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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Eversion
WARNING:Massive Spoilers Ahead! If you haven't played the game, turn back now!

The ghulibas aren't dead or paralyzed in X-4. They only appear that way because time behaves differently between layers.
Most creatures and objects in the world exist on multiple layers simultaneously. That's why destroying something in a layer where it's vulnerable removes it from the others. It's also the reason ghulibas appear in the exact same place when Zee Tee everts. If the ghulibas are at the same position in all worlds, then they must be moving at the same speed in all worlds. However, the gloom of the mid-level worlds slows and distorts time itself. From Zee Tee's perspective, the ghulibas appear to slow down in X-3 and X-5. Time becomes so warped and attenuated by X-4 that their motion is imperceptible. Aren't you glad to be forced into X-4 when that first Advancing Wall of Doom shows up?

Eversion and Spiral Knights are in the same universe, probably past and future.
Cradle has the Shadow Lairs within the Clockworks. Take a wild guess what the icon for it is? The same eye seen within Eversion.

The game is inspired by a Creepy Pasta.
One of the many quite similar ones about strange Mario games.

X-4 is the real world.
When the game starts, Zee Tee sees the world as a happy nice Sugar Bowl; as Zee Tee moves forward, the sugar bowl delusion breaks down, revealing the desolate and nihilistic nature of the world (X-4). The realization of the true nature of the world drives him mad. Zee Tee becomes paranoid, believing the world is harming him (the black and red wall, hands coming out of holes in the ground). As Zee Tee continues, he falls deeper into madness viewing the world as nightmarish and eventually Lovecraftian.

In the first ending, Zee Tee sees the princess not as a princess but as a monster; in the second ending, he sees himself as a monster as well; in the secret ending, he accepts the world as the desolate and nihilistic place it is.

The story is truly a Lovecraftian tale of an experiment Gone Horribly Wrong.
In his attempts to use his transdimensional powers, the flower man slowly displaced himself from his own world. Around level 3, he attempted to return to his carefree world, but was ultimately kept trapped inside an even worse dimension, with no choice but to progress. He slowly polluted and destroyed his world, and at level 7, attempted to shift himself permanently back to his original world (you can shift to world 7-1, but it isn't very helpful most of the time). But he failed, and even after collecting all the magical gems, his experiment resulted in him being turned into a horrible monstrosity just like everyone and everything else.

The game world is a nightmare realm from the start, and the main character is just heading progressively farther into it, peeling back the "veils" of reality and finding the increasingly more horrific realms beyond.
The bright, cheery world at the beginning of the game is only an illusion that the main character gradually dispels over the course of the game. It may look like he's corrupting his world, but he's only exploring it and discovering that things aren't what they seem. He goes on, confronting the truth behind the Sugar Bowl until he either dies or goes insane.

The game is a giant metaphor on fear itself
You start out by not noticing your fear, rejecting it and covering it up with more happy thoughts, hence the cheery music and flower princess. But as you progress through the world, you start to feel the effects taking course in your mind, you slow down, you become paralyzed with fear at one point, not daring to move in fear of the darkness coming (X-4). Eventually, your mind disorients your senses by trying to alleviate the fear, causing your once cheerful memories to become corrupted with fear (X-6). Then your fear becomes so intense all you can hear is your heartbeat. The only real way to conquer your fears is to gather up your courage to be just as powerful (the gems). Not gathering enough will result in your fears conquering you (bad ending). But conquer all the challenges and you'll be just as powerful, enough to live with them in harmony (good ending).

The princess was The Chessmaster behind the entire game.
Notice how when you finally find the princess, she doesn't appear to be held captive by anyone, almost as if she was just waiting for the flower man to reach her. Also notice that regardless of how many gems you collect, she always turns into an Eldritch Abomination; the only thing that's different in the two endings is if the flower man also turns into an Eldritch Abomination or not.

The truth is that the princess was never captive; she was an Eldritch Abomination all along, or had already been corrupted into one long before the onset of the story, that wanted to shape the worlds into a more appropriate style. However, she couldn't completely corrupt the worlds by herself, so she pretended to be a beautiful Distressed Damsel to lure a hero into embarking on a quest to rescue her and then force him by cleverly designed obstacles to make the worlds fall into decay in order to complete his noble quest. It starts with small enough changes for him to justify ("It's just a slightly darker sky and droopy flowers. Rescuing the princess is more important.") and slides down the slippery slope from there until the hero has been so tainted by The Dark Side that he's able to access and complete the ruin of the final world. If the hero dies, no big deal; there are always more wide-eyed, innocent heroes out there to continue the quest (which could mean that you didn't have infinite lives so much as you have infinite heroes picking up where the last one left off). If he isn't thorough in corrupting all realms, she'll simply take care of him and keep waiting for an actual hero.

Thus, when you finally beat the game, you fulfill the princess's Evil Plan. Her reward for the completion of her work? A transformation into another Eldritch Abomination, so that you can be her mate and rule over the Worlds of Darkness with her.

  • The infinite hero hypothesis suggests an explanation as to why Yog-Sothoth is black the first time It appears and red the second time. When It first appears, it's more or less as It truly is, but Its natural sparkliness is drowned out by the world's light. By Yog's second appearance, the player has most likely died bloodily multiple times, and the blood has to go somewhere...In case you can't see where I'm going with this, Yog-Sothoth has been reddened by drinking the blood of the heroes.
    • Jossed (maybe) as of Version 1.78 — The black Bubblin' Wad of Yog-Sothoth shows up as opposed to the red one if you try to head backwards in the new world 8. Of course, between its previous appearance and the redesigned world 8 in said version, it could've had enough time to digest all that blood and return to black.

The princess is a metaphor for the atomic bomb.
NUKES ARE VEDDY VEDDY BAD. GRRRR NUKES.

Eversion has Bipolar disorder.
It's not about Bipolar disorder. The creator isn't bipolar. The game itself is Bipolar, shifting between manicly happy flower world, to a stationary and depressed world, to utter madness. At the end, everything breaks down as the game suffers from worse and worse moodswings until finally breaking.
  • Also, in version 1.7.3, where Level 8 has been completely redesigned, you need to progress through the different eversions backwards, starting at X-8 and ending at X-1, though everting at the wrong times leads to infinite loops and ultimately the game crashes. This may be because the game is trying to go back to happiness, to go back to the chipper, happy, la-la land... but when you're finally almost at the goal, one of the hands pops up from the hole. This is because the game realizes... it won't escape, it'll never be happy again, and it'll keep breaking down. Cue the "Good" ending.
  • A more proper term might be 'octopolar'.

Eversion is a straightforward heroic narrative.
Our hero is transformed into an alien creature and lost in a nightmare world of strange blue skies, bizarre green grass, and horrific blobs of white floating in the air. He sets out to return home, rescue the princess, and recover his original form.
Any confusion on the part of the player is, of course, just another eversion.
  • Expanding on this, the entire goal of the game is to collect the gems that'll give you the power to not only permanently restore the land to its proper state, but you and your beloved princess as well? And taking the bad ending into account, if you fail to collect enough to restore everyone, you choose to restore just the land and your princess, even if it means losing your life.

Similarly, the flower guy started out as a Villain Protagonist.
Fitting in with the above theories, the natural state of the realm was nightmarish and horrible. The protagonist tried to reshape the world as a twisted little Sugar Bowl, but in his insane, happy little state of mind was entranced by gems which were actually placed there by the enemies and the princess. As he collects them, his mind slowly stabilizes, and, realizing the error of his ways, he returns the world to its original chaotic, nightmarish state, to the glee of the princess, the monsters, and, in the end, himself.

