The real silent Hill Experience




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ROSSETER

Now, all of the confusion about the subject of the games can be avoided if people would base their understanding on the evidence given to them in the games instead of the theories they get from other fans.


FUNGO

I've heard some good theories, though.


ROSSETER

There is some room to theorize, but all of the important story elements are there, even if they require closer examination. It is not necessary to write a three hundred twenty-four page book on little things like the way James pronounces his W's and why Walter wears a blue coat rather than a brown one.


FUNGO

There are many third party plot guides, both "official" and unofficial. Some examples being the Book of Lost Memories, Silent Hill Chronicle), and the Silent Hill 3 Official Strategy Guide. The truth is that these guides were written by people not involved in the games' creation.


ROSSETER

At all.
FUNGO

And most of the time, they do not provide proof.
ROSSETER

At all.
FUNGO

Where's the proof? There's no mention the origin of their supposedly authentic information
ROSSETER

At all.
FUNGO

Even when sanctioned by Konami! Just because Konami's name is on it doesn't make it correct.
ROSSETER

(Origins and Homecoming...)


FUNGO

(... Comics... and movies...)


ROSSETER

The reason behind all this over-theorizing may be due to people thinking that Silent Hill and its happenings are open for interpretation. This is open for interpretation. This has a very specific meaning and purpose in Silent Hill. It's ironic that the same people who think that Silent Hill is open for interpretation often also like to talk about how every little bit of every little game is well thought out and has a specific meaning and purpose. This quote from Oertel illustrates our point:


"...The approach we wanted to take is that you've known the creatures — but where did they originate from? Take the straightjacket monster. Whether that's real or psychological is for the player to decide..."

- William Oertel


Fortunately, this is not the case...
DERFUZHWAR

... The Otherworld..!


FUNGO

... is exactly as Harry Mason describes it:


"... this whole town... it's being invaded by the Otherworld. By a world of someone's nightmarish delusions come to life..."

- Harry Mason

THE NIGHTMARE
FUNGO

The town has the power to manifest parts of its victims' psyches. Every monster, scary noise, and threatening message is crafted especially from the characters' thoughts. Wrap that around your head! The spiritual power also controls the environment by either changing day to night, or creating a horrific nightmare world under the same principle.


In Silent Hill 1, Harry is fighting against the town's manifestation of Alessa's nightmares. And that makes sense. In Silent Hill 2, the town manifests parts of James', Eddie's, and Angela's minds, all together. In Silent Hill 3, we see the god directly influence the world around Heather from within her, and Silent Hill 4 takes place almost entirely inside Walter's subconscious through the power of a cult ritual.
Not only is the nightmare specific to a person, but it affects others selectively. For example, Laura doesn't experience any nightmarish delusions, even if James experiences them in such close proximity. It doesn't mean that they are not happening in the real world, it just means that the monsters do not appear in her presence. If you're not experiencing your own delusion, then you don't see anything at all, as shown in this memo from Silent Hill 2:
"I saw those demons. They were there, I'm certain. But my friend says he didn't see anything. If that's true, does that mean that what I saw was an illusion?"

- Memos next to corpse, Silent Hill 2


ROSSETER

The nightmares also tend to overlap. There are a few instances of this, one where James wanders into Eddie's reality. James' self-punishment is represented in the bodies Eddie has left, which all resemble James, and in the fact that Eddie decides to kill him after he seems to intentionally provoke Eddie into doing so. Eddie's nightmare is represented by hanging pieces of meat, obviously reminiscent of Eddie's obesity, the numerous people he has shot for making fun of him, and in James' seemingly intentional provocation. Both James and Eddie are experiencing each other's nightmares simultaneously, and each is playing off of the other. Another example of this is when James speaks to Angela in the hotel. Once again, James' self-punishment is represented in that they talk about James wanting to commit suicide, while Angela's nightmare is evident in the flames that surround them, and by her at first seeing James as her mother. This is also why James is able to fight the "doormen", which are monsters specific to Angela. The doormen are able to appear when his nightmare overlaps hers.


