A Very Slender Evening

By Rutskarn
on Sep 15, 2013
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Slender: The Arrival is a modernist art game about the forbidden love between two turn-of-the-century French cobblers. Clocking in at around 100 hours of gameplay (not counting the optional riddle minigames), this sweet-natured narrative is punctuated by sliding block puzzles, tongue-in-cheek dating sections, and a surprisingly robust storefront simulation. It’s really surprising the game got as much press as it did, considering its unconventional setting, chipper tone, and brief (but surprisingly explicit) lovemaking scene inside the alien spaceship.

It’s a really great title, if you hate found-footage games about murderghosts that make you scream and vomit and throw your keyboard across the room.

And now for an actual true statement: if you want to listen to Chris freak out for thirty minutes like someone taped spiders to the insides of his eyelids, this is a pretty good video to watch.

Today’s content features Josh, Chris, Mumbles, and myself. “But Rutskarn!” you exclaim, “Surely the real star of the video is that despicable cad, the Slender Man!” You’re not wrong, dear reader. So the question remains: which of the four of us actually is the Slender Man?

You decide. But decide quickly, and whatever you do, when you watch this video…don’t turn around.

Because then you won’t be able to see the video. Which is, presumably, in front of you. You have used a computer before, right?

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From the Archives:

  1. Klay F. says:

    I feel like there needs to be a game mechanic especially for Reginald Cuftburt in this game whose only purpose is to give the Slenderman a giant middle finder.

    • Thomas says:

      What you need is a hardcore mode where all the Duke Nuukem soundboards and emotes are bound to the WASD keys and the Middle Finger of Doom mod action is bound to left mouse

      • Michael says:

        Huh, that was interesting. Wait… was that supposed to be disturbing?

        • I find the way filters are often abused in video and images to be QUITE disturbing.

        • Stranger says:

          Okay, here’s the thing about Tribe Twelve, Marble Hornets, et cetera . . .

          It’s only scary and disturbing if you invest yourself in the alternate “reality” of it. See, half the scary stuff and mood for Marble Hornets (which I watch as it’s the one with the LEAST amount of ARG and excess satellite crap attached to it) . . .

          It needs you to stop thinking “this effect on the video means someone didn’t turn off their EMF pump” or “but why would someone’s first instinct be to film it rather than drop the camera and run” . . .

          Like any piece of fiction, there are things you need to put in a box by the door and approach again. If you let it work from the assumption “this is a real retelling through video blog type records” and let the cues work on you? It turns out to not need to do anything other than let subtle audio cues (minor distortions) show up to let you know something’s off which otherwise wouldn’t raise the alarm.

          This is why I don’t share it around to friends all that much. The first time I did a friend didn’t let themselves get taken into the fiction and jokingly asked for the six hours he spent trying to understand it back.

  2. Jarenth says:

    It’s Josh. Obviously, Josh is the Slender Man.

    “But Jarenth”, I hear you say, “Isn’t Josh way too much of a chaotic, bumbling oaf? Isn’t he literally the farthest any human being could be from being the Slender Man?”

    That’s what he wants you to think.

    • Humanoid says:

      I don’t know, I think we can rule him out on account of him being not-a-human-being, and therefore not a man. We can also rule out Chris for being a scared little girl, and therefore also not a man.

      The prime suspect would have to be the manliest of them all, Mumbles. Although there is also a fair share of suspicion on Rutskarn, who is slender to the point of being skeletal.

    • MrGuy says:

      Please. The Slenderman is just Shamus when his microphone is on the fritz and his connection to Twitch is acting flaky.

      He’s just trying to ask everyone nicely to restart the stream so he can connect properly, but Josh keeps ignoring him.

      Jerk.

    • rofltehcat says:

      Mumbles. It gotta be Mumbles!

      • Corpital says:

        Chris said, Slenderman eats its victims, so I mostly agree with you.

        BUT what if it secretly really is Chris? How does he know all the things about Slenderman? Why does he know the house and woods so well? Because he’s “played the game before”? Yeah, that’s what I would tell people, if I were Slenderman.
        Chris is the perfect disguise, he can watch Josh play the game, then suddenly teleport from his computer into the woods to annoy Josh and keep him from finding the last piece of paper. Perfidious!

        • MrGuy says:

          There is no Chris.

          Josh suffered a horrible tragedy during the Bioshock season that broke his mind. Chris was created as the broken pieces of Josh’s psyche coalesced into a vague coherence. Chris is a cracked reflection of Josh – so interested in the narrative and the story in ways Josh usually scorns. Neither Chris nor Josh realizes this.

          There is no Slenderman game.

