21 October, 2008

The Solace of Psychosis

I just started playing Silent Hill 4: The Room a few days ago. Not because I've given up on Second Life, or that I grew bored with Second Life, or anything like that. The main reason is that it's October, and Halloween is coming up, and this is my favorite holiday of the year, and I don't want to let it pass me by unnoticed because I was too engrossed in a virtual world. And this is really the best time of year to play a Silent Hill game. I played Silent Hill 3 last year around this time, and I've just been waiting for the right opportunity to pull out Silent Hill 4.

Okay, Second Life does hold /some/ responsibility for my decision to start playing SH4 right now. Firstly, I spent a few days exploring some Silent Hill related sims on Second Life. They were really cool, though not as good as I think they could be. With a few teleporter tricks, you could totally pull off the "Alternate transformation" of the town and really freak people out. Still, it's not the same experience as playing a real Silent Hill game. Secondly, one day I thought about logging onto Second Life, and I thought to myself, right now I feel like playing an actual /game/, that has some kind of plot or purpose, other than wandering around and talking to people. And thirdly, with each new friend I make in Second Life, the more "social" the experience becomes. And to be fair, Second Life is largely a social experience - much like life itself (at least the way it's intended to be lived). And so I increasingly find myself wanting to log into a more solipsist-friendly world, where I don't have to interact with any other sentient beings and I can just wallow in the mists of my own self-absorbed experience of existence.

And then it hit me. Silent Hill is not just an abandoned resort town gone [literally] to Hell. Silent Hill, with all of its hellacious flaws, and abandoned buildings, *is* the resort. I realized that I go to Silent Hill to get away from it all. In Silent Hill, I can crawl into my own mind and fight against the schizophrenic demons of my life, without being bugged by people from the real world, telling me to straighten up and get a [real] life. In Silent Hill, it's perfectly okay - even expected - to be psychotic. The demons, at the same time that they scare me and disturb me, also, in a way, comfort me. The silence and the psychosis of the town is gradually becoming my home.


  1. I guess to defeat demons, you must be on their level!

    Not identicle, but my favorite video games are often multiplayer games like Tribes, 007, Quake, and Unreal Tournament. Except, I do not ever play them multiplayer. I have the internet and everything but I would never consider doing the multiplayer mode. I find fighting against the bots much more satisfying. This 2nd Life thing is starting to intrigue me though...

  2. On a related note, Doom is one of my favorite games of all time, and one that I've played quite a lot over the years since it's release, even to this day (as you know). And though multiplayer deathmatch is a large part of the Doom experience, it's not even the smallest part of my personal Doom experience. In fact, I can't remember a single time I played Doom with other players. And I'm comfortable with that.