`DON'T LET KIDS SEE SICK GAME'.
By SPEEDWAY BY JOHN KEATING and BY IAN MARROW.
12 July 1999
Manchester Evening News
PARENTS are being warned not to let their children see a sick video game described by its manufacturers as a "deeply disturbing, psychological horror experience."
The PlayStation game - Silent Hill - is produced by Konami of Japan and goes on sale on FridayIt will have a voluntary 15-plus age rating.
The company's press release admits it contains scenes of child kidnap, demon personification and ritual ceremonies. The film has already caused outrage and led to calls for a change in the law.
The Manchester Evening News has established that the British Board of Film Certification - who are responsible for monitoring such games - have not even seen Silent Hill.
This is because a twist in the law means that although every cinema film, no matter how mild, has to be examined by the BBFC, video games are exempt unless they portray human sexual acts, genitalia, gross violence or criminal activity likely to encourage crime.
The body that decides whether PlayStation games need referring is the Video Standards Council set up by the games industry and operating under a voluntary code.
Wythenshawe MP Paul Goggins "deplored" the company's tactics in trying to boost sales in a morbid way. He will ask Home Secretary Jack Straw what action he could take to prevent or restrict sales.
David Johnston, for the Church of England in Manchester, said: "It is very sad that this company is marketing its product by advertising it as depraved. If it is as bad as they say it is there should be some legal protection to stop it falling into the hands of children.
"There is evidence that both children and adults are badly affected by these sick products." John Beyer, director of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, said parents must resist demands from their children for such games: "If they are concerned about what their children are doing on computers they should be taking it up with their MPs and the game manufacturers.
"There is a lot of concern, but many parents are illiterate when it comes to computers, and something must be done in terms of regulations or law so that this sort of material doesn't get on the market."
Konami said they were bringing the nature of the game to public attention to make sure parents did not let children play it.
Steve Wilson, a director of Electronics Boutique that runs the Game chain of shops, said staff in stores like the one in the Arndale Centre would refuse to sell the game to children.
The trouble with Harry.
By Greg Howson.
15 July 1999
Silent Hill Sony PlayStation #34.99 Konami/Sony Harry Mason. Ordinary name, extraordinary situation. Taking his young daughter Cheryl on vacation to Silent Hill had seemed like such a good idea. It had been the perfect opportunity to do the quality time thing.
All had seemed well until, at the foggy city limits, a bright glare caused the car to crash. Harry woke up alone. Where was Cheryl? Stepping into Harry's shoes, your aim is to find his daughter before suing the travel agent that recommended the trip. Actually the legal case can wait as finding Cheryl takes a lot longer than anticipated.
Resident Evil started the `survival horror' genre and Silent Hill picks up the thread while throwing in some extra psychological nastiness. Controlling Harry you'll uncover some particularly weird goings-on in a town blighted by perpetual mist. This fog is instrumental as you can see only a few yards ahead, even with a flashlight. Town houses and alleyways appear from the gloom and a variety of demonic creatures cause big problems. Inadequately armed, you'll spend much of the game counting bullets and avoiding strange noises.
The search for Cheryl takes in a deserted school and church. As expected, these locations are far from innocent, which only adds to the unnerving charm.
Despite the game's eerie ambience, things are not perfect. The graphics, while atmospherically murky, do serve to hide the perfunctory backdrops. Harry, all hunched and lumbering, runs like a man with an urgent toilet appointment.
Like a foggier Twin Peaks, Silent Hill is frustrating, confusing and unsettling although, unlike said TV classic, you'll eventually understand what is going on.