          The one piece of common ground Josh and “Chris” have is their mutual appreciation of videogames. At night, Josh dreams of playing non-existent videogames as the two fragments of his shattered mind desperately try to communicate.

          The Slenderman himself is the manifestation of the narrow cracks in the wall that separates the two halves of Josh’s mind. This is why Chris is so frightened of them – if Josh heals his mind, Chris’ very existence is threatened. This is why Josh runs to them – Josh deep down senses the only escape from the “game” that he and “Chris” are playing is through the Slenderman.

          Josh is Josh. Josh is also Chris. Josh and Chris are the Slenderman.

    • rrgg says:

      Josh is well known to cause computers to malfunction when he gets near. So he is obviously the prime candidate.

  3. MrGuy says:

    How this episode managed to be titled anything other than “The Bear Joke” is the tragedy of our times.

  4. MrGuy says:

    Gonna eat your Mumbleface.
    Like I’m winnin’ a Mumblerace
    Just show me your Mumbleface…

  5. Merzendi says:

    For that first level, it looked like you had telekinesis based around your elbow.

    …Maybe you should have tried opening the Slenderman with your elbow-powers?

  6. bucaneer says:

    Oh hey, Rutskarn wrote a blog post. I feel like something like this has happened sometime before, but can’t quite remember… Eh, must be imagining things.

  7. Phantos says:

    I like the fan theory that Slenderman only goes after people who hurt or molest children. That would explain the childish drawings and notes, and the significance of the missing child poster. Put up by him to guilt the main character. It would mean that the main character of this game actually did something to deserve this instead of just being a random victim.

    It would also explain why Slenderman is not scary at all, ever, under any circumstances. He’s the good guy. He’d only be scary to bad people.

    He’s basically Batman, if you think about it.

  8. MrGuy says:

    Also, running around in the woods collecting pages being chased by some mysterious foreboding evil? It’s Alan Wake! If Alan Wake hadn’t made the baffling decision to also be a shooter.

    Seriously, if nothing else, this game illustrates for me that Alan Wake could have ditched it’s entire combat mechanic and been a viable (and almost certainly better) game.

  9. newdarkcloud says:

    Chris, I don’t know whether you were legitimately scared or just acting the entire time. Honestly, it could be either one.

    • That sounded like legitimate fright to me – I had similar reactions to slender around a year ago, while I was going through a 2 year stint of severe anxiety problems.

      The problem with fears born out of anxiety issues (like a fear of slenderman, where even watching this would terrify – I know I wouldn’t be able to sleep after watching this if I watched it a few months ago), is that they can’t be defeated with logic. What they can be defeated by, however, is a 2 step strategy – which I will tell you, as it is quite interesting.

      EDIT: I did not realise that this was such a massive wall of text. Sorry about that.

      Firstly, realise what it is. As soon as you feel anxious, take the anxiety out. Imagine it as a little person, if you will, sitting on the table in front of you, freaking out. It doesn’t take to logic kindly – because it just says “…but what if slenderman was right outside your window? You don’t know, because you haven’t looked! You must take protective measures.”

      At this, you would usually freak out. But by taking the anxiety out, you can see that it’s just being dumb. There are other steps you can take to disassociate yourself from the little anxiety man, which are unique to you, so I won’t detail any here.

      The second step is SCIENCE. Experiment with your fear – expose yourself to varying degrees of what you fear – and analyse it. Analyse how you are feeling, how you are reacting. This allows you to think of the anxiety as just a response that isn’t part of you – a response of something else, and thus it becomes easier to ignore.

      The secret third step is to stop avoiding the anxiety. I use to freak out and lock my door at night, because otherwise I’d get anxious that something would come into my room and do something nasty to me. By locking my door, my anxiety reduced – I became more relaxed, I felt much safer. But, this is the worst thing you can do. It encourages the anxiety to grow, to become worse – it teaches it that the thing it fears is actually a danger, and you must take protective measures to keep you alive. So, figure out the rituals you have created to avoid the anxiety and, one-by-one, remove them.

      I find the psychology of fears and anxiety to be very interesting – especially since I conquered my fears of the dark and slenderman.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ughhhh!That is the worst long joke Ive heard in quite a long while.And Rutskarn told it in such an unbearable fashion.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hey cool,now everyone has an embarrassing nickname:
    Shamoose,Butskarn,Yeoman Chambers,Bogo and Pee-pants.

  12. Gruhunchously says:

    Sad as it is, I can’t really see Josh and the Slenderman working out, because Josh constantly refuses to face up to the relationship and just runs away all the time.

  13. silver Harloe says:

    “bar bit you ate” was pretty epic. I thought the joke was going to be a much shorter accent joke:

    A bear walks into a bar and says “I’ll have a beer.”
    The bartender says, “sorry, we don’t serve bears.”
    The bear says, “okay, I’ll have a rum and coke.”

