Video Game / Black Snow
It's been a week since the Amaluuk Research Station's gone dark. It might just be a severed landline - it is
in the middle of snow-battered nowhere, somewhere in Greenland - or it just might be the death of you.
You're John Matsuda, an IT specialist being chugged out to the Amaluuk Research Station with several other "IT specialists" to investigate why the station's gone dark. What's supposed to be a routine service leaves all of your coworkers separated, dead, or worse, and, as nightfall and below-zero temperatures take over the station, leaves you to find out what's happened.
A Half-Life 2
game mod, you can download it here
. Please note that as of August 1st 2013, the mod was made unplayable
following a steamPipe update. A patch was released in December 2015, though its stability is somewhat contested.
This videogame provides examples of:
- Acceptable Breaks from Reality: There are a few logical inconsistancies ranging from the in game mechanics and story.
- Heat heals everything. Even what's basically animated darkness choking and freezing you to death in an attempt to use your body as a food source.
- Despite the game being presented as a found footage, the player can experience a hallucination of a man watching you from a hill, and the camera somehow captures this.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Used to break into a barricaded dormitory room.
- Ambiguous Ending: The ending is hardly an ending at all, as it simply ends with Matsuda making it to the communications tower, only to find the place rigged with C4. The tower blows up throwing him through the window, and he lands through the roof of a building. Mortally wounded, he looks at the sky to see an aurora, and the camera soon cuts to several flashy scenes before going dark. Matsuda's true fate is unknown, although it seems quite unlikely that he survived.
- Camera Abuse: Played with, in-universe. Everything the player sees is really Matsuda's head-mounted camera. The intro has a skewed, wobbly, panicked angle - which fits the fact Matsuda just saw several men get devoured by darkness.
- The ending displays the faces of what appears to be the researchers the Black Snow consumed as Matsuda's feed cuts out.
- Each time the player dies, it's technically this: the camera spits out a "missing track" or "corrupted data" error.
- Dark Is Evil: Whatever's lurking in the dark can only stay there. It turns out that the fungus actively avoids all light sources.
- Driven to Suicide: Matsuda finds several people - his squad leader, most notably - appearing to have committed suicide, but in the case of his squad leader, he sees a gunshot wound, but no gun, and one body that he surmises to have committed suicide has no exterior trauma.
- Fridge Logic: In-universe: one of Matsuda's teammates grumps about supposed "IT technicians" being equipped with firearms, military gear, and hazmat suits on the way to the research station.
- Found Footage: The entire game is this: you're viewing the footage obtained by the player character.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Black Snow is a very aggressive, very contagious, and very parasitic fungal spore that flourishes in dark environments of any sort, but is repelled by any visible light. That doesn't, however, explain the ghostly voices and noises it makes, the groan it emits as it attacks, why it actively follows you, why its presence as a Slenderman-like figure appeared in the psyche of several research team members prior to it being dug up, why said figure watches you from a laptop's wallpaper and in a hallucination, and seems to lead you into a trap at the end, why a objects such as a wheel chair and the dead bodies of your crew can be moved without any external source, and why ghostly faces and images of a cave splash past at certain points, most notably when Matsuda apparently dies. It is entirely possible that a paranormal element is at play here.
- Moon Logic Puzzle: Whoever embedded an ice vehicle's key in a cinder brick and put the code to the communication tower on various X-Rays with creepy euphemisms for each shown organ or bone really needs therapy.
- No Ending: Matsuda finally makes it to the communications tower, but the place is rigged with C4 before he can do anything, and he's blasted out a window. As he apparently dies, an aurora forms over him - which would be beautiful if the faces of the victims and caves didn't flash on the camera before the feed cuts out for real. The C4 was presumably rigged by a shadowy figure that's been tracking Matsuda... but the developers keep mum on the issue.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Much of the game is utterly empty, beyond the dark, oppressive nature of the station and its remoteness. Even the enemies themselves aren't anything but roiling clouds of wispy smoke.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The ghost like beings known as the Black Snow are apparently a species of predatory fungus, yet do seem to possess seemingly paranormal abilities. They thrive in the dark, but fear light.
- Jitter Cam: The intro, reflecting Matsuda blindly fleeing whatever the hell just ate his teammates. It goes away after that, thankfully.
- Red Herring: Loads of them. Early on, the site AI comments it's only operating at 30% power, possibly hinting at there being a task to get the generators online so it can fill you in on the details it can't at the time you meet it. Additionally, there's one computer that has its access locked, and another which has seemingly had all information wiped clean from it. You can interact with both of these, but in no meaningful way. You also find quite a few corpses smelling strongly of vinegar or with no obvious external trauma. The presence of someone watching you and planting C4 in the end to destroy the communication tower and seemingly killing Matsuda also really leads nowhere.
- Send in the Search Team: Guess how well that goes!
- Shout-Out: The dog kennel is a perfect recreation of the one from The Thing (1982). Given that said movie was one of the major influences...