FUNGO

In Origins however, they make no such distinction, and instead the nightmare is a party! A common one which everyone can share by going through mirrors. In the movie, it's another dimension seeping through to our own. Homecoming's creators knew that the nightmare was supposed to be specific to someone, yet we don't see the connection to anyone. They never explain whose nightmare it is. Apparently, if you want to find out, you have to go to the official website and read some kind of journal-thing. Find a way to put it in the game, guys.


ROSSETER

That's lazy as frick. Lazy.


In SHAZAM, both the nightmare and normal worlds are in Cheryl's mind. So, the nightmare world doesn't have any real-world supernatural purpose.
Because each nightmare is presented differently, it is only natural that the transitions into the nightmares would also be different.
FUNGO

Sho' thang!


ROSSETER

Silent Hill 1's transition is usually instantaneous, with the environments changing immediately based on the situation. Number 2 has James slowly descending into his nightmares. The environment degrades and becomes increasingly more unstable based on his changing mental state. The transitions in 3 are usually brought about with a great deal of pain as the nightmare forces its way into being. #4's transition is pretty obvious; you are born into it.


FUNGO

In lieu of good storytelling, Origins and Homecoming have characters passing out and mysteriously awaking in random areas of Silent Hill. That's not possible!


ROSSETER

What!?
FUNGO

Harry Mason passes out here and there in Silent Hill 1, but he always wakes up in the same place, so those two games are taking liberties. It's reality shifting. The whole town doesn't pick itself up and move to your location.


ROSSETER

And you don't go there in your mind...


In SHAZAM, the transition happens before your eyes, but most of the time it affects areas you haven't yet explored, so it's less like a nightmare taking over and more like the start of the next level. On occasions that you do go back through an area, there is no opportunity to explore how it changed because you're being chased by monster. Once again, monster does not stalk the normal world, so you're not anticipating your next encounter with the demonic forces that Silent Hill should possess.

CREATURES


ROSSETER

Now... this leads us to... the matter of...


FUNGO

I know what's coming...


ROSSETER

Pyramid Head... We don't know why there is still a debate surrounding the appearance of this creature outside of Silent Hill 2. The Red Pyramid Thing is a creation of James' own mind, and therefore specific to James. He cannot exist without James. The argument is that the Pyramid Head is a representation of the prison camp executioners created by the town, and so the town can just pop it up anywhere it wants. While the prison camp executioners are well-represented, it is not a creature just anybody can see.


Besides Maria, who was also created by the town for James, the Pyramid Head has no interaction with any other characters. Eddie states that he does not see it, despite being in the same building! Does Eddie require punishment for what he does through the course of the game? Yes he does. Does the creature attack him? No it does not. The town uses James to do this instead, which is certainly more difficult than sending the creature out like some sort of torturous assassin. At the end of Silent Hill 2, it kills itself rather than leaving to go torture somebody else. This mirrors James eliminating the self-destructive part of his own mind.
FUNGO

In a quote from a translated page of "Lost Memories", a Japanese guide that contains analyses of Silent Hills 1-3 and short interview questions with Team Silent themselves, the Pyramid Head is described:


"'Pyramid Head' takes the appearance of an executioner of times past, but is actually incarnated from the part of James' consciousness that feels that he deserves punishment."

- Lost Memories


This guide provides even more information later on, saying:
"[Pyramid Head] appears as a representation of [James'] desire for punishment in the otherworld created by his subconscious."
"Pyramid Head is only a representation of James' need for punishment."

- Lost Memories


FUNGO

What more proof do you need? Well, how about one from Hiroyuki Owaku?


"... Something in the depths of James' subconscious is trying to force him to remember his crime."

- Lost Memories


ROSSETER

So you see, when we say something like, "The Pyramid Head cannot exist without James," we mean, "The Pyramid Head cannot exist unless James is there," because he's the one projecting the creature. As a side note, we would like to point out that the "pyramid" is not a helmet, it's the actual head. It's a monster, not a dude wearing a hat.