Are the deeper worlds truly evil? Who are we to judge!
By what measure are the deeper worlds evil, and the first ones good? Dark Is Not Evil, Light Is Not Good. The closest to a truly morally defining detail between them is the expression of happiness on the early enemies' faces, which, considering that they are not even vaguely human, could very well be an expression of pain or terror or something similar to them. Eversion -7 and -8 could be just as "good" as eversion -1, but the "hero" is seen more and more as an invader into those worlds, and is attacked more and more accordingly. In the normal ending, the princess could be attacking the "hero" because, once the world changes to eversion -8 there, he is seen as a hostile invader, or maybe she is not attacking at all and he is simply afraid because of her appearance. Similarly, in the true ending, he becomes a part of that world when it changes, so it is demonstrated that only their appearance changes, not anything else.

Furthermore, the name "Eversion" refers to turning something inside-out. If the worlds are truly everted, then that means that the early ones must be rotten at the core, and the late ones good at heart, because when turned inside out or everted, we should see what is inside of them, and what is inside should be replaced with what we have seen.

  • On the other hand, it seems like everyone in the later worlds has some serious hypertension...

Our hero — not a Villain Protagonist, just a straight hero — is just an ordinary denizen of his home with a wife/sister. However, he gets trapped in the Sugar Bowl, and as a result, is forced to assume that walking flower form. The gems are bits of his true form scattered across the multiverse, and the reason Eversion grows less sane as time goes on is that he starts going to worlds that are closer to his own nightmarish one. In the bad ending, he doesn't regain enough of his former power to assume his normal form again, and he is killed by his unknowing wife/sister. In the good one, he does and they live Happily Ever After... By that dimension's standards, of course.

The hero is a psyker of immense power
  • And he's trying to make the world a Warp Portal. That's why World 8 has the worlds switching between themselves with no compulsion on your part - the process is all but complete anyway.
  • An elaboration: Zee Tee is a rogue psyker who is unable to control his powers. The entire "the princess has been kidnapped"? That was just a plan by Nehema, who is a daemon of Tzeentch, to utilize his powers of Eversion to weaken and eventualy knock down the barrier between reality and the Warp. This starts to occur in level 4, where the hands are in fact daemons of Khorne. The Blood Wall in 6-7 is infact some insane variant of the Bloodthirster. Level X-8 is the world finally becoming a full-fledged warp portal, with the previously peaceful inhabitants corrupted into daemons, where the concept of death itself is meaningless. In Level 8 (and level 7 in the bad ending), Zeetee finally tries to repair the barrier, but in reality is just an illustion planted by Tzeentch. In the bad ending, Zeetee still has good left in him and resists his corruption by Chaos, leading Nehema to devour him. However, in the "good" ending, Zeetee uses his powers to the extent that his soul was finally corrupted by Chaos, and he ascends to daemonhood.

Eversion is about Time Travel.
Those "dark worlds" not necessarily evil, just thousands of years into the future and unrecognizable. The last eversion worlds you can go to suggest a red giant style bloated sun and eventually, a light free world without a sun.

Eversion is a straightforward heroic narrative, but with a progressively-going-crazy protagonist.
You start off as a normal, flower-type hero, but the stress from being a hero and killing everything starts to make you question your morals. You don't want to kill, but are forced to do so, and eventually you begin to think that the world isn't so shiny anymore. The guilt begins to build up and you slowly evert into your own madness. By the end, your eyes can only irregularly see the bright shiny real world, as the corrupt world that reflects your inner demons begins to take ever more prominence.

The demon hands? Just a suicidal subconscious reflection of your guilt stemming from the bloodshed. In the 'sad' ending, what you see is actually the princess trying to help you. Because in the 'happy' ending, the guilt is so strong... well, ever wonder why the lights go off in the 'happy' ending? You don't want to see what an Ax-Crazy flower can do to a person....
  • That... actually makes a lot of sense.
    • With the new version, let me make a small change to my theory: In the end, the flower guy (I refuse to call him by his name), bravely tries to stop his inner madness and brutally forces himself to once again see things for what they are, succeeding. Until he sees the princess and them BSOD's all over again, with horrific consequences.
  • This theory could have another interpretation, having the hero start killing the happy looking enemies in the first world, and in order to justify the slaughter of those cute critters, he starts to slowly warp the world around in his eyes, making the cute monsters look more and more horrific until the entire world is a veritable wasteland filled with vicious creatures, with him being the only paragon of virtue in existence.
  • So.... He Who Fights Monsters then?

Eversion is an Aversion of Mario's early platforming days.
What? You know it just had to be said.

The flower-guy is a Villain Protagonist, but a Sugar Bowl native who worships the alien.
Like far too many sorcerers before him, he became enamored with the beings beyond the veil of mundane reality and his lust for knowledge and power led to his downfall and the downfall of his entire world. His exploring hadn't Gone Horribly Wrong, it merely had collateral damage he couldn't care less about.

The endings are interpreted the wrong way around.
The player character is in fact an evil being with the power to pull worlds into darkness (through "everting") and mutate the residents within the world. The Bad Ending is in fact the Good Ending, with the princess using her new powers to destroy the player, who's been warping the world they live in.
  • Jaabi now regrets creating this theory having finally conquered level 8. His reaction. "Huh. ... wait what?"

In the first ending, the princess is a fake
. Based on if you open the .rb files in notepad; the two endings are defined as "Real" and "Fake" Princess.
  • It probably helps that this troper understood some of the coding (which happens to be Ruby), having been practising with RPG Maker's RGSS (a watered down version of Ruby). ~ Jaabi
  • The fake princess is found in level 7, as a trap from whoever captured her in their world 8 form. The true one is held in the castle, which is only accessible in world 8. They also sealed the only gate to world 8 with the crystals.

The flower was only just born. The game is the natural lifecycle of an utterly alien organism.
Cute little flower thing is found in the Sugar Bowl, but no one knows how it got there. It probably hatched from some foul seed scattered across a million worlds. Just like in the Crisis of Infinite Heroes theory, every death switches your perspective to a different juvenile. It doesn't know anything except that it must find "the Princess," and that it has an insatiable hunger for the souls of the face-blocks. But the Princess is nothing but the at-first-misleading scent of the thing's Mother. And if the young is too starved and sickly to complete its metamorphosis at the nest, well, you know what happens to the runts of the litter.
...Which makes the final ending either even more heartwarming or even more creepy, depending on how you interpret the Heart Symbol.

The story of Eversion is that of a typical hero-saves-girlfriend romance story — with a twist.
The story in this theory goes as such. The hero and the Princess are native to the Sugar Bowl world, perfectly happy and in love. For whatever reason, the eldritch horrors of the dark world have taken an interest in the Princess — perhaps her soul is a sort of delectable treat to them, or perhaps she has some darkness in her heart that the demons can manipulate to their own whims. For whatever reason, she is lost in the dark world, imprisoned and transformed. Our hero knows full well what has happened to her. He knows her transformation is final and the woman he once loved shall never again be, her former self used now only as a mask. But he knows above all that love can triumph, and that the only way to be with his love again is to follow her. Only by collecting all of the gems and exploring the dark worlds beyond his own can he shed his mortal form as though it were a cocoon, allowing the horrors of the world beyond to take him as one of their own — and in the process, be reunited with the woman he loves... one way or another. Failing to do so earns the Bad Ending, in which the demons (or perhaps the Princess herself) use her former self, this mask, to delude the hero into believing the transformation was a lie and they can be together again... only for her to melt away before his very eyes into the monster she's become, and in his mortal form, he is helpless to avert his fate.

