An Uncanny Reality

An Uncanny Reality

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maybe my favorite short story ever. “James, honey, did something happen to you?” This isn’t what PS2 games looked like. I mean, it is. This is Silent Hill 2, almost two decades
old, released for the Playstation 2 in 2001. But still. This isn’t what PS2 games looked like. The generally accepted term for what we’re
watching now is an “FMV,” or “Full Motion Videos.” They’re movies that are rendered completely
outside a game’s engine and then stitched back into it. They didn’t need to follow the same rules
as the rest of a game’s graphics, they didn’t have to look anything like it. And while most FMVs were used to pull a player
deeper into the world, there are a few…exceptions to that rule. Scenes that unmoor a player instead, and send
them spinning into a sort of limbo, where everything is equally untrustworthy, and reality
is a promise that can’t be kept. Acceptance of another reality is inherent
in games. To even begin to interact with a story requires
accepting that this bundle of polygons, this loose representation of a human, should be
given the same suspension of disbelief that we give to older, more traditional mediums. And games, for their part, typically make
this as easy as possible. They’re cohesive, they hold together. Even though we’re still far from mistaking
these digital constructions for our reality, they’re reliable enough that we can accept
them as a reality. For basically as long as games have existed,
extra-textual sources have helped form these worlds in our imagination. The art on the side of arcade cabinets gives
context to the abstract pixels on screen, backstories in instruction manuals gave blank-slate
characters some sort of motivation. Megaman might look like a blue robot blob,
but if you check out the box, he actually looks like this augh. And typically, that’s what FMVs were used
for. Lending the environments some extra texture
when the in-game graphics couldn’t quite cut it, giving you a super detailed version
of the character that you could imagine when looking at the normal low-poly ones. They pulled you further into the world, cementing
the in-game world as one that could be believed. And then there’s Silent Hill 2. The word “uncanny” is thrown around a
lot in our modern-day world, and “Uncanny Valley” makes up the lion’s share of that. Animation can look almost perfect, computers
can pretty perfectly fake humanity- “mm-hmm.” “sure, what time are you looking for around?”
“at 12pm.” -Until they can’t. And while these can certainly be creepy in
their own way, to me they feel more like technological growing pains than strange or mysterious,
the way that uncanny is meant to be used. But there’s something special about Silent
Hill 2’s FMVs. They still unsettle me, almost two decades
later. Watching scenes from this game, it’s almost
like the characters are phasing in and out of reality. There are seconds where the lighting is so
spot-on it genuinely looks like a recording, and then in the very next second, they’ll
make an expression that’s so…bizarre you’ll wonder how you ever thought they looked human. But then again, in the very next shot, you’ll
get another one of those near-perfect moments, and you’ll be thrown into wondering again. The “true” game, the part rendered in
real-time using the PS2, falls more in line with what we think a 2001 PS2 game should
look like. And it’s gorgeous too, in its own way. The way James’ flashlight is swallowed up
by the inky blackness, the way the ever-present fog distorts depth, this legitimately unnerving
shot between two narrow buildings…But it is, more or less, predictable. No matter how strong the art direction, this
game just can’t grow more shaders, sprout more polygons. It is bound to the platform it exists on. But all bets are off when it comes to FMVs. Full CGI animation was still really in early
days here. Toy Story was just 6 years earlier, and Pixar
intentionally chose toys because facial expressions were really hard. Games had used them for a while- the juggernaut
of CGI cutscenes was probably Square Enix, who had been pumping out hours of them for
the Final Fantasy series since 7, but always with anime-proportioned characters more fitting
of that series. Facial motion capture was rudimentary at best. We’re still not perfect at creating perfect
digital expressions, but back then it was the wild west. There was no magic bullet for capturing emotion. So when it came to Silent Hill 2, artistic
lead and character designer Takayoshi Sato opted to go use no face mo-cap at all, hand-animating
every scene. He even acted out the character’s expressions
in a mirror, using himself as a reference for all their little details. Because of that commitment, you get these
moments, folds of skin and micro-expressions, that are impressively realistic even today. But for every perfect little moment, there’s
an equally imperfect one. When you watch Silent Hill 2’s FMVs, you
can feel that conflict. An artist, struggling to reconcile the reality
he wanted to represent with the limitations of his own ability and the system he was working
within. But what’s remarkable about this bizarre,
halfway-real aesthetic is that it absolutely works. “See? I’m real.” Silent Hill 2 is a horror game. But as many people have pointed out before
me, Silent Hill 2 is a piece of introspective horror more than any single shock or grotesquerie. Repeatedly, James- the protagonist- is forced
to confront parts of himself far more sick than anything in the town. How long did James treat his wife as dead
while she lay, very much alive, on her hospital bed? Why are the monsters he has to beat into the
ground dressed as pinup nurses, all exposed skin and broken bones? From what dark corner of his psyche did he
pull the idea of Pyramid Head from, the physical manifestation of the punishment he thinks
he deserves? Throughout the game, we’re constantly struggling
to get a clear picture of who James actually is. But in response, Silent Hill 2 doesn’t give
