P.T. (which stands for “playable teaser”) was a demo for what would have been the latest installment into the Silent Hill video game series simply titled Silent Hills. It was developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami, with Hideo Kojima directing in collaboration with filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. Fans of the iconic horror series were understandably excited, and P.T. only caused that excitement to grow and even drew in more attention to the upcoming game. Unfortunately, Silent Hills was never actually released.
Due to conflicts with Konami, Kojima and his senior staff left the video game development company, and thus Silent Hills was completely scrapped and its playable teaser was eventually taken offline and made unable to download. Not only can we never get the chance to play Silent Hills, but there is no legal way to obtain P.T. again. It’s especially devastating since P.T. was easily one of the best horror games ever just on its own.
This game was absolutely terrifying. It took place in a small section of a single house. The player could walk through the hallway, kitchen, bathroom, and basement stairs. Even though the game took place in such a small area, it would take at least a few hours to complete. This is because it required the player to continually walk through the hall and kitchen countless times in a repetitive loop. The only way to progress was to find things that were out of place and solve subtle puzzles (if you could even find the puzzles themselves). The infinite looping added a lot of uneasiness to the already suspenseful and creepy atmosphere.
Seeing the same environment again and again is brilliant for horror. You begin to notice the slightest of differences or if anything has been moved, and that makes the area feel a bit creepier. The looping was far from the only source of creepiness, though. There were disturbing recordings heard on the radio, the phone rang with ominous messages said from an unknown caller, the lights flickered and change colors, the closest thing the game had to music (which you could say was ambient sound) was extremely uncomfortable, and the mystery of what the heck was going on created the feeling that anything could happen.
The puzzles took quite a long time to figure out without looking up how to solve them, so you were trapped in this terrifying limbo for hours. Having to walk forward and backward a certain amount of steps to trigger the next bit of progression to occur was rather difficult to figure out. It was overall tricky figuring out what the puzzles even were, which made the player feel more lost, but in a positive sense since that’s what the developers were going for.
The rest of the mystery came from the story (albeit there wasn’t much). The player gradually discovered hints and details about a potential familicide. One of the victims of said murders may or may not have been the ghost stalking the player throughout the teaser. That’s where the biggest scares in the game came from.
Lisa, the ghost that the player had to come face to face with, will always be one of the scariest enemies in a video game. She had the face of someone who was just murdered with her eyes gouged, her skin pale, and blood and vomit dripping from her mouth. The way she moved was the creepiest part. She typically stood in place with a bent neck swaying back and forth. When she walked or chased players, she would shamble as if her bones were broken. Her movements have been ingrained in the memories of anyone who has played P.T. since that brief time it was available. The other frightening entity that haunted the player (but didn’t attack them like Lisa did) was the infamous unborn fetus found in the bathroom sink. Their crying was heard at various moments throughout the game which was very eerie. He also moved around as if he was still alive.
The nightmarish and mind-bending gameplay has definitely left an impact on fans despite no longer being legally available to obtain or play. It’s undoubtedly an experience that’s difficult to forget. People have since recreated the game in Minecraft, Dreams, Littlebig Planet, and fan-made games because gamers still want to get their hands on what is easily one of the scariest horror games of all time. The fact that P.T. has become unavailable media makes everything about it feel even more cursed. Because of how terrifyingly great P.T. was, what it meant for one of the biggests video game franchises ever, and the behind the scenes squabble, it will forever be a rather interesting piece of gaming history.