There’s a lot to dive into when it comes to Konami’s Silent Hill series and two of our resident gaming writers have favorites! Candice and Josh talk both Silent Hill 4: The Room and Silent Hill 2 and why they’re personally beloved! Let’s stroll down memory lane!
Candice’s Favorite – Silent Hill 4: The Room
Go ahead. I’ll give you a minute to roll your eyes and mock me about this one, because I know folks have a hard time accepting Silent Hill 4: The Room as a true Silent Hill title. Rumors circulated forever, trying to make an excuse for Konami by saying that it was actually just shoe-horned in as a Silent Hill title, but that was unsubstantiated fluff. It was always intended to be a new take on Silent Hill, a way for Konami and its producers to shake things up a bit in the rapidly stagnating genre. You played as Henry Townshend and, unlike the other characters who were lead to Silent Hill and that’s solely where the game took place — Henry lived in Ashfield, a fictional town separate from the well known location. What connected Henry to Silent Hill was a portal within his apartment building that opened up via his incredibly terrifying bathroom. Haunted over time, Henry has to keep his wits about him as he tries to close up the connecting threads.
Within the apartment building, you’re in first person and that felt so different to me. I had become so used to Silent Hill and other survival horror games that were popular of the time being in third-person and linear. The Room was different here and it caught onto the player, almost tricking them into haunts within the apartment and leaving small little clues and easter eggs for more eagle-eyed players. One of those players was me, as it turned out, and I was constantly jotting down new information and writing down theories and concepts. The cool thing about Silent Hill 4 was that it wasn’t trying to just tell you its own story, it wanted you to also dig deeper if you were so inclined.
And I was really, really inclined.
It had visuals that, for the time, grabbed me as different and more realistic to its genre and the music was by famed Akira Yamaoka, who I’m obsessed with. It was a slam dunk for a survival-horror fan like myself and kept me playing it over and over again, singing its praises to fans of Silent Hill despite the tepid response and glares I’d get. This was the game that made me continue forward despite an overly saturated genre at the time it was released and kept me hungry for more horror. As Josh will point out later, we’re never getting Silent Hills but P.T. showed developers where they should be surging forward when it comes to horror games and that keeps the dream alive for all of us fans out there.
Josh’s Favorite – Silent Hill 2
When Candice first mentioned to me that we’d be doing a little collabo on Silent Hill, I was stoked – not only because it’s an honor to be working on a piece with her, but also because Silent Hill is easily my favorite survival horror series. And when it comes to pinpointing my favorite Silent Hill game, that’s an easy pick: Silent Hill 2.
I had just turned 14 when Silent Hill 2 first came out, and my 16-year-old cousin invited me over to play it because, at the time, I didn’t own a PlayStation 2 to play it just yet. We invited another friend, 15 years old, to come along for the spooky ride on a dark fall night in Alaska – so there we were, three teenage dudes, all big buff football playing tough guys ready to play this new horror game, and barely an hour in we were arguing over who was going to play next because we were all too scared to keep going.
To this day I don’t think I’ve been more impacted by a horror game experience outside of MAYBE the first time I played P.T. (RIP Silent Hills…). The game was just so masterfully done: an interesting and often well-written story with decent dialogue and believable characters set in one of the coolest and spookiest atmospheres I’ve seen in any game, horror or otherwise. I’ll never forget the first time you set foot in the abandoned apartment building, exploring rooms, picking up the clip on flashlight only to get the daylights scared out of you by the creepy-as-hell mannequin monster hiding in the dark corner. And your first encounter with the now infamous “Pyramid Head“, easily one of the most iconic video game villains ever created, was jarring, to say the least. And on top of all the atmosphere and spookiness, you had some challenging puzzles to overcome and a movement and combat system that, while admittedly a little clunky, was superior compared to most survival horror games at the time.
Long story long, I don’t know that I will ever have such a terrifying first experience with a game ever. Silent Hill 2 was a game that sucked me in, despite my fear, and I was driven to finish it. And finish it I did! To this day I’ve completed the game at least 10 times over the course of nearly two decades, and even though it hasn’t aged particularly well it’s still an enjoyable survival horror journey, and with all this being said Silent Hill 2 is not only my favorite horror gaming experience of all time, but one of my favorite gaming memories in general.