us one- it gives us several. The very first shot of the game is James staring
into a mirror, drenched in dark. There’s a reason so many reviews and retrospectives
of the game have centered themselves around this image- it’s remarkable. Between the darkness, the griminess of the
mirror, the greasiness of his hair, it’s initially hard to tell what medium this even
is. Is it in-game? Is it an FMV? Is it a photograph? A couple seconds more inspection will give
you your answer. His hand moves just a little too sharply across
his face, the lighting loses a lot of its luster when he steps away from the mirror. But the initial power of this image is undeniable. For a fleeting moment, the player and James
are on exactly the same wavelength. He stares into those dark pools of his eyes
alongside us, searching for something, anything, to hold onto underneath. It makes our very first seconds in this world
one of questioning- and no matter how many hours we spend there, a concrete answer always
eludes us. This is not the only time mirrors are used
to fragment reality in Silent Hill 2. In another FMV, just seconds long, James finds
a woman named Angela lying on her side, staring into the blade of a knife. What you can’t immediately tell from this
shot is that we’re not seeing either character directly. Instead, Angela and James are only visible
from this angle because of the wall-sized mirror in front of them. We open the scene by seeing their reflections,
doubles of themselves, bathed in dark just like James in the opening. Not to be outdone, Angela is in fact facing
two different versions of herself, the reflection in the mirror and her own image, distorted,
on the knife’s blade. And this is just in the FMV! Seconds later, it switches to in-game graphics,
giving us a whole new set of characters and reflections to contend with. It’s like Silent Hill is trying to break
us, throwing so many different versions of the same character at us that we completely
lose track of what’s real. Even the framerate is at odds with itself! The FMVs run at 60 frames per second, twice
as fast as the in-game 30fps. The game refuses stability at every turn. As the cherry on top, Silent Hill 2 renders
reflections by simply creating a perfect double on the other side of the mirror. If one happens to break out of bounds, the
question of which James is real becomes even more impossible to answer. The FMVs are particularly unsettling because
the game refuses to foreshadow their appearance. This scene comes in the middle of a long trek
through a confusing building. James finds a shelf he can push to the side,
revealing a long ladder into darkness behind it. But when you press the button to climb down
the ladder, you’re met with- “James” “Maria? Oh, Mary. Sorry, I thought you were- anyway, I’m glad
you’re alive.” Despite the fact that nothing particularly
horrifying happens, this scene is basically a jumpscare. It happens so quickly. One second, you’re a predictable, 2001 model
of James. The next, you’re in an unfamiliar room with
an unexpected aesthetic and the unexplained reappearance of Maria, who you haven’t seen
for hours. And even the scene itself is so weird. James, like always, seems supremely unaffected
by all the awful things he’s seen in the town. Maria, in contrast, is all over the place,
wildly oscillating between grateful, angry, and distraught- her reading of ANYWAY is maybe
my favorite line in the whole game. You just can’t get comfortable playing Silent
Hill 2. “No, I-” “Then stay with me! Never leave me alone!” This recurring motif of wavering reality creates
a powerful sense of insecurity. Through all the different visual mediums-
the uncanny reality of the FMVs, the abstraction of the in-game figures, the swirling layers
of fog, the drowning black of the game’s interiors- there’s never one that seems
to hold legitimacy over the others. Each is just another layer of the darkness
that is Silent Hill 2. It’s not the only game that’s played with
reality, though. Devotion, created by Taiwanese developer Red
Candle Games, arguably does so on a much more fundamental level- because Devotion, in some
ways, doesn’t exist. Released on February 19, 2019, it was available
for purchase for all of one week before being pulled off digital storefronts on February
26. The reason for the axing, a small piece of
graffiti that compared Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh, was quickly patched out, but not
quick enough to avoid the dissolution of Red Candle Game’s chinese business license,
and the disappearance of Devotion from all store shelves. It’s a terrible shame. Because not only is Devotion’s takedown
a suppression of art and a quashing of political speech, Devotion as a game is really freaking
good. It’s a game that deserves to be played. But, as it happens, hanging in this limbo-
finished but not available, released but not for sale, is somewhat thematically appropriate
for Devotion. It, like Silent Hill 2, is a game that bends
reality. The basic setup for Devotion isn’t complicated. We mostly play as Du Feng Yu, a man who lives
with his wife and daughter in an apartment in Taipei. He was a moderately successful screenplay
writer. His wife, Gong Li Fan, was a singer and pop
icon. Both of their glory days are behind them though,
and now it’s their daughter- Mei Shin- who’s attempting to enter showbusiness by singing
on a reality TV competition. But Devotion isn’t a game about healthy
family values. Feng Yu in particular seems to be saddling
his 8-year-old daughter with his crushing hopes and dreams of getting back into the
limelight. Mei Shin, wanting her parents approval but
terrified of actually performing, gets sick- physically, psychologically, some inextricable
mix of the two. Li Fan leaves, and Feng Yu commits both himself
and Mei Shin to a cultish treatment plan, one that only results in tragedy. Why am I talking about this though? What does this have to do with reality? Well throughout the game, representations
