Silent Hill Gets a Slot Machine and the Sad State of Konami
These innovations in “gaming” have little respect to pay to the video game roots they were founded upon and flourished from.
By Chris Morse
If you came of age during the horror gaming boom of the late ‘90s and early 2000s, you might have taken part in your fair share of Resident Evil vs. Silent Hill debates. While the civilized among the community might have loved both franchises on their own merits, the iconic survival horror jump scares of Resident Evil and the twisted psychological horror of Silent Hill alike, there were plenty of us who dared to say we had a favorite franchise and weren’t afraid to pick a side. Today, it’s kind of an easy choice.
While Capcom is undergoing quite the resurgence since redefining its flagship horror experience with Resident Evil 7 and following that up with a fantastic remake of a beloved title from its earlier library, Konami is appealing to its shareholders and investors with… a Silent Hill slot machine. This is definitely some exciting news for the droves of elderly casino-goers who will pour hundreds (or thousands) of dollars into the machine without ever really knowing what the property is.
Sure, it’s occasionally fun to come across a slot machine of a recognizable branding, but seeing the company tout the excitements and innovations of this product in the industry of gaming induces a mighty groan. Even in a space plagued with loot boxes and microtransactions, some models more ethical than others, there’s something to be said about slapping a Silent Hill coat of paint on a slot machine and calling it engaging, “exceptional entertainment.” The only engagement players of these cabinets care about is the addictive prospect of the machine spitting out that coveted payday of returning more money than was put in. That’s the one thrill at the center of the entire casino experience.
All games are made to make money at the end of the day, but creatives in the entertainment side of the industry are striving to create genuine excitement, engagement, and narrative experiences for its players. As has been known for a few years now, Konami has knowingly left that side of its business behind, instead focusing on more profitable markets such as slot machines and mobile games. However, it’s still quite the stinger to see nothing done with the Silent Hill IP except this. The same goes for the legendary Castlevania and Metal Gear franchises.
On the other hand, Capcom is doing better than ever on the home gaming side and also has the financials to back it up. In the same year, the company has renewed mainstream interest in two of its major properties, Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, all while boasting huge numbers with Monster Hunter: World and taking on an active role in esports through its fighting games.
The casino industry might be more lucrative for Konami these days, but Capcom is taking home all of the acclaim in the space of video gaming, even after its stumbles with Resident Evil 6 and other mediocre spinoffs. It’s a case study in how to right the ship after years of moving in the wrong direction.
Konami, on the other hand, has pivoted far away from its legacy, leaving fans of its legendary properties little more than a laughable Silent Hill slot machine to be excited about in 2019 and beyond. It might be better for the company’s bottom line, but it’s harder to imagine a sadder state of affairs than this.
It looks like Resident Evil won the great horror gaming debate after all.
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