Articles & stories

Silent Hill 2: Who was Maria and what was her purpose in the game?

Silent Hill 2, despite being more than 15 years old, is arguably one of the best old school psychological horror games ever developed with a solid, well written and highly engaging storyline. I could go on for hours at a time trying to dissect every aspect of the game’s twisted plot and I’d still be merely scratching the surface!

Below is a spoiler filled article which mainly talks about Maria and her role in the game. Bare with me as I try my best to explain who she was and, more importantly, who she was to James, the main character of Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2: Introduction

Silent Hill 2 Director's Cut CD Cover For PC

The game begins with the main protagonist, James Sunderland, 29, arriving in a town called Silent Hill after receiving a letter from her wife who apparently has been dead for the past 3 years.

In the first scene we can see James talking to himself in front of a mirror in a run down public restroom. Naturally he is confused about the letter he got from his supposedly dead wife, but at the same time he’s hopeful that perhaps Mary (the name of James’s wife) is in fact alive thanks to some sort of a miracle. And so James begins his journey to find out exactly what happened.

Maria from Silent Hill 2Who is Maria?

Maria, a 25 year old former dancer at a club called Heaven’s Night, is the second most important antagonist in the game alongside James’s worst nightmare, the Pyramid Head (more on that later).

When James first meets Maria in a local park, he is stunned by how similar she looks to his late wife, Mary.

At this point it’s worth noting that the town (Silent Hill) draws upon the psyche of its visitors and ultimately creates alternate versions of itself for every character.

The fact becomes more clear later in the game when James meets a runaway teenager, Eddie, who experiences all of the same creatures that James sees as horrific monsters, as people laughing and taunting him towards violence.

Maria’s personality

While Maria is almost identical to Mary in every way (physically speaking), she has a much more sexually extroverted personality. She dresses in bold and revealing clothing and is found flirting with James throughout the game. She’s sensual, caring and more dependent than Mary.

Silent Hill 2 Maria Sensual Pose

In fact the game’s instruction manual describes her as being the complete opposite of Mary: a more fun, energetic and overall cheerful woman, albeit with a more clingy and intrusive personality which eventually leads James to reject her later in the game, at which point she tries to kill him by transforming into the final “boss” monster.

But… is she even real?

When you consider all of these personality traits in Maria and the fact that occasionally she seems to possess Mary’s memories of James and her being together, it becomes apparent that she is in fact a manifestation of Jame’s lonely subconscious mind that is desperately looking to fill the void left behind after his wife passed away.

In many ways Maria seems to be a “better” version of Mary, at least from a guy’s perspective, as she is much more easy-going to downright slutty, for lack of a better word.

Furthermore, we never actually see her around when James interacts with other people who are also lost in Silent Hill and coupled by the fact that she is desperately trying to remind James how “real” she is, all confirm the theory that Maria doesn’t exist in the first place.

For example when James first meets Maria in Rosewater Park, she says: “I don’t look like a ghost, do I? See, feel how warm I am”.

And then later, after being killed in front of James and then miraculously resurrected, she tells James that “It doesn’t matter who I am. I’m here for you, James. See? I’m real.”

She also happens to know James’s name almost immediately after meeting him for the first time even though he never told her his name. Of course James, being completely engulfed in his own delusion, doesn’t seem to notice it.

Not your typical “monster”

Silent Hill 2 Maria Smiling EerilyMaria, even though considered to be one of the two main antagonists in the game, is not necessarily malicious towards James (except for the part where she tries to kill him in the end), but she is definitely trying to keep James from leaving Silent Hill.

For example, in the Rebirth ending (yes, the game has multiple outcomes depending on your actions throughout the game) Maria says to James:

What?! But I’m what you wanted! Mary’s dead. Don’t you understand? She’s not coming back! But I can be yours… I’ll be here for you forever… I’ll never hurt you like she did! So why don’t you want me?!

Is she trying to keep James from learning the truth?

