In most Western post-apocalyptic videogames, the broken and ruined remnants of society are populated by bandits, mutants, and Max Max-style ruffians. In the Japanese-developed Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (Bandai Namco / tri-Crescendo, 2009), post-apocalyptic Tokyo is populated almost entirely by ghosts, robots, and cats.
Based on what I know about contemporary Japanese society, this seems about right.
In No More Heroes (Grasshopper Manufacturer, 2007), otaku assassin Travis Touchdown has a kitten named Jeane. In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Grasshopper Manufacture, 2010), Jeane has is full-grown, and is now fat. These things happen.
Travis’ main interaction with Jeane in Desparate Struggle takes the form of an exercise regimen. He has decided that Jeane could lose some weight, and is determined to meet this goal. The regimen includes both playing and forms of rigorous petting.
Among home consoles, the library of the Wii is not particularly well-regarded. I consider it to be underrated in several respects. This is especially true in regards to cats. Judged purely on the quality of the cats it offers, the Wii is probably the greatest home console in history.
I’ve chosen three titles from its library as my next three cats of the week. Up first: launch title The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo EAD, 2006).
Welcome to part 2 of a 2-part post on Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Climax Studios, 2009). I’ll admit to a bit of wordplay here. In my first post, “scattered thoughts” referred to my own train of thought, since I’ll be the first to admit that my thoughts in that post weren’t guided by a single, coherent thesis. This post, however, does have a coherent guiding line: it is about how Shattered Memories itself uses distraction and split attention to heighten anxiety. So, the “scattered thoughts” in question here are the player’s.
It is 2016. Sam Barlow is widely appreciated today for revitalizing the full-motion video adventure game with HER STORY (2015). Why, then, return to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Climax Studios, 2009), which Barlow served as writer and lead designer of, which released seven years ago today? Am I prepared to claim that it is a lost masterpiece, a testament to Barlow’s skill at expanding the narrative possibilities of the videogame medium? No, I am not. Shattered Memories is certainly interesting. But it’s also flawed in too many ways to be considered a masterpiece.
Why these critical musings, then? Well, a bit of biographical detail: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the reason I bought a Wii. I had no prior interest in the console until word of this title started leaking out in mid-2009. I had played the first three Silent Hill games (all earlier that year, in fact) and loved them, but skipped the most recent iterations due to a seeming consensus that the series had subsequently lagged, especially following the departure of the original Team Silent. But here was something new: a game that actually seemed as if the designers were using the Wii remote in interesting ways, a game that seemed like it had a shot at leveraging the bodily engagement of the Wii platform in the service of horror, a game that was promising to rescue the survival horror genre from its seemingly inexorable slide into the action genre. In 2009, all three of these things seemed like breaths of fresh air.
So I have a personal attachment to this game, even if my feelings on it are complicated. What follows, as the title of this post suggests, are somewhat messy thoughts—although I’m planning to post a more organized follow-up soon.