Friday, September 16, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #2 - Silent Hill / Masahiro Ito

For those of you who know me personally, this one isn't much of a surprise. I've been a huge fan-boy of the Silent Hill series ever since I played the first game when I was about 11 or 12.  

Silent Hill is a survival horror franchise that centers around a town with a dark past and a mysterious power. What makes the games great are their amazing storytelling, scary and disturbing atmosphere, and a killer soundtrack by Akira Yamaoka that chills you know, lots of other stuff too!

I'll never forget my first time playing the first Silent Hill, it was the middle of the night, lights out, and I was visiting at my grandparents house in upstate Pennsylvania, so it was in the middle of the mountains. In other words, the playing conditions were PERFECT. I was too afraid to play the game for very long myself so my cousin took over the controls and we ran through the whole game in one night. Since then I've been hooked on the game series, fairly obsessively I must admit...I guess passionately would be a better word.
One of my favorite parts about the Silent Hill games are the monsters. First of all I love monsters regardless and I always have and always will, but there's something special about the monsters in these games. I've noticed a lot of monsters these days are really over the top, in-your-face-scary. But the monsters created for these games by Masahiro Ito are more conservative but still very striking and unique. Many of them are deformed humanoids that give you a sense of familiarity and yet the fearsome unknown. Below is a concept sketch of Ito's most famous creation from the series, Pyramid Head.
Ok, you get it, I love Silent Hill. If you haven't played the series and are now interested, I recommend starting at the first game and playing games 1 through 4 (the ones made be the original Team Silent). For those of you reading this who already knew how awesome Silent Hill is and just want to get your fan-boy SH-fix on, I recommend watching The Real Silent Hill Experience created by the guys over at Twin Perfect. It's a giant documentary on the entire SH franchise and will make you appreciate the games all over again.

(all above drawings were created by Masahiro Ito and the characters belong to Konami)

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