Horror meme turned horror game
If you've ever stayed up late browsing the net and reading creepy websites and stories on message boards, you've probably come across the topic of the “Slender Man” – a tall featureless man dressed in black who stalks people. Developer Parsec Productions has taken the internet mythos and meme and turned it into a horror game.
From its very beginning, Slender: The Eight Pages sets the tone for your experience. Creepy title music and screen text, then a cleverly simple but effective beginning of hearing yourself climb over a chain-link fence and drop to the ground. Click and your flashlights beam pierces the dark. It’s time to explore and get scared.
The game is set in a thickly wooded fenced in area with various landmarks that may contain a sheet of paper to find. The goal is to find a total of 8 pages, however, after each one you get, the Slender Man makes an appearance and you have to run. Let him catch you and it’s game over. The more pages you find, the more dangerous he becomes and the more the fog oppressively builds up around you and sounds become more unnerving. Urgency becomes important.
Your flashlight only lights a fraction of the screen and it really plays with your peripheral vision as you focus on what can be more readily seen in the center and is not hidden by the darkness. The character moves at a plodding slow pace and while it is possible to run, doing so will cause the flashlight to be lowered and REALLY limit how much you can see. And no, you can’t try to move your view up when doing this to cheese the flashlight back into view. I tried and that was either deliberately made that way or perhaps I’m just crazy and making much ado about nothing.
This game is NOT however a big budget AAA title but instead something along the modest lines of a Blair Witch Project production. The experience, and that’s what the game really is in the end – an experience, is very short but works well for what it tries to do. The graphics are not spectacular but effective at creating a believable environment.
I did find myself getting lost rather easy at first, particularly after Slender Man made an appearance, and while this heightened the tension it wore off when I felt like I was just going nowhere for long periods of time. There is a feeling of relief though when you finally see a building or structure in the distance past the trees but it also brings dread as you know that finding a page will bring the Slender Man closer to you.
Like all horror games, this is really something to play at night with the lights off and while wearing headphones. You need to be totally immersed in the game. It also helps to do a bit of reading about the subject and watch some videos, which the game provides links to in its Slender Man Mythos menu.
Available free for PC and Mac, any horror connoisseur, even if you “love to hate” being scared, Slender: The Eight Pages is a must have.