However, I have recently discovered a game which has been getting a lot of attention on the web. I'm probably, most definitely, late to the game on this one but I was interested in it from an open access perspective. The game in question is Slender. This is a prime example of good quality, FREE gaming. Did I mention it's free to download! And no I am not being paid to promote it. I am a big horror genre fan, so the concept of the game piqued my interest immediately. The premise of the game is to travel through a forest in the pitch black of night, gathering 8 pages from various locations, while all the while trying to avoid being caught by the 'Slender man'. It also includes very eerie music which increases in volume as the Slender Man draws near to you, and the tendency for your flashlight to fail at this exact moment.
The creation of the legend of the Slender Man is described on the games homepage. Although the creator is named as Victor Surge, it shows the manipulation of forums and blog threads to create something sharable:
The Slender Man was created at the Something Awful Forums in a thread entitled "Create Paranormal Images." He is described as wearing a black suit strikingly similar to the visage of the notorious Men In Black, and as the name suggests, appears very thin and able to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths in order to induce fear and ensnare his prey. Once his arms are outstretched, his victims are put into something of a hypnotized state, where they are utterly helpless to stop themselves from walking into them.
(The Slender Man)
Not only is this game an example of the power of collaborative efforts via the 'Something Awful Forums', but it shows the incredible work which is being done in terms of open creative endeavours.
It also encompasses some key elements of the movement in digital humanities: Interdisciplinarity, collaboration and creativity. Examples of these functions can be seen in the assembling of the Slender Man story. Aspects of the digital manipulation used in the paranormal pictures photoshop competition run on the Something Awful Forum, Cabadath from the Chzo Mythos games, and German folklore tales about Der Grobmann, often translated as the tall man, all influenced the creation of this game (Slender Man-Know Your Meme).
(Der Grobmann, from German folklore tales)
Personally, this game conjured images of Jack Skellington from Henry Sellick and Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
It also links rather nicely to the argument that I was making in my last post about the purpose within Digital Humanities of Deforming for Reforming, or what I like to refer to as digital flattery. In this sense, I would argue that this game was conceived of through the deformation of various representations of this tall figure and folk tales about such figures, in order to create a new digital, gaming version of this figure.
The site which hosts the game also provides connections between DH and the gaming community. It seems that DH has taken a lot of inspiration from the world of gaming, in terms of their methods of communication and discussion. The forum, is now a large part of the gaming culture, in which tactics can be discussed and help can be received to get past a certain level. This site houses a very well frequented forum which would put many DH forums to shame.
So next time you DHers play your games, whether on your console or online, remember that you are contributing to the long relationship which exists between the world of gaming and its influence on concepts within Digital Humanities.
With thanks to the Slender Man game for influencing this post.