  14. Mersadeon says:

    Wow, I couldn’t ever take this game seriously. Slenderman looks so derpy in his suit. That’s not scary, not the least bit!

    Also, be glad that you didn’t get to the later levels. I’ve seen them, and they aren’t very well made. The little Gollum guy that aggressively follows you is incredibly annoying and so badly designed.

    • Michael says:

      I agree, Slenderman is the least scary thing in the game. (Apart from maybe the malfunctioning doors!) I found the original game quite tense up until I saw him for the first time, at which point I burst out laughing because his long arms and cartoonish appearance reminded me of Inspector Gadget.

      After that, every time he showed up I’d walk straight up to him because putting up with the static was more annoying than dying, and soon enough I realised I didn’t care about finding the pages and quit. I guess the game has merit as something to dare your friends to play? I don’t feel like there’s ever any intrinsic motivation to complete the level, even in this version.

  15. Destrustor says:

    Argh why are you calling him POOdiepie?
    I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to sound like “few”-diepie.
    Is it some kind of word-play stealth insult?
    It sounds even sillier than how it’s written.

    Gah! now I sound like a nitpicking jerk!
    I’m sorry.

    • Mersadeon says:

      Wouldn’t it actually be Pew as in few, die as in DIE BART and pie as in 3.1415… ?

      But nobody pronounces the “die” part like that. Why?

      • Thomas says:

        The name comes from pew as in ‘Pew-Pew lazers’ with pie added on presumably because PewDie was already taken or something. So pew-dee sounds a lot more like a laser gun sound and is how he pronounces it too (and how the official wikipedia page pronunciation suggests :P)

    • Cybron says:

      They’re trying to ward off the spirit of terrible let’s plays by not invoking his name.

  16. BeamSplashX says:

    It’s decided- I’m buying Tolkien’s estate and making Mumbles the canon voice for Gollum, who will then narrate my new game Riddler VS Tolkien Universe.

  17. Syal says:

    I like Josh’s theory that Slenderman is essentially Casper, just trying to make friends.

    Slender the Friendly Ghoul.

  18. Zukhramm says:

    Slendamann’s one thing I just don’t get. There are so many so much scarier things on the internet.

    • Spammy says:

      Slendermann? A Slenderman/TF2 crossover would be the most hilarious and least scary thing ever. Popping out of nowhere to try to insta-kill you? So Slenderman is basically a Spy. And Spies aren’t that hard to deal with. Pyro’s just going to shoot some flame at a corner and reveal him and then everyone’s going to see him and shoot him. And I mean judging by how Josh just gets by running from Slenderman he’s not a very good Spy either. Probably just the kind that is running obviously towards my Sentry and dies in a few hits from my Southern Hospitality.

      • Axe Armor says:

        In some of the earliest works of the Slender Man mythos (for example, Just Another Fool), Slender Man is depicted with a dapper fedora. The common perception today, however, never features any headwear, instead revealing the Slender Man’s exaggerated baldness to the world.

        The hats will be his…

  19. I was so disappointed those were recycle symbols on the boxes at around 18:17. At first glance, I thought they might be Aperture Science logos.

    And while I’m not going to go look for it, I’m pretty sure that’s a crossover fanfic somewhere.

    • Syal says:

      I love the idea of GLaDOS trying to get Slenderman to use the portal gun and him just teleporting past all the obstacles.

      • It also makes me wish I could make a game that had a lot of those “screw with the player” gimmicks where, say, that WAS an Aperture logo, but it changes the second it pans out of frame and you look at it again.

        I’d do it with LOADS of things, but really innocuous stuff like address numbers, book titles, etc. and make it on the random side so it’s hard to replay the game and specifically see it happen.

  20. WarMachineDD7 says:

    On your way to school a friend tore out the pages of your homework after an argument you had with him and threw them into the wind where they flew out in very far and different directions. The point of the game is to recover the pages from your homework so you can go back to school while giving the cold shoulder to your friend who’s repeatedly trying to make you acknowledge him so that he can apologize for what he did.

    How’s that for a friendlier version of the Slender Man game?

  21. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

    So… is it different when you’re playing? Because I didn’t see anything scary.

    Annoying, yes. Scary, no.

    Also -are the special powers required to f*#& Dr. Strange? That seemed to be the implication of meeting Slenderman in Mumble’s monologue.

  22. 12:15-23
    You’re a married man, Chris. Go cry to the Misses. Whiner.

    PS: Really is the least of your problems.

    22:00-05
    I wonder if Slender’s head was clipping through the ceiling…

    Right then, so it’s the same game only more annoying.