The hero is dead and in Hell.
The Sugar Bowl the level begins in is a replica of the living world, and every eversion pulls the hero deeper into the Fire and Brimstone Hell he is trapped in — a Hell where he is constantly tortured and ravaged by the vicious demons which roam the levels and torn to pieces by demonic claws, only to be revived so that the suffering may continue. The gems, which begin to resemble skulls as you go deeper, are really evil souls, which the flower-guy must collect to end his torment — the princess Nehema (which is "another name for Naahma, a powerful demoness in Judeo-Christian mythology" according to this wiki) is actually a powerful demon who will transform him into a demon if he proves himself worthy. In the bad ending, he fails and Naahma makes him her personal plaything in her torture chamber. The sound you hear when the lights go out is his first scream... In the good ending, Naahma transforms the flower-guy into her servant and consort, finally freeing him from the cycle of horrific pain and death.

It's also possible that in the Bonus Level Of Hell before the good ending, the constant eversions are due to the hero's sanity finally shattering under the pressure of his quest and the agony he has endured. Only then will his mind be ready for the transformation into a demon which inflicts this pain on others, which is the real purpose of this quest in the first place.

The Princess's fate is much simpler then it seems.
She dies, and Zee Tee, our protagonist is a necrophiliac. The "good" ending has Zee Tee die as well and join his corpsey lover.

The differences between the worlds are superficial.
It doesn't matter whether it's world 1 or 8; the reality here is only what you make of it. Characters are changed only outwardly, not inwardly. The bad ending is when the hero fails to accept/understand this and gets eaten for his troubles. In the good ending, perhaps because of the Bonus Level Of Hell, he finally gets it and is ready to join the princess in a different frame of reality.

The game is about Plato's Allegory of the Cave.
The world as you know it is only a murky reflection of reality. In Plato's infamous allegory, people are kept chained up in a cave for all of their lives, always facing a wall. A torchlight shines behind them from over a low wall, and men from outside hold objects up to the light, showing the prisoners shadow puppets. You know, For Science!.

The first layer is this fake world of shadows; you only assume that The Goomba is a smiling brown face with two feet, that the plants are harmless background elements, and that the blocks and bushes are absolutely impassible.

Now picture one of these prisoners being freed, and released into the bright light of the sun. At first, it would hurt their eyes, because they have never seen sunlight before. This is why the layers are so gradual; our hero must become accustomed to the sun before he can tolerate it. He begins by looking at other shadows, things that are almost like what he is familiar with.

The former prisoner would almost certainly have a hard time accepting this new, real world, which is why it seems so horrifying to the player. But think about this; in the higher layers, the monsters start bleeding. Yes, it is gross, but it is also natural for an animal to bleed when stepped on. If an animal did not bleed when injured, you would assume it is fake, only a shadow of a real animal, right?

And the score — layer 6 makes your point counter spin wildly, and layer 7 removes it altogether. It may be strange, but stop and think for a minute. Was there any point in the game where the score was important? It was nothing but an artifact of your fake life in the caves, and is discarded along with your other misconceptions.

In world 7, the player must go all the way back to the first layer to get the last few gems — much as Plato's former prisoner would return to the caves to tell the other prisoners about the real world. In both stories, our protagonist has a hard time adjusting to their old world, especially when they know just how different the real world is. But in the end, both heroes can only succeed if they fully accept the true reality, and embrace the sun (or the pitch-black lava world, at any rate). And hey, there's a girl at the end!

The game is a simulation created by The Guy
It's where he tests his various traps before implementing them in the real world. Being a simulation, it is obviously far, far easier to traverse than The Guy's real obstacle course. However, the simplistic world and the hypertensive blood show that the game originates in The Guy's universe, and there is no mistaking the sadism of the game's creator.
  • And in X-6 through X-8, the player, on death, explodes into blood. He's a prototype The Kid.

The Flower and the Princess were just having fun
Basically, the Flower and the Princess have been Elder Gods all along. They have already defeated or enslaved everyone in the world together and were ruling their empire of abominations with an iron fist. But then the Flower grew bored and decided to have some fun: he'd turn himself into a Manchurian Agent and bash his way through his own minions, believing himself to be a real hero out to save a princess (the bored Princess, of course, had enormous fun monitoring his progress via Palantir Ploy). To make the challenge even more entertaining, they've spread MacGuffin-insh gems all over the place with a trigger set up to only return the Flower's memories if he has all 240 of them AND sees the Princess' true form.

So basically, the Flower is an immortal deity (hence the infinite lives), who is only knocked out upon "death", and his body carried to the last checkpoint by his minions for another attempt. Said minions also rebuild all terrain their master might have destroyed in progress (except the gems, naturally) and recruit some New Meat, because, well, They Have Reserves. The Flower also retains his dimension jumping powers (therefore, he is always able to go back to any world he knows of) AND reality warping powers, which manifest themselves in the "eversion". The "bad ending" is basically about the Princess realizing that the trigger didn't work and knocking him back into the game.

The Princess isn't actually the little figure advancing towards you.
Rather, the giant eye in the background is the real Princess, and Nehema is actually a sort of final boss. In the bad ending, the Flower hasn't gained enough power to successfully pose a threat to Nehema, and so the real Princess can only watch from the background as he is devoured. In the good ending, the real Princess sees her now super-powered boyfriend ready to fight one last time, and feels so much love and hope that it becomes evident in her eye. Zee Tee and Nehema are actually just about to duke it out when the game ends.

Eversion is the result of an Alternate Universe Haruhi Suzumiya's Nightmare Fetishism gone horriffically right.
Oh come on, you all knew it was coming. Zee Tee is Kyon, Nehema is Haruhi. The gems are the scattered bits of Itsuki, Yuki, and Mikuru's consciousnesses. See, Haruhi wanted to live in a fun, cutesy little platformer and subconsciously wanted to be rescued by Kyon, and ended up re-creating the world in this interest. She became the princess, and he the saviour... but deep down, we all know Haruhi is an extreme Xenophile, and wanted something really out of the ordinary, so she added in all of the horror simply for her own enjoyment. As for the Gems/Rest of the SOS Brigade, Kyon needs to collect them to absorb their powers and put them back into their own world. Without enough of them, in the Bad Ending, Haruhi devours Kyon, because he is helpless. With all of them, in the Good Ending, Kyon is able to use their powers and is supposed to take them home... but decides that he actually quite likes this nightmare world, and changes himself to blend in and not arouse Nehema/Haruhi's suspisions. The heart in the eye in the background signals Haruhi's approval, and they all lived happily ever after... except Yuki, Itsuki, and Mikuru, who suffered from And I Must Scream forever more. But hey, can't win 'em all, right?

Braid and Eversion exist in the same continuity, and the Princess is Nehema in both games.
And the ending of Braid is not the creation of the atomic bomb, but of Tim unlocking Sealed Evil in a Can and releasing Nehema upon the world.