of the outside world- and especially of Mei Lin- happen through “altered” reality,
just like the FMVs of the game. Except in 2019, representational graphics
in games are far closer to Silent Hill 2’s CGI than its pixel-y in-game visuals. So, to emphasize the uncanny, Devotion goes
one step further. It uses real life. Mei Shin’s performance on TV represents
a turning point in the lives of all three family members. For Mei herself, it’s when her anxieties
began to crystallize and manifest in her mysterious illness. For Li Fan, it’s when her concern for her
daughter’s well-being outweighed any vicarious wishes of future showbusiness success. And for Feng Yu, it’s when he decided to
double down on the treatment that would define his, and his daughter’s lives. For each, this performance is the Big Bang
that would ultimately shape their fate. It’s easy to imagine that each thinks about
this program on a daily basis. So it’s only appropriate that in the game,
it takes on a completely uncanny aesthetic. The ramifications that have rippled outward
from this show have retrospectively magnified the recording’s importance, giving it a
life of its own in each of their memories. What happens on the TV looks fundamentally
different than everything else in the world. There’s the apartment where they live, their
possessions, their selves. And then there’s how they exist with their
names in flashing lights. Repeatedly throughout the game, your character-
Feng Yu, at this point- comes to on a couch, watching his daughter perform. He’s obsessed. And when we learn about his wife’s former
career as a pop icon, and all of his attempts at screenwriting, this fundamental difference
in aesthetic makes sense. Out there, in front of the cameras, the performances
in public; that’s legitimate. It is more real than anything else in his
world. Everything he does, and makes his daughter
do, is an attempt to break back into that reality. Disturbingly, this isn’t the only representation
we see of Mei Shin. She’s “real” when she’s on TV, but
in the house, where she lies sick or listens to bedtime stories from her dad, she’s a
literal doll. Unmoving, unfeeling. We even get to watch the doll go through a
automaton-like day’s routine. Each event in the day is unsettling on some
level, but the doll itself doesn’t emote, doesn’t smile or frown or cry. Like with her performance on TV, Mei Shin
exists here, in Feng Yu’s memory, in an altered state. But unlike the recording, with all the details,
character, and imperfection of reality, here he’s made her inanimate. An object to be puppeted around. he is moving her further away from “realness.” Is this the way Feng Yu sees his daughter? A doll, only alive when it can be made to
perform? There’s no doubt that he cares for Mei Shin-
the sacrifices he makes later in the game viscerally drive that point home. But what version of his daughter is he making
the sacrifices for? The doll that he interacts with on a day to
day basis, going through the motions of fatherhood while she lays sick in bed? Or the one on TV he keeps returning to, his
real daughter that only exists on a videotape, the one that performed in the public eye so
beautifully? “I think there are two main factors that
evoke fear: first, to see something beyond their understanding; second, to see concealed
their true-self.” -Takayoshi Sato “The world you inhabit is not true” is
a horror conceit that expands far beyond Silent Hill and Devotion. Countless stories, tales of ghosts and the
ravages of time and other realities, have understood how destabilizing that concept
is. But I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced
that conflict firsthand as acutely as when confronted with the multiple coexisting realities
of these games. The fear it evokes, as per Sato’s quote,
is absolutely unique as well. It doesn’t come as a shock, nor does it
have the distinctive lump in your throat, the cold sweat, of rising suspense- although
both these games do have both of those. This fear, instead, is a dense forest, one
where you think you’re only feet from the path and then you turn around and it’s just
trunks and underbrush and twisted roots stretching out in every direction. It’s the realization that this place, which
you thought you knew well, is as strange and unfamiliar as it has been to everyone else
who enters it. We are led into these uncanny worlds by the
promise of familiarity, but the more time we spend in them, the more off they feel. Every emotion is an alien interpretation,
every reflection is wrong. And also unlike a jump scare, unlike rising
tension, there’s no release. These works introduce us to this forest, they
lead us in, and then they just end. And we’re still in the woods. Like I said earlier, there are far more existing
examples of the “multiple realities” idea than what I talked about in this video. One of my absolute favorites is the genre
is the short story “We Men of Science,” from the unbelievably good collection “Someone
Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory.” “We Men of Science” blurs the lines between
one world and another so effectively that, after listening to it, I felt like I spent
the next few hours wandering around in a daze. And you can get the whole collection, and
a 30-day Audible Trial, absolutely free by going to audible dot com slash jacobgeller,
or texting jacobgeller to five hundred five hundred. One of my favorite things about Audible is
the bananas level of production value these audiobooks has. “Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged
Glory” has stories performed by Stephanie Beatriz and Kimiko Glenn and Raphael Bob-Waksberg
himself. And since these are short stories, they’re
the perfect length to listen to on your commute or on a run, especially if you like, uhh,
sobbing on your commute or on a run. Start listening with a 30-day Audible trial. Choose 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals
absolutely free. Visit audible dot com slash jacobgeller or
text jacobgeller to five hundred five hundred.

