''Anchorhead'' is an award-winning work of InteractiveFiction written and programmed independently by Michael Gentry, and is heavily inspired by the CthulhuMythos. The game is set within the titular town of Anchorhead, which rests firmly within LovecraftCountry. You play the role of a nameless woman who has moved into town with her husband Michael, and quickly becomes enmeshed in the dark, disturbing goings on -- to say more would be to spoil a truly excellent plot.

The game is notable, in addition to its great writing and overall polished feel, for breaking the typical structure and conventions of an InteractiveFiction game; the narrative is broken up into "days", during which you must complete required courses of action in order to proceed to the next day.

Incidentally, you can find it [[http://www.wurb.com/if/game/17.html here]] or [[http://pr-if.org/play/anchorhead/ here.]] The list of awards should really speak for itself.

'''Caution: spoilers may be found here.'''
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!!Anchorhead provides examples of the following tropes:

* AfterlifeExpress: [[ConversationalTroping Discoursed upon]] in a book of folklore and superstitions. (However, if you stand on the tracks and wait, you'll find the train is plenty real enough to [[spoiler:run you over]].)
* AncientConspiracy: It goes all the way back to the town's founding.
* AndIMustScream: One ending involves [[spoiler:getting trapped in a dimension filled with nothing but "the necrotic folds of the womb of Nehilim"]].
* ArcWords: "He always returns to his blood", "the buzzing of a fly" (or variants thereof), and "red-rimmed eyes" are three ''very'' prevalent phrases in this game.
* AuthorAvatar: Michael, who shares his name and personality with the writer of the game.
* BackStory: There's quite a bit of it. You'll need to put some of it together (reading newspaper articles, etc.) to advance the plot.
* BigBad: [[spoiler:Croseus Verlac.]]
* BigFancyHouse: The Verlac mansion. (Lucky you, it's also a HauntedHouse. Who would have thought it?)
* BigScrewedUpFamily: The Verlacs. And how.
* BodyHorror: [[spoiler:William Verlac.]]
* BookEnds: Both at the beginning in the deserted office, and at the ending scene which [[spoiler:takes place in your bathroom]], you hear that:
--> There's a fly buzzing around here somewhere.
* BrownNote: If you continue reading the book in the church.
* ChekhovsGun: (caution: '''massive''' spoiler here) Your [[spoiler:wedding ring]].
* ClosedCircle: Your car broke down and has been towed away to the city of [[ShoutOut Arkham]], and your purse and phone are in it. The only phone you can find doesn't work; the road out of town leads into wilderness. In addition, as [[spoiler:[[DemonicPossession Croseus's power over him]] grows]], Michael outright refuses to leave, and you're determined not to go without him.
* [[CobwebOfDisuse Cobweb of Disuse]]: Between you and an intriguing-looking iron key in the corner of the Verlac mansion basement.
* CorruptHick: [[spoiler:An entire town full of them, actually.]]
* CosmicHorrorStory: Arguably -- [[spoiler:you ''can'' win in the short-term, but it's not exactly LovecraftLite, either; the "good" ending strongly implies that [[TheEndOrIsIt everything is about to start all over again.]]]]
* {{Cult}}: Guess what -- [[spoiler:the majority of the town]] is in it.
* DemonicPossession: [[spoiler:Croseus Verlac]] has possessed several generations of [[spoiler:his offspring]], and does the same to [[spoiler:Michael.]]
--> ''[[ArcWords he is our blood]]''
--> ''[[ArcWords he always returns to his blood]]''
* {{Diary}}: You can find two of them, belonging to [[spoiler:Edward and Anna Verlac.]]
* DissonantSerenity: You, in the NonStandardGameOver where you [[spoiler: go mad from reading the book and [[EyeScream claw your own eyes out]].]]
* DownerEnding / BolivianArmyEnding: It depends on your interpretation, or, rather, on what you want to believe happens after the end.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome and DreamingOfTimesGoneBy: In your nightmares. Pay attention, they hold useful clues.
* EasterEgg: Try actually screaming or crying at various points in the game.
** Also, try listening to your husband singing in the shower.
* EldritchAbomination: '''[[spoiler:Ialdabaoloth.]]'''
* EyeScream: At least two, both ''by you'' (in self-defense, although one involves [[spoiler::you losing your mind and [[DissonantSerenity calmly clawing your own eyes out]] in a bad ending.]])
* GenreSavvy: The [[TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday shopkeeper]] hints that he (or a friend of his) has been through his own Lovecraftian story, and recognizes that you're in the same situation.
* GoMadFromTheRevelation: Several of the TheManyDeathsOfYou. Some of the ways to do this include [[spoiler:reading the black prayerbook all the way through, looking too closely at William, and killing Michael in the lighthouse]].
