Eternal Darkness turns 20 and is a lesson in hype culture

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is a project that it, considered the then Nintendo, is already incredible that it was released in GameCube exclusivegathers a number of the first.

That first Silicon Knights game for Nintendo’s indigo dice, the first to have the “M” rating dedicated to a mature audience, and the first title released under the direction of Satoru Iwata (in his long life in the company) after gaining the position of president of Nintendo.

A video game that, without wanting to chop words, is simply incomparable.

Because it starts from one unique concept and hard to repeat, too, and above all for how video games have evolved. In this case, it is so special that it has not got any successor, even though someone has tried.

Also because, today, a game like Eternal Darkness it would not work.

It all starts here.

It would be difficult to understand and probably also judge infantile by a now so knowledgeable audience.

The same players that populate a market where I leak they destroy the loudest messages, revealing plots months (if not years) in advance, and where information at the speed of light has time to dispel any thought.

But, twenty years agoto find a video game that threatened to cancel all storages without the ability to interrupt the process was a fantastic experience.

An important mission statement.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, a “broken” video game horror

Pregnancy of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem it’s similar to other games from the GameCube era. Originally planned for Nintendo 64was later hijacked for the GameCube as one of the indigo cube launch titles.

The transition to start games for GameCube it was an idea proposed by Nintendo itself, and it came unusually late in the development of the game.

Silicon Knights was already well under way with the development of Eternal Darkness on Nintendo 64 when the directive came to transfer everything to the new generation. An event that Ted Traver, chief designer of the team, called “brutal”:

“The transition was brutal and I really do not want to lessen the suffering that the employees have endured. We had to create a new rendering engine, new backgrounds and new characters, new animations, a new sound sector, new development tools, a new work pipeline. Virtually everything had to be redone, and he pushed us all to the limit to complete it. “

Add to that the fact that the cost of production of cartridges for N64 high capacity began to become massive, contrary to what is required for GameCube’s proprietary mini-CDs.

It is also no coincidence that the productive story of Eternal Darkness remember it of the two Resident Evil (Rebirth And Zero) always designed and released between the 64 and 128 bit generation of Nintendo.

The Silicon Knights title was inevitably compared to the Capcom saga, however Denis Dyack, former president of Silicon Knightshe would completely away from the horror b-movie atmosphere of Resident Eviloffering something different to fans of video game thrills.

Not a survival, but one psychological thriller centered on a strong concept and a plot worth following.

Alexandra Roivas, the vampire slayer … oh no.

Eternal Darkness he told his story through twelve playable characters, whose life traces two hundred years of history. The Roivas family dynasty that the players knew about Alexandra first.

A character inspired by the homonymous protagonist in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the most important shows of the time and pop culture in general. Two women who do not hold back when it comes to fighting evil in all its forms.

Although the plot was fascinating, with very strong and stated ties to the atmosphere in the stories about HP Lovecraft and Myths about Cthulhu in particular, it is from a gameplay point of view that Eternal Darkness it is worth remembering.

Despite that, it was a broken game.

Do not call it Resident Evil.

The Call of Mantorok

The most characteristic element of Eternal Darkness is inherent in the management of Mental health. An energy bar, playfully linked to a certain dynamic, but above all to the look of the famous “sanity effects”.

The game system was admittedly inspired by table top of role-playing games The Call of Cthulhu (the one you find on Amazon, so to speak), where the player characters lose points of reason when dealing with creatures and knowledge of the myths of the same name, and lose more and more clarity.

In the Silicon Knights title, this was translated with situations that broke the game, sometimes even in a way not too figurative.

The development team thought of a number of situations that could represent the characters’ loss of clarity, but which were at the same time significant for the players. Thus was born sense effectswho appeared in and often outside the game and broke the fourth wall.

It is currently difficult to make a complete list of the effects designed by Silicon Knights, also because some of these were also specific to a particular characterso they could only appear at a given time in the game.

But things crazy that could happen in Eternal Darkness there were so many. Below you will find one video which collects a good part of it (unfortunately in low quality):

Today some of these they can make you smile because, as mentioned in the beginning, the average gamer is more knowledgeable than he was twenty years ago.

But most importantly, there is always information at the speed of light, which probably is it would have leaked all the effects of common sense months before launch if Eternal Darkness was out today.

However, we invite you to look closely at the effect related to deletion of saved data.

Put yourself in the place of a player of that time, and check this out video (in best quality):

Effects like this – and there are more that pierce the fourth wall – are precisely the cause Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem it’s a broken video game, but despite that inconceivable.

Today is fascination with the feeling of discoveryand surprise, it would hardly have worked, but at the time, it even went so far as to worry Nintendo itself.

He always reveals it Ted Traver by Silicon Knights:

“It was difficult to get Nintendo to sign the elements of the game that were in conflict with their certification process. They were worried about the actual damage that would occur to the memory card due to users’ intervention to take it out on impulse, worried for they had done something wrong. “

How strange it would be today to see specialized sites full of news about Eternal Darkness

Who knows about statement like “the game turns off the console”, or “your characters can die at any time” or “your saves will be canceled in case the game is over”, they could really work in the current historic moment in the video game market.

It would only take one successor to know, but the trick of reason does not work twice.

Let’s talk about a gaming system that is currently Nintendo’s intellectual property, as well Eternal Darkness same. Considered commercial failure (but phenomenon for the critics) it was the game at the time we will hardly see the franchise again in the future.

Silicon Knights former founder Denis Dyack tried the spiritual successor route with The Shadow of the Eternalafter Too human And Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakesbut after two failed crowdfunding campaigns, the project disappeared.

Certain atmospheres were ahead of their time.

Eternal Darkness and hype madness

It’s paradoxical that a video game likes Eternal Darkness, full of ideas which inspired so many other titles in the years that followed, failed commercially in such a sensational way.

So much so that at the age of Kickstarter of the ancient glories, the players did not even want a spiritual successor, while Callisto protocol is one of the most anticipated video games by fans of the original Dead Space.

Where is it Abandoned catalyzed society’s attention for several months to believe it was the new project of Hideo Kojima (and some still think so), in 2002, a video game was released on the GameCube that made you think the TV could turn itself off.

To want to come up with a reasoning that is not too philosophical, today’s gamer could have enjoyed it Eternal Darkness. There is no longer that kind of approach to the video game made out of sheer curiosity without preconceptions.

The news was circulating at the time of course, the fairs were there, but that was all slower and more justified. The natural rhythm of things could not be accelerated, so to speak.

Remember, this is not a speech from “It was better when it was worse”, not at all. Never forget that story of one Cyberpunk 2077 it would have been far worse for you if the news had not come in no time.

But it’s also helpful to stop and think about how deep the world of video games, and who’s a part of it, is changed.

It is also likely that many of you know nothing about Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem because 1) it’s twenty years ago and 2) it has not been a bestseller at all. On a console, by the way it certainly did not excel in popularity back then.

The Silicon Knights title is an experience that easily fits into video game history, and it’s a shame it’s hard to get it back today. Find a used GameCube and a copy of the game, or download an emulator (don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone) and buy the game. While waiting for some enlightened soul from Kyoto to make one port to Switch.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is a unique, ruined, weekly, eye-catching aging video game and therefore a title that it must remain crystallized in the story without sequel or re-recording.

Now and then it’s also okay to discover something from the pastlearn a lesson, stop.

Editor’s note: some of the information and images in this article come from a very full depth of the specialized site Nintendo Life. We recommend that you download it if you want to know more about Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.

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