“The first thing is that I love monsters, I identify with monsters.” – Guillermo del Toro
Back in the early 2000’s my cousin gave me a game and said: “Play. This. Now.”, so when I got home I popped the disc into my PlayStation. Didn’t take more than 10 minutes before I was thoroughly creeped out. I tried playing it several times, it had a great atmosphere, some interesting puzzles and a great story! However, it was so unnerving I never actually finished it myself.
Even though it was pretty easy to tell that something awful was about to happen (biggest hint was the sound of the disc loading) I just couldn’t deal with it. I was content to sit around watching friends play it and talk about how to solve the puzzles.
I never bought a Silent Hill game but had so many great nights of horror with friends. Nothing like it. After “The Room” the series unfortunately turned to shit and we found other games instead.
So, last year I saw a game on the PS Store titled “P.T”. It looked great! I got nostalgic over the good ol’ SH-days, and ended up watching it on YouTube a couple of days later. Imagine my surprise when it was revealed at the end to be a playable trailer (hence “P.T”) for the upcoming game “Silent Hills”!
I hadn’t followed the news but based on what I saw, and amount of times I nearly shat myself watching the playthrough, it looks promising!
The trailer revealed that the game would be a collaboration between Hideo Kojima’s studio with assistance by Guillermo del Toro and the lead role played by Norman Reedus (Daryl from “Walking Dead”)!
I hope that this will be a return to form for the franchise but won’t be too disappointed if it’s not. I will not be behind the controller on that game. No, I will be sitting in the corner rocking back and forth, mumbling something about fuzzy bunnies.
What I’ve particularly enjoyed with the series is the effort they put in to the whole mythos of Silent Hill. This has lead to elements of the game leaking out into the real world.
In my case there was a puzzle involving some muted notes on a piano. Since I couldn’t hear the notes in my head I had to pick up my guitar and play the melody. ‘Twas creepy as hell! This is what games can and should be doing more of.
It’s things like this that lead to countless discussions and theories floating around the web. It becomes more like an Alternate Reality Game! For more check out the video below. They give an awesome example of an ARG by Nine Inch Nails. Also, take a look at other videos from Extra Credits on YouTube!
Extra Credits – ARG’s
Even Kojima himself was surprised by how fast the puzzles in P.T were solved. He had this to say during Gamescom 2014: “I personally expected this to take a week to be solved, I underestimated the players.”
It only took a few hours after its release for the streamer “Soapy Warpig” to complete the game with some help on Twitch. Well, to be honest the last puzzle was solved more by happenstance than thorough analysis of the hints. But luck plays a role too!
This also shows how quickly we can solve problems by working together on something, yet doing it seperately. Granted, this is a videogame with predetermined rules and solutions. Let’s just take a minute to imagine that it wasn’t though. That it was, in fact, a real world problem.
Imagine only selecting 5 experts within a field to solve the problem. Great! They have the education, experience and enthusiasm to solve it. Perhaps they find something unexpected and have to research that branch in order to come closer to a solution. report and share their findings etc. This’ll probably be a long term project for these people. There are only so many hours 5 people can put into a project.
What if we go to the next tier of people? Those who might not have the proper qualifications but have a genuine interest in helping out? Now we’ve broadened the spectrum. These people probably have different experiences, interests and areas of expertise that just might feed into the project. Plus, the collective amount of hours finding the wrong solutions expand drastically!
I’m not saying that these people should get into the same room as the experts, get access to the same equipment or be at liberty to conduct experiments in their garage. I’m just trying to imagine what would happen if they were allowed access to the information. They might actually help provide the world with some answers along the way.
As we step into the realm of credit and intellectual property things tend to get a bit messy. It’s a problem that I’ll gladly let someone else handle. In the best of worlds it wouldn’t be considered an issue, but I can understand why it’s there. Even if we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us we still have to make a living. Also, we want to be respected for our contributions. Just like our heroes.
When asked about the balance of business & creativity Kojima said:
Creativity and creation is always priority number one, and I’ve become a producer to support that creative endeavor, and in order to support my role as producer I’ve studied the business. But priority is always on creation.
So, why did I tell you all of this? Because this teaches us some valuable lessons in creativity, believe it or not!
What Silent Hill has done right is to invoke 2 of the most important emotions connected to creativity: Fear and Curiosity.
The fear part is obvious. Really obvious. But how does it relate to creativity? Well, the feeling of not knowing how things will turn out. We start a project and after a while we hit a slump. Doubt starts to creep in. “Is this right?”, “Maybe I shouldn’t”, “I don’t know if I can!”.
We want certainty. The only thing that’s certain in Silent Hill is that we will shit our pants. No doubt! The uncertainty comes in the form of when, where and how.
What about curiosity?
Well, to experience this you’d have to play the game and see if it arouses your curiosity. It’s most definitely not everyone’s cup of wailing dead babies. Don’t worry, I will not show you a picture of that!
There are things that are incorporated into the games that reference things in the real world. This makes the experience even more disturbing, which makes us go: “Hm, I wonder if they know something I don’t…?”, and: We’re off!
Those who are interested google it, others have read books or have some sort of prior knowledge of the subject. There we’ve got that ARG-aspect again!
I think that all fields would benefit from overlapping and looking at what lessons they can learn from others.
Well, that’s probably quite enough for today. Digest it and take a look at what other fields you’re curious about.
What lessons could you learn from them?
“I’d grab the camera and tell people what to do, and when I was 14, someone told me that it was called directing.” – Guillermo del Toro
“90% of what is considered impossible is in fact possible. The other 10% will become possible with the passage of time and technology,” – Hideo Kojima
Pewds Plays P.T!
Soapy Warpig’s Playthrough of P.T