Friday, December 17, 2021

Silent Hill: Room 304 (RIP Flash)

Everything fun on the internet used to use Flash, but now Flash is gone so the internet is mostly boring. 

Flash supported games, animated videos, and killer interactive websites. If like me you didn't have a gaming console, but you did have a computer, then Flash games were your go-to. 

I used to play this Doctor Who Flash game called "The Last Dalek" all the time. Now, unfortunately, it's unavailable. It's on some websites, but it just loads forever. You'll never get past the "Level 1" description scene. 

There's one game, though, that I would have completely lost my shit over as a kid, but it completely flew under my radar. That game is Silent Hill fan-made Flash game Silent Hill: Room 304.

Silent Hill: Room 304 is basically just a point-and-click game with some undemanding puzzles. My girlfriend showed it to me in October, having had fond memories of it as a kid.  
The best part to me, though, is that the game is full of real-life photographs, rather than drawings or computer-generated images. I love this style. I love imagining someone going out, taking some photos of a foggy street, then using those photos to make a small video game. It just oozes early-internet, DIY creativity. 

The plot really isn't anything special, as far as Silent Hill goes. You're a nameless protagonist who wakes up in Silent Hill. In the town, you run into creepy and scary things before uncovering a dark truth about yourself. It's essentially Silent Hill 2, but small and distinctly lacking the Japanese-style storytelling. 

What works about this game, though, is not its story, but its tone. Honestly, it's genuinely creepy, both as a text and in a meta-fiction way. It feels like a haunted game, like something out of Pulse or Ringu

What's terrible, though, is that Flash is dead, ergo most people's ability to play this game is gone. 

There are a few things you can do to rectify this situation, though.

This is absolutely the lamest option, but you can watch a walkthrough on YouTube. A lot of the walkthroughs have some annoying nerd talking over the whole thing, but here's one that's just an objective playthrough of the game. 

Since it's a point-and-click, there's not much room for exploring, so watching someone do their own playthrough is a relatively similar experience as playing it yourself.

Also, the better option, you can go to NewGrounds and play it in full. NewGrounds made their own Flash alternative. It's called NewGrounds Player. 

The issue, though, is that you can only use NewGrounds Player on a PC. So, if you only use Mac, you're screwed. 

I'm fortunate because my girlfriend has a PC, so we both played it on her computer. Of course, this is reason enough for me to switch over. 

If you can, check out this old creative gem. Seriously great. 


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