The game is about the Great Aurora (or more likely a regular old Aurora).
Flower-Man is a fairy of Lorwyn helping to cause the shift to Shadowmoor. First of all, the themes are very similar - Lorwyn is an idyllic pastoral realm, but the Great Aurora changes it to Shadowmoor, a dark, bleak, nightmare counterpart of Lorwyn. Sound familiar? Also, many of the fairies of Lorwyn resemble flowers. Basically, every time Flower-Man everts, he's changing Lorwyn one step towards Shadowmoor. The Princess is Oona, who sent Flower-Man to trigger the Aurora, and kills him for his failure if he doesn't finish what he started. World 8 is full Shadowmoor, where at the end, Oona rewards Flower-Man for successfully triggering the shift.

This game is based off of SpongeBob SquarePants.

X-1, 2, and 3 are respectively less cheery and X-4 is the "neutral" zone. Now, X-5 is kind of creepy and X-6 is distorted (not just the music, the blocks too). Sound familiar?
  • ...no. Huh?
  • Uh, no.
  • This troper thinks he knows what you're talking about. The episode where they go to Glove World and end up at the bottom of a deep sea trench?
    • Oh, that episode! But it was more like Silent Hill, because it goes directly from X-1 to X-8.
  • Seasonal Rot?
  • One hundred percent sure this represents the tone of the different seasons. Season 1 has such things as the FUN song, while Season 2's humor becomes darker and more adult, whilst Season 3 has things like Band Geeks where Squilliam has a heart attack and the innocent passengers on a blimp all die as Black Comedy. Season 4 begins to shuffle into a much darker sense of humor, and Season 5 is where the gross-out humor becomes even more prominent. Season 6 is where the much darker tone (such as Bikini Bottom suddenly being emphasized as a Crapsack World) really shows.

The Hero is the one responsible for unknowingly corrupting reality.
It starts off as the usual dilemma, of a sweet happy world and a princess being kidnapped by some big bully in the nearby kingdom. As the Hero sets off to rescue her, he slightly warps reality at each eversion, each time weakening the fabric of reality. The horrific Eldritch Abominations that lurk in the deepest recesses of reality slowly begin to bleed through, sinking deeper into his happy world every time he everses. The Hero finally makes it to the neighbouring kingdom, not realizing it was his constant tampering with reality that finally allowed the demons to seep through and corrupt the very person he was trying to save. The corrupted princess destroys him out of demonic bloodlust and the final piece of her humanity that blames him for everything.
  • And in the Good Ending, the Hero has warped reality so much that even he has been corrupted and didn't even realise it until his humanity is stripped from him. He still thought he was the hero right to the last second.

Ultimately, the game leads to a strange Space Whale Aesop.
This one can match with several above theories, but essentially dictates that The Power of Love applies to things where many other concepts humans consider normal cease to apply. ZT and Nehema can be taken as the horrific things from the start, with the Good ending resulting in them being reunited... Or, as in an above guess, ZT is basically making a massive Heroic Sacrifice to prove his love to Nehema.

My take on this idea: The Princess has been corrupted horrifically. ZT's aware of this, and has figured out what will happen if he goes directly to face her... Solution? Batman Gambit. By becoming the very thing his love will turn into, he can surprise her, and perhaps then save her after all.

Every world other than X-8 is an illusion and a test of worth, as is being a cutesy flower.
Zee Tee and the rest of his world were Demon Bastard Nightmares all along. He was placed under a mental illusion that made himself and the rest of the world seem sugary sweet to him. This was a test to see if he was worthy of marrying Princess Nehema and thus someday becoming King. The illusion fades to varying degrees, but to truly pass the test, Zee Tee must embrace the nature of his world, signified by his becoming his old self again. Failure means a horrible death at the hands of a sadistic Nehema, made all the more worse by the fact that Zee Tee would still be in his sugary sweet persona at the time.

Eversion is an entirely standard The Hero Will Save the Princess story.
Throughout the game, all levels are structurally the same regardless of what degree of Eversion they are viewed on: Ultimately, a smiling facebox and a red eye on a black square are really both faceboxes, and there's little difference between the skipping mushrooms and black cyclops things. So no matter how scary everything looks, it's a happy flower man jumping through the world of mushrooms and gems to Save the Princess. Or, if you prefer, an Eldritch Abomination that explodes into blood whenever he dies, adventuring past spiky plants and terrifying things to get his girl, another Eldritch Abomination.
  • The bad ending is simply the hero failing to realize this, which is why the levels in later worlds are also more difficult. However, if he takes his time to explore the worlds and get the gems, he eventually gets to understand them, finally figuring out that his enemies were all the time the same thing, the princess is the same, and he would be the same, becoming an Eldritch Abomination to live happilly.

The hero was Jesus in Purgatory
The entire journey was an allegory for Jesus going into purgatory and then into hell to save the lost souls, which were the blob things you jumped on. However, he was corrupted by the Dark Side and stayed to reign with Satan (who's a chick).

The hero is a martyr
By absorbing all the horror into his own world, he ensures that it stays there and the other kids' games remain adorable and innocent.
  • Agreed. Consider that in the final level, you have to lower the level of terror to zero to proceed. If you brought the world back from being a nightmare realm to being normal again, all this evil had to go SOMEwhere...

Nehema is Sauron or one of his servants
This one's a no-brainer. Why else would the Lidless Eye decorate her chamber?

...Or maybe the game is about how Growing Up Sucks.
The game begins in an innocent, naive world, with simple gameplay and cheery visuals. The hero looks so kiddie because he really is Just a Kid. The different layers reperesent stages of responsibility; each further layer gives our hero more freedom, adding new paths and taking down old obstacles. However, without the training wheels that the earlier layers provide, he starts running into actual danger (i.e. The Hands). Also, the gradually worsening state of the world represents the loss of innocence; this is when he begins to understand what things are really like, that the plants really are dangerous, that the little wandering monsters are NOT there to play with him and actually are being hurt by his Goomba Stomp. Going back into previous mindsets does little to actually help him on his journey and in some cases is openly mocked (Stage 6 was probably quite a truamatic event for the little flower man). Only by having an enriching life (you know, collecting all the gems) and accepting the world for what it really is can he be successful in life — and maybe even find true love...

The hero and princess are Eldritch Abominations turned into Sugar Bowl characters.
Before the start of the game, a wizard turned a pair of abominations into happy-go-lucky harmless characters, and scattered the essence of their evil throughout his happy world, trapping them within the happy. Flower Man has to collect as many of the gems as he can to regain their once-unfathomable power, while gradually traveling back to his world. If he doesn't, the Princess turns back into her real form, and devours him. If he does, they both change back, and fall in eldritch love.
  • Or maybe in the Bad Ending, the Princess didn't recognize him because he only got enough gems to return the Princess into her true form and not himself.

A variant of the Hero is in Hell Theory. In the classic story of Orpheus, the singer Orpheus's love Eurydice dies, and upon the advice of the gods, he travels into the Greek Underworld and rescues Eurydice, but if he looks back before going into the world of the living, she will stay in the Underworld forever. Guess what happens next. However, the story of Orpheus in Eversion is different: for some reason (presumably Nehema was horrible in life, or maybe something else, but that's a different story), instead of being kept in ordinary Hades (the domain of those who were neither a saint or evil), Eurydice (or in this case, Nehema) is being kept in Tartarus, the domain of the dammed souls. However, Zeetee does not know this, and assumes she is just somewhere in the afterlife. <More later>

Everyone in the game and the game itself is a Time Lord
The flower-man is traveling through time, not other dimensions. When things change form, they are really previous or future regenerations. The gems are really pieces of the flower man's TARDIS.