In the beginning of “Born from a Wish”, a prequel to Silent Hill 2, she mentions that she’s scared of being left alone and afraid of being in pain and in the main game seems to be highly bothered by the fact that James is more interested in finding out what happened to her wife instead of protecting and taking care of her.

At one point she lashes out to James and accuses him of being rude and selfish for only caring about his dead wife and not her by saying:

Why didn’t you try to save me? All you care about is that DEAD WIFE of yours!

Maria’s purpose in the game

Before we can start to understand the purpose of Maria in the game we have to dig a little deeper and figure out exactly what’s going on with James because, believe me when I say, It’s not all what it looks like!

James’s guilt

As James ventures deeper and deeper into the “rabbit hole” he eventually comes to terms with the fact that he was directly responsible of Mary’s death by suffocating her using a pillow some time after the doctors said there was nothing they could do to cure her illness.

Pyramid Head Abusing and Raping Two Helpless MannequinsSo he’s a hero then? No. James didn’t do it out of compassion. Instead he killed his wife mainly due to sexual frustration. There are subtle hints about this throughout the game, for example the infamous scene where Pyramid Head is seen abusing two mannequins.

Another reason for killing his wife was, of course, the sickness itself as it gradually changed Mary’s personality. In the end she was having constant mood swings and she would lash out at James in bursts of anger for no reason.

As Mary’s illness progressed, James started to resent her in almost every way, yet he still felt love towards her which in turn lead him on a downward spiral of self destruction and self pity. It took James 3 years to finally snap and end Mary’s life.

James’s delusion

After losing his wife, James’s life took a turn from bad to worse as he was now in complete denial of having killed Mary and so he created a story in his mind that she had been dead for 3 years because of her illness.

It’s very likely that the letter he received, which led him to Silent Hill in the first place, was just a hallucination and because of his numerous irrational and reckless actions throughout the game, it’s safe to assume that James was, in fact, suicidal and went to Silent Hill to kill himself.

Maria’s purpose becomes more clear

When you consider all of the above, it would make sense that Maria, being a figment of Jame’s imagination, was there mainly to provide comfort.

I guess, deep inside, James knew that he had killed his wife, but because what he did was so awful, he chose to ignore it and instead created Maria in the image of Mary so he could be together with her, oblivious to reality.

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Bored of Slither.io? Here are a couple of fun challenges for You

I’m sure that by now almost everyone has heard about the infamous Slitherio, a highly addictive browser based massively multiplayer online snake game inspired by Agar.io and developed by a man named Steve Howse. The game gained popularity after its release very quickly mostly because of its unique “snake” approach. Show me a person who wouldn’t want to play the original snake game found on old Nokia mobile phones in multiplayer mode!

Ynef is playing Slitherio

Slitherio challenges

Despite of its popularity among gamers the gameplay is rather dull when you compare it to other, more complex multiplayer games and as such it’s very likely that sooner or later you’ll simply grow tired of it. It’s not that I’m trying to lure you guys back into playing the game or anything but I just found a couple of interesting challenges on the internet that can make Slitherio enjoyable once more.

Boost only challenge

A Youtube gamer called Jelly has recently announced the boost only challenge and in order to participate all you have to do is kill the most players and overall survive the longest all while moving around the arena using the turbo boost feature at all times. If you run out of power and are unable to use boost any more, you have failed. If you die, you have obviously failed.

In case you didn’t know, you can turbo boost by either pressing the space key or clicking and holding down the left mouse button and since boosting requires “fuel” in the form of cute little glowing balls, you have to eat pretty much all the time. To be honest it’s actually a rather fun and addictive challenge, but I haven’t cashed in a single kill yet because my Slitherio strategy usually relies on moving around slowly. Or maybe I’m just not that good…

So, How many players can you kill in boost only mode?

Blindfolded challenge

Another, even more insane challenge is called the blindfolded challenge or Blind Challenge for short and the goal of this challenge is, you guessed it, to survive the longest while being completely blindfolded. You are not allowed to peek. Not once.

