Horror is a very unique genre. What scares us varies wildly from person to person. Some are immune while some are pissing themselves when something goes bump in the night. Horror is driven primarily by adrenaline. Adrenaline is fueled by Fear. Fear is an emotion, too abstract to define. Fear can affect you far more mentally than physically. You fear losing the one’s who you are close to the most, but not only that, you fear the unknown. The unknowable. The confusion. Confusion can destroy the mind, baffle the brain. Everything you knew or thought you knew comes crashing down on you all at once. Nothing makes sense anymore. You slowly bring yourself to the grim realization that you are a small spec in a giant scary world that couldn’t care less about your meager existence.
Horror is a very difficult thing to create in a video game. Video games are all about immersion, the feeling of what you’re seeing is truly real. Horror is a concept you have to build from the start, not just something you could make happen. This is why so many people fail at it. Horror is not a thing, it’s a concept.
Silent Hill is one of the best possible examples of horror done right. It brought not only scary monsters that go boo, but they also tied it into a brilliant concept of the town itself is the threat, not just what’s in it.
Resident Evil at one point was also an example of a well done horror concept. Not so much RE6, but the original ones were really good and considered the best of their kind.
So why all this build up? Why all this background? It’s for a very good reason, I’ve found a game that I truly believe can stand tall and proud with both of those games. A game that is as captivating as it is mind-blowing. A game that won’t directly scare you, but make you become lost in your own mind. This game physiologically messes with your perception, you will see things that aren’t there. You can’t help but feel your mind is telling you something, maybe the world is your prison. Maybe you will see a side of yourself that was a part of you all along and you just didn’t know it. Maybe you don’t want to accept it, but you still can’t get away from it, no matter how long or how far you run.
This is P.T…
Otherwise known as…
#1 Is this some kind of joke?
I’m glad you asked.
Ok so this… This is quite a treat here if you couldn’t already tell.
This game was not made by Hideo Kojima. Instead, this was essentially a parody of P.T. to some extent, not entirely. (I’ll explain why later.)
This game was made by a gentlemen named Samer Khatib. A guy who I’m assuming is an independent developer.
He has made this… absolute…
“Wait, I thought you were joking about that?”
Well, not entirely actually. You’ll see why, starting…
#2 The hunt for the infamous Potato Man.
Alright, let’s just get straight into it. Be prepared, seriously, be prepared! What I will tell you next will make you think I’ve been taking all sorts of substances, but trust me, that’s only mostly false.
So the first cut-scene of the game is pointed at this one random radio in the middle of nowhere. Where we get a broadcast of a guy telling us the latest a-newz! His sound quality is remarkably shitty, strange for a professional news outlet.
Anyway, the man tells us about “one of the most notorious serial killers around. The Potato man! Known for deep frying his victims.”
The 2 guys (which is really just one guy trying to be 2 guys) called News Guy #1 and News Guy #2. No, I’m not joking, that’s seriously what their names are. I wonder if that’s what their birth certificate said. Would be weird if they got a job that wasn’t news-casting.
Sorry, they tell us to be warned about the Potato man and that he looks like a Potato. Seriously, he’s LITERALLY a Potato!
Solid, we have our beginning narrative all set up. Full Steam ahead!
There is only one man who can catch the Potato Man. A bounty hunter by the name of Quindalin. The best bounty hunter around.
Ok, so uh… Quindalin here has been trying to track down the Potato Man for years now. Which makes me question why it would take him so long considering he’s A GIANT POTATO! He couldn’t be that hard to track down, he’s not exactly Solid Snake!
Anyway, Quindalin is accompanied by his robot son. Yes, you heard me right, his ROBOT SON!
Quindalin gets a tip off of the Potato Man’s location at his office named “Quin and Son’s Bounty Hunting Services.” It would appear that Potato Man was buying deep frying oil at the grocery store in order to deep fry his next victim. (This is actual dialogue, no exaggeration.) A grocery store, supposedly full of people! Human Beings!.. WHAT!?!? HOW THE HELL HAS NO ONE CAUGHT THIS GUY!? I CALL BULLSHIT!
Potato Man is not very good at the whole subtlety thing if you couldn’t tell already.
The caller wanted to remain anonymous, oh gee, I hope that doesn’t influence the events to come.
So Quin and Dexter (which sounds like the name of a late 90’s cartoon) take off to finally catch this Potato man, in a Heli-Pear!
…1 Heli-Pear trip later…
Ok, so we are now officially in the P.T. parody portion of the game.
So, if you remember P.T. you would remember it having you walk down a hallway. Each time you walked thorough a door, you were taken back to the same hallway, giving you the feeling like you were walking in circles. But what was cool about it was that each time you were taken back to that hallway, there was a minor variation to it each time. Also, you would learn more about your main character each time you made it in a circle. This was a really cool idea and a lot of people loved P.T. But sadly, it didn’t last too long because of a whole host of issues, *Cough* Fuck Konami *Cough* that I won’t get into.
Does Potato Thriller do this as well?.. Um, no. But I’m not going to say that Samer completely failed.
While P.T. was more physiological, showing you what true insanity looks like, Potato Thriller… all it really does is make you go, “What the serious fucking shitting chimps in a forest is this?!”
This part of the game is harder to explain, so I’m just going to show you a host of pictures I gathered to try to help you understand. A lot of this defies explanation…
I would attempt to provide an explanation, but words literally escape me. I’m scared the entire universe would collapse in on itself if I even attempt to explain what the hell is going on here.
This is just a sample, an appetizer if you will, of the shit that defies all explanation in this game…
It’s pure genius.
#3 Why this game is pure genius.
Ok now, hold up! I’m well aware not everyone is going to agree with me on this, but hear me out for a second.
This game confused the shit out of me. Around every corner, every time I did something, I didn’t expect it to get any weirder, but it kept doing it! I was… enthralled! No joke! This was great!
This section of the game is just pure insanity, it’s so impossibly surreal that it will guarantee you are just wanting to see what else he could throw at you! While it will wear out it’s welcome after a while, it was an experience that I won’t forget. Does that mean it was good… Well… I don’t know.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
The game is pretty varied as well. Like I said, that P.T section would wear out it’s welcome after a while, so Potato Thriller actually has some puzzle elements as well.
In fact, in the later half of the game, it doesn’t even try to be a horror game anymore, it instead becomes more about the story of catching the Potato Man. Some will criticize and say that this game is unfocused and a mess in terms of overall design. I don’t disagree at all.
I’m not going to lie to you either, this game has flaws up the ass for sure! Here’s a short list:
- The voice acting is horrendously cringe worthy in places.
- Potato Man and Dexter sound exactly the same.
- The stealth is forced and underdeveloped.
- The game tries to be comedic, but it makes the tone feel really inconsistent. Also, every joke reminds me of BMC.
- Quindalin is the worst bounty hunter on the face of the planet!
Despite all of that, I did laugh at some moments and felt creeped out at other moments. This game did something right, that’s for sure.
This game has a real charm to it, and while obviously flawed, I couldn’t be mad at it.
Also, after you complete the game, the developer talks straight to you and thanks you for completing the game. That is a sign of someone who loves what they do and he enjoyed making this game. And to that, I say God Speed to you Samer Khatib my friend. I honestly hope he continues to do his thing in the future, I really do.
And thank you for reading this 15 hour long post, hope you enjoyed. If you get lonely, you could always flirt with me on Twitter @Appraxsis. I need people to talk to as well. Bye sweety pie.