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Anchorhead is an award-winning work of Interactive Fiction written and programmed independently by Michael Gentry, and is heavily inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos. The game is set within the titular town of Anchorhead, which rests firmly within Lovecraft Country. 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 Interactive Fiction 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 here or here. The list of awards should really speak for itself.Caution: spoilers may be found here.
Anchorhead provides examples of the following tropes:
Afterlife Express: 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 run you over.)
And I Must Scream: One ending involves getting trapped in a dimension filled with nothing but "the necrotic folds of the womb of Nehilim".
Arc Words: "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.
Author Avatar: Michael, who shares his name and personality with the writer of the game.
Babies Ever After: A very, very dark subversion. In the "best" ending, the protagonist learns that she is pregnant, to her shock and horror, with the fear that Croseus may still somehow return. The story comes to a close with Michael ominously (though innocently) saying that he hopes the baby will be a girl.
Back Story: There's quite a bit of it. You'll need to put some of it together (reading newspaper articles, etc.) to advance the plot.
Book Ends: Both at the beginning in the deserted office, and at the ending scene which takes place in your bathroom, you hear that:
There's a fly buzzing around here somewhere.
Brown Note: If you continue reading the book in the church.
Chekhov's Gun: (caution: massive spoiler here) Your wedding ring.
Closed Circle: Your car broke down and has been towed away to the city of 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 Croseus's power over him grows, Michael outright refuses to leave, and you're determined not to go without him.
Cobweb of Disuse: Between you and an intriguing-looking iron key in the corner of the Verlac mansion basement.
In one dream, you're a little girl, waiting for your father to come and tuck you in to bed... but when your "father" comes in to your room, you realize it is actually your husband Michael, as he starts to remove his belt. In the best ending, you find out that you are pregnant - this dream was a vision of what could have been your unborn daughter's future, had you not stopped Croseus.
Easter Egg: Try actually screaming or crying at various points in the game.
Also, try listening to your husband singing in the shower.
Actual deaths include getting 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.
Shout-Out: 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. And, in both cases, they actually depict reality.
Several aspects of the town are pretty clear nods to The Shadow Over Innsmouth, particularly the librarian with "fish-eyes" and the local drunk who gives the protagonist key information for the price of a bottle of whiskey.
The abduction and sacrifice of children hints at The Dreams in the Witch-House.
William is most definitely inspired by The Dunwich Horror. And he finally shows up on Whateley Bridge, named after the monstrous brothers in that story.
Take Your Time: In dire situations, the game averts this, sometimes to 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.