‘Silent Hill 2’: The Oppression of Atmosphere

Also known as, Experiencing the Atmosphere First Hand.

I close out horror month with the big fish, the granddaddy of all horror games: Silent Hill 2. So much has been written and said about this game that coming at it almost 11 years after the fact I wondered what there was left to say about it. I was honestly hoping that the game would just drop something into my lap as I played. Of course I didn’t get to play much as the power for pretty much my entire state went out the day before my column deadline.

I may have missed Tuesday, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to miss it being published in October. With dwindling power on both my laptop and my phone, the internet gone and with a barely working 3G I managed to email the doc to my editor and he was kind enough to put it up for me.

This was my first foray into what could be labeled as New Games Journalism and I was rightfully terrified about putting it up. I am making the connection between a real tragedy, a tragedy that is still ongoing, and a video game. For those who’ve lost their lives and homes my trials with the darkness and the cold can’t compare. But on the other hand, as I make this point, art is supposed to represent or at least instill an experience in its audience. Through the lens of horror fantasy, Silent Hill 2 lets us taste a certain type of fear and situation. With all artistically granted experiences though, it can become routine and simply what happens in the story. The larger point and the implications of what is happening lost on us. Reflecting on the tiniest detail in our real life can make us appreciate the pain and tragedy all the more clearly.

Yes, these are the kind of paranoid driven thoughts that come to me when I have nothing else to distract me. So, I hope you enjoyed horror month and here’s hoping to the lights coming on soon.

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