I just tried the blind challenge, but because I was alone and had no-one around to let me know when I had died, I decided to cover up my laptop screen with a piece of cardboard leaving only a small corner visible. This way I couldn’t see the game at all, but I was still able to figure out the moment of death because when you die, you stop moving. Brilliant!

To my surprise I survived for a good 2,5 minutes, but my final length was only a measly 10 points. I guess I must have been running around avoiding almost all of the food. Mannor from Youtube on the other hand did the same challenge and got a whopping final length of 19. It’s crazy!

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Feedy.io How to play guide and winning strategies

Think no-one would be mad enough to create yet another Agar.io clone? Think again! Someone has just launched a new cell eating game called Feedy.io and I have to say, it’s pretty damn impressive. With new and unique features like friends lists, special attacks, different game modes and a lot more, Feedyio is gaining popularity among browser based game fans around the world. But how do you play the game and what’s the best Feedy strategy? Keep on reading to find out!

Feedy IO Ynef Winning The Game Like A Boss

Feedy.io introduction

If it’s your first time playing the game, I advise you to register a free account because you will have access to two of the most important functions in the game: Add mass and Bomb. You can still play the game as an anonymous user, but you will soon realize just how important these two features are if you are planning on staying on top of the scoreboard. As a sign up bonus you’ll get 200 free gold coins and I will explain what they’re used for in just a minute.

The goal of the game itself is very simple! It’s just like in Agar.io- you grow bigger by eating smaller cells and you survive by avoiding cells that are bigger than you. Additionally the game has “rounds” that last for 30 minutes and if you manage to stay on the high scores list after each round ends, you’ll earn gold coins as a reward.

What are gold coins used for?

Gold coins in Feedy.io are used to carry out the two special moves which allow you to turn the odds in your favor very quickly. The cost of using a special move is 2 gold coins and both of them have a cooldown time of about 3 seconds. This means that you can’t cast a special move right after another and therefore careful planning and timing is the key to winning the game.

What are the special moves?

There are two main special moves you can use in the game after you have registered for a free account and received your first 200 gold coins. You can either grow yourself bigger on demand or throw a bomb at your enemy and split them in half.

Add mass (Press “A” on your keyboard)

The add mass feature allows you to grow bigger in size and is best used in situations where a slightly bigger enemy is just about to eat you. Wait for the right moment and allow your unsuspecting enemy to come towards you, then press A on your keyboard to grow bigger and eat them instead.

Bomb (Press “D” on your keyboard)

You can also throw bombs at your enemy which will split them in half. It’s advised to use this move when you’re either cornered and have no place to go or when you simply want to destroy an enemy much bigger than you. Just press D on your keyboard while directing your aim towards the enemy cell using your mouse and watch them split in half, then enjoy gobbling up the pieces.

Watch out for virus cells

The virus cells are noticeably bigger than the average cells meant for eating and have distinct toothed edges. If you happen to crash into one, you’ll be split into multiple smaller cells and will be vulnerable against an attack!

On the other hand, if you’re completely surrounded by your enemies, you might want to crash into a virus cell deliberately in order to escape because when you’re smaller, you’ll also move faster. Your enemy might swallow some of your bigger pieces, but even if just one of your tiny cell manages to escape, you’re good.

Tricking your enemies

A good strategy of mine is to trick the bigger enemy into eating a virus cell. Sometimes they’re just too eager to kill you and won’t notice the virus cell right in front of them. Since you’re smaller, you have better maneuverability and can easily move around the virus. It’s a good idea to use the Add mass special move right after your opponent has eaten the virus and split in half because you’ll eat all of the remaining pieces in one swift move.

Clearing the way with smaller cells

Another great trick, especially if you are grown so massive that it’s getting hard to avoid virus cells, is to split in half using the space key and drive the smaller cells straight into the them. This way you’ll clear the road for your big “mother” cell.

Feedy IO Ynef Cell Army

Good luck!

I hope this article and the strategies mentioned here will help you win a round or two in Feedy.io. If you found this information useful, please like and share this blog post to your friends!