100 thoughts on “An Uncanny Reality

  1. If you just haven't had enough of me talking about these two games, I'll be releasing a full-length director's commentary on this video for patrons! EVEN MORE DISCOMFORT.

  2. You, my good word smith, are exactly what I have been searching for. The deep analysis of the human psyche and pooling the information gathered into a cohesive yet elegant structure of phrases and ideas makes my being truly happy to have stumbled upon your works.

  3. Showing Tin Tin when talking about perfectly imitating reality is perfect. That movie is almost ten years old and it's still the cutting edge.

  4. So two things, the first is that I am so familiar with this game I can recite the opening from memory, so when I heard that music with Mary's dialogue it totally threw me off, so good job.

    Second, holy shit, I congratulate you for finding something about Silent Hill 2 to analyze that hasn't been done to death already. You're great.

  5. Your analysis of the art of the uncanny reality brought me to tears, I hope you know. It's as if this realization has washed over me that this isn't just a game, but an artwork. Thank you, thank you. I'm so grateful that you shared this video. I think it's changed how I view art, and my own art.

  6. Great video as always, Jacob. I still feel like years would go by and I would still love to watch and rewatch your analysis and essays; not because of your academic-like level of narration, but because that same way with words is accompanied both in subject and delivery with something many narrators forget is still important: realness. A fitting matter for these invoked thoughts. Thank you.