* [[GuessTheVerb Guess the Verb]]: Averted.
* InTheBlood: '''He always [[DemonicPossession returns to]] his blood.'''
* InventoryManagementPuzzle: A partial aversion -- you can carry almost all the items you'll ever need in the pockets of your trenchcoat, but you can only hold so much in your hands at any one time.
* KillItWithFire: You'll start to see this late in the game, if you make it that far.
* KleptomaniacHero: Since you're playing an every(wo)man-style character, this incongruous behavior is initially lampshaded.
* TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday: Source of a key artifact you'll need to win the game.
* MadwomanInTheAttic: William, [[spoiler:at least for the first few years of his life.]]
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Verlac, i.e. "warlock" (it's German). Edward's letter calls Croseus one.
* NoNameGiven: The player's character is never addressed by name, even by Michael.
* NonstandardGameOver: The game has a large number of grisly ways to die, including [[GoMadFromTheRevelation insanity]] and suffering a FateWorseThanDeath.
** Actual deaths include getting [[spoiler:fatally poisoned by spider bite, killed by monstrous tentacled things, hit by a train, cooked alive by high-pressure steam, mobbed and lynched by the cultists, strangled by your own possessed husband, choked to death by the ghost of Croseus Verlac...]] Yeah, it's a pleasant game.
* OldDarkHouse: The Verlac mansion, which has [[SecretPath hidden passageways]], [[SpookyPainting unsettling]] [[PortraitPaintingPeephole paintings]], windows painted shut, a family crypt out back, a dank cellar, and an [[spoiler:EldritchAbomination [[MadwomanInTheAttic in the Attic]]]].
* OrderliesAreCreeps: Chuck, the orderly of Danvers Asylum, enjoys reading pornographic magazines and making crass remarks.
* ParentalIncest: [[spoiler:A route to immortality. Ew.]]
* PortraitPaintingPeephole: You can [[spoiler:spy on Michael through the eyes of]] [[SpookyPainting Croseus Verlac's portrait]] in the sitting room.
** Extra FridgeHorror and ParanoiaFuel when the player remembers that, when you're in the sitting room, it sometimes appears to move subtly, "like the eyes are looking directly at you".
* PowerOfLove: Plays a crucial role in the ending... with the help of [[spoiler:a couple bits of jewelry]].
* [[RedEyesTakeWarning Red-Rimmed Eyes, Take Warning]]
* ShoutOut: As the author puts it, plainly clear to anyone who's read Lovecraft or the Cthulhu mythos, or even "stood downwind from someone who has." Among them are the city of Arkham, Whateley Bridge, the Miskaton University library...
** The magic shop's violin (and the violin music you can hear in the lane nearby) are an extended reference to ''The Music of Erich Zann'', also by Lovecraft.
** The paintings in the mansion's gallery are horrifying, fantastical, and detailed to the point of photorealism. Paintings by Richard Pickman, in ''Pickman's Model'' (a short story by Lovecraft), were said to have the same qualities. [[spoiler: And, in both cases, they actually depict reality]].
** Several aspects of the town are pretty clear nods to ''TheShadowOverInnsmouth'', particularly the librarian with "fish-eyes" and the local drunk [[spoiler:who gives the protagonist key information for the price of a bottle of whiskey]].
** The abduction [[spoiler: and sacrifice]] of children hints at ''The Dreams in the Witch-House''.
** [[spoiler: William]] is most definitely inspired by ''The Dunwich Horror''.
** Croseus Verlac's M.O. is taken straight out of ''Literature/TheThingOnTheDoorstep''.
* SpookyPainting: Croseus Verlac's painting in the sitting room.
* TakeYourTime: In dire situations, the game averts this, sometimes to [[GuideDangIt frustrating]] effect. Most of the time, however, you do get to take your time, since the first three days don't advance to evening until you've solved all the major puzzles for that day.
* TomeOfEldritchLore: The book in the church. [[spoiler: Reading it all the way through [[GoMadFromTheRevelation causes a]] NonstandardGameOver.]]
* TownWithADarkSecret: All of it.
* UnexpectedInheritance: How you got to Anchorhead in the first place. (Actually, Michael only inherited the house because the previous heir ''killed his entire family.'' Unfortunately for you, [[TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive the Call can find a way.]])
* [[VideogameCrueltyPotential Textgame Cruelty Potential]]: You are gonna have to do some nasty stuff to escape the horrors of Anchorhead. You have the potential to do much worse than necessary, including [[spoiler: murdering your own husband]].
* YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm: Plenty, and frequently includes GoMadFromTheRevelation. You'll get a few glimpses of ThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow throughout, but be careful about digging too deeply.
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