The Blog Roll: Slender Is Far From Splendid
Slender is far from a splendid experience. It’s a simple idea that produces fantastic experience. The horror market has lost its way in recent years (with a few exceptions). Tension and vulnerability have been replaced with big guns and screaming enemies. The soul has gone from the genre.
Slender isn’t trying its hardest to scare you, it doesn’t have to. The limited production values result in simple visuals in a limited world. The key to Slender’s success is its use of audio. The sound effects don’t suddenly spike to cause a jump scare. They creep up on the player, almost stalking and starting at each movement the player makes. The audio builds up the tension to the point the player begins to franticly look around them to just to make sure they are safe.
The lack of any weapon is also a key ingredient in Slender’s ability to scare. The game simply places the player deep in a dark forest, armed with only a torch and a limited sprint. Tasked with tracking down 9 pictures (attached to various landmarks) the player begins to explore the forest. The very nature of the setting is instantly intimidating with a endless dark surrounding the player. This combined with the audio creates a truly nerve racking experience.
The antagonist of Slender is shrouded in mystery. Much like the audio, the creature creeps up on the player, slowly and steadily. Looking at it causes the player to meet a swift death, this results in frantic attempts to brake any glances in ‘Its’ direction. As the creature moves closer and closer, the audio will intensify and the screen will begin to white out. These simple touches are far more effective than anything seen in modern day ‘triple A’ horror games.
Slender has soul, it has class and most of all it has respect for the player. It doesn’t tell the player when they should be scared, instead it allows the player to feel scared. Fear is one of the most purest of human emotions , when it’s forced it simply isn’t real. Slender doesn’t bash the player across the head with set pieces, instead it weaves its way around the players senses.
Slender is a fantastic slice of pure fear and atmosphere. The most shocking thing is….it’s not even a fully fledged game. Slender is a product of someone simply trying to get to grips with Unity. Due to its unpredicted success, the creator now plans to further develop the game. In his own words (over on his YouTube channel):
Answers to some questions (last updated around v0.9.1):
“No, I didn’t expect this to be popular; I made it for practice so I could learn Unity, and was only really intending to post it to a few forums I frequent. Yes, it’s unfinished. Yes, I plan to finish it as best I can. Yes, the Slender Man model will be updated once I get back in touch with the modeler (I don’t model). Yes, sprinting will be completely re-done. No, there’s no story, wasn’t planning on it. Yes, the game is winnable in its current state. (No, I’m not making a better ending; I know it’s not that great, but I like it anyway.) No, I don’t own Unity Pro, so I can only do so much with Unity Free. No, I’m not giving you $20. Yes, I do appreciate all your feedback, positive or negative. ”
It could be talent, it could be a fluke, either way Slender is fantastic. Turn off the lights, turn up the sound and enjoy/fear the experience.
Slender is available now, free of charge:
Download for Windows: http://www.mediafire.com/?j6j06lsnnw3m2q6
Download for Mac: http://www.mediafire.com/?tj33wasbm5z9eu6