– Slender – Game Design Done Right! –

In a world of big budget AAA titles where you have to pay upwards of 60 dollars to play some uber-realistic arcade shooter, or some action-saturated survival horror title, it’s very difficult for me to find any true value in the selection presented.   I go to EB games and look at the games that I cannot afford to buy and it feels pretty awful until I look at the wall and start to wonder what games I would buy if money was no object.

Even with this perspective I find myself having a difficult time finding a game worth investing that much into.  Game designers are too obsessed with superficial treats and stunning graphics that the gaming experience has been lacking on most of the big budget titles I’ve played in recent years.

Two days ago I was introduced to a game that rekindled my love of the industry.  The game is called Slender.

If you are not familiar with “The Slender Man” then I recommend going to YouTube right now and searching “Marble Hornets”, and watch all the entries up to entry 26.  This is a meta-horror reality movie that was ongoing on Youtube a while back and it was done masterfully.  The villain is the monster known as “Slender Man”  If you don’t have the time to go through the videos (I stress how important it is that you do because these videos are worth your time) you can go to the Fears Wiki entry on Slender Man to at least read up on the beast.

Anyway I stumbled across a game known as “Slender.”  It’s a creepy game that will make your hairs stand on end whether or not you’ve actually seen any Slender Man material (it’s just scarier if you have watched Marble Hornets).  The reason I wanted to make an entry about it is because on the surface it doesn’t seem like it would be something of note.  I mean when you actually see Slender Man in the game, it’s pretty bubbly graphics.

This is not a high-end game, it is an Indie Game that doesn’t even take up 100MB’s on your hard drive with a game play concept so simple anyone can get into it.  You have a flashlight and you stumble through a wooded area trying to find 8 pages.  That is it.  I’m assuming the 8 pages is the script of Marble Hornets but I ain’t sure about that.  The more pages you get the closer Slender Man gets to catching you… the more you run, the faster he is able to track you.

When you see him the music shifts and the screen shows static and interference (as electronics always do around Slender Man), and you get a real sense of eeriness.

The most impressive part of this game for me is how it’s done.  The atmosphere is very engaging, you only have line of sight of the light from your flash light, and the textures of the trees and the buildings being lit up by the small light source can send shivers down your spine.  The key is, it’s not what you see that creeps you out.. it’s what you don’t.  You KNOW Slender Man is in the woods, you KNOW he’s hunting you and you need to haul ass if you want to survive… of course you have no idea where he is so there’s a chance you could be walking towards him and you’ll never know.

Treat yourself.. this game is absolutely Free and very small, without needing any heavy-duty graphics components.  This is game design done right.

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