ZT is an Avatar of Nyarlathotep suffering Amnesiac Dissonance
Although Nyarlathotep's behavior, appearance, and apparent motivation can vary hugely between avatars, ultimately he is all about corrupting and destroying things — people, worlds, universes. Even thinking himself to be an innocent flower-thing, Nyarlathotep's avatar on this world has no choice but to do this to the world he inhabits. Eventually, he either reclaims his memory and true self and rules over the new world he's "made", along with Nehema, the only creature worthy of existing beside him... or he is destroyed by the world he's made, never realizing how or why it's occurred.

The hero warps himself at the end of the game, just as he has been warping reality around himself to get ahead.
When All You Have Is a Hammer...

The brighter, cheerier versions of each world is a Disney Acid Sequence.
The Flower Man started the game on drugs (LSD, maybe?). Each Eversion to a higher-numbered world represents the drug(s) wearing off, while an Eversion to a lower-numbered world represents him dosing himself again. The Advancing Wall of Doom happens when he overdoses and his subconscious is telling him to not black out. The endings represent him being checked into a rehab center: in the Bad End, he resists being treated and has to be forcibly held down by the nurse/his girlfriend. In the Good, he acknowledges his problem and decides that, regardless of how bad the real world may appear, he's going to live in it.

In World X-4, the enemies are in a chyrsalis phase
It's a big leap from being a happy, Goomba-esque little guy to a one-eyed toothy blob monster. X-4 is where the major change happens: the enemies go into a chrysalis form. That's why they stop moving.

This is the Hero's Mind in an Art Gallery
The flowery guy is on a field trip at the art gallery, and uses the art as paradise or torture for his mental self. Apparently, the pictures get worse, and worse, a few even being scary, and then they quickly they go up in quality at the end, with a few little bad spots here and there. And then, one that he should hate, he loves dearly, buys, and hangs on his wall. But that's in the last room, that he may or may not go in and feel in his mind that he missed something awesome.

The hero is on acid, and is experiencing a "Bad Trip."
Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Let's expand on that a bit. The only layer that's real is X-2 or X-3. The hero got depressed and took some drugs. And that's how X-1 came into being. Everything was all happy and smiley, and he imagined he was an asterisk/flower thing. He also imagined his girlfriend was a princess who needed to be rescued, and started off towards her house. Then they started to wear off, so he took some more drugs, which in his altered state of mind he imagined to be magical gems. That's when things started to go downhill fast, and his hallucinations got a bit disturbing. But still he pressed on, to rescue his princess. Eventually it got so bad that he heard a demonic voice in his head saying "I SEE YOU" and he thought the rocks were attacking him, and that he was dying over and over again but somehow not being dead. Near the end he started fluctuating wildly between horrific, lucid, and superhappy states. Then, when he finally got to his girlfriend's house... well, at first he was in his happy state, but then suddenly he hallucinated that his girlfriend turned into a monster, saw a vision of a giant eye, and then blacked out. He never used drugs again, and still often has nightmares of that awful day. Depending on how much drugs you took, the nightmares can be more or less bad; if he took too many, then his nightmares will be all the worse for having burned into his memory the eldritch horror of X-8, and having hallucinated himself as a monster as well as his girlfriend.

ZT is not a flower, but a Proto-Abomination trying to ascend to Godhood
The game chronicles the test that he must pass in order become a true Eldritch Abomination, a test that involves using his fledgling reality-warping powers to twist and corrupt an idyllic world. The crystals are meant to test his prowess with these powers — if he succeeds, then he is deemed worthy of evolving and becoming the Princess' mate. If not... It doesn't end well.

Vendetta of Making Fiends created the game "Eversion" to torture Charlotte
The original Sugar Bowl setting and floral Zee Tee are meant to suck Charlotte in and then gradually Break the Cutie with the progressively Darker and Edgier levels, because that's the only thing that would work. And X-7 looks like Clamburg and the fiends Vendetta makes.

Everting enough will eventually lead you back to world X-1. We haven't seen all eversions.
The game represents a circle of life. However, we have yet to see the rest of the three or five dimensions.

Rather than changing reality, the hero is traversing parallel, simultaneous realities. There is no good or evil except in the eye of the beholder.
Each level of eversion is a parallel universe — each equally valid, just different. Each eversion level has its own hero and its own princess, and the heroes are swapping places throughout the game to complete their respective quests. The more out of place the hero is, the more repulsive he finds his surroundings; to the hero from X-8, X-1 is an utterly horrifying nightmarish crapsack world.

If the gems are not all collected, the heroes will fail to find their way back to the proper realities in the end, and suffer the consequences; the good ending, on the other hand, is actually a good ending, with each hero going to their respective home. We just happen to see X-8's hero and princess last. Keep telling yourself that. Keep telling yourself that. Keep telling yourself that...

A variant of the above WMG.
While there are eight worlds, eight Flower-Guys, and eight trapped Princesses, 1's Flower-Guy is forcing the other seven Flower Guys to switch places. If FG 1 can't get something because of the clouds, he shifts himself to a world where the clouds are solid, and that world's FG spends some time in 1's world. The other seven come from increasingly more dangerous worlds and are tougher than 1, so they generally can cope/survive in the other worlds, and bypass things that FG 1 couldn't.

So how is 1 able to force this switch: the Gems. He's not just collecting them from his world, he's stealing them from every reality, essentially reducing the likelihood that the other F Gs can force him around. Thus explains the Bad Ending: Without all the gems, 8 is able to scrape together enough power to force FG 1 from World 1 and World 1 Princess to 8's world, and 8's princess... which doesn't end well for him.

With the good ending, there's no reality warping, just a slow dissolve. Each FG is running to his respective princess.

There is an X-9
We see you.

...There actually is an X-9. All the enemies are now Zee Tee.

The entire game is a penance/punishment for Zee Tee.
Prior to the events of the game, Zee Tee was an Eldritch Abomination living happily with Nehema doing whatever it is happy Eldritch Abomination couples do. Then he did something wrong, committed some unspeakable crime against the Eldritch Abomination code of conduct. As a punishment, he was changed into the flowery shape and banished to the Sugar Bowl world you start the game in — a world that, to his perspective, is every bit as disturbing and hellish as his world is to our eyes. In order to return to normal Eldritch Abomination society, he must first prove his repentance by going through the menial task of collecting all the gems (which in and of themselves are totally meaningless). If he tries to cheat and return home without first collecting all the gems, he will not be restored to his true form, but rather will be executed — this is the bad ending. If he does collect all the gems, then he must face one final round of punishment in the form of being forced to go back through increasingly more (or, from our perspective, less) hellish layers of reality on his way home.

