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Dancing in Silent Hill

Tale of Tales' "FATALE" takes Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils and places it squarely in Silent Hill. This post offers ideas of how to critically analyze it.

Ryan Straight

September 2, 2009

3 Min Read

Most games based on the Bible are terrific failures of game design and implementation, as one can imagine. Bible Adventures, Guitar Praise, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, and The Bible Game, just for a few. However, occasionally something comes along that focuses on the aspects of the Bible championed by the protagonist of A Clockwork Orange rather than the stories of Noah or Jesus. It appears that FATALE, from Tale of Tales, is one of them. The best part? A character designer from the Silent Hill team is on board. Takayoshi Sato was on board for Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2. Now, just imagine what the man responsible for the character design in Silent Hill 2 can do with this:

Click for larger size

Salome Statue

(Other versions of Salome can be found here.)

(Yes, that's a nude Salome raising John the Baptist's severed head into the air to kiss it.)

Actually, I can show you what Sato is doing with it:

Click for Tale of Tales FATALE

Salome from FATALE

Remind you of anyone?

Click for IGNs Meet the Characters of SH2

Maria, Silent Hill 2

(Click for IGN's Meet the Characters and Monsters of Silent Hill 2 page.)

Though the site doesn't mention it, one can only assume from the title "FATALE" that the vignettes are all based around "femme fatales" in history. Whether or not they are based on real women or fictitious women is unknown, at least to me. Judging by the first choice being Salome, I would imagine they're going the fiction route (yes, Salome was real, but the dance almost certainly was not).

FATALE is not a game, at least not according to the site. It is "an interactive vignette in realtime 3D." It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

So, what are the implications of this? It depends. Could you use it to study dance, considering Salome was supposed to have done the Dance of the Seven Veils in order to receive John's head? As a feminist case study or an examination of how the architypical "femme fatale" has changed since the time of the first depiction of Salome's dance?

It could absolutely be used as a text in studying gender in gaming (or interactive vignettes, I suppose). Possibly it could even be used more critically, in that it is assumed (since Josephus didn't even mention a dance) that the myth originated all the way back with Ishtar. Take one look at the Google Image Search results for "salome" and an examination of the hypersexualized female just begs to be done (note: safe search is turned off, there is nudity).

FATALE is slated for an October 5th release. Should be interesting.

(Originally posted at Teach Video Games, September 2, 2009.)

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