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Halloween 2009: A Gamer's Halloween

A Gamer's Halloween article

☑ Silent Hill 3: Stand in the Room of Blood and Mirrors

There is a certain room in Silent Hill 3. A very special room. It is not so difficult to find, and it is very easy to leave. In fact, anyone with any sense of the importance of their own life would leave the room very quickly indeed. The challenge is to go in the room, stand in the room, and stay in the room. Let the room create its art, with your body as its canvas.


What is the room? It contains a wall-length mirror, a large, industrial sink, and little else of value. But if you stand before the mirror, something strange happens: You can see blood trickling down your head. You turn about, but there is no blood; it was only in the mirror. Continue to stand before the mirror, and you will see more blood trickling down the curves of your face, a flood of veins discharging through skin that cracks and peels away. Great black globs ooze through pores and soak through clothes. Perhaps the worst part is that the world outside the mirror retains its regular appearance; a disagreement between reality and perception, an imbalance that demands reason and sanity be cast aside. Soon you will see blood pouring down the walls in thick rivulets, the mirror acting as a gateway to a nightmare world. But the nightmare spreads when the sink, the actual sink beside you and not its mirror image, has dark streams of blood coming from its drain, a tracery of patterns like veins etched into metal. Eventually "both" rooms become lined with black veins and dark blood, thick pools of the stuff, like a butcher's lifetime of labor condensed into a few horrifying moments. Eventually the bare, swaying light bulbs are covered in gunk and cast the room in shivering red and black, then finally your life meter is snuffed out in a haze of choking decay, gagging on the stuff of nightmares.

So what do you get for completing the challenge of staying in this room, rather than running for your life? The reward is the satisfaction of letting madness sweep over you, through you, and leaving nothing in its wake.

A Gamer's Halloween article

☑ Left 4 Dead Pounce, Tongue-tie, and Vomit like All Good Zombies

After playing some Left 4 Dead in order to train myself for the coming zombie invasion, I turned the game off and checked my medical supplies, my ammunition, my emergency shelter, and my backup extra emergency shelter, and then I thought to myself, "What's the point?" Because maybe being human is old-fashioned. Maybe the way of the future is to embrace being an undead automaton driven by senseless hunger, and to consume and destroy until nothing is left. (And please, no jokes pointing out that that is what I already am.)

Yes, zombification is the way, the ultimate truth, the final truth. And the only way to practice the new way of mental tranquility is to play as a zombie in Left 4 Dead multiplayer. In the hunt against the last remnants of humanity, you can play as a Hunter and pounce on your foes (the tradition of knocking someone down and beating them in the head until their eyes pop out is timeless), or play as a Smoker and ensnare someone with your ridiculously long tongue (which is glistening wet and stinks of rotten meat), or play as a Boomer and vomit all over your enemies. Not only is puking on the last of the human species fun in and of itself, it also marks the enemy as a hot target for one of your less-discriminating comrades. If that doesn't work, the Boomer can end his un-life explosively, throwing chaos into the ranks.

There are many different scenes and cliques for zombies to join. But the endless quest for brains unites them all.

A Gamer's Halloween article

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