My hope for P.T. is that it will one day gain the same cultural reputation as Jerry Lewis’s The Day The Clown Died – it will become a mythical, rumoured, almost supernatural lost work of art, holding the same eerie curiosity as a relic from Tutankhamun’s grave. It’s a fantastic game, just superb. Evocative, intelligent, adult and surreal, it combines all the technical proficiency AAA games possess with every virtue they do not. Verily, P.T. is – or should that be was – the first videogame in years to terrify me. That side of it, I have covered elsewhere. What strikes me as important now, now that both P.T. and the game it was meant to forebear have both vanished, is P.T.’s re-positioning, from a commercial to a standalone videogame.
For all its sophistication, P.T., this time last month, belonged to the lowest class of human expression – advertising. Its myriad qualities were, if not consciously certainly vicariously, in the name of building excitement for the new Silent Hill. P.T. ended on a reveal, that “Silent Hills” was in development and that Norman Reedus would star. But now that game is cancelled, P.T. is in service of nothing, and is no longer a “playable teaser” for an upcoming product. It is no longer an advert. It’s become higher than that.
Konami, frustratingly, doesn’t see it that way and because the full game has been scrapped, has taken the ridiculous decision to attempt to retroactively destroy all mention of it, as if P.T., outside of trailing Silent Hills, has no value. But those of us who have played it and who own it will, I hope, preserve P.T. – a full and brilliant game – like precious old cans of celluloid. It’s a monument not just to smart, brave and impeccable game-making, but to the gaming industry’s absurd and boorish adherence to commercialism – its unacceptance of anything that does not flow through its production line. P.T. is an artwork, but the people who own it, since it can no longer be used to sell their upcoming product, have deemed it unfit to exist even. P.T. has become emblematic of how expression, even crystalline, bold and truly artistic expression, if it isn’t going to turn a profit or help turn a profit, is worthless to videogames. It is the best in games and the worst in games, one of the first works of art to deftly escape this industry’s meat grinder, but only to be caught further along the conveyor by a twisted, hopeless quality controller. Preserve P.T. and everything that it is. Preserve it, as a reminder that those bastards would have seen it destroyed.