshees.

Horror Review: Silent Hill 2


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Horror and psychology are two things that interest me. I currently major in the latter, and would do so in the former if I could. From that, one might assume (correctly) that I like psychological horror. This is part of the reason why I believe, and will try to convince you of, that Silent Hill 2 is the best game ever made.

Ok, that might have been sudden, but bear with me.

Firstly, context. As the game’s plot goes, you play as James Sunderland, and you have been a widow for two years when suddenly you receive a letter from the late missus, Mary (which is never a good sign), beckoning you to the town of Silent Hill, where you two once visited in a happy vacation. In your confusion about where the letter came from, you follows its instructions (I realize some of you wouldn’t, but imagine you live in a universe where “Silent Hill” isn’t synonymous with “absolutely fucking terrifying”), finding a completely different town from the one you vacationed in with Mary.

silenthill

Now, fans sometimes disagree about which is the best Silent Hill in the series (though the most self-entitled “hardcore fans” will say that Silent Hill 2 is the gospel). That’s understandable. Generally, Silent Hill games deal with the occult and demonic creatures, while Silent Hill the Second differs from the other ones. It is very abstract where the others are… less abstract. The psychological symbolisms are there in every game if you look for it, but it’s delicious icing in an otherwise already delicious cake. People don’t always stop to appreciate it.

Silent Hill 2 forces you to appreciate it. It doesn’t much care about the pagan lore of its foggy, homonymous town. The subject is barely touched upon, and when it is, you may not even realize it’s relevant to the series as a whole. The lore is there to prove that this is indeed part of the series, but this is a game that stands alone on its own. There is no evil, quasi-satanic clergy trying to foil your attempts of survival and/or rescuing your loved ones.

The standalone structure of Silent Hill 2 makes it great even for the potentially uninitiated to the series, who only knows the games as “that ones with the fog and the monsters”. Silent Hill 2 is almost a spin-off, barely connected to the continuity of the saga and more focused on the characters that compose its plot. This is a straight up story of people who are, on an emotional level, profoundly tormented, and why they are tormented, and how they are tormented.AngelaKnife2

While playing, you will stumble upon aberrations roaming the streets and buildings of the small town. You see, Mary’s illness that led to her death took a toll on James, and this toll becomes material through the town’s power. His feelings from watching Mary’s transformation from a vibrant woman into a miserable terminal patient are shown in the monster’s designs. Anger for not understanding why this had to happen to the woman he loved and for her becoming emotionally abusive from the pain of an undisclosed illness. Sexual frustration from being at her bedside to the very end, unable to be with her, but also unable to leave her. Everything is a reflection of James’ damaged psyche. The game explores some very grey areas of human morality through its development of James’ good and bad personality traits, all of which are too human.

When I said Silent Hill 2 is the best game ever made, of course I acknowledge that as an opinion. It is, instead, a personal favorite of mine. However being the fantastic psychological thriller it is, most people who played it would say that Silent Hill 2 should be featured in the annals of videogame history as a masterpiece, and you’d be hard pressed to convince them otherwise. The only exaggeration would be claiming you won’t find a better game, as that is subjective. Just understand that many of us are still looking for one. It’s such a unique videogame experience, and one you should play yourself to understand the beautifully conceived characters.

Lauraandjames

Except for this one. Laura’s a little twerp.