Video Game: Imscared
"The game will try to deceive you as many times as it can. In case something goes wrong, feel free to check the folder in order to report any error.
I'm extremely sorry. I didn't really want to do that."
I'm extremely sorry. I didn't really want to do that."
—Some of the game's introductory text
Imscared: A Pixelated Nightmare (also spelled as the more grammatically correct I'm Scared) is a short indie horror game produced by the independent game developer Ivan Zanotti in October 2012. At first, this game appears to be an experimental project made by a novice at best. The novella-length introductory text includes a profuse apology for any errors or glitches that will inevitably appear in the game. The game's graphics themselves look like they were either drawn in Microsoft Paint or otherwise came right out of a Windows 95 screensaver. During the first few minutes of gameplay the player encounters half-hearted scares such as pixelated blood and some creepy music that doesn't even continue playing for more than a minute. And then the game abruptly crashes when a monster ambushes the player. Well, this game definitely lives up to its title of "pixelated nightmare" all right...But the game's introductory text also mentioned that outside files would appear once the game glitches occurred. The player opens these up, and the text file mentions something about entities becoming data. It seems that one of the game's glitches has taken a life of its own, and wants the player to continue the game...This game can be downloaded here, if you dare to interact with the sentient game glitch yourself. A sequel is in the makings as well, information about that as well as instructions to download the demo found here. A new version of the game is to be released via the Steam Greenlight system.Because this is a relatively unknown horror game, expect many spoilers ahead! Remember, players will have the best possible horror experience if they cannot anticipate any of the frightening events that await them!
This game provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: The caption to this page's image are some of White Face's first lines of dialogue to the player. And while White Face is creepy and seemingly finds pleasure in the player's terror, it also seems to enjoy simply watching the player's behavior and playing tag with them.
- Alien Geometries / Eldritch Location: All the in-game locations. Everything is darkly lit and the unrelated, bizarrely constructed locations seem to blend into one another. At times the darkness turns blindingly bright for no apparent reason, or morphs into a darkened Womb Level. Available entryways can appear and vanish in an instant, and their destinations can be variable.
- Always Night: Once the player does get to look out some windows, it's pitch black most of the time just like every other area of the game. The darkness outside is also where White Face prefers to watch the player.
- Apocalyptic Log: When compiled into chronological order, the game's introduction as well as the text files the player receives outside the game can be considered this.
- Arc Words: "I'm scared" and lines about regret.
- Art Evolution: Whiteface has become much more expressive in the Steam release, being able to close his eyes and mouth now.
- Beat Still, My Heart: At one point the player finds a still-pulsating heart on the ground. However, due to this game's rudimentary graphics, it looks exactly like one of the keys.
- Being Watched: Constantly, by White Face.White Face: I love watching you.
- Book Ends: The message "Forgive me" appears as the last sentence in the game's instructional text in the game's beginning as well as the last sentence in the last text file given after the player achieves the final ending.
- Chekhov's Gun / Easter Egg: While in the room containing the rusted key, if the player is observant enough they may notice a line of pixels on the concrete wall that are darker that the rest of the gray textures. When the player inspects this darkened spot more closely, it turns out to be the game's rendition of a crack in the wall. What can the player see through the crack? A pitch-black room with only a chair and noose in view. The latter is also the game's file icon. These items have immense significance near the end of the game.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The player first encounters White Face as an eerie, ghost-like apparition that then slowly fades from view into the shadows. The player may have assumed that this apparition was a brief jump scare provided by the game. Not long later it turns out that White Face is the entity that will actively torment the player for the rest of the game.
- Creepy Basement: One of the first areas of this game is presumably some very poorly lit, concrete basement-like area. Among the more notable eerie things, it includes a dark jail cell with bloody chunks of flesh scattered on the floor; a previously locked fleshy hallway that leads to a dead-end; and a gaping abyss in which one can hear echo-like chuckles if the player approaches.
- Controllable Helplessness: The second ending seems to end well and the game closes itself... revealing White Face invaded the player's internet browser, after which the game opens again, with the player locked up in a cell as White Face floats by.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: White Face writes its notes to the player in pixelated blood.
- Cryptic Conversation: Many of the things White Face says to the player or leaves as notes consist of this. While White Face's statements are coherent, they come with no provocation or known context, likely leaving the player confused as well as terrified.White Face: I didn't mean to do that.The Player: (likely response) ...You didn't mean to do what?
- Daylight Horror: The brightly lit dormitory area is still creepy, because White Face is always watching...
- Downer Ending / Driven to Suicide: The final ending of the game requires the player to interact with the chair and noose in White Face's room. Presumably the player must commit suicide in order to leave White Face's exitless domain. After this the game will always immediately crash when opened. The final appearing text file also implies that White Face may still be dwelling within the player's computer despite the game file having crashed.
- Empty Room Psych: This game's introductory text encourages avid exploration of surroundings. Therefore players may spend a lot of time during their first-time playthroughs thoroughly searching for items in the most unlikely of places, or trying to access locked doors that will never open.
- The End... Or Is It?: This game has false endings. Players will know that the game has ended for good once they encounter the ending that involves killing themselves.
- Enemy Detecting Radar: According to Attention.txt, "A sound will predict its [White Face's] arrival." That sound happens to be static-like sounds that get louder as White Face approaches.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "I'm scared" is exactly what players will say once they get into Imscared's more intensely scary parts. Additionally, the entity called "White Face" is well, a white face.
- Featureless Protagonist / First-Person Ghost: Who are you playing as? What made your character trapped in a weird room that has a bloody wardrobe and an exit that requires a still-pulsating heart to open anyway? No one ever knows.
- Footprints of Muck: Or more like "streaks of blood" since White Face doesn't have feet.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You / Haunted Technology: The longer one plays this game, the more likely sinister files will show up on the computer and the more likely White Face will "hijack" the computer.
