|By Erin Maxwell|
Creating a truly disturbing “I am having trouble sleeping tonight” video game is not easy.
Most gamers are used to violence thanks to years of playing against flesh-eating zombies, baby-devouring cannibals and blood-thirsty drug runners.
So, to create a vidgame that is actually causing small ripples in the gaming community due to disturbing content is actually quite impressive.
These folks are who can be hard to impress, difficult to disturb and easy to ire.
The Static Speaks My Name can be played in about ten minutes (sans any dilly-dally). The graphics are fairly simply, if not slightly basic and the gameplay is easy since it lacks any real bosses, enemies or menacing mushroom-thingies looking to take your fire power.
The only real enemy is yourself.
Suddenly, you wake up in a dark room and the first thing you spy is an alarm clock. So, congrats, Jacob. You are now playing the game.
Armed with the knowledge of your character’s demise, the game begins to toy with you. After waking up in a shitty apartment, you are confronted with one piece of evidence after another that basically spells out that you are friggin’ insane, and this game is going to show you what it is like to live with a sickness.
What the sparsely decorated hovel lacks in personal touches, it makes up for this batshit crazy insane details that stay with you for a while. Like a childhood trauma or 7-11 sushi.
“Today will be a better day.”
From the moment you enter the space-floating gray matter into the sinister world of a one-bedroom fleabag apartment, you are met with this motivational poster. Despite the positive messaging, there is nothing on this poster that isn’t nightmare inducing.
Spoilers: Tomorrow will not be a better day. That dude is evil looking. And are those shrimp floating around on the poster? If they are, the poster becomes even weirder because…
You don’t know much about Jacob, but you quickly learn that the man loves his shrimp. And trees. But more on that later.
Other than a bed and a few pieces of mundane furniture, the only other item of note in the bedroom is a fish tank filled with shrimp. Hanging nearby is a professional photograph of the widdle shrimpies labeled “My babies.”
That makes it all the more disturbing when later in the game you are instructed to do the unthinkable…
NOOOOOO! Not the babies.
What makes matters worse is that Jacob just eats them whole. No fuss or muss of a kitchen needed. Just one gulp.
Palm trees. All the treeeeeeeeees….
In the beginning, you might have noticed this fairly simple painting:
The visual equivalent of vidgame motel art. Moving on to the hallway…
Hey, that looks familiar…
So, it appears that Jacob really likes that painting. He’s obsessed with it. He has been studying it. Mapping it. Dissecting it. Probably for years.
Safe and sound
Thinking about exploring the world outside? Think again…
You are not going anywhere. All the windows and doors are boarding up from the inside. And the only sound in the apartment other than the ominous background music is static from the heap of televisions that Jacob has hoarded in the living room.
Trapped in the apartment with no where to escape, exploring the given environment is your only real option. After discovering an empty fridge, a dirty microwave and a computer, you come across this gem:
You have a guest? There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of a guest, or anyone else in the apartment.
Maybe there are hints to your mystery guest around your apartment…
Getting over the “Tim Allen Comedy Special A Delight, Says Fans” headline, what was that about a…?
As you make your way around the itty-bitty hell hole, you find that your only friends are bots vying for your credit card info. You have a picture of a group of buddies by your computer, but instinct tells me that is probably the stock image that came with the frame.
But you do discover that you have a mom…
“Please don’t be angry with me…”
“…And with dad gone, I’m sorry I have to leave you too. Please don’t be angry with me.”
This doesn’t bode well.
Certainly there are more clues…something that can give you a glimmer of hope that all this can end well
On a nearby table, you find notes on the safe room you built and how to make it less conspicuous.
There’s a safe room. You build a safe room. Your tiny, boarded-up, TV-filled apartment has a safe room.
So, obvious questions: Why? Why does this apartment need a safe room? Who are you trying to keep out? Or worse, in?
Based on the clues given, you go looking for a bookshelf with the books stacked as mentioned, hoping for the best.
Please be empty. Please be empty. Please be empty. Please be empty.
I hate you, game.
Want to find out the horrifying conclusion to The Static Speaks My Name?