Alt:Mag is a website for anybody whose interests may fall on what might be seen as the less conventional side of life, away from what might be considered ‘normal’. We aim to create an environment for readers to celebrate their interests rather than feeling embarrassed or alone about them.
We love to write articles about gaming, anime, movies, internet culture, music, life issues and much more!

Please make yourself at home!

A Beginner's Guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Ten years ago, Marvel Studios released its first film: the critically-acclaimed Iron Man. Sadly, I was a naïve student at the time who only cared about three superheroes: Batman, Spider-man, and the Hulk. I had no idea what I missed out on until five years later, when I saw Thor: The Dark World on a cinema trip. It was my first step into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most successful film franchise of all time. Spanning nineteen films, the MCU boasts a collection of stories and characters that makes the worlds of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter seem tiny. At the centre of it all are six stones and one villain – the focus of the new film Avengers: Infinity War. Whether you’re new to the films or need to get up to speed, now is the perfect time to catch up. This feature is intended to help you do it in the right order.

There are currently nineteen films in the MCU, and seven more at different stages of production at the time of writing. The events of Infinity War are tied so strongly with the past eighteen films that you need to see them first. Thankfully, they’re divided into groups – or phases – to make watching them easier. Like a TV series, each phase focusses on one major storyline while setting up future ones. Many of them cross over from one superhero’s film to another’s, so you can’t watch one hero’s films in one sitting (for example, you can’t watch Iron Man’s films all at once then move on to Thor’s). It’s best in most cases to watch them in the order they were released – but with later films, you may want to change things up to find an order that works best for you. Each film includes at least one extra scene in the credits to help you find your way.

At this point, I wanted to recap the films leading up to Infinity War for the newcomers out there. I changed my mind because the end result would’ve been too boring to convince you to watch them all. Instead, here’s a list of the films released so far in the order I found best to watch.

Phase One

Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Capt. America: The First Avenger (2011)
The Avengers / Avengers Assemble (2012)

Phase Two

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Capt. America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-man (2015)

Phase Three

Capt. America: Civil War (2016)
Spider-man: Homecoming (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Avengers: Infinity War (2017)

With phase three, you have some freedom to watch the films in any order you like – but if you want to get the most out of Infinity War, it’s vital you watch them all. There are comics, TV series, and short films that tie-in with the MCU, but you don’t need to check them out as well. As for after Infinity War, there are three more films to come: Ant-man & The Wasp, Captain Marvel, and an Avengers sequel that will conclude Thanos’ story. It’s going to be a long wait for them, but we’ll be writing about the final films in phase three as soon as we can. In the meantime, happy watching!

Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranked From Worst To Best

It's been two years since Avengers 2.5, aka Captain America: Civil War and the third Avengers film, Infinity War is here. As we bask in the joy that is Thanos actually doing something more than just sitting in a chair for six years, surely everyone has thought of watching all 19 Marvel cinematic universe films again and ranking them from worst to best? No? Well one (awesome) saddo

We Need To Talk About Doki Doki Literature Club


Okay, so where to start? Well, first things first, if you haven't played Doki Doki Literature Club, go away and do it now. You can download it here, or get it on Steam. It's free and available for Windows, Linux and Mac, so if you've got a few hours to spare, why don't you give it a go? If you want to experience it properly, I'd recommend not knowing anything going into it.

You Should Be Playing - Horizon: Zero Dawn

There are two types of players when it comes to single-player games. There's "the casual", being selective with their free time to play, usually jumping between different games. Then there's "the committed", being dedicated towards completing an adventure, refusing to switch discs (or digital downloads) until they've experienced everything it has to offer. PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn

Shin Godzilla (Movie Review)

The first Godzilla film I ever watched is one I’d like to forget: Roland Emmerich’s 1998 film. Although his oversized lizard drew me into monster films, it just wasn’t the King of Monsters people fear and revere in Japan. Thankfully, Toho – Godzilla’s creators – took steps towards introducing me to the real Godzilla in the following years. In 2005 they released the original film in the UK for the first time. In 2014 they endorsed Legendary Pictures’ take on Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards. And two years ago, they finally made a reboot of their own: Shin Godzilla. First released in Japan, it wasn’t available in the West until last summer, when it received a limited run in cinemas. Now it’s out on Blu-ray and DVD thanks to Manga Entertainment. Shin Godzilla is the first film in the series produced by Toho itself since 2004, and it’s made a hell of an impression. Some people enjoy it more than Gareth Edwards’ film (which I enjoyed a great deal). But was it worth the wait?

