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Slender: The Eight Pages

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Slender: The Eight Pages
Developer(s)Parsec Productions
Publisher(s)Parsec Productions
Director(s)Mark J. Hadley
Designer(s)Mark J. Hadley
Programmer(s)Mark J. Hadley
Composer(s)Mark J. Hadley
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, OS X
ReleaseJune 26, 2012
Genre(s)Survival horror

Slender: The Eight Pages, originally titled Slender, is a short first-person survival horror game based on the Slender Man, an infamous creepypasta (online horror story). It was developed by independent developer Mark J. Hadley using the game engine Unity and was first released in June 2012 by his one-man studio Parsec Productions.

In Slender: The Eight Pages, the defenseless player must collect eight pages scattered around a dark forest while avoiding the Slender Man, who pursues them throughout the game. The Eight Pages was largely praised by critics for its effective horror and atmosphere despite its crude graphics, although some considered the gameplay repetitive and lacking replay value. The game popular through Let's Plays and inspired many fangames based on Slender Man. Parsec Productions and Blue Isle Studios released a sequel called Slender: The Arrival the following year.


Slender: The Eight Pages is a short survival horror game played from a first-person perspective.[1] It takes place in a dense, dark forest at night. The objective is to collect eight pages scattered throughout the forest. The gameplay and graphics are very simple. Players can walk at a slow pace or run, but the latter impairs their vision and the player can run out of stamina. They are equipped only with a flashlight with a limited battery; there are no weapons or inventory in the game.[2][3]

Throughout the game, players must avoid being captured by the Slender Man, a tall, faceless man who stalks and hunts them down.[4] Players are alerted to the Slender Man's presence by audio cues and visual distortions.[2] He can appear at any time and does not move when in the player's line of sight.[5][6] Looking at him for too long causes a game over,[5] and the only way not to lose is to run away from him and hide.[4] However, as they collect more pages, they encounter the Slender Man more frequently and are given less time to escape his vicinity before losing.[2] After completing the game, players unlock additional options such as a daylight game mode.[1]

Development and release[edit]

Slender: The Eight Pages is based on the online urban legend (creepypasta) of Slender Man. After Eric Knudsen created Slender Man in June 2009, the legend spread throughout the internet and users began making their own stories about it. These fan creations, the most notable of which was the cult web series Marble Hornets, expanded the Slender Man mythology.[7] The Eight Pages was developed by Parsec Productions, the one-man studio of Mark "AgentParsec" J. Hadley.[7] Hadley, a 35-year-old man from New Mexico, wanted to design board games and card games, but his projects attracted little attention. He was a fan of Marble Hornets, and decided to make a game based on the series to learn how to use the game engine Unity. He started working on it at the beginning of May 2012; it was his first time programming in ten years.[8][9]

Hadley drew inspiration from how his favorite horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010) built suspense through its atmosphere and imagery rather than jump scares. Hadley added a degree of randomness to Slender Man's appearances as he felt Amnesia's scriptedness negated its horror. The Eight Pages' atmosphere carries the game. For example, players cannot take in Slender Man's low-quality model, something which Hadley blamed on time constraints, because they have to actively look away from it to survive and are too scared to care. Since most of the models were free assets, the graphics were of poor quality. Hadley made the music "repetitive and droning" to accentuate the atmosphere.[8][9]

Since Slender Man's appearances were programmed in terms of a two-dimensional space, the environment had to be mostly flat. The building complex was based on Marble Hornets' "Entry #51".[9]

The Eight Pages was released on June 26 as a free beta for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.[1][10] It was originally titled Slender.[7] Hadley posted his creation to three forums, including the Unity forums and a Slender Man message board, and uploaded a YouTube trailer, but did not otherwise market it. While he did not intend to update the game for long, its subsequent popularity caused him to make additions such as a layer of fog and tentacles that sprout out of Slender Man's back.[8][9]


One of the forum users showed Slender to a YouTuber named Tom "JurassicJunkie" Wheldon, who posted a video of him playing the game (known as a "Let's Play") and created an unofficial website to download it. While Hadley was slightly annoyed by Wheldon's unauthorized website—he later made an official webpage that included merchandise—Wheldon's efforts helped Slender start circulating online.[8]