FUNGO

The rule goes for all of the other creatures in Silent Hill 2, as well. Since each person comes up with their own nightmare from their own thoughts, they are the only ones capable of bringing their creatures to life.


The monsters in the Silent Hill series have been scary because of Masahiro Ito's design. He would create the monsters with the themes of the game in mind as well as his own views of what was scary or disturbing. Furthermore, the same monster is never used twice because he understands that the nightmare is different for and specific to each person. While Silent Hill 4's monsters were designed by Masashi Tsuboyama, he worked as part of the art team on the previous games, so he also understood the rules of theme and originality. While the series does have a few creatures that are comparable, they are always designed with the theme in mind, and therefore are not actually the same creatures.


ROSSETER

When Christophe Gans made his movie, he didn't even understand what Silent Hill was about, let alone that the monsters were particular to certain characters. As such, he mixes creatures from other games into his story.


FUNGO

The creators of Origins and Homecoming also didn't understand the rules, so they, too, recycle creatures into their games. It would seem that rather than designing the monsters according to what would be scary or disturbing, they were designing them according to how they thought Silent Hill monsters should look. As a result, we get blatant copies of old creatures, none of which are scary anymore.

ORIGINALITY
ROSSETER

Another more significant issue of unoriginality comes from the stories of all these spin-offs. Apparently, if a character wants to go to Silent Hill post-Silent Hill 4, someone has to have died and then the main character forgotten about it. In Origins, Travis' parents are dead. But this is Silent Hill, so of course he doesn't remember that. In Homecoming, Nick Lachey is running around looking for his brother. But this is Silent Hill, so he doesn't remember that his little brother's dead-


DERFUZHWAR

What!? ... Drew Lachey's dead..!?
ROSSETER

No, we're talking about emo Josh...


DerFuzhwar breathes a sigh of relief.
Anyway... SHAZAM! Harry's dead. But, of course, Cheryl doesn't remember that (this is Silent Hill). Only, in that one, she doesn't even go to the town to remember. She has to go to a freakin' therapist.
DERFUZHWAR

The Orphan cellphone games are an extreme case of not one, but five people who don't remember that, at one point in their lives, thirty people were murdered in the same night.


ROSSETER

Thirty people. And Bill's such an idiot, he doesn't even remember that he has frickin' cancer!
DERFUZHWAR

Yeah! How do you forget you have frickin' cancer!?


ROSSETER

It is intensely obvious that these games are copying the story from Silent Hill 2. This is decidedly the fan-favorite of the group (not our favorite, but the fan-favorite), and that's because the story is so good, probably. But, the story of Silent Hill 2 is not that good on it's own. It's the way the story is told that makes it good.


DERFUZHWAR

Consider that a main character with amnesia is the #1 most cliché plot point in history. But, Silent Hill 2 pulls it off because it does it in an interesting and original way. In Silent Hill 2, James' amnesia is revealed midway, and all of the story elements leading up to that point and on after to the end are geared towards how James is dealing with it. It's not just that he has amnesia, it's how he's dealing with it. He's sorting through his guilt with the help of the spiritual power of Silent Hill through the whole game. Does he hate himself? Will he forgive himself?


In the games following Silent Hill 4, the storylines lead up to this moment where the main character goes, "Whoops! I guess I forgot some people died! But now I know everything, so everything can go back to normal." And then the game is over. So, not only are they copying the story, but they're copying it badly.
ROSSETER

By the way, you know this incredible "psychological profiling system" that was "invented" for SHAZAM? You know, the one that changes the outcome based on the way you play? It was copied from Silent Hill 2!


DERFUZHWAR

What.
ROSSETER

Yes. If you act suicidal, James commits suicide. If you follow Maria around a lot, James leaves with Maria. Only in Silent Hill 2 it was done a lot better because this process is running in the background instead of being the main attraction, so that makes it a whole lot creepier because it's doing this without you knowing about it. This and the story aren't the only things developers are stealing from Silent Hill 2.
All of the ways the post-Team Silent games are ripping of Silent Hill 2 are shown while Rosseter repeats Silent Hill 2's name over and over.
Why can't we just get past Silent Hill 2!? There are three other games, all with their own stories and ideas, and they deserve just as much praise!
"They looked to the previous games to decide what Silent Hill was about – and concrete things were brought over. Silent Hill must be about rust, fog, Pyramid Head, nurses, and creepy little kids. But Silent Hill isn’t about any of those things. That’s why Shattered Memories is important... "

- Tomm Hulett


Well, Silent Hill isn't about frickin' amnesia, either... Tomm.