- Game-Breaking Bug: White Face itself. Whenever it touches the player, the game will automatically crash.
- Ghostly Goals: Why is the ghostly White Face pursuing and tormenting the player? Not even its cryptic statements allude to any possible answer.
- Giggling Villain: White Face lets out child-like giggles whenever he does something behind the player's back.
- Guide Dang It: Some of the keys or other items are so well hidden that it may take a frustrating amount of time to find them.
- Hope Spot: When things might be looking up, they aren't. Unsurprising, since this is a horror game.
- I'm Cold... So Cold...: This quote isn't said outright, but White Face mentions how cold and dark its room is. In this pitch-dark and enclosed area there is a chair and noose in the background, and the skull-like White Face is slowly approaching the player who cannot move away. The player would certainly feel like they're about to die in this eerie situation!
- It Can Think: When referring to how "entities" can become data files to possess our computers (also doubles as Paranoia Fuel):Attention.txt: There is a way to turn an entity into data. They have a life of their own, and it is difficult to distinguish them from normal computer files. In our actions of everyday, while we sit at the computer, this byte entity observes, and studies our every move and fear.
- It Won't Turn Off: Even after beating the game and getting the final ending, 0.txt suggests that White Face may still be "haunting" the player's computer!
- Jump Scare: Many of them are by White Face or otherwise any other loud and sudden sounds.
- Lost Forever: There is nothing particularly valuable or coveted to be searched for in this game. However, once this game has been beaten, the game file will never open again, since it will always crash when it does so.
- Not necessarily true. the game seems to track your progress by the text files it generates, so if you delete those files then the game resets and can be played again. But why would you want to!?
- Mind Screw / Paranoia Fuel: Is White Face hiding in some of those shadows? Ugh, what is that horrible sound?! Did this game give my computer some sort of virus, or is it actually possessed by a malevolent spirit?
- Minimalism: There's no item inventory, health bar, ability to save the game, nor anything really explaining why these crazy things are happening. We don't even see, hear, or learn anything about the player character.
- Minimalist Cast: Includes the nameless player character, White Face, and possibly the unknown author of all those outside text files.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The last text file is reminiscent of this:0.txt: It's alive. It's real. Sorry... I'm really sorry. I didn't have any other choice. I'm scared. I don't want to die. From now on remember this: the sound predicts its arrival.
- The Most Dangerous Video Game
- Nightmare Face: White Face, of course.
- No Plot? No Problem!: The introductory text advises the player to inspect and interact with everything in the game's surroundings. This game offers nothing else to do until White Face make its debut.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The ever-present shadows and silence in this game serve to enhance players' paranoia.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: During the game of "tag" White Face will immediately crash the game if it touches the player. The player then has to start this section of the game all over again.
- Our Ghosts Are Different / Electromagnetic Ghosts: While White Face is actually considered an entity, it can certainly be considered a "ghost" due to its appearance and behavior. It seems to enjoy following and scaring the player, as well as doing freaky things to their computer outside the game.
- Perpetual Smiler: White Face and HER are seen grinning and laughing most of the time.
- Psychological Horror: White Face may or may not like to screw with the terrified player's head.
- Right Behind Me: White Face will be this if the static sounds get really loud during the game of "tag." Before that, it is how the game first "ends".
- Rustproof Blood: Most of the blood stains in this game are bright red. Justified since this is a pixelated game.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Apparently White Face is a glitch/virus/spirit who was sealed into Imscared's game file.
- Silent Protagonist: The player character.
- Spooky Painting: There's a painting that will become bloodstained when the player isn't looking. The first couple of portraits of HER in the Workshop Edition don't do anything, but later on you'll see a corridor of empty ones. After solving a puzzle, multiple HERS appear in them, reaching out for you.
- Stalker Without a Crush: White Face really enjoys watching the player...
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: "HER", the antagonist seen in the Workshop Edition beta. Her face looks the same as White Face and she is even referred as such whenever she crashes the game, but unlike him she has long hair, a body and he is also seen taunting the player along with her every now and then.
- Super-Persistent Predator: ...And the Stalker Without a Crush trope explains why White Face tails the player throughout the game!
- Surprise Creepy: Who knew that a game with such low pixel count could produce so many screams and nightmares?
- Survival Horror: This game mainly consists of the player finding items to further exploration, all while avoiding White Face catching them.
- Title Drop: Also doubles as a Lampshade Hanging, as White Face's otherwise out-of-place dialogue may also express the players' feelings while playing this game:White Face: Help me. I don't want to die. I'm scared.
- Tortured Monster: White Face says certain things indicating it to be this, such as "I'm suffering" and "I'm crying."
- Touch of the Monster: White Face never does anything to actually harm the player per se besides terrifying them and crashing their game. However, the panicked player may flinch back/scream whenever White Face flies by and touches them (Touch of Evil variant), or the player notices White Face silently watching them from a distance (Death Ray Vision variant).
- Void Between the Worlds: White Face's "room" simply consists of White Face, a chair, and a noose. It's cold, dark, and seems to have no walls or boundaries.
- Walking Backwards: Players may do this upon seeing the game's horror scenes.
- White Mask of Doom: While White Face may not be a creepy white mask itself, it certainly looks like one.
- A Winner Is You: The second ending. NOT!.
- Womb Level: Either some of the areas are this, or all the walls, floors, and ceilings are covered with blood or rust. One such location near the end of the game even has accompanying distorted moaning and gurgling sounds!
- Yank the Dog's Chain: White Face does this very often.
- You Wake Up in a Room: And the exit door requires a heart for some reason...
Congratulations. You made it to the end. But you can't escape from here. Stay with me. I will always be here. Looking at you.