  7. Hey Jakob, wanted to let you know that you're becoming one of the channels I feel excited for whenever they drop a new video. I really like your work and how you delve into media (specifically video games) to explore the questions that shape our experience as individuals and a society.

  8. ACTUALLY WHAT THE FUCK, I'm blown away from literally every video you make, keep this up because your videos are low key drugs and I'm addicted😂

  9. IK lots of people do it but do you think its acceptable to be sponsored by literally amazon? seems inconsistent with your politics in general

  10. Seriously well done for making a relevant, thought provoking and original think piece on Silent Hill 2 in 2020. You'd think that'd be impossible at this point

  11. minute and a half in, mind already blown. I always thought FMV was always just the vidoe games with live action stuff.

  12. theres lots of criticisms to be made about china & xi jinping, but comparing xi to whinnie the poo is not "political speech"; it is a very racist comparison; chinese people have had to deal with being called "yellow" & being compared to animals for centuries & just becuase someone holds a position of power does not mean its okay to use racist slurs & imagery against them

  13. After watching this, id love to see your analysis on the movie "Stay".

    I watched the movie once when i was about 15, and it had me walking around in a daze for a few hours after.
    I just revisited the movie again about a month ago, at 28 years old. I liked it alot more the 2nd tine through, able to follow along this time, yet still kind of left in a daze afterwards.

  14. The care you put into these videos is really reflected by the weight you put in the rhetoric and in the details of the audio and video. Very talented, my dude, can't wait to see you grow even moreb

  15. I had my eye on Devotion, but didn't buy it due to my insane backlog. Gutted. Props to the devs for including Xinnie the Pooh in their game though.

  16. When do we get a video about your thoughts on Death Stranding. Or do we have to wait until its two console generations behind like all your other videos?

  17. as a cosmic nihilist at heart, your videos remind me that meaning IS real, only because people think it is, because they feel it is. Reminds me that I want to be perceived as a person that has purpose, a hidden inner life, someone that can impact others meaningfully, either positively or negatively. That even if my own search for meaning keeps leading me to dead ends doesn't mean its not a worthwhile endeavor, just that ive been looking in the wrong place.

  18. This video reminded me that I need to play Silent Hill 2, since surreal and unsettling horror is something I am super into. Great video!

  19. if anybody knows where i might get my hands on a copy of devotion, i would really appreciate it. i feel like i really need to play it for myself…

  20. I think there's an element of social commentary to Devotion as well. In a lot of East Asian countries, it's common for families to take in and look after their elderly relatives. I read an article once (this article was focused on Mainland China, so pardon my ignorance if this doesn't apply to neighbouring countries and states) about a trend of parents worried about their own financial stability, and pinning their hopes on the financial success of their children. The children feel pressured from an early age to succeed so that their parents can have a decent quality of life when they're too old to look after themselves… and many children struggle to cope with that pressure.
    Feng Yu might simply be yearning to return to the spotlight, but he might also be looking at the bleakness of his own future, and pushing his anxieties onto his daughter, who is far too young understand, let alone know how to handle those kinds of worries. The more she struggles, the more desperate he becomes, and the more pressure he places on her, making her struggle even worse, in a constant downward cycle.

  21. Me: waaaaaait…..didn’t I just read an article on polygon about this exact thing??? Jacob, I thought better of you than plagiari—

    Polygon: article by Jacob Geller

    Me: ………..I’ll excuse myself

    (Btw this topic was a great read/watch, I definitely think fmv has some properties that we take for granted in games)

  22. I feel like another game that did a lot with realities and FMV is the recent PS4 game "Control" where there were lots of real recorded segments with people playing on projectors and on TVs that all felt off, like you were looking into an alternate version of the world.

  23. Hey there Jacob, I just wanted to let you know that I really adore your videos. The way your analyse even the smallest of details is so so interesting to me! That you know what the developers were thinking while programming and designing their game is truly amazing. Game designing and psychology are what I might wanna do further in life so knowing how someone sees these little details gives me a pretty good idea of how to learn more about these things! Greeting from Germany! Love your videos

  24. You bring so much passion and intrigue to video game analysis, may your channel continue to thrive!
    comment sacrifice for the algorithm

  25. The End of Evangelion sort of did the same thing as devotion, by showing live action scenes they showed how real Shinji's reality is for him compared to the dreamlike state that is human instrumentality.