12: ANALYSIS 2

SCARY?
ROSSETER

To understand what makes Silent Hill really scary, we need only to view this interview with Takayoshi Sato in the making of Silent Hill 2:
"'Psychological horror' has to shake human's heart deeply. Shaking people's heart deeply means, 'Uncover people's core emotion and core motivation for life.' Everybody is thinking and concerning about sex and death every day, and if we want to scare or shake or touch the users or spectators, then we have to think about sex and death deeply."

- Takayoshi Sato


During Silent Hill 2, James would catch the Pyramid Head doing "unsightly" things to various creatures. If you really watch, its not doing anything, but deep down, you know it's wrong because it so closely resembles some sort of sex crime. It's something that allows your mind to roam and fill in the blanks. In Silent Hill 3 there would be many ideas of sexual themes hinted at, with the Slurper being dressed in S&M garb and nurses being treated in ways we inherently know are wrong. But ever since, all of the developers have taken these subtle themes and pushed them over the top, so far as to make them blatant.
In Origins, we are treated to slutty, slutty Lisa...
FUNGO

... poor slutty Lisa...


ROSSETER

... and a nice scene of the Butcher mutilating a nurse's privates. In Homecoming all the monsters are just naked. Naked Sharkmen, naked Scissorfeet, naked Caterpillar Thing with a Head Up it's Butt, naked Barbie Doll, naked Pregnant Robot Spider Woman Sucking On it's Own Vaginal Fluid Through a Hose. And also, Facegina.


FUNGO

The other theme, death, was left ambiguous in previous games as well. Images of death were quite obvious, and yet the figures may or may not even be people. When Heather sees the body in the Borley Haunted Mansion, she questions whether or not it's real. These are images that leave a definite impression of death without actually showing it, and when you are shown a real dead person, the face is always obscured.


In Origins, this theme is almost entirely absent. The only scene that exhibits the theme of death is when Travis sees his father hanging from a noose, no ambiguity whatsoever. Homecoming just shoves blood and gore all up in your mouth and nose. Watch your mother get torn in half, watch your father get torn in half, look at this guy who's been cut in half, look at these people who were tortured and killed. All of this topped off by players engaging in the act of killing real people over and over. Your mind is not allowed to wander, and instead you are just shown the horrible stuff you are meant to imagine.
ROSSETER

It's just like an American horror movie.


FUNGO

You're right! An American horror movie about Silent Hill!


Rosseter and Fungo each hold up half of the broken Silent Hill movie DVD, laughing hysterically.
ROSSETER

We can almost guarantee the people over at Climax were watching the Making of Silent Hill 2 video. Guys, you can't just put it in there and hope it works. You can't just have a guy say it. You have to use it in the correct way. Silent Hill 1-4 have players questioning these themes because the images/sounds/activities displaying such are obscured and distorted, and therefore have us considering them on a much deeper level than if we are just shown explicit examples.


ROSSETER

SHAZAM is devoid of any disturbing or distorted images of sex or death, instead trading this for disturbing text messages and voicemails about them. These, as in past failures, are blatant to the extent of a picture and phone message about a child who died during auto-erotic asphyxiation. There's a huge difference between "disturbing" and "disgusting", and this is why the creepy weirdness of a lunatic's obsession is more effective than a text message that says, "My teacher raped me and then choked to death on a used condom."

AKIRA YAMAOKA
FUNGO

You may be thinking, "How could the series take such a wrong turn when there's an original member of Team Silent working as producer?"


ROSSETER

How could this be?