While most Godzilla films are set after the 1954 film, Shin Godzilla ignores it and re-establishes Godzilla in the 21st century. The film starts in Tokyo Bay, where the cost guard investigates an abandoned yacht. All they find are a set of research notes and an origami crane. Soon after, a creature attacks and floods the Aqua-line Tunnel with its own blood. A team of government officials led by Rando Yaguchi (played by Hiroki Hasegawa) is formed to research the creature, and help the military find a way to stop it. However, the creature makes landfall and tears into Tokyo, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Yaguchi’s team is joined by a US envoy, Kayoko Patterson (Satomi Ishihara), who reveals that the notes found on the abandoned yacht may hold the key to stopping the creature. However, their task is made more complicated when they discover the creature can change form. Each one grows bigger and stronger than the last – and its final form could spell doom not just for Japan, but the entire world.

If it sounds like a plot for an anime series, it’s because Shin Godzilla was written and directed by Hideaki Anno; creator of the Evangelion series. However, I’m not putting him down – Anno is an acclaimed filmmaker, and Shin Godzilla is a true Godzilla film. The title, in fact, means “True Godzilla”. Just as the original film drew on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Shin uses the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster to tell a grim story. Everything from the performances to Godzilla’s attacks is portrayed seriously, and the destruction hits just as hard as it did sixty years ago. The difference is the film uses CGI to portray it instead of traditional suitmation effects. The CGI is the best Japan can offer, but sadly, it doesn’t always pay off. Godzilla itself appears in four different forms, and its first two aren’t quite as convincing as the last. In fact, despite gushing blood from its gills in the first half hour, Godzilla is more comical in its early forms than the towering terror it grows into. The film makes up for it later, however, and when Godzilla is fully grown it looks every bit as impressive, if not better than, its predecessors. I often mistook close-up shots of Godzilla’s face and tail for incredibly built suits. Fans of the series will love the effects in Shin, but if you’re new to Godzilla, you may want to lower your expectations. This version of the King of Monsters is less of a living, breathing creature than a masterful tribute to the beasts of old. It even uses the roars from the 50s’ films.

If you’re expecting to see soldiers shooting recklessly at Godzilla, the humans’ portrayal in Shin will surprise you. The cast is made up entirely of politicians, and unlike most people in monster films, they don’t make mistakes out of blatant stupidity. Nor are they gun-toting action heroes. They are just ordinary people with lives, jobs, and their own agendas. Some are genuinely concerned with protecting the public, while others have their own self-interests at heart. The problem is there are dozens of them in the film, and only three are developed in depth: Yaguchi, Patterson, and the Prime Minister’s aide Hideki Akasaka (Yutaka Takenouchi). Worse, the film’s subtitles list the names of every character – even minor ones – as they appear. This makes it harder to follow the main characters, and can even cause you to lose track of the action. It’s especially hard to keep up with the film if you watch it for the first time subtitled. Thankfully, both the Blu-ray and DVD include an English dub, which I highly recommend to first-time viewers. However, with or without the dub, Shin isn’t for people looking for a simple creature feature. As well as Godzilla, Yaguchi and his colleagues spend most of their time battling red tape as they face a threat no law or procedure prepared them for. Their reactions make sense – after all, giant monsters don’t exist in real life – but they spend so much time wondering what to do that it slows the pace down. Not everyone will enjoy watching politicians puzzling for two hours. Nevertheless, it’s true to the spirit of the old Godzilla films. And if you’re willing to sit through the red tape, it’s a small price to pay for Godzilla’s return.

Like all films, Shin Godzilla has its ups and downs – but it’s undoubtedly a return to form and a very different beast from Gareth Edwards’ film. If you’ve seen it, tell us what you think in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Overwatch Winter Wonderland Is So Good!

Back when I was in high school, I used to play Runescape, like, all the time. Looking back now I'm older, I'm not sure why I put so many hours into what was essentially a point-and-click grindfest, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, and I have a lot of great memories playing it, one of the fondest occurring around this time of year, back in 2005, when there was a Christmas event on that involved constructing

Justice League Isn't Completely Terrible...

