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Video Game / Sylvio

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My name is Juliette Waters. I work as an audio recordist specialized in EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena. Or as my friends say, I'm a ghost recorder. But I like to see it more as a two-way communication. I'm intrigued to know why they chose to linger in between the worlds. Or maybe they didn't choose at all. Maybe something is holding them back. Maybe I can help them take that step into the light. I don't know, but I can hear them. They're talking. And that's why I record.

Sylvio is a 2015 first-person horror title by Apostrophe. It follows Juliette Waters as she attempts to communicate with lingering ghosts at the Saginaw Family Park, which has been closed for decades following a disastrous landslide. As usual for this sort of thing, there's more to the park than meets the eye.

Sylvio was initially released for PC on Steam, and was then ported to Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2017. The sequel, Sylvio 2, was also released in 2017.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Juliette finds and uses a makeshift bazooka that mostly fires debris: potatoes, rocks, screws, and glass shards, among other things.
  • And I Must Scream: All of the ghosts are stuck in "the tunnel". Possibly Juliette at the end, too.
  • Antagonist Title: Sort of. It's ambiguous what exactly Sylvio is, but he appears to be the force keeping the ghosts from moving on, so he's definitely antagonistic from their perspective.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Bobby's reels take on this quality near the end.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Each major area features a "boss battle" with gigantic silhouettes of the people trapped inside Sylvio. In an odd case, they're completely unaware of Juliette's presence.
    • Juliette also appears to become one at the end.
  • Arc Words: Several, considering the game is all about discovering disjointed words and phrases from otherworldly recordings.
    • "Have you been to Honolulu?"
    • "The blood of the mist inside my skin."
    • "Tunnel"
  • Barred from the Afterlife: In the words of one ghost, "The tunnel never ends."
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Four crows will be incinerated over the course of the game. By you.
  • Gainax Ending: Juliette discovers Bobby's girlfriend Jill, who is apparently being used to power some unknown machine. When Juliette releases her, the scene abruptly cuts to a new female silhouette (Juliette's?) appearing in the park. The camera pans over the park while the credits roll, before finally resting on the player's collected music sheets sitting on a piano in a previously unseen house.
  • Ghost Amnesia: One of the ghosts doesn't know its name, or much of anything, really.
  • Indian Burial Ground: The park was the site of a 17th century native American massacre. Sylvio and the mist are both strongly connected to the lingering spirits, and were presumably released by the landslide.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Saginaw pesticide is at one point mentioned to cause hallucinations. Considering it's made from the gas covering the park...
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In true psychological horror fashion, there are very few enemies, but lots of places where it feels like there should be enemies.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Par for the course. Fifty percent of the writing could be considered Arc Words.
  • Surreal Horror: In contrast to the rest of the game's psychological style, everything about the skeletons and their balloons is just bizarre.
  • Whispering Ghosts: The Game.