    At least this was a barrel of laughs. Thanks for doing this guys. xD

  23. David W says:

    I think you guys could make tic-tac-toe fun to watch.

  24. Mr Compassionate says:

    Shamus is the only one not here, he is Slender.

  25. Disc says:

    Well.. that was different. There’s some proof that Mr. Slender may just be a dude looking to borrow 20 dollars.

    • MrGuy says:

      To be fair, it’s not made clear if he ever intends to return the $20. I hate guys like that.

    • Ryan says:

      I love this joke enough that I’m going to explain its origin:

      So Marble Hornets is a Slenderman based youtube web series; the original slenderman-based web series, shortly following the SA thread he was invented in and subsequently derailed (If you can find that thread with some google-fu, check it out, it’s probably the scariest slenderman stuff. The thread was originally for images with paranormal stuff photoshopped in, then around page 6 some guy invents slenderman and almost nothing but slenderman stuff is posted for the rest of the thread). It set the ‘found footage videocam distortion’ convention that has now been endlessly copied as a way to mirror the origin of Slenderman as an image medium.
      Here’s the intro episode if you feel like some background info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmhfn3mgWUI

      randomly interspersed through the first 10 or so episodes, before the main character had figured out what was going on, were ‘entries’ set in a blacked-out house with no audio, featuring nothing short clips of the Slenderman walking in front of a window. Someone, likely as a way to dull the scary (in 2009 this was some seriously 2spooky stuff), posted a video claiming to have found the missing audio.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acBnEHT-fBo

      • Nytzschy says:

        It’s appropriate that the joke came out of that episode (installment? edition?) because it’s the worst one in terms of verisimilitude. Slendy looks like a manakin being held at an angle and moved past the window, probably because he is. I like to imagine Slendy doing some kind of panicked Kermit the Frog voice as he does it.

  26. Joneleth says:

    Rutskarn: About the blur, you’re viewing the game through a camcorder the whole time.

  27. Mumbles says:

    one of the few times i watch one of our videos and think to myself “man we’re fucking hilarious”

  28. Nidokoenig says:

    I really don’t get darkness and poor visibility as a source of scariness in vidya, it just gives me a nagging feeling that I need to mess with my settings and doesn’t do a whole heap of good for my motion sickness because it turns everything into a swirling haze of mush and trashes immersion.

    I have two things to say about motion blur, head bob, that crazy skipping motion and the juddering, distortion and other interface fuckery; 1: HUERRRGH! and 2: YEURRRGH!

    Is this really it? A crappy orienteering game with no map or directions, reducing it to a pixel hunt, and a bunch of interface screws to attempt to creepify it?

    Reading this back, I seem excessively mad. I blame Rutskarn and/or nausea. Maybe they’re the same thing.

  29. The Rocketeer says:

    Alright, now I feel vindicated after seeing that this game manages to be impossibly lame, as I always believed it must be, on account of Slenderman being the most boring, half-assed waste of meme that ever was.

    HOWEVER:

    While I was watching this, a painting on the wall directly above me broke one of the crappy hangers I hung it with and swung down inches behind my head. So yes, Chris, I know that feel.

  30. Irridium says:

    Hey, Campster, there is another level. And in it, it’s not just you and Slenderman. There are others. Here’s a link to prove it. It starts at 10:38.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uct86V2AIXE

    Sleep tight :D

    • Ha! When that thing came running around the corner after you, that was pretty freaky. But I could feel the effect starting to quickly subside after that first time. Making monsters consistently scary is hard. :/

      Slender popping up when they were crawling was a pretty awesome period on the situation though.

  31. Nidokoenig says:

    Slenderman sounds like a mascot for an artificial sweetener.

  32. Otters34 says:

    I dunno, getting Dr. Strange powers seem like it would be more trouble than it’s worth, all that talking about incomprehensible things and having to fight insanely huge threats to get any panel time at all must wear on you. Slendy would hardly be even a speedbump.

    I vote you get Deadman powers! Ghost 4 life.

  33. Psy says:

    SCP Containment Breach does the mechanic better then Slender, where once you see SCP-173 it will kill you if you break eye contact unless there is a barrier i.e closed door. SCP-173 is more of a threat then Slender plus there are the other enemies in SCP that you have to worry about and you actually have a clear goal.

  34. rayen022 says:

    interestingly for me, the better graphics in arrival make the actually less scary than than the original slender. i dunno but the wonky shaky cam and flashlight and darker environment make it harder to see slender as he slowly closes in on you.

  35. kmc says:

    Soon after watching this, I was sent to the Clueless Gamer bit where Conan O’Brien plays Slender, and each of these enhanced the other. I recommend it!

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