Well, it appears that what’s been dubbed the “3rd Generation” of Slenderstories has come to an end. First, a brief explanation of the first two, at least how I’d sort them.
First gen was pretty much just Marble Hornets and Just Another Fool. It worked on expansion and definition of the mythos and were largely associated with a feeling of not knowing what was going on. These two projects were scary. Marble Hornets drove me to mild paranoia for about half a week (largely because my roommate was away for the weekend and I spent most of it alone), and I literally couldn’t sleep after reading Just Another Fool.
Second gen was more focused on telling a story. What Marble Hornets and Just Another Fool had done couldn’t really be done again, so the creators became characters instead of just extensions of the camera (hell, Troy Wagner even admits that, in the first season of Marble Hornets, that’s how he portrayed Jay). Five of the most famous of these were Seeking Truth, The Tutorial, Dreams in Darkness, EverymanHYBRID, and TribeTwelve. TribeTwelve, admittedly, feels much more first-gen in style, but it fits here time-wise. Anyway, second gen worked a bit more on involvement with the viewers. M and Zeke, from The Tutorial and Seeking Truth respectively, interacted some and took some shots at each other. EverymanHYBRID is now pretty much a full-blown ARG.
Third gen, though…that’s where things changed quite a bit. The third generation was a tangled web of blogs. It was essentially a giant massive multiplayer crossover. I’ll get into it shortly, but there’s one blog that I have to bring up first, just because it’s so important for understanding the third gen.
The transition was due primarily to the blog White Elephants (which, sadly, has been lost to time). Robert’s titling of people resulted in collaboration between blogs. Whether this was or better or for worse, it resulted in all of these blogs officially being in the same “universe.” I wouldn’t call White Elephants the start of the third generation, though. More of the transition that led to the third generation, or the blog that set it up. The entire blog itself is more or less generation 2.5. Essentially, the concept was that the Slender Man came into being because we thought him into being (mentioned in The Tutorial as The Phillip Phenomenon, and referenced more commonly as the Tulpa Effect), so we could technically think him out of it. That didn’t mean simply not thinking about him…no, that’s impossible. After all, White Elephant’s namesake is a story demonstrating that you can’t simply stop thinking about something. No, what Robert was trying to do was less making us forget, and more altering out perceptions of him to make him vulnerable. He set about doing this by creating a sort of “story,” where different people took on the roles of different characters in order to beat Slendy. This theory became known as the “Core Theory.”
The third generation’s actual beginning point seems to be when Robert passes on the title of (Sage) to zero, Amelia, and Maduin. When the old (Sages) step out of their roles, the generation really becomes it’s own thing. That may be a good or bad thing. While the interaction between multiple bloggers is a really great thing, it caused massive confusion and made all the blogs hard to follow. On top of that, Sturgeon’s Law was in full effect. For every good blog, there were two horrible ones. The whole “title” thing resulted in people acting like their titles gave them special powers, and many just gave themselves titles. The generation also focused more on proxies (I refuse to use the term “hallowed”) and less on the Slender Man himself. It really dumbed down the fear, which was quite frankly the only reason I love the mythos in the first place. It’s fun to be scared. And brainwashed people just aren’t as scary as things you can’t quite explain. Frankly, I didn’t really enjoy the third gen. I’m actually going to address its problems more in-depth in a later post—which is a huge risk, considering that I’ll be using examples from blogs that many of you who are reading actually write.
The third generation seems to have ended. We have two of the three sages MIA, and while I may have to edit this out if asked, I can confirm that zero’s not returning to his blog. Everything had been building up to the solstice…and now that that’s over, and only one of the sages is left, nobody really knows what to do. As J said on my last post, everybody seems to have stopped posting. I’m sort of hoping that most of the blogs will say “well, that’s another chapter finished. Let’s just finish the blog and turn the page.” In my opinion, any continuation of the third gen is just beating a dead horse.
So, now that the fourth gen is about to start, what would I like to see from it? Well, for one thing, no more goddamn proxies. They’re not scary. They’re a threat, but that’s all they are…a threat. They’re not mysterious or frightening. What I’d like to see instead is a return to the original Slender Man. Less of this “okay, minions, you go do things for me” and more of that “I’m going to passively-aggressively mess with your head” stuff that affected not only the character, but the reader.
I’d like to see more Struwwelpeters and Jack Skellingtons and the like. Things that predated the Slender Man’s existence on Something Awful and hint that he’s been around for longer than we think. I’d like to see an expansion on the mythos’s background that has some basis in reality. Seriously, the Struwwelpeter stuff is freaking me out a bit. It’s easy to find connections when you’re looking for them, but there were quite a few coincidences throughout that book. And like I mentioned not too long ago (not in a recent blog post, but on Twitter and in a comment to an older blog post), there’s a reference to the Struwwelpeter on the TV Tropes Slender Man page that predated my blog.
I’d like (for selfish reasons) to see some of the stuff that I’ve started take off. Namely, the whole “sword made from Yggdrassil” thing. It’d be great to see an idea of mine catch on. Or, you know, an idea of Broeckchen’s.
I’d like to see some collaboration/linked blogs, but I’d like to see a lot less of it. The problem the third gen had was that two many cooks spoiled the broth. Everyone wanted to add something, and it resulted in way too many blogs that were necessary to follow and way too many differing depictions of the Slender Man within the same universe.
On the other hand, I’d like to see more ARG elements. Make us more than just commentators. Get us involved. But make sure it’s still scary. Make us panic. Have consequences if clues aren’t solved. While I wasn’t too fond of A Lack of Lexicon, that’s one thing it did very well.
I’d like to see Zeke back in action. He spent pretty much the entire third gen just hanging around commenting, but he’s got a blog again. He’s returned, but he hasn’t really done anything other than talk at this point. I’d like to see him fighting back like he did in Seeking Truth.
Finally, I’d like to see some more unique mediums. So far, we’re limited to videos and blogs, with the occasional linked Twitter thrown in. Someone on Unfiction mentioned making a Slender Man-based webcomic. What she meant was a webcomic about the Slender Man, but it’d be interesting to see a webcomic that slowly reveals that the creator is being stalked by the Slender Man. There’s so much that can be done, and so little that is being done. Like I said…as of now, it’s just videos and blogs.
So what don’t I want to see? I don’t want to see Mary Sues. I don’t want to see too many blogs interconnecting with each other. I don’t want to see nearly as many proxies. I don’t want to see anything that’s not scary. I don’t want to see any new variations of him (I’m loving Musical Occurances, but trying to tie him into Hindu religion? Please don’t). And most importantly, I don’t want to see any more informative blogs. Between my blog, Encyclopedia Slenderia, Golom Tulpa Anima, The Slendereview, and compileTRUTH, I think we’ve got our bases covered. And I don’t wanna be the one who gets put out of business.
Well, there’s a new Marble Hornets coming later tonight, so an analysis of Entry #31 should be up soon. See you guys then.