Zee Tee is a double agent who was caught and is being offered an alternative punishment for his crimes.
The Eldritch Abominations are out to conquer other worlds by corrupting them and their denizens. Zee Tee, prior to the beginning of the game, was an Eldritch Abomination working as a double agent trying to help the Sugar Bowl world — hence the flowery shape. He was caught by Nehema, his superior, and under ordinary circumstances he would have been executed for treason. However, since Nehema was in love with Zee Tee, she cut him a deal: if he could complete their mission of corrupting the Sugar Bowl, she'd let him go. But, until he did so, he would be trapped in his flowery shape so that wherever he goes in the Dark World, he'll be seen for the traitor he is. This is why the creatures and environment become more malevolent toward you the darker they get. The gems are a defense system put in place by the inhabitants of the Sugar Bowl world that will counteract the corruption of the world as long as even a single one remains. Thus, in order to fulfill your objectives and earn your freedom, you must not only corrupt the world through repeated eversions, but also strip it of its ability to recover by stealing all the gems. If you attempt to return home without taking all the gems, you will have failed in your mission and so you get the bad ending: execution for your treasonous acts. If you fulfill your mission, however, you get to go home and regain your true form.

The gems behave much like The One Ring from Lord of the Rings, corrupting anyone who collects them all while granting them a power (to evert to the Dark World.) Zeetee is a Tragic Hero who falls victim to this.
Zeetee is a genuine hero setting out to rescue the princess, not knowing that she has already been corrupted by the gems' influence. In the bad ending, it's an all for naught situation where the hero gets there only to find the princess has been transformed by the gems into a monster. In the "good" ending, Zeetee has been corrupted by the gems as well, and the two are both now Always Chaotic Evil Eldritch Abominations enslaved by whatever the hell that eye is.

The main character is a Manitou from the Deadlands setting.
Consider this: he can alter the shape of reality, but not truly change anything - he's the master of trickery. He can't be permanently killed, just stopped for a while. He collects strange diamonds (Heart of Darkness, anyone?). We eventually learn that he's a horrific Abomination. Other than the X-8, which we only see in realms other than Earth (a castle of some sort), each of the seven Xs corresponds very directly to a Fear Level:
  • X-1/Fear Level 0: a happy, joyful world full of flowers, sunshine and music. A paradise, and it's hard to come by in the world, thus we consider it sickeningly sweet.
  • X-2/FL 1: A pretty normal place, but dull, gray, yet there are still happier accents (flowers). Everything is perfectly normal.
  • X-3/FL 2: Plants are kinda withered, but still normal, the sky is overcast, there's a sense of gloom in the air, but nothing is obviously out of place.
  • X-4/FL 3: The sky is a sickly colour, the clouds are full of acid rain, there are cracks in the walls. The plants are weird, like something growing with insufficient light, but they are perfectly harmless - for now. Overall, you can say everything is odd, but nothing obviously supernatural is taking place. You may find the odd monster (the darkness hunting you), but they're still very rare.
  • X-5/FL 4: you must be delusional to still think that everything is alright. Everything is weird and oppressive - the sky, the plants that become tangled and fungus-like, there are monsters hiding in the deep waters (red hands). Still, not everything is out to get you - yet.
  • X-6/FL 5: everything is dangerous or weird - at this stage, even plants can harm if you don't watch out. Walls and buildings crumble, decay is omnipresent. When anybody dies, blood and gore is grotesque.
  • X-7/a Deadland: it doesn't get much worse. Everything - even the rocks - is out to kill you. The sky is full of monsters, you can't even stand in one place for long without dying.
  • X-8/the Hunting Grounds: this is not even possible in the physical realm. Death has no meaning here (everything respawns), and even space doesn't work the way it is supposed to (see what happens if you don't evert everything back to X-1 and keep walking).

Eversion is about a child undergoing Break the Cutie due to the internet.
The main character is a cute, diminutive thing put on the internet by his parents. The worlds are websites and Eversion Points are links.
  • X-1/Neopets or Club Penguin or some such site: The world is bright and innocent and happy, because it's a game. The other users are also young children. It's difficult to get yourself banned except by intentionally making offensive statements (jumping into pits) or getting on other users' bad sides.
  • X-2/A children's research site: There is still some color retained for children's sake, but everything's a tad bit more boring. The other children here are bored and move slower as a result. However, there is information here that you will need for mandatory school projects (the ability to jump on clouds).
  • X-3/Wikipedia (outer layers): Eventually you determine that Wikipedia has more information (the ability to walk through trees) and is easier to use. You begin using wikipedia for school projects. Most of your friends find this to be boring, but you tread onwards.
  • X-4/Wikipedia (inner layers): You have discovered the discussion pages on Wikipedia! Your friends find these mind-numbingly boring and won't be coming with you. From now on, the users you find will be native users of the sites, rather than your RL friends. You find the ability to edit pages and make discussion posts (the ability to smash blocks). The last part of your stay here involves a virus that almost wipes out your computer.
  • X-5/Youtube: There's still some interesting stuff to find here, but the level of cursing in the comments (hands) is enough to hurt your young mind. The videos themselves (arms) are generally interesting and harmless.
    • Alternatively: Shock Site Screamers where the arms are the videos, and the hands are the screamers.
  • X-6/A gaming site: Discovering that there are whole forums devoted the video games you like, you quickly become interested. They are hostile and it is easy to set them off in ways you didn't know about before (crumbling blocks are the ease of commenting, while spiky flowers are ways to get banned you never even knew about before and can easily fall into). The users hate you for being young and annoying and will quickly attack you with extremely damaging insults (weird death messages). You dragged your friends here, but they only come as guests in the shadow form of rocks.
  • X-7/MySpace: Both the more hostile MySpace residents and your old friends are back. Your old friends don't like you so much anymore because of the effect of the internet on your personality, and the MySpace residents hate you because you're young and annoying. Hackers notice you and you very nearly get Last Measure'd. Everyone's still insulting you all the time (death messages). If you aren't smart, you might wind up getting trapped by a pedophile.
  • X-8/{{4Chan}}: Need I say more? In the end, you DO wind up with a pedophile, just as in X-7. But the encounter is consensual. You are no longer a child. You are Anonymous.
  • X-9/Hacker: You have seen all the Internet has to offer and now wish to unleash your revenge on those who have wronged you. You are unsatisfied with the limits of the eight levels and therefore decide to break the whole system. You begin to create pernicious viruses to prey on unsuspecting, young, and naive internet users (every other enemy Zee-Tee). You see the reflection of your past with hate and continue to destroy it bit by bit.
  • X-0/Webmaster: You have scared the children off the internet and everyone else, leaving an empty world where you only have your own company. But your rampage has gone too far. In tampering with the net, the FBI (game crashes) has tracked down your viruses and is coming to arrest you on suspicion you are a terrorist. You must insert a Drivescrubber disk to render it forever inoperable (your copy of the game is corrupted). You hide your identity by donning a Guy Fawkes mask, destroy the evidence, (delete the game), and take an escape route. You decide to create WOPR for your amusement to start World War III. Shall we play a game?