Going into Justice League, trying my best to remain optimistic, I felt like a jilted lover being brought back into a toxic relationship as I waited for the opening credits to start rolling. “Will Zach Snyder just hurt me again? Will it just be like before? Will this make Batman Vs Superman look Oscar-worthy?” Nothing could make BvS look Oscar-worthy but Suicide Squad won one (Best Makeup) so

How The Hobbit Extended Editions Improve the Trilogy for the Better

I saw my first Peter Jackson film at the cinema when I was nine. At nearly three hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was the longest film I saw in my pre-teen years. That was before I heard of extended editions and director’s cuts. Edited cuts of previously-released films are rare (nowadays they’re usually only released on Blu-ray), but with Jackson I came to expect them almost as often as Christmas presents. His films were released in December, then the following year the extended editions arrived on DVD. To my knowledge, he has released seven of them to date: extended version of the Lord of the Rings films; his remake of King Kong; and most recently, the Hobbit films. They all offer viewers the chance to go deeper into the worlds Jackson and his crew brought to life, and to see new scenes left on the cutting room floor. However, the question of whether they make the films better is hotly debated by fans and filmgoers. The Hobbit films are a special case - given the troubles they faced, they needed the extended treatment more than any other film Jackson has made.

Based on the book by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Hobbit trilogy takes place sixty years before LotR. Bilbo Baggins, a reclusive Hobbit (played by Martin Freeman), is recruited by Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) for a dangerous quest: to reclaim the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor (a.k.a. The Lonely Mountain) from the dragon Smaug. Bilbo joins a company of thirteen Dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield, the last heir to Erebor’s throne (Richard Armitage), who doesn’t look kindly on Bilbo at first. However, with Gandalf’s support - and that of Thorin’s followers Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, and Ori - Bilbo soldiers on. Together, they face hungry trolls, grotesque goblins, and vengeful orcs (among other creatures) on the road towards Erebor. Meanwhile, Gandalf investigates clues along the way that hint at the coming of a greater evil than Smaug. And, of course, Bilbo has some close encounters of his own - including a run-in with a certain gangrel creature with a certain gold ring.

I chose to write about the Hobbit films because they had a much harder journey from page to screen than LotR. Jackson wanted to make the films since 1997, but couldn’t because the rights to adapt The Hobbit were split between Warner Bros. and MGM Pictures. While the studios struggled to make a deal to fund the films, Jackson and his crew began writing with Guillermo del Toro. They had planned to have del Toro direct the films, but MGM’s financial troubles delayed the project again and again until del Toro left. In 2010 a deal between Warner and MGM was finally reached, and Jackson stepped up to direct the films. However, the concept designs del Toro approved for the films were scrapped and Jackson had to start over. The studios gave him only five months to prepare for the films, which forced him to start filming without scripts, sets, and creature designs finalised. Jackson’s design crew had to develop things as they went along, and they were forced to rely on more CGI than they had on LotR. Worst of all, the producers at Warner and MGM ordered Jackson to write in a subplot that wasn’t in the book: a love triangle between Kili, the new Elf character Tauriel, and Legolas from LotR. The change was slammed by fans not only because Tauriel was written as a love interest, but because Legolas didn’t appear in the Hobbit novel at all (even though his father, Elvenking Thranduil, did appear). It had a terrible impact on Jackson’s plans for the last two films, forcing him to focus more on the subplot than the main story. Many battle scenes planned for the last film, The Battle of the Five Armies, were cut or even left unfinished, resulting in the film running shorter and getting worse reviews than its predecessors. Overall, the Hobbit films are shorter and less acclaimed than LotR - all because Jackson was denied the time and freedom he needed to do them justice.

Because of the films’ flaws on their theatrical run, I came to see the extended editions as a second chance for The Hobbit. Peter Jackson was allowed to put an hour’s worth of footage back into the films; it’s small compared to the amount of footage returned to LotR (more than two hours), but it makes a huge difference. The extended cuts run more smoothly than the theatrical ones, and include scenes Jackson left unfinished the first time around. His crew were even allowed to fix continuity errors between the films - the biggest being Smaug’s design. In An Unexpected Journey, the dragon had four legs as he did in the book. However, his design wasn’t final; when Jackson filmed the sequel, The Desolation of Smaug, he had Smaug’s front legs removed so his actor - Benedict Cumberbatch - could use the dragon’s wings in his performance. For the extended edition of AUJ, the prologue was reshot using Smaug’s new design. The new shots only amount to a few seconds, but they help change the first film for the better; and they’re not the only changes that improve the films.

