Okay, something that I am going to talk about in my Christians and the Arts serious is spirits, and how Christians will detect a “bad spirit” about something and avoid it completely. I can honestly say that I could use this judgment on Slender: The Arrival, but I really think it is worth looking at.
In case you are wondering where the title comes from, the game has nothing to do with getting yourself into a slender shape. Slender refers to the legend of the Slender Man, which began on forums of Something Awful. I am assuming that these forums are still around, but a user named Gerogerigegege started this myth in 2009. This “Slender Man” was some creature with a blurred face that stalks children, and it eventually became a game known as Slender: The Eight Pages.
The sad part is this Slender Man phenomenon is associated with a stabbing by two Wisconsin girls ages 12 and 13 years old. That part is real, and kind of makes me question why I should play a video game associated with this. I’m pretty certain that the friends and family of the victim would not approve.
Still, I have to evaluate the game on what I felt while playing it, and I will say it is fear. I actually could not play this game in the dark at night, and certainly not alone. The game begins with very little backstory, and you play some character who is constantly filming the game’s first-person point-of-view. The end result has the horror of The Blair Witch Project, and the first part has no monster either.
In fact, the game’s creepy minimalistic soundtrack and sound effects just created an oddly uncomfortable atmosphere of jump-scare fear. I started out by walking a path, only to find that the credits rolled. Kudos to the game’s creators for making a unique opening that made me feel like I had walked into a horror film.
It starts out in the bright of day, but oddly shifts into darkest night as I approached a house that looked abandoned. You know that feeling in a horror film where you want to tell the main character “don’t go in there”? Well, you have stifle that if you want to progress in the game, and so in I went.
The house was dark and foreboding, and I kept expecting a jump-scare or dead body, or something that would require a music sting. I was disappointed that I never got one, but this actually made me even more scared. Searching the house revealed clues for Kate, who is inexplicably missing. Of course, I had to do it with a flashlight. It took me a while to walk upstairs, because I didn’t want to get trapped by…I don’t know, the Slender Man.
Seriously, this game had me shook, and after exploring the house, I wandered on a path. I didn’t see the Slenderman, but I did see a tall man on a hillside, as a shadow. Nothing has happened, yet, but I am only on the first part.
This game scares me, but this is the point. I was more supportive of the horror game Neverending Nightmares than this one, as that game was supposed to demonstrate what it is like to live with emotional instability. Slender: The Arrival is more about facing fear, which in my opinion is the most realistic foe that you can dominate in a video game. Therefore, I am going to recommend this game to players, but I wish it did not have a real murder linked to it, even if it is only indirectly. It is available now on Steam for $9.99.