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Filed under: Articles & stories, IO GamesTagged with: ,

Hunting for xbox achievements with XBdash tracker

If you’re a gamer chances are you’ve heard about achievements or game secrets that may or may not reward you for completing them. Perhaps you’ve even tried to do a few on your own? The majority of xbox achievements are unlocked simply by playing the game, but there are certain harder to reach achievements that require you to do something out of the boundaries of the game’s normal “flow” or storyline. These types of achievements range from not turning left throughout a level or killing 10 zombies with a single chainsaw slash. You don’t have to pull these stunts to beat the game, but in order to fully complete it along with all of its hidden secrets you’d have to do some crazy stuff.

A little bit of history

Nowadays almost all games that get released have some form of an achievements system implemented into their code, but it wasn’t always like this. The idea behind achievements in various games goes back to 1982 in the form of “high score patches” given out by Activision. These were actual physical iron-on patches that resembled boy scout badges in many ways and were sent out to the elite gamers who managed to get a very high score in their games. And because nobody had the internet back then, you had to take a photo of your television screen displaying your high score and send it to the game company as proof. (source)

XBDash Hunt Down Achievements Earn Prizes

Hunting achievements with XBDash

XBdash is an xbox achievements tracker website and a close-knit community of truly passionate gamers and xbox achievement hunters. The main goal of XBdash is to help you track down and manage all of your game’s achievements in a single well organised environment and to spice things up a bit they hold numerous contests and challenges with prizes ranging from free games to live codes and much more. In fact they’re holding a contest right now where the grand prize is a fancy Custom Engraved Xbox® One Controller. How cool is that?

Easier to manage your achievements

The achievements in XBdash come from the actual xbox games themselves and your dashboard gets updated as soon as you unlock a new achievement in your game. In order to make managing a bunch of achievements easier and of course to add more of a competitive feel to the act of hunting them down, the achievements are divided into four different categories: common, rare, epic and legendary.

The common category consists of achievements which are unlocked the most often by XBdash members. To be exact more than half of the community has those unlocked. Next in line is the rare category with 26%-50% and the epic with 11%-25%. Finally we have the legendary section with achievements so hard to get that only about 10% of the entire XBdash community has been able to complete.

Get on the leaderboards

One thing I did notice about the website is that one of my favorite games, Silent Hill Homecoming, has all of its achievements set to legendary which can only mean one thing- nobody in the community has played that game yet because even the most basic ones ie. “defeat a nurse” etc. are all set to the legendary status. This of course presents some new and interesting opportunities for gamers who enjoy having a position on the top of the leaderboards. Just pick a game that nobody is playing!

Of course as more players join the easier achievements will eventually fall into the common category for most games, but that’s a good thing because if you still happen to have a few legendary ones in your name, you’re serious business and deserve respect from the noobs.

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Best Left 4 Dead 2 Server Hosting Companies

Left 4 Dead 2 is a sequel to the original Left 4 Dead with the action taking place one week after the events in the first game where the zombie infection has reached the southern parts of the United States. Left 4 Dead 2 introduces brand new maps, monsters, weapons and of course four new survivors as well. While the game does have a single player option, the majority of gamers enjoy the multiplayer co-op mode making Left 4 Dead 2 one of the most popular multiplayer zombie survival games out there.

Left 4 Dead Characters

Top 3 Left 4 Dead 2 hosting providers

Below is a list of three most widely recommended Left 4 Dead 2 server hosting providers as seen on Nazeboo, a website which compares the most popular server hosting companies.

GameServers is without a doubt the best hosting provider on our list because of their global reach, highly competitive pricing and additional features like the ability to switch your server to a different location any time. Unlike with other hosting providers, your game server will be instantly available to you after payment- there’s no waiting time involved. The price for a public server with 8 players is around $18 USD per month.

