Thursday, August 27, 2015

How P.T. Taught Me To Face Fear

Having recently decided to upgrade my PS4 from its initial 500gb hard drive (which really comes out to about 350gb after system "stuff"), I was presented with one issue - P.T., the awesomely creepy demo/game-fragment/trailer is no longer available for download from the PlayStation store. While I could (just barely) deal with not having it on my new super spacious 2 terabyte drive (translation: 1.77Tb), the biggest problem for me was having to live with the fact that...I've never finished it. I had watched a YouTube video of the final scene just to satisfy my curiosity, but it's not the same as doing it yourself.

Now, P.T. is a short experience. I've seen it rated around 90 minutes, so time wasn't an issue. And, I'd basically done everything in the game except the final stage, which Kojima thought players would take months to figure out. (It was more like days. Never underestimate nerds.) It's a tricky process that I had to eventually look up in an FAQ. It breaks down as:

    1. Go through the door and enter the hallway.
    2. Wait for the digital clock to turn to "0:00" (ie, midnight).
    3. Listen as a bell tolls 12 times.
    4. Walk forward 10 paces. (Yes, you can hear the footsteps in this first-person game. Cool!)
    5. Listen to a baby laugh.
    6. Follow the haunting noises to either the phone, the bathroom, or the radio.
    7. Listen to another baby laugh.
    8. DON'T MOVE! Wait for another laugh.
    9. The controller will vibrate. Then the phone rings. You focus on the phone, hear a voice, and get to watch a trailer (or sorts) for Silent Hills, the game we will never see.

I was fine with steps 1 through 5. Six however, was a problem. Well, two problems. First, even with headphones, I didn't feel like the "haunting" sounds were coming from any particular place. Second, and for me the bigger problem was that you aren't alone in that hallway. There's a ghost. A VERY scary ghost! Like The Ring's Sumara all grown-up now and she's filling the whole hallway kind of terrifying!

And if you see her, she's almost always going to "catch" you, "kill" you and send you back to the beginning of the stage.

Then, once your heart rate goes back to normal, you can start back at #1.

I 'd read that if you only moved around while the haunting noises were off and stayed clear of the front area, you wouldn't run into her. But this was getting me no closer to end of the stage. I was being stopped by my own fear.

I tried lots of things. I tried being in different locations when the "haunting" sounds came on. I tried walking backwards 10 steps after the first baby laugh. I tried looking in the mirror when the sounds came on (and one time got a scare when I saw the ghost vibrating right behind me!) I even started trying to trigger the second laugh by talking into the microphone, something the FAQ suggested worked for some people. It makes you feel pretty silly talking to a game, but I was getting desperate. I looked all around that little L-shaped hallway and the bathroom, over and over again, but always freezing and looking at a wall when the sounds started.

Nothing. Nothing worked. I could not get that second laugh.

Then I remembered who I was, or was supposed to be in this game. I knew from the articles and YouTube videos that the protagonist of Silent Hills was going to be played by Norman Reedus aka Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead fame. WWDD? What would Daryl do?

Then, I knew what I had to do.

Door. Clock. 12 bells. 10 steps. Laugh. Turn. "Okay, bitch. Let's do this!" And when that ghost appeared, I RAN RIGHT THROUGH HER!

And I heard a baby laugh.