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The Simplistic, Powerful Horror of Slender

How a simple horror game based on a popular creepypasta kicked off a broader franchise

Slender: The Eight Pages is a horror game that had a major influence. Not only was it the reason for the hype around the Slender Man figure himself, it also created the possibility for many other Slender Man games to come after it.

At first glance — it seems weird that a game, despite its simple graphics and functionality — has such an enormous impact on the scene.

But with a second glance, you can see that Slender: The Eight Pages got some crucial elements right, which is why it saw vast success.

Let’s dive deeper into the game and discover how it is able to create such a powerful horror experience.

Slender’s effective gameplay

Slender: The Eight Pages and its unofficial spinoff Slender Man’s Shadow, which added several maps to the game, are very much the same. I will simply refer to them all in this article as Slender.

Slender’s gameplay is simple. You find yourself in a place where you have to collect eight papers while the slender man tries to get you.


Most maps are designed in a seemingly haphazard way. Often there are narrow sections where you are forced to go without knowing what’s hidden there.

You always find yourself in the dark. It is hard to see anything that’s not in the light cone of your flashlight.

The bad sight combined with winding and narrow sections can easily make you lose the orientation.

What’s behind there? — Screenshot by the Author.


Slender does a perfect job of creating tension. The Slender Man can meet you at any second, but he takes some time. You are left to wait in the dark until he finally comes. The longer you play the game, the higher the probability that he will come.

On top of that, Slender’s sound design is wonderfully implemented. The real horror begins when you pick up the first page as from there on, a terrifying pounding sound will follow you.

The longer you don’t see the Slender Man, the more pressure he puts on you.

Good to play together

Since one round takes about 5 minutes, Slender is ideal for playing with multiple people.

An interesting thing happened when I had a friend for a sleepover, and we were playing the game all night long. As we played more and more rounds, we stopped getting scared and started seeing the game as a competition of sorts (where we’d have to collect all the pages to win).

This shows that even when you start to lose your fear from the Slender Man, it is still a fun game to play.

Digging your own grave

To progress in the game, you have to collect pages splattered around the map while you are running from the Slender Man. With each page you pick up, the Slender Man gets more aggressive.

In some sense, you must dig your own grave in order to progress. Knowing it gets harder with each page you collect.

Collecting this page will increase the possibility for your meet with Slenderman — Screenshot by the Author.

The Slenderman phenomena

Another component is also the antagonist itself: The Slender Man.

The Slenderman had his first appearance on June 10, 2009, where he was created for a Photoshop contest in the Something Awful forum by Victor Surge.

Three years later, he became an internet myth primarily through the help of the Slender: The Eight Pages game.

He is a very tall, human-like creature with unnaturally long arms and legs. His abnormal look frightens us. On top of that, he has no face. We don’t know where he’ll pop up.

The Slender Man is a mystery himself. We don’t know anything about him as he no background story.


Slender is a well-made horror game, that had a huge impact on the scene and started the hype around the Slender Man.

The game builds up tension and an oppressive horror atmosphere primarily through its excellent sound design, from the first second in the game, until it becomes almost overwhelming.

The game proves that sometimes less is more, and real horror can be achieved with very few ingredients.




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Tim Engelke

Tim Engelke

Just an aspiring game developer — I write about game development, art and other things that come to my mind.

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