Xenonservers is another well established brand however it’s servers are currently only located in New York. On the other hand they do offer DDOS protection which can become quite handy in the event where either an angry player or a competitor tries to shut you down. The price for a public server with 16 game slots is $15 USD per month and you will get free DDOS protection for up to 5 incidents. You can use the coupon code “Nazeboo” to get a 15% discount on your first order.

Branzone is a suitable game server provider for anyone looking for a decent EU/US based host because they have servers in United Kingdom and Germany as well as New York, Washington California, Texas and Illinois. They also offer DDOS protection and the price per month is just $16 USD, give or take a few cents.

Nobody plays single player any more

Left 4 Dead 2 is just one of those games where the single player game mode doesn’t make a whole lot of sense mainly because the AI behind idle survivors is plain awful. Most of the times when I was doing a campaign on single player mode, I just let my team mates (the AI’s) die and finish the game solo because they were constantly getting in the way and being stupid in general.

Left 4 Dead teamwork

But while beating the game solo on “beginner” is easy enough, it’s pretty much impossible on hard mode where even a single blow from the Tank can instantly kill you. So unless you’re Norman Reedus you should go with the next best thing and that’s having a decent team watching your six. After all, it’s a zombie apocalypse and teamwork is vital to your survival.

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Blox VR: A Virtual Reality ‘escape the room’ type puzzle game for Google Cardboard

Shortly after I created my first Virtual Reality “game” which wasn’t actually a game per se, but more like a fan art/virtual reality music video that took place in the room 302 of a famous horror game called Silent Hill 4, I started working on another project because you couldn’t really interact with any objects in the first game and I wanted to learn more about developing VR experiences anyway. In fact the only thing you were able to do was walk around and just look at Henry’s room from a different and new perspective. It was cool, but I knew I could do much better.

Blox VR Virtual Reality Puzzle Game Escape The Room

How Blox VR came to be

The idea for the game came to me one night in a dream where I woke up in a room with no windows, no doors and no apparent way of getting out. In my dream I later found out that I had actually died and this is what “heaven” was like- being stuck in a tiny room in the middle of an endless void where time was standing still (ie. you wouldn’t age, etc).

I had two choices: either stay in the room for all eternity contemplating on the meaninglessness of life or hit a reset button, forget who I was and where I came from for another 60+ years and experience yet another lifetime through someone else’s consciousness. Deep, I know.

What is Blox VR exactly?

Before I start I have to get one important thing out of the way: It’s still a demo! Yeah, the game only has three levels right now because I got caught up in yet another project of mine and I also wanted to hear what other people thought about the game before fully committing myself to it. Unfortunately people haven’t said much. Go figure…

Blox VR Bed and Blocks

It’s funny because thanks to my other project I now know more about game physics and development in general so I might end up doing a complete rework on Blox VR once I decide to continue developing it because while it felt awesome a few months ago, it feels kind of lame and noob-ish with my current knowledge. I know can do much better.

To put it short: Blox VR is a virtual reality puzzle game project that has been put on hold for now, but I will most likely continue developing it once I’m finished with my other projects (they’re going to be epic by the way) and once I feel that people actually like where the game is headed.

What can you do in the game?

Because this is a game for the Google Cardboard headset and as you may know it only has a single action button, I had to make the hard choice and basically “glue” the player to the ground leaving the action button only for picking up and dropping various metal boxes scattered about the room. Therefore you can’t walk around in the room, but you don’t really need to. It’s just a small room. If you were actually there and spread your arms you could touch both walls at the same time.

The puzzle

When looking around the room you will notice something written on one of the walls. A clue? Well, I can only say that it’s somehow related to the various boxes that you find on the floor. Figure it out!

Blox VR Switch and Blocks

After you solve the puzzle you will hear a weird sound that I quickly made in FL Studio and the level resets. Except of course for the puzzle, that one changes to more complex gibberish.

After the final puzzle the writing on the wall changes to “End of demo” so you’d know that it’s the end and wouldn’t spend your precious time figuring out how to escape this level. You can’t. Really. That’s it. It’s really the end. REALLY.

Where to get it?