  26. I'm incredibly petty perhaps, but for some reason, a video opening with lady on the pier and creating the visual ground up for devotion, for devotion to actually end up being kind of an afterthought at the end of the video, given like 7 minutes out of the 12 you spent talking about sh2 which has been tiressly talked about already, maybe i feel a little… Disappointed.

    I woke up excited out of my mind because holy shit devotion, nobody talks about devotion among the highest quality youtubers i know! But no, it was mostly another video about sh2. And maybe when I revisit this video in a clearer state of mind I'll be able to appreciate it properly, but for now all I feel is that "silent hill 2 again" disappointment.

  27. The boundary break mirror room thing fucked me up! I had to pause the video.
    I am a game developer, I know how large mirrors work in old games, but I had never considered that the reflection and the character could switch places. Fucked me up.

  28. It sucks that people don't have a legal way to play Devotion. It's such a creepy, haunting, and beautiful game. The Red Candle folks know how to make you feel so many emotions along with the horror. Their previous game, "Detention," is also outstanding.

    Another terrific video! You're quickly becoming one of my favorite people on YouTube.

  29. I can’t express how much I enjoy your content, your analysis is apt, interesting and the craft of the video is brilliant. You’ve inspired me a lot for my own dissertation film, and I couldn’t of done it without your critical analysis videos! Keep it up Jacob!

  30. These are my favorite type of videos and im so happy i found your beat saber video. These videos are so well made and remind me of a TED talk mixed with a documentary. Thank you for making content

  31. the end of evangelion I believe used irl footage of people watching evangelion. mgs2 showed irl footage at the end too. both those segments were about the topic of reality.

  32. While I'm always impressed by your skill with putting these together, the few moments where you make allusions to moments of my life I've experienced are really quite intense. "This fear instead is a dense forest…one where you think you're only feet from the path, but then you turn around and it's just trunks and underbrush and twisted roots stretching out in every direction."

    I've experienced exactly that moment of dread – walking home one evening, taking a shortcut through a bit of unkempt backwoods to get home faster, using my phone as a flashlight because the sun's gone down. I think I know where I'm going – there's a path there that I've used a dozen times that year…and then I realize I'm tripping over fallen branches and salal, turn around, and there's no sign of any sort of path.

    It turned out to be no big deal. This bit of backwoods is on a hill, and I know that it ends against the road I wanted to come out on if I walk along the level with uphill on my right. I keep going until I see the lights of houses, then head uphill toward the where the trail comes out – the backwoods on the uphill side is bounded by a massive property's perimeter fence, so I know I've not gone too far uphill. Got out safe and sound, only realizing that I'd found the path again when I reached the point where it slips between two properties and back into civilization.

    There's a lesson there: no matter how well you know a bit of forest, do not go walking in a forest at night unless you're prepared to wait for the sun to show you the way back out. That path was pretty much as packed down and well travelled as paths get, short of actual construction work getting involved, and I knew it pretty well, but I could not even tell I was walking on it after I'd lost it for a bit.

  33. The performances of SH2s mocap/voice actors really helps with the FMVs. They're very grounded voices; I can imagine talking to somebody like an Eddie or James because of their speech patterns. A lot of people dislike the remaster because of the 'professional voice acting remaster' because the actors try way to hard to sound breathy and whatever.

  34. When the first song hit, my heart broke. Bad enough hearing Devotion but seeing the best of what Silent Hill was capable of. Very sad.

  35. since I subscribed to your channel I have looked forward to hearing your thoughts on things. it doesn't, really matter what that the subject is, I always find it interesting. however I really enjoy the silent hill series and its particular brand of horror that other stories share. I very much enjoyed this video, keep up the good work

  36. For everyone who can't afford
    audible or doesn't want to feed Bezos the Dragon; here's a link to "we men of science":

  37. Well, this was weirdly heavy. Like, I don't have any personal stakes or connections to either of these games or their themes and I don't actually find a lot of stuff people consider uncanny with cgi uncanny. I think it's that I don't have a very good idea for computer detail or faces, I can't tell frame rates much at all and, unless a face is wildly off, I usually don't notice anything odd. Polar express and the recent disney version of a christmas carol will do it but here it just looked like early cgi and very carefully crafted metaphor with devotion. Yet it still had an impact and I'm not entirely sure why.

