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Is this the first horror game set in Sunderland?

Sunderland 'Til You Die

You've survived Silent Hill and escaped Raccoon City, but are you ready to visit Sunderland? A pleasantly unpleasant new free horror game goes down inside the real Sunderland metro station of Park Lane, and I can't think of any other game set in the Northern English city. I am delighted when hyper-local mundanities appear in video games.

The game, also named Park Lane, is about waiting for your train on a late and lonely night. It's only a few minutes long, and you've not much to do, but it spooked me right up. Unsettling vibes. A few good shocks. PlayStation stylings. Helplessness. A spunking cock scrawled on the wall. Yes, that'll do nicely, ta.

Park Lane is available to download free from Itch.io for Windows and Mac. Joseph Whitehead made it in 48 hours earlier this month for the Ludum Dare 50 game jam.

I'm just pleased to see British places in games beyond the obvious. A Sunderland train station means more to people's everyday lives than any London landmark.

This, unsurprisingly, brings me back to Dan Douglas and the Duke Nukem 3D level he's making which is perhaps the greatest chronicle of modern English culture. He's been capturing all sorts of snippets as life whizzes past: seagulls stealing crisps, alpacas condemned to death, political stunts and scandals, lads, just normal men, and so much more. I cannot imagine what it means to people who don't live immersed in this.

I'm also reminded of YouTuber "Mojo Swoptops", who has used recreated places in Edinburgh using Far Cry 5's level editor, ranging from famous landmarks like Scottish Parliament and North Bridge through to buildings only locals will know, like the burnt-out Corstorphine Youth and Community Centre and a demolished block of flats. Swoptops has also made staple British sights like a Greggs and a Tesco petrol station during a fuel shortage. Lovely.

To return to the headline question—is this the first horror game set in Sunderland?—I suppose you could argue that Silent Hill 2 is set inside James Sunderland. But you shouldn't, you pun-faced rotter.

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