With the extended editions, Jackson revealed more of Thorin’s backstory and gave the rest of the Dwarves more screen-time. In DoS, the opening scene is extended to bring Thorin’s father, Thrain, into the story; and Gandalf’s scenes are also extended to reveal Thrain’s fate. This is one of my favourite additions, and one I’m sure Tolkien’s fans will appreciate because it draws on appendices from LotR as well as The Hobbit. Tolkien planned to rewrite The Hobbit after he finished LotR to link the books more closely, but since he changed his mind before he passed away, the films’ extended editions are now the closest thing to the adult retelling he wanted to write. In fact, some of the new scenes are so violent they raised the films’ age rating from 12 to 15. However, the biggest and best changes come in the last instalment, The Battle of the Five Armies.

At two hours and twenty minutes, BoFA’s theatrical cut is the shortest of the Hobbit films and the worst hit by their rushed filming schedule. I was very disappointed in the trilogy’s “defining chapter” because of its rapid pace and lack of emotional punch. The extended edition changed it for the better. Although he couldn’t remove the love triangle, Peter Jackson added twenty minutes back into the film. Most of the new footage takes place at the battle itself, and includes scenes that went unfinished at the time of the film’s first release. The arrival of Dain (Billy Connolly) now includes a cavalry of goat riders who attack the Elves before the Orcs appear. As well as padding the scene out, it answers the question of where Thorin and his friends found goats to ride to the film’s finale. The Dwarves get their own scenes in the battle too, giving it some much-needed comic relief. A particular highlight is a chariot chase featured in the trailers, which didn’t appear in the film’s theatrical cut. Finally, Thorin’s story gets the closure it deserves in a funeral scene, where he and the Arkenstone are laid to rest. My biggest issue with the film’s theatrical cut is that the stone - the ultimate goal of Thorin's quest - disappeared when the battle started and was never seen again. The extended edition changed that. Although it didn't surpass the ending of The Return of the King, it did bring the Hobbit films to the tragic conclusion they needed - true to the book and, more importantly, a fitting end to Peter Jackson's Middle-earth films. Since its release two years ago, the extended edition of BoFA has gained far better reviews than its theatrical cut. I have yet to meet anyone who prefers the theatrical cut.

If, like me, you were disappointed by the Hobbit films in the cinema, I strongly urge you to follow Bilbo and Thorin one last time. The extended editions are a rare case among films where bigger is better. If you've seen them already, let us know what you think and tell us your favourite new or extended scene on Facebook and Twitter!

Why The Walking Dead Is Now Barely Watchable

The Walking Drag

Remember when this show used to be about zombies? In the months running up to each season or mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead, I usually get asked if I’m looking forward to it. For the last couple of years, I've usually responded with a “meh”. 

When asking myself if I’m willing to invest 50 minutes of my life each week for another 16 episode series, my gut instinct tells me I’ll get more of the same: “Rick makes a speech about working together and/or surviving. The squad heads out on a mission or a slightly convoluted plot. Things seem like they’re going smoothly. Oh no, things are suddenly not going so smoothly. Will that person die? Probably not. Repeat 16 times until the finale”.

Watching the Season 8 premiere, I was still slightly optimistic but much less than I have been with seasons that came before. Being the 100th episode, titled “Mercy”, also being a tribute to both the show’s deceased stuntman and horror icon, George A. Romero, you’d have expected something special. Not like a parody of Night of the Living Dead or anything but perhaps a deviation from the episodic formula that’s been batted into the ground over the last few seasons (just like Glenn). So was the episode a tribute to the stuntman and Father of the Zombie drama as such? Ha ha. No.
The episode opened with Rick standing in front of all of his followers. Giving a speech, talking about the bad guy they need to go have yet another slightly tense shoot-out with. Saying they’re not just friends or colleagues, they’re family, for what feels like the 45th time. The Fast & Furious franchise has less repetitive dialogue and I never thought I’d have to make that comparison but that’s the world we live in now I suppose.