Eversion is an Eldritch Bildungsroman.
The main character is the larval form of an abomination and he is undergoing a stringent rite of passage to prove himself worthy of growing to maturity.
  • Nehema is his sister; she has already passed the test, hit puberty, and grown into an adolescent abomination, so she has been placed at the end of the gauntlet to judge whether his efforts are enough. Another guardian is following him to ensure that he doesn't cheat or try to go backwards: the amorphous black cloud. This is the adult form of what ZT and Nehema will eventually grow into. More to the point, it's their mother.
  • Sometimes, when ZT is drowning or snagged on a bramble or being crushed by a demonic hand, he will call out for his MOTHER. But she won't save him. She's doing him a greater favour than that: she's helping him grow up to be a real eldritch abomination. No life at all is better than life as a little petalled dumpling-shaped runt, small enough to fall prey to the demonic hands or be stomped on by the scampering heads. She'll kill him herself rather than let him fail and suffer through life as a One-Hit-Point Wonder. That's eldritch logic, and eldritch love. Who are we to judge how a bubbling night-monster treats her offspring? Also, note how, in the final stage, she bubbles constantly just behind him but doesn't attack. He's almost made it; she only has to be there to make sure that he doesn't turn back at the last moment. She's kept mostly out of the way this whole time, but now she can't help herself. She wants to see him succeed. He's her little hellslug, and when he jumps over that final flag, she wants to be there.
  • His task is to collect the gems. If he gets to the end of the gauntlets without collecting all the gems, he is unworthy and must be put down for the good of the horde. The screen going dark in the bad ending? That's not the lights going out; that's MOTHER seeping into the chamber and helping Nehema tear her unworthy sibling to shreds.
  • The screen going dark in the good ending? That's MOTHER coming in for a group hug, her terrible scarlet eye glowing with love as her beloved son sheds his baby coat and becomes, at last, a real man. Awwwww.
  • The real question is how the Beige Ending fits in with this.

Eversion and Candle Cove are connected

It had to be said. OK, both are subversions of childish concepts and both have Sugar Wiki and Darth Wiki entries. But maybe it goes deeper. Notice how the world of Eversion seemed close to the sea? And how in the Candle Cove story the titular show gradually got darker the more the characters talked about it? Perhaps Zee Tee has something to do with this? Maybe Candle Cove was close to where he had his adventures, and his eversions had the unfortunate side effect of creating the Skin Taker? Could the Candle Cove characters have been screaming in the final episode because of how dark Zee Tee made their world?

Eversion and American McGee's Alice are connected

The world of Eversion is actually Wonderland, Nehema is actually the Queen of Hearts, and Zee Tee represents Alice's decaying sanity, warping Wonderland to fit her mental state.

The eight world layers are parts of a day/night cycle.
Life in the game's world has evolved to shift between two forms, one best suited for daytime and one best suited for nighttime. The eight eversion layers are really just eight times of day. X-4 is when everyone sleeps while they metamorphose. Even the atmosphere is involved in the cycle, as different gases sweep across the land and change the density of clouds and bricks.

So when the hero everses, he's really stepping through a time rift that takes him forward a few hours... to when all his enemies have coincidentally ended up in the exact same places again. Perhaps the story is that Zee Tee is suffering from a condition where he can't metamorphose no matter what time of day it is. (It may have even been brought on by exploring the time rifts so much in the first place, like a kind of jet lag.) If he can't recover from it, he'll be physically incompatible with his true love when the lights go out. So the gems could be the ingredients for a cure which can only be produced in World 8, and which takes effect once Zee Tee gets back in synch with the world.

Zee Tee is the main character from Penumbra, under the influence of Clarence
He escaped the the Antarctic by realizing going further was suicide, but failed to get the chance for the infection removed. Clarence is still in his brain, and decides to mess with him by hacking his perceptions just as he did in the game in defiance of being forever trapped in his brain. Clarence makes him see himself as a flower person reminiscent of old video games, and the deluded player assumes he has to follow a typical video game plot. The eversions are attempts by the player to wrest control back from Clarence, who retaliates by making things visually worse, and "killing" the player by attacking him with things that aren't real. This is why the player can restart levels after dying, because they aren't real, he's just deluded. He never kills a real human being until he attacks what he thinks is an eye block, which he hits so hard its eyes pop out — which breaks his sanity further once he realizes he's killed an innocent human being. At the end of the game, Clarence has made everything too horrible for words and relishes his suffering, and even though the player meets up with a doctor who can help him, he is too frightened and unable to trust her because of how she appears to him. However, by trying harder to hone his will, he is able to trust in her despite her being visually a monster to get the help he needs. He is able to resolve the anxiety by deciding that he didn't have to fear her, because he was a monster too. The game ends because the doctor is able to remove Clarence from his mind and he's aware he's not in a game.

Zee Tee was distorting the universe, and was enjoying every minute of it.
He went to a happy-go-lucky world under disguise, and then decided to change the universe to his liking. With each eversion, he corrupts the flora and flauna of the world until it becomes his own hellish wasteland. He made the hands and the advancing walls to speed up this process (though they can end up destroying him if he's not careful).

In both endings, he succeeds in corrupting the princess. In the gemless ending, he does not do anything after this. In the completed ending, he decides he wants to join her in ruling this world that he's built. And, of course, he weds her.

The entire game is a metaphor for marriage.
So you go to hell and back, and for what? Gems. Money. You realize the ills of putting so much value into money, which is why they turn into skulls. But it doesn't stop you from wading through bloody hell to get it, doing every crappy job you can get even when they start getting physically painful. You need the money, and why? Because that Rich Bitch Nehema isn't gonna give the time of day to anyone who can't afford their own damn castle, or better yet 20. So you grab up every scrap of money you can find and go to her. If you don't have enough, she cruelly rips your heart into pieces. But have just enough to buy her a Resort Villa and voila, she's yours. The prize for your hard work? You get turned into a person as horrible as she is.

The farther you Everse, the deeper you go into the House
Think about it. What you think is a totally happy platformer is really... a monster. What you think is a great house and an opportunity to get closer to your family is really a labyrinth of Hell and horror. World X-2 is the point in Houseof Leaves where the random door appears: not too scary, but a little out of the ordinary. Then you notice that it gets stranger... that your house is 1/4" larger on the inside than on the outside... then 5/16".... And X-4 is when they call in Holloway and his group. It just gets worse. The game culminates in a labyrinth level, like the labyrinth in the house... In a way, Zee-Tee represents Navy, Holloway, Zampano, and Johnny...

All the worlds exist in parallel.
The Goomba-stand-ins are pan-dimensional beings that exist in every "shadow plane" at once, with different abilities in each (for example, their X-4 projections have a Weeping Angel-like "turn immobile when observed" ability). Eversion points are gates/cracks between adjacent parallel worlds. The flower guy, for most of the game, can only exist in one plane at once — and in the bad ending, he gets stuck in the wrong one and dies. In the good ending, he becomes a pan-dimensional being himself, and every projection of him joins the corresponding projection of the princess.

The princess is testing the flower guy to see if he is worthy of joining The Dark Side.
If you have read The Brazen Locked Room/Gimmicks Three by Issac Asimov, this is easier to understand; it's like that, but with a harder test and the hero not trying to escape. Basically, the Flower Guy sells his soul to hell and he must go through 8 levels and 8 parallel dimensions, collecting gems and reaching "The princess". In the bad ending, he fails and goes to hell; in the good ending, he joins to the demons and a new body is given.

The flower guy is Ash from Evil Dead 2 and Nehema is the Deadite form of his girlfriend.
Think about it; Ash's girlfriend has been possessed/killed, so he's going to finish that bitch off. The gems/skulls are really just pages from the Necronomicon (he needs them to make the unknown evil manifest itself and to send it back to its own dimension). The goomba-like enemies are deadites pretending to be the people they possessed to trick Ash to get the jump on him (on -4 they're playing dead). The hands and spiked plants are the evil trees/plants, and the clouds are the fog/smoke that manifests the evil. The "bad ending" occurs if he doesn't have all of the pages; the spell doesn't work and he just dies. If he obtains all of the pages, he sends the evil back, but gets pulled into the portal too (ending up in World 8), and when he reaches the "good end", he forgot to say the words before he picked the Necronomicon up and is possessed himself.