FUNGO

With all due respect to Mr. Yamaoka, we feel that he does not fully understand what it is to make a Silent Hill game. Akira Yamaoka gets far too much credit for what he does. He was originally just a musician. Now, he just writes music and oversees the project, and that's probably it. Don't get us wrong, the man is good at what he does!


ROSSETER

Yeah, he's a good musician!


FUNGO

We don't know exactly what his producer position entails, but we are confident that he is not in any creative control.


ROSSETER

Probably not.


FUNGO

He was the producer of Silent Hill 3 and 4, and executive producer for Origins and Homecoming, but Silent Hill 3 and 4 ended up the way they did because they were Team Silent games, with other original members involved. Origins and Homecoming had their own producers, with Yamaoka likely acting as a go-between with the studio and Konami.


In an interview with Yamaoka regarding the reception of Silent Hill Homecoming on music4games.net, he said:
"In the Silent Hill series, the feeling and sense of Japanese people are combined with the foreign cultures and environment, so people sometimes feel uncomfortable or strange. But it actually created the unique horror and universe. I think Homecoming lacked such feel."

- Akira Yamaoka


So he, himself, evidently blames the American team for the poor execution of the game. In an interview with Daniel Kalabakov of spelmusik.net...
ROSSETER

Hey, spell "music".


FUNGO

... M-U-S-I... C? K?


Rosseter stares at Fungo.
In that interview, Akira Yamaoka can be quoted saying:
"With Silent Hill, I just have to trust the main staff. This is because we all know what we want on Silent Hill — therefore, I don't really need to look at the scenes to do my work."

- Akira Yamaoka


In another interview from gogamemusic.com regarding Silent Hill 4, he stated:
"I had the sound track release on my mind and didn't think much of the game."

- Akira Yamaoka


ROSSETER

These are quotes from someone who was supposed to be in charge of the direction of the series.


FUNGO

This guy was in charge?


ROSSETER

Yeah! In regards to Origins and Homecoming, Yamaoka was asked by Chris Kohler of wirednews.com:


"What is the work flow? Do the designers create the scenes and give them to you and you just put the music in, or do you join in with them and give them suggestions on how to design the game to work best with the sounds?"

- Chris Kohler


To which he responded, "The second one..." He then goes on to explain:
"I receive the data, and use different formats like Quicktime, for example. And that'll be uploaded onto an FTP. And then I look at the images and work on music. At the same time I exchange emails and have a lot of discussion with them. Finally, after all the discussion, I add the music to the data."

- Akira Yamaoka


This sounds to us like his involvement with recent games has been exactly the same as it has been with the past games; he writes the music, oversees the project, and that's it. Yet there are some that seem to regard him as the mastermind behind Silent Hill.
"We're lucky today to have a chance to talk to Mr. Akira Yamaoka, the creator of Silent Hill, former director of the franchise."

- Shane Bettenhausen


ROSSETER

Shut up, Bettenhausen! Shut up! Shut your mouth, Shane! Shut it! Shut up!


FUNGO

Akira Yamaoka backs the movie as an accurate representation of the games, and continues to support and produce inaccurate Silent Hill material. We make the claim that he doesn't even know the storyline to the games he's producing.


ROSSETER

Do you need some proof? Just take a look at this clip where Yamaoka talks about Homecoming:


"It's different from the past Silent Hill games. Actually, the story starts in the town that's not Silent Hill. So, the character goes to different town, and then he's drived into Silent Hill. No past games started in different town, so that's the difference."

- Akira Yamaoka


... And again.
"It's different from the past Silent Hill games. Actually, the story starts in the town that's not Silent Hill. So, the character goes to different town, and then he's drived into Silent Hill. No past games started in different town, so that's the difference."

- Akira Yamaoka


Yeah, none of the games started in a different town. He's right... unless you count 3 and 4, which is half of the series. It is safe to say that Akira Yamaoka, though talented in his songwriting, is not as well versed in the nuances of the series as he should be. Silent Hill needs someone who understands the core of the games to be in charge, and Yamaoka should be the best candidate, shouldn't he?
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