Rick and co. drive off to Negan’s. I mean Negan drove to his last time so it’s only fair, yeah? Daryl, Carol and a few whose names I can’t remember (they’re not important enough to Google), jumpstart the gang’s latest convoluted plot of luring a mass horde of Walkers, led by a cool-looking Daryl on a motorcycle. Aside from the pre-tense to the shoot-out, this is basically the plot of the Season 6 premiere. Is poking critique at that picky? Maybe, although it being only two years ago feels patronising. This episode had a very slight pay off to it but the whole inclusion of this sub-plot in the episode felt like a run-time filler pulled out of the plot device recycle bin, slightly polished up and reused as if we wouldn’t notice.

So Rick and his brand of The Super Best Friends get to Neagan’s, call him and his squad out, chat a bit with guns pointed. Neagan trash talks in retort, makes threats under his charismatic persona, shooting starts, roll credits. It all just feels so tired. Similar to that feeling when you’d get dropped off at a grandparent’s on school holidays and you had no choice but to rewatch that one film they own on VHS. We’ve seen this all before in The Walking Dead. It’s not that it isn’t entertaining for some but many have seen this all too many times.

The reason for Neagan’s inclusion in the show, back in the season 6 finale, was an attempt to rejuvenate the direction of the show forward. To give audiences a charismatic face of evil that they’d just hate to love and love to hate. As infuriating his introduction was teased and drawn out, Neagan was a success. Before the finale of season 6, I could barely tell you anything what happened during the show’s previous couple of seasons. I simply remember them as big blocks of the same formulaic episodes mentioned earlier.  That formula grew tired by The Walking Dead’s 4th season and unfortunately, the Neagan-infused version of the show is now suffering the same fate.

It cannot be denied that Neagan was a breath of fresh air. He was the reason to get keen on watching TWD again. For the first half of the seventh season anyway. Regrettably, because Neagan became the only reason to watch the show, the Neagan-esque formula quickly got tired by the season finale, ending an exhaustingly stretched out run of filler episodes with bouts of PG-13 violence as checkpoints.
Season 8 has basically been marketed as “they’re going to war!”. Isn’t that what the second half of season 7 was about? So we’re basically in for another full drawn out season of a few bullet-riddled conflicts padded with filler episodes - unless it’s all been a clever marketing ploy and everyone just goes back to fighting zombies in an awesome survival gore fest. I say this because this is what’s missing from the show. The  Walkers. The zombies that were once the driving allure of the show have been pushed into the background, being nothing more than mere props. They’re now more decorations for aesthetic than the horrifying creatures they’re meant to be known for, adding a theme of decay to a showcase of mediocre gun violence and worn out story lines of conflicting societies.

Absence of the Walkers’ weight onscreen carries further disappointment because it’s a sign of the series dropping its roots in order to be mainstream complaint-proof. It’s safe to say we’ll never see the level of perfectly brutal, bloody violence that made the Season 7 premiere so perfect when the series needs some inevitable jazzing up. Following the brain-smashing batting to death of Abraham and Glenn, beautiful eyeball popping included, parents, TV fans and many others with too much time on their hands were quick to cry in outrage. Despite the Glenn-smashing being faithful to its comic book roots, The Walking Dead has become a victim of its own success. If it were 4 or 5 years ago, barely anyone would have bat an eye. Now due to its mass viewership, any complaints are picked up and inflated immediately, with pressure to reduce its levels of gory violence reaching its producers almost instantaneously.

This was evident in the Season 8 premiere. Despite being a show about zombies overflowing the world, with hundreds being in this particular episode, only one person got eaten alive and it was all off screen. Rick fiercely stabbing a baddy in the stomach was all implied. Fear of mass criticism over violence and not being Marvel-film family friendly has caused showrunners to only stick with what’s safe, and we’ve already seen what’s safe 99 times before.

Up to season 4, The Walking Dead was one of the best shows on television. Being the concluding series of a war between clashing societies before it got as dull as a spoon, everything grew at an appropriate pace. Characters steadily developed, the stories felt fresh and the violence was abundantly fitting for the world its set in. This is where The Walking Dead peaked. After finally setting up a safe haven for our cast of survivors and clashing with a human villain, The Governor, for the first time, there was no room left to grow. Beyond a few tweaks to the particular baddie, each season has repeated itself with the stakes only being slightly raised to make viewers think otherwise.