The Hero is a plant meant to weaken/contain the darkness before it destroys the world.
Throughout the game, the Hero and Nehema are the only two people to 'Evert'. Monsters can't bring their forms over lines, the hands can only work from a certain plane down, and even the creeping darkness has to change the world around it to appear. The idea is that Hero had a connection to the shadow world that only he and Nehema shared. The 'Light Side' realized this and used the Hero to plant a weakness in the encroaching darkness. In a familiar vein, it would be much like the Matrix Neo being used to transfer a 'program' to the virus. They take this one integral part of the darkness, give it light side ideals like happiness, duty, courage, and love, then give it a history and a goal to reach. The gems throughout the level are 'pieces' of the Hero lost in the process. If he arrived at the 'end' without being complete, he falls just like any other light to the darkness. However, if he makes it back 'whole', the light side finishes its job of weakening the darkness, allowing the 'Points' holding back the darkness to reseal and once again seperate darkness and light. The darkness, now confronting these ideas from inside, retreats to learn the new experiences. All is made whole and right again.

ZT is on an initiation ritual from the princess to see if he`s worthy of being her husband.
Our hero is going through a trial for his bride, a dimension-shifting goddess. He shows his prowess by defeating peasant followers (Early levels), zombies (World 3), deadites (Everything after), and finally the unholy spawn of hell (World 8). After proving himself the master reality-warper that he is, he must also present a gift of all the gems in the world. If he fails, he's cast away by the princess in her horrifying immortal form. She only took a human form because it would not frighten him. If he succeeds, he ascends to god status along with her. The only reason they look so horrifying is because the viewer is mortal and cannot comprehend the divine image before them, and shows the player has truly gone insane by viewing it as one would expect. Going insane by gazing upon a god is a Lovecraftian theme, so it makes sense

The Hand is the Big Bad, The King, Zee Tee's father and Nehema's husband.
Also, the Hand is the Eye, and Nehema is really a queen, Zee Tee being her son as well.

X-5 represents purgatory
You can hear what sounds like shoveling dirt in the background, and there are hands trying to drag you down to hell. The blocks no longer give up gems, suggesting death, but there isn't anything to suggest it's hell yet, while the music is less evil and more brooding. X-4 would represent someone on their deathbed, while X-6 would be closer to hell, with X-7 being hell itself. X-1 is childhood, X-3 is a dirty corporatised world, and X-2 is somewhere in the middle (mainly there to trick the player into thinking that there's no dark tone to the game). X-8 is darkness.

This game is the afterlife
X-1 is Heaven, all bright and cheery. X-2 is the Garden of Eden (The reason it looks like it is falling apart in the HD version is because of the apple, somehow). X-3 is earth. X-4 is purgatory. X-5, X-6, X-7, and X-8 are various layers of hell. At the end, Satan/Nehema first appears in his/her angelic/princess forms as a trick, before turning into their true demonic form. The good ending is Zee Tee deciding it is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven, so to say. The secret neutral ending is actually the only good one, where Satan is redeemd-ish to a state of neutrality.

In both the Good Ending and the Bad Ending, the Princess is approaching Zee Tee to give him the Standard Hero Reward.
The only difference is that in the Bad Ending he's too weak to survive it.

The reason the Princess got kidnapped in the first place is because she was locked out of her monster form.
By travelling through the levels and unlocking the Eversion points, Zee Tee restores her monster form. If he goes even farther and gets all the gems as well, Zee Tee is rewarded with his own monster form.
  • This also gives an alternate explanation for the heart/eye. It's not that anything bad happens to Zee Tee in the bad ending; it's just she wouldn't want to date a flower.

The form we see Zee Tee in throughout the game is his X-1 form. Every time he everses, he actively resists the transformation.
In the Bad Ending, he continues to resist the transformation as always and gets devoured by Princess Nehema as a result. In the Good Ending, he's experienced all of the Eversion levels enough, backwards and forwards, that he's learned to accept change and allows himself to transform fully. In the Weird Ending, he tries to skip the last part of World 8 and is so exhausted by that point that he can't resist anymore and gets stuck in an intermediate form.
  • Actually, Zee Tee starts as a level/world X-2 monster (in flower form), not a level/world X-1 monster. If you notice his two eyes carefully, you will find out that he looks more like X-2 form.

The Bad and Good Endings are both Canon.
The Bad Ending happens first. Zee Tee is eaten by Princess Nehema and dies, but since Death Is a Slap on the Wrist everywhere else in the game, why not here, too? If the player bothers to collect all of the gems and get the Good Ending, it means that after seeing the Princess' true form, Zee Tee is willing to become a monster to be with her, and seeks out level X-8 for that purpose. The second time he meets Princess Nehema, he's ready for her. Thus, the only truly "bad" ending is the Beige Ending, in which Zee Tee's plan goes horribly wrong somehow.

There's a Better Ending, it's just unattainable in the current version of the game.
No, you don't both stay in X-1 and live happily ever after. You evert to X-8. The room and the princess do not. As Dr. Horrible would say, the Princess has three layers — the surface one, the deeper one, and the deepest one that's just like the surface — like with pie. The princess really is a cute X-1 princess, and the Best Ending is uncovering this and eating that delicious deepest layer, tearing apart that crust in your millions of teeth, defiling that small set of pixels in every way as the game closes.
  • So what you're saying is... You're into tentacles?

The Black Wall is death and the Blood Wall is life.
In level 3, the black wall forces you to X-4, and after completing the level, layers X-1 through X-3 are locked off. They have been "destroyed." Then, in level 7, a blood wall forces you to X-7, and after completing the level, all of the layers are once again available. If blood represents life, this makes sense. Then, in level 8, after you pass a section, you cannot go back due to an immobile black wall. That section has been destroyed (and is recreated if you start looping). You lose access to layers (they are "destroyed") as you progress.

Nehema became a monster for messing with the layers.
Nehema was researching about the world she lived in, and found out the ability to Evert. She got more and more curious about the layers, but in reaching X-8, she realized her mind was too weak and went mad from the revelation. Eventually, Zee started his own research to change her back, and decided to go through the same things she did to search for a clue. Maybe the gems are pieces of Nehema's mind or pieces of her research, that gave Zee the clue he needed to reach X-8. Hell, she might not even be a Princess - maybe she was a scientist, and "princess" was her nickname due to being the only girl around. In the bad ending, Zee was strong enough to endure the first seven layers, but he he couldn't accept Nehema as she was now, and without reaching the eight layer, he was consumed by Nehema. In the good ending, he survives the eighth layer, and goes through the maze-like World 8. Then, as he reaches the first layer again, he rushes to find Nehema and bring her back, but then, the random hand of doom sprouts out. Zee realises that no matter how much he messed with the eversions, there was no way to bring the world back completely, and let his mind slip away and became a monster to be together with Nehema.

Okay, this theory was created because I am quite a fan of Arakune.

You kill the Princess in the bad ending.
Zee was cursed with an aura of toxic cuteness alien to his world that would destroy the Princess on contact unless he cured it with the gems. In the bad ending, he stands at the end of the room because he's trying to stop her from hugging or kissing him. In the good ending, he's healed and can finally be with Nehema.

The gems are a sacrifice for Nehema.
The final layer of Eversion turns the gems into skulls. If you don't honor Nