In 2002 I was at a friend’s party where later in the evening after watching a scary movie we decided to take turns playing a game my friend had just gotten for his GameCube. That game was Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. I give you this information as a precursor to say that prior to writing this blog I had not played that game or watched any videos on it since that night. However, certain aspects of the art in the game as well as the visuals of the game I still see sometimes 15 years later though I barely remember the plot of the game or really anything else about it. However, to be sure that this was the game I thought, I did look it up and basically the plot is you play as a young woman whose grandfather was recently murdered and you search around his old mansions for clues as to who may have killed him. You find out that your grandfather was into some H.P. Lovecraft type of stuff and now it is your responsibility to keep the world safe from a creature trying to enter from another realm.
What I do remember and what made the art so interesting to me was that the game had a “sanity meter” in which the character you play as can slowly lose her mind and if your sanity gets too low you would begin to have hallucinations. Walls would bleed, the paintings on the wall would change from normal rich guy paintings to gruesome death related paintings. Players heads would also fall off and you could pick them up and add them into your inventory.
The part of the game I remember the most though was not only would your character hallucinate, but the game itself would start to mess with the player. The screen would go blank as if it was broken and the video would stop working even though you would still be able to hear what was happening, and it would sound as if the character you play as was being attacked. Also, if you tried to go to the menu screen it would pull up as if you were trying to delete all the save files you had for the game. The game would even go to a blue screen and make you believe that the GameCube had crashed and was possibly damaged beyond repair. Whether it was the crazy stuff on the walls, or the game suddenly acting like it had crashed, you never truly felt safe playing.
I realize that this is probably not like most of the other entries where people go to great lengths to describe the art and what made it so meaningful to them, but that’s not why I picked this game. I picked it because even though I never finished the game and I certainly do not have the same care for it as I do a game that I would consider one of my favorites, certain visuals still stick with me to this day. I remember being scared to walk down the halls of that creepy mansion in the game because even though the mansion itself seemed kind of normal or I guess as normal as a mansion can be, if your character’s sanity was low enough, it was anything but normal.