The game went viral shortly afterward,[8] when the YouTuber PewDiePie uploaded a Let's Play of the game, causing other influencers to play the game and get millions of views.[7] These videos often included gamers exaggeratedly screaming and panicking, often for comedic effect. The Eight Pages spread across the internet,[11][12][13] and the official website crashed after too many people tried to download the game.[12] Television host Conan O'Brien played the game on his segment "Clueless Gamer".[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Slender: The Eight Pages was largely praised by game critics. Many reviewers thought that the horror was effective despite its minimalist approach and crude graphics. They also liked the way the game built tension through its atmosphere; IGN's Charles Onyett and Evan Killham of VentureBeat wrote that it elicited a sense of helplessness and vulnerability.[a] IndieWire named The Eight Pages one of their Top 10 Indie Games of 2012.[20]

In contrast, Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson of TechRadar and Jim Norris of PC World considered the limited gameplay ultimately to its detriment. Wyciślik-Wilson did praise the suspenseful atmosphere, which she considered enhanced by the simple graphics and lighting. However, she criticized the "dull" gameplay and pacing, saying that it was repetitive and lacked variety: "Unfortunately [...] it's a bit boring". Both Wyciślik-Wilson and Norris felt that The Eight Pages lacked originality compared to other Slender Man fan creations.[2][3]


The success of Slender: The Eight Pages led Parsec Productions to partner with Blue Isle Studios to create a sequel. The team behind Marble Hornets co-wrote the script.[12] When it was announced, the developers wrote that it would have "more levels, improved visuals, and an engaging storyline".[21] Highly anticipated by fans, Slender: The Arrival was released in March 2013. While critics praised the story and presentation, they also felt it was inferior to the original and overly relied on jump scares.[12] GamesRadar+'s Edwin Evans-Thirwell felt it was largely the same game with negligible improvements, spread across multiple levels.[22] The Arrival's narrative retroactively provides context for the original's events,[4] and one of the characters, Kate, is revealed as the player character of The Eight Pages.[12] The second level is a re-imagining of the first game.[22]


The success of Resident Evil 4 (2005) caused AAA survival horror games to opt for mainstream appeal by following the conventions of shooter games. This approach was challenged by cheaper indie titles such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010), Five Nights at Freddy's (2014) and Slender: The Eight Pages which favored atmosphere over action and restricted player autonomy — often arming them with nothing more than a flashlight.[1][23][24]

Game Developer's Kate Reichert thought that Slender: The Eight Pages' success proved that indie games, even simple titles made by lone developers, could seriously compete with mainstream games. Reichert attributed the Slender Man creepypasta's mainstream success to the game.[11] The Eight Pages inspired many independent developers to make their own Slender fangames,[25][26] including a co-op Half-Life 2 (2004) mod based on it.[b] In their book-length study on Slender Man, Shira Chess and Eric Newsom described The Eight Pages and The Arrival as the most successful Slender Man games. They wrote that while the Slender series did not innovate on the lore, it played a role in expanding the creepypasta's audience. Their popularity shifted the Slender Man fandom's activity from forums to video games, leading to an influx of younger fans.[26]

GamesRadar+ retrospectively described Slender: The Eight Pages as "a classic moment in horror gaming".[31] In 2015, Eurogamer's Dan Whitehead compared The Eight Pages' impact on horror games to what The Blair Witch Project (1999) did for horror films. He wrote that the game "reduced horror gaming to its purest essence, the delicious panic-inducing thrill of being pursued". While it may have been low-quality and lacked lasting popularity or replay value, it "nudged horror gaming onto a different path [like how The Blair Witch Project] also revived and refreshed the genre".[25] The Eight Pages sparked the beginning of an unofficial video game series, with a term coined by fans as the Slender Man Mythos.


