If Ico is the golden boy of gaming, then the Konami classic Silent Hill 2 is its weird, twisted, but equally brilliant cousin. The Silent Hill series (at least Silent Hill 2 and 3) is noted for its intriguing sense of atmosphere, its unique level of scariness, and especially for its use of realistic , deeply damaged characters. And they look like real people you could meet in real life! No gratuitous breast physics!
Especially not on James here.
My introduction to the series was Silent Hill 2, which centers around a man named James who is beckoned to the creepy, seemingly abandoned town of Silent Hill by a letter from his wife Mary. Problem is, she supposedly died 3 years ago. The player must control James as he explores the town looking for Mary, meeting a few interesting characters along the way, including Maria, a sexualized doppelganger of his late wife.
The whore to Mary’s virgin, as it were. This use of archetypal and Freudian elements is rife in the game, most notably in the designs of the game’s monsters, who seem to symbolize certain frustrations and repressed desires of James’s.
Freud would have a field day (and Hans Belmer would sue)
I don’t wanna spoil too much of the story, (even though its a very old game so its past the OMGspoilerz stage) but lets just say that James’ desire to be punished is a huge element of the game (and reason for the presence of the monsters.) In fact, the town itself is a sort of purgatory for Silent Hill‘s characters to acknowledge and be punished for their “sins.” Around the time I played Silent Hill 2 for the first time, I painted this:
Megan Koth -Masochism- 2007
Pretty sure I did this back in 2007. Wow, that’s old. But anyway, yes, a video game directly inspired this painting. The concept was inspired by the overall theme of the game: James’ repressed desire for self-punishment, hence the wires that I actually sewed through the canvas. The color scheme was pretty directly drawn from that classic Silent Hill-esque texture of blood and rust. Pretty much every surface in the game looks like it could give you tetanus or any number of infections.
Of course, that doesn’t stop James form jumping into dirty holes.
The texture and colors are also reminiscent of the fleshy monsters in the game, as I tried to make the painting look like a sort of skin.
Even though it’s old, I actually still really like this painting. The way that the wires grabbed and pooled the paint was a neat effect. It’s something that I even went on to explore further in my work. And to think it was (partly) conceptually and aesthetically inspired by a video game! *clutches pearls*
But seriously do yourself a favor and go find a used copy of Silent Hill 2. It’s an art and or psych student’s wet dream.