On Halloween, there are few places I’d rather be than in a Connor Sherlock forest. Often contrasting darkness with lurid colours and laying ace retro horror synth soundtracks over the top, he creates places where people shouldn’t be. He never has jumpscares or monsters, just creeping wrongness. On Halloween in 2014 I was playing Marginalia, a horror walk-o-story he made with Cameron Kunzelman, and this Halloween I’m delighted to be playing Marginalia’s new “HD remake”. Wander a forest, hear a story unfold, and watch for lights through the trees – if you dare etc.
So! Our brother’s obsession with oddities has led him into the woods chasing a spooky history. After he doesn’t return, we follow. Marginalia is a walk-o-story with spoken word snippets spread out across the world, activated by approaching lamps and some key locations. Unlike many walk-o-stories, Marginalia is spread across relatively large spaces, leaving us to roam the forest and valleys. You’ll likely be able to follow the main story path easily, lamps lighting up fog through the trees, but wander further and… there are some strange things out there.
I only half-remember the original game, and my memory likely mixes it with several of Sherlock’s games, but this remake seems hugely improved. I especially like the jagged shards of pure magenta light hanging around spookier areas, a technique Sherlock has used in several games. Stark stylised flair in a ‘realistic’ forest is a great look. It can feel like how old horror movies used lighting, fog, and lens filters to blast otherworldliness, which is great.
I believe the script is reworked and the voice is re-recorded too. Good stuff.
Marginalia is $5.40 on Itch. If you bought the original, this is a free update so you should already have it. Oh and if you enjoy this, do also try last year’s Marginalia prequel which prompted this remake. And heck, for more spooking try Kunzelman’s Catachresis or most of Sherlock’s walking simulators (he also runs his Patreon as a ‘walking simulator of the month’ club for at least $1).