The Walking Dead is now what I believe to be the television equivalent of stale white bread. If I was starving to death with no alternatives to satisfy my hunger for entertainment, sure, I’d wolf down the whole load. Yet I know whatever new episode I’m going to watch will be identical to reruns from previous seasons but with a fresh coat of paint. Seasons I’ve never once been tempted to re-watch as there are so many alternatives: new and interesting films or television series with unique stories and concepts that’ll tether my attention to the screen. A full season is around 14 hours. Spare time is precious. If you want to spend your time watching something that’s repetitive and stale, watch a Transformers film. At least they’re only around 2 and a half hours.

Gaming's Greatest Spooks: Silent Hill

A Story by Hugo Aranzaes 

I am what you would call, a skeptic. I tend to base my arguments on empirical evidence and a rational way of thinking. This wasn't always the case though. As a teenager I had a strong interest in the supernatural. I devoured magazines and books about mythical creatures and alien encounters. During my early adulthood though I developed a habit of asking people if they had ever seen a ghost and, if so, if they could tell me their stories. I asked family members, friends, and even taxi drivers. By my early 20s I had probably heard dozens of personal tales about apparitions, and seen none. While my skeptic attitude was slowly starting to develop, I was still intrigued by the subject. I was about to enter a period of big changes in my life. But before that, came Silent Hill.

It was the early 2000s and I had recently acquired a PlayStation. If you lived in a third world country at the time, this meant two things: Games were insanely cheap, and there was little to no information about them. My university granted me one hour of Internet access a day, and I spent most of that time downloading Anime JPEGs and custom Duke Nukem 3D maps to my dying collection of floppy disks. So, for most game purchases, I was forced to judge the book by its cover. One day, while browsing through some games, I found a very intriguing CD. The screenshots weren't particularly helpful and the cover was confusing to say the least. The only thing clear on it was a short title in red letters: Silent Hill. The name ringed a bell. I had heard things about this game. Good things.

The first areas of Silent Hill put you in control of a character in a third person perspective. You are in the middle of an abandoned town, surrounded by mist. This prevents you from seeing a few feet ahead of you. Early in the game though you are given couple of tools to protect yourself. A gun, some type of melee weapon, and a radio that produces static every time an enemy is near. The sense of threat is present during the whole game. In fact, it's the only thing keeping you alive. Later, Silent Hill introduces you to a new unexpected feature. Every now and then a loud and creepy alarm can be heard. The environment turns from a misty abandoned town to nightmarish dark and deteriorated streets. On this new world, the first building you find is an abandoned school.

The halls and classrooms are particularly dark. But luckily, you have a flashlight. The weak beam can only illuminate a few steps ahead. As opposed to what happened with the mist, now you can only see what is right in front of you. Turn, and whatever you were looking at becomes engulfed in darkness. And from this darkness, in a particular room of this building, I heard a strange and weak noise.

The high pitch sound lasted only an instant. I barely noticed it and thought it was just part of the background. But then it happened again. It sounded almost like a very light squeaky toy. It became clear then that, whatever it was, it was coming from the same room I was exploring. I slowly moved the flashlight to the right to face whatever was making that noise. I was expecting movement; maybe an object falling to the floor, as a sign of a ghostly presence. And, to some extent, that is what I got. A small figure, not taller than a toddler, appeared in front of me. Its shape was hard to distinguish. It was like a small child made out of shadows. I didn't have time to react. I barely got a glimpse of it, walking and stumbling forward. It let a small whine out, and then, it was gone.

We remained still for a couple of seconds. Both me and my avatar. I didn't know how to react to what I just saw. It was unexpected and eerie, but there was something else about it. Something I couldn't figure out right away. The sounds, the sudden appearance of a figure, the confusing dark shapes, and the quick departure. It was all just so familiar. And then it hit me. These were all elements I had heard before. But not from gamers, but from people all around the city. People opening about their own lives. Telling me their very own personal stories of fear and confusion. These elements were what all those ghost stories had in common. "That's how it felt!" I thought, "It felt like seeing a ghost!". I un-paused the game and continued playing. Now more interested in the mysteries of Silent Hill than ever. A couple of weeks later, I had finished the game. 

Through the years I have come to appreciate Silent Hill and the work their developers put into it. I still wonder though: How did they manage to replicate the experience of seeing a ghost? Who did they interview? More importantly: What did they see?

Alt:Mag © Kaizo Minds International 2017 | Layout designed by Rumah Dijual and Lewis Cox.