8 October 2002 | NightTrekker
Masterful, disturbing, intelligent, horrifying- a perfect example of the video game as a respectable art form
I'm constantly frustrated by the ignorance of those who dismiss video games as childish and worthless. I suppose it's not surprised that non-players have unfavorable views about them- many are unoriginal, pointlessly graphic, incompetently written, and poorly designed. I might point out that an extreme variation in quality is also present in cinema, though I doubt that many will disagree that cinema is a legitimate art form. The video game is a fledgling medium that has yet to solidify a position of respect (and let me say, not without reason considering the quality of most titles). I don't know if that will happen within my lifetime, but games like Silent Hill 2 make me confident that it WILL happen.
As a fan of the Resident Evil series, I was ready to rip this "pathetic copycat" title (the original SH) to shreds. That changed swiftly after I played it. I love the RE games, but they take a definite back seat--in every category--to Konami's survival/horror masterpiece. And when the time came, I was doubtful that Konami could pull off a sequel of equal or remote quality to the first game, but I was proved wrong.
Everything about Silent Hill 2 is excellent--the graphics, the voice acting (I'd like to hear these newcomers in other roles), a musical score which rivals--and shames--many film soundtracks, the writing (considering it's been translated by the industry that gave us "the master of unlocking", it's very well done), the design--the list continues. Others may tell you that the SH games have poor story lines, but this is likely because they expected mindless fun. To enjoy the series the player must be willing to participate, in thought as well as action.
Many people--especially parents, I'm sure--will be turned off by the edgy content in Silent Hill 2 and will subsequently dismiss it as valueless. Yes, there's blood is spilled; yes, there are disturbing images; yes, (in Silent Hill 2) there are strong sexual overtones; and yes, this would be a poor choice for the less mature or easily frightened; but ALL of it is essential in the creation of atmosphere, emotion, and storyline- in short, the entire experience. This is a cerebral, mature series--I doubt that younger children would get anything out of the game, save confusion and nightmares. But it's important to point out that this is NOT about blood and gore--it's about character. This is by far the most character-driven (non-RPG) series I've experienced.
Not too long ago I was discussing video games with a professor of mine, an intelligent person whose opinion I respect and value. I was surprised that she was somewhat familiar with the Resident Evil titles and even more surprised that she knew anything of the Silent Hill series. I had to agree that with her statement that the RE story lines are derivative--the concept is nothing original and the dialog has always been a weak point for the series--but I was shocked when she dismissed SH just as readily. I'm convinced she either knows nothing at all about the Silent Hill games (has likely never played them, not to mention completed them--is it not incredibly presumptuous to judge a book after reading only a few chapters?) or that she looks down upon video games in general. She wouldn't be the first person.
My frustration with such people is outweighed only by regret, that the artists behind these creations are not receiving the respect they deserve.
On the off chance that you're reading this, professor, you were wrong.