There’s a lot that’s great about the internet, but one of my favorite things that’s spawned from its existence is its ability to bring likeminded people together and as a result, birth entire communities. A few years ago, one of these communities (the SomethingAwful forum) decided to host a ‘creepy picture’ photoshop contest and one of the entires was a creation called the Slender Man.
The Slender Man was just supposed to be a picture made for a photoshop contest, but readers of the forum ran with it, and soon the Slender Man evolved into a wholly realized and totally freaky mythos known throughout the internet. But it was a small group of early 20 somethings that took the Slender Man story to the next level. They created dozens of videos (more like short films) on youtube featuring a found-footage style story about a young filmmaker’s bout with insanity, brought on by the Slender Man. See, in the Slender Man mythos, it’s common practice for this faceless being to stalk one person until they’re eventually consumed or killed by the Slender Man, who will then move on to another victim. He appears from a distance to be simply a tall man in a suit, but when you get closer he is in fact, a monster. The Slender Man is roughly 10 to 12 feet tall and has tentacle like arms and when viewed up close, appears to have no face at all. I told you it was creepy. This internet birthed phenomenon has been creeping people out all over the web for the past four years or so now, and it’s still going strong.
Enter Parsec Productions, a small team of basically one guy, who created what was supposed to be a one-off game to get some practice with Unity’s gaming engine. After just a week or so, the game has already gone viral. The game is called Slender and it is without a doubt, the scariest game I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Just finishing the brief game’s only task (find all 8 notes) is a marathon of mental perseverance. I wanted to give up on more than one occasion because I was so creeped out. The game is incredibly simple and I think that’s part of its genius. You walk through the woods, abandoned buildings and stranded farm equipment in search of eight notes left behind by somebody. Each note reveals a little bit more about the Slender Man and each note picked up results in an increase in intensity. In terms of audio there’s a sound of your character’s heartbeat, her footsteps, wind blowing through the trees and that’s about it. You’re given a flashlight, no way of defending yourself, and the ability to sprint. The game is set in a first person perspective, making it all the more horrific. Slender does what most horror movies almost never get right: pacing, tension and atmosphere. Slender has all three in spades. I can honestly say that no game has ever unnerved me the way Slender has. Note even a Silent Hill or Resident Evil game has achieved this level of horror. If you’re craving a good scare, or are just looking for a really cool/creative indie game. Then you can’t go wrong with Slender. It’s available for both Mac and PC, and guess what? It’s completely free. You can download the game here for PC, and here for MAC.
You can also consider this post to be a mini-review of Slender. I obviously don’t wanna spoil all of the greatness packed into such a tiny package, so I’ll leave you only with this advice. After downloading the game, read the readme txt file, and once you start playing, don’t stop until you beat it. It deserves to be played in one tense sitting. If this is technically a review, then I suppose I should give it a score. Based on the super-creepiness of the game, its ability to create massive amounts of spooky atmosphere and insane tension, I think that this score is more than well deserved.
Rating Overall: 5 out of 5