You can download the game from Google Play Store and currently it’s only available for Android devices. You also need one of those Google Cardboard Virtual Reality headsets that go for less than five bucks on ebay. Or you can order one from me if you like.

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Mobile app to find gamers and challenge them for cash prizes

Famous Youtube gamers like PewDiePie make earning a living from playing video games seem so easy, but in reality there’s just too much competition in the live streaming and Youtube gaming niche and this makes it almost impossible for any newcomer to simply enter the arena without any important contacts and actually gain some significant recognition from the audience. I’m not saying it’s impossible, it’s just very difficult. Mostly because you’d need a lot of free time- a commodity which isn’t easy to come by in our so called “modern world”.

Earn money playing video games

Another popular way to earn money by playing video games is to participate in video game tournaments where the prizes can reach to millions of dollars. The trouble with that, however, is that in order to have even a remote chance of actually winning a tournament, you’d literally have to commit your entire life to playing the game every day in order to be skilled enough to stand a chance against your opponents.

When you consider everything I just said, it’s so easy to get discouraged about the whole ordeal and simply give up, crawl back to your dehumanizing excuse of a job and continue living from paycheck to paycheck.

But it doesn’t have to be this way

What if I told you there was another, easier way of making a living or at least earning a little bit of extra cash by playing your favorite video game without having contacts, a reputation or even a very high skill level? What if you could make money right now playing your favorite video game only on weekends, for example? Sounds like a sales pitch? Well, it sort of is, but don’t click away just yet. You’ll want to hear this.

Introducing Level Up eSports

Everyone knows that right now there aren’t a lot of serious tournament opportunities available for the casual “weekend gamer”. Level Up eSports is a new startup which solves that problem by connecting gamers looking to compete against one another from all over the world using a simple mobile app. If you like, you can think of it as Tinder for finding gaming tournaments and challenges.

The concept is simple:

  • Tell the app which game you wish to compete it
  • The app will find other people playing the same game
  • Swipe left or right just like in Tinder to either decline or accept a challenge
  • If both parties accept the challenge, a chat menu pops up
  • It’s game time!

Once you have both accepted the challenge you get to speak to your opponent for the first time in order to set everything up. For example you can tell them in which server to meet and when. Things like that.

After the battle you just need to open up the app once more and answer who won the game and if both parties are in an agreement, the money gets released to the winner.

You can then give each other Honor points which show other people how honorable you are in keeping up your end of the bargain.

If the unfortunate happens and the two parties can’t come to an agreement, the case will be reviewed by both the Level Up team as well as random players who can look at evidence in the form of screenshots and cast a vote on who they think the perpetrator is.

XPER as the app’s official currency

If you haven’t yet heard of XPER then don’t worry because you haven’t really missed out on much. It’s not really that popular just yet, but very soon you will be able to exchange it into other cryptocurrencies and even cold hard cash either through a third party exchanger or through the Level Up eSports system itself.

At this stage of development you can acquire XPER at an amazingly low rate of 10 cents per XPER that’s only going to be available for the very early adopters. In essence, if you buy XPER right now you will be investing in the development and promotion of the app, but the XPER will be yours to use in the future when the app goes live and the team opens up their own online shop where you can buy games and gaming equipment as well as use that XPER to challenge other gamers.

Oh! I almost forgot- there will be a “farming mode” in which you don’t risk any of your own XPER, but whenever you win a challenge you gain more XPER as a reward. That’s pretty much free money right there!

Can we take them seriously though?

Absolutely! I personally believe that this app has great potential because of it’s simple yet powerful concept and the ability to solve one of the biggest problems in the gaming industry today by providing everyone and not just the professional gamers with the opportunity to earn money from playing games.

Level up eSports chartAnd just to put your mind at ease, the guy in charge of Level Up eSports has a degree in business management and clearly knows what he’s doing. Here’s a chart showing you exactly how he is planning on using the money you invest in his startup.

But don’t just take my word for it- go ahead and ask difficult questions from the man by visiting his Youtube channel and make him sweat!

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