Many of us are drawn to metal in pursuit of something elusive, something evocative and fleeting and frightening, lingering ever beyond our reach. For some, this quest takes us through the disparate left-hand paths of the occult. For others, it leads us through the twisting interdimensional apertures of dissonance. For others, harsh walls of sonic oblivion are our gateways to alien nirvana. Whatever form this necrotic glamour inhabits, there will always be those who pursue it. At times, the path to infernal enlightenment may even lead us to uncharted territory well beyond the confines of metal, film, or other media. Today, we explore this spectral hunt for truth through a video game culled from the deep web. Join me as we investigate the arcane world of Sad Satan.
Gaming websites have been abuzz the last week or so with news of a confounding “game” that surfaced on an Onion site in the deep web. Joe sent me an email last week regarding an excellent Kotaku article that detailed much of the bizarre world. At the moment, it is unclear who created Sad Satan, why the game was created, or what the end goal of the game is. If not for Jamie from Obscure Horror Corner, we likely wouldn’t even know it exists. Most of us will never venture into the seedy underbelly of the internet, and the likelihood of sifting through all the illicit content just to find this esoteric game is minimal at best. What we do know is that a mysterious personality on the deep web known only as ZK appears to be the one who initially drew attention to the game. For what little is known of the game, even less appears to be known of ZK, aside from the fact that he likes to post unsavory content to Onion sites and leaves clues in the form of cryptic notes and demoniac ramblings. Compounding the otherworldly quality of the game is that the Kotaku article mentions that the game itself may be a vessel for something far more sinister, seemingly opening text files with occult symbols and doing who knows what else to a user’s computer.
If the game itself isn’t a channel for some malevolent code, it certainly feels like a ritual summoning pentacle for some foul hellspawn. The original Kotaku article only showed two of the videos of the game being played. There are now five videos uploaded to YouTube, all of which are presented below with minimal comment. I want to give as little of this away as possible because Sad Satan is an experience that cannot, and perhaps should not, be described.
Part 1 opens with the player trapped in a gloomy, monochromatic hallway. As the player wanders around, you get the sense that you’ve just taken some mind-altering substances and are in for a very bad trip.
Part 2 is where things start to get truly strange. It is here that the player learns that he is not alone in this waking night terror. Static images, garbled dialogue, and piercing screams are used to dramatic effect.
Part 3 is the segment that disturbed me the most. Here the player is subject to actual psychological torment. Trapped in a sealed hall with no escape and no reprieve, the player is bludgeoned with repeated audio clips of ominous threat. “Believe me, if I started murdering people, there’d be none of you left.”
Disarmed, disoriented, but not alone, the player now must start to actually seek answers for the endless riddles of the maze. There’s an urgency to Part 4 that has yet been unseen in the labyrinth.
Part 5 reveals that the threat of the in-game entities is real. Perhaps there truly is no escape.
I cannot say what exactly Sad Satan is. I have not played the game, and I’m certainly not going to go poking around the deep web to find it. Instead, I have settled for vicariously experiencing the nefarious world through the above videos. After watching all five parts, I was left with far more questions than answers. Why was the game made? What do the static images mean? Who is behind this?
What I can say is that the game appears to be quite the cinematic experience. Even the videos tap into some unseen, primal sense lurking deep within our subconscious minds. The raw emotion and disturbing atmosphere are reminiscent of independent horror film Begotten. Both are twisted journeys into the darkest reaches of the abyss in corners we may not be meant to illuminate.
Much of the potency of the videos is derived from the bare, disruptive sounds employed. However, I found that the videos make excellent backdrops for some of the more malevolent branches of the metal tree. Below I have selected one song to play with each video. Play each at 50% to 75% volume with the corresponding video to allow the dramatic and insectile effects of the videos to emerge.
- Abyssal – “Veil of Transcendence”
- Jute Gyte – “Flux and Permanence”
- Ævangelist – “Veils”
- Whitehorse – “Remains Unknown“
- Incantation – “Abolishment of Immaculate Serenity”
There are many paths through the dark. Sad Satan offers one of the most mystifying trails I’ve yet encountered and takes you to the very edge of the yawning maw of desolation. To face whatever lurks in the black depths of the well may require a cost that is far too great.
(h/t Joe Thrashnkill, Patricia Hernandez, and Jamie form Obscure Horror Corner)