    Not trying to call this a bad video essay or anything, it's not Jacob's fault that I have no eye for subtler forms of uncanny.

  38. I played Silent hill 2 in the first month after my gf broke up with me after a 6 year relationship, while I was at the lowest point of my post-breakup depression.
    I never felt so connected to a game/protagonist as this one… The whole story-arch that James went through perfectly mirrored my own state of mind at that period.

    It truly was the perfect game at the perfect moment.

  39. The world around you is not true
    Ok, I have to say, I have a strong suspicion that this unto itself is not at all scary… because if the underlying truth was carebears who used their belly beams to keep the world moving, and if it didn't move… nothing terribly bad would happen, people would just have to wait until someone got around to it. That wouldn't be some existential terror.

  40. The main feeling I got from playing SH2 is that I never knew if James was actually in the town. That didn't happen in 1, 3 or the others because we see the characters arrive but in 2, James is already there.

  41. despite watching every video you've made, some multiple times, I didn't get a notification for this video. I would've loved to have watched this yesterday when it came out but I couldn't do that

  42. I haven't played most of the games mentione, but still fully get your point.
    Means it must be a well done essay 😉
    I just found you channel and am binging through, You sir, have some real gems in your videos list.
    Thanks for the time and effort!

  43. I have to say that I really love each of your videos. You manage to sit me down in a magnificent atmosphere that is very proper to your channel, and as an artist who needs that sort of contained bubble to work, I am very happy to have found you! You are my favorite youtuber to listen to and come back to. Please keep up the amazing work!

  44. Love your videos, as a wannabe YouTuber myself I find content of this quality inspiring and intimidating in equal measure.

    Now, no way of not sounding patronising here, but I have a suggestion. Please, please put some sort of identifying feature on your thumbnails. A logo, your name, whatever. I don't know how most other people consume content on YouTube, but I personally scroll through my subscriptions looking for stuff I might want to watch, and I scrolled past this video several times without it entering my consciousness. I have the same problem with a surprisingly large number of other similar 'in depth gaming' channels.

    Anyway, feel free to ignore me, not like I know what I'm talking about.

    EDIT: Okay, now I've actually watched the whole video, and I have to say… Jesus Fucking Christ… the way you talk about this stuff is just… beautiful… I genuinely had tears in my eyes by the end, just from the music and your measured, heartfelt and downright profound words. Fucking awesome work, man. I don't usually swear by the way. And I'd like to double down on the 'intimidating' in my first sentence.

  45. As a fan of Satoshi Kon's masterpiece, Perfect Blue, I am very familiar with the idea of mirrors being a metaphor for characters questioning their reality/identity. But as big of a fan as I am of SH2, I completely forgot about this moment and Angela looking at herself through two layers of reflections; the mirror and the knife. What's also interesting is that throughout the scene, Angela doesn't acknowledge the 'real' James until the end. Through the whole conversation, she talks to the reflection of James, and just now did that deeper understanding click in my head. Sometimes you just need someone to point the mirror in a different direction, help you see something you didn't quite see clearly the first time. Awesome vid.

  46. Hi Jacob, Thanks for your amazing work.
    Your videos remind me of the game 0_abyssalSomewhere

    If you haven't played it, give it a try, it should interest you.

  47. I really love your videos. You have such a great way of explaining novel things, iv never heard about and are really interesting

  48. Every time I watch one of your videos I'm reminded of my favorite cinema lectures from university. I learn to think about an art form I love in a new way. Thanks for doing what you do, you're helping me grow

  49. Jacob, I just discovered your channel, and I really love your deep-dives into philosophy and self-insight. Insta-sub.

  50. 3:55 Same – Also looking back on these FMV's the graphics take on a different effect like stop motion and give that eerie feel to a new level. Back in the day tho the graphics were breathtaking for PS2

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