  1. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[1][15][16][17][5][18][19][11]
  2. ^ Attributed to multiple references:[27][28][29][30]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gardner, Jack (August 10, 2012). "Slender". Game Informer. Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d Norris, Jim (August 9, 2013). "Review: The gaming is thin in free survival horror Slender: The Eight Pages". PC World. Archived from the original on May 29, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Wyciślik-Wilson, Sofia (July 27, 2017). "Slender: The Eight Pages review". TechRadar. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Kyllo, Blaine (May 25, 2014). "Bask in the terror of the Slender Man with 'The Arrival'". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c Hatfield, Tom (July 5, 2012). "Slender Man game released, scare the hell out of yourself for free". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  6. ^ Wilson, Aoife (March 28, 2014). "Slender: The Arrival is the scariest game you'll play this year". TechRadar. Archived from the original on March 7, 2024. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  7. ^ a b c d Cohn, Gabe (August 15, 2018). "How Slender Man Became a Legend". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e Klepek, Patrick (August 23, 2012). "One, Two, Slender Man's Coming For You". Giant Bomb. Archived from the original on July 10, 2022. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  9. ^ a b c d Lock, Chris (August 12, 2012). "An Interview With Slender Creator Mark Hadley". LevelSave. Archived from the original on June 2, 2023. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  10. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (July 5, 2012). "The Terrifying 'Slenderman' Goes from Meme to Free Horror Game". Kotaku. Retrieved March 12, 2024.
  11. ^ a b c Reichert, Kate (December 16, 2012). "Extremely Brief Review of Slender: The Eight Pages". Game Developer. Archived from the original on March 11, 2024. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  12. ^ a b c d e C, Luiz H. (March 6, 2023). "'Slender: The Arrival' – Revisiting the Playable Jump Scare Machine Ten Years Later". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on May 27, 2023. Retrieved May 27, 2023.
  13. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (July 23, 2012). "Watching These People Play The 'Slenderman' Game Is Almost Scarier Than Playing For Yourself". Kotaku. Retrieved March 12, 2024.
  14. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (October 25, 2013). "Watch Conan O'Brien freak out over Outlast". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 2, 2023. Retrieved March 5, 2024.
  15. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (September 10, 2012). "Slender: The Eight Pages: Short, Crude, And One Of The Scariest Games Of The Year". Kotaku. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  16. ^ "Slender: The Eight Pages". The New York Times. September 11, 2012. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  17. ^ Killham, Evan (July 26, 2012). "Slender taught me to fear again". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  18. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (July 4, 2012). "Free horror game Slender is absolutely terrifying". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  19. ^ Onyett, Charles (July 7, 2012). "Slender is Pure Horror". IGN. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  20. ^ Lichman, John (December 28, 2012). "From 'Slender" to "Fez," The Top 10 Indie Games of 2012". IndieWire. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  21. ^ Hillier, Brenna (September 21, 2012). "Slender: The Arrival announced as follow up to Eight Pages". VG247. Archived from the original on November 28, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2024.
  22. ^ a b Evans-Thirlwell, Edwin (March 30, 2015). "Slender: The Arrival review". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on December 4, 2023. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  23. ^ Ard, BJ (Fall 2022). "Creativity Without IP? Vindication and Challenges in the Video Game Industry". Washington and Lee Law Review. 79 (4): 1285–1375. Archived from the original on May 26, 2023. Retrieved May 26, 2023. This approach proved surprisingly popular through titles like the 2012 game Slender: The Eight Pages (featuring the infamous Slender Man) and the 2014 game Five Nights at Freddy's (a nightmarish take on the animatronics of Chuck E. Cheese), both of which benefited from streaming by YouTubers.
  24. ^ Carlson, Alex (August 19, 2014). "Could Silent Hills P.T. Mark the Rebirth of AAA Horror?". Hardcore Gamer. Archived from the original on May 26, 2023. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  25. ^ a b Whitehead, Dan (April 6, 2015). "How Slender gave gaming its Blair Witch moment". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  26. ^ a b Chess, Shira; Newsom, Eric (2015). Folklore, Horror Stories, and the Slender Man: The Development of an Internet Mythology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-1-137-49852-6.
  27. ^ Onyett, Charles (July 27, 2012). "Slender: Source in Development". IGN. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  28. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (July 26, 2012). "There's A Multiplayer Source-Engine 'Slenderman' Game In The Works". Kotaku. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  29. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (July 26, 2012). "Slender: Source mod on the way". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  30. ^ Senior, Tom (July 26, 2012). "Slender Man Source mod will let you scare the hell out of yourself for free, with friends". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  31. ^ Hurley, Leon; Wald, Heather; Loveridge, Sam; Gould-Wilson, Jasmine; Hetfeld, Malindy; Donnelly, Joe (October 28, 2022). "Best horror games to play right now". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on April 7, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2023.

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