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Baby it's cold outside so let's rap about our favorite snow stages

December 03, 2017 2 min read

It’s December and in a few short weeks, Santa Claus will be shoving his fat ass down the chimneys of the all the good boys and girls to deliver gifts their parents bought with credits cards and will be paying off for the next 11 months. Tis the season to be festive with colorful lights, trimmed trees, and tacky-ass lawn decorations popping up in front yards across the world. What better day than today to talk about the best feature of my favorite season: winter snow.

I live in the Bay Area, and before here I lived in Southern California, so I don’t get snow on the regular. In fact, growing up in Western Washington, I could probably count my fingers and toes the total number of snow days I had in my 14 years of living there. Perhaps it’s the wanting that makes me love snow so damn much. I’ve had a lifetime’s worth of rain, clouds, and sun, I want some goddamn snow.

The only place I can regularly experience the true winter season is in video games. Winter in Animal Crossing is a constant delight, playing snow levels in Mario or exploring vast, frozen tundra in Dragon Quest gives me a taste of that winter weather I miss out on in real life. There are so many wonderful snow-filled stages I could write about for this week’s Destructoid Discusses, but the one that’s had the biggest impact on me is the wintery streets of Silent Hill in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.

It’s easy to think of winter and December in particular of being a joyous time of year. Everyone is either happy or totally stressed out about trying to make others happy. But winter can be so much more than that. It can be romantic, with two people huddled close for warmth as they fall in love. It can be depressing as those early nights and the sights of others spending time with their family and friends showcase just how alone some of us are. It can also be terrifying. There is nothing more frightening than the unknown and the long nights of winter are painted in an inky abyss. Think 30 Days of Night or Let The Right One In or, because this is still mostly a video game website, think Shattered Memories.

The town of Silent Hill is as big a character as Pyramid Head or Harry Mason and this game is the town at its best. While searching for his missing daughter, Harry finds his way through the snow-covered streets, backyards, and backwoods of the titular town. Making my way through the woods in the dead of night? Terrifying. Exploring the abandoned amusement park? Gave me goosebumps. The last mad dash to the lighthouse? One of the most memorable sequences from any game I have ever played.

For a lot of reviewers, Shattered Memories’ potential was undone by how scripted and blatantly foreshadowed the horror segments were. For me, it’s the Resident Evil 4 of the franchise: something so transformative that it’s hard to compare to games that came before it, but certainly a fantastic piece of art in its own right.

Baby it's cold outside so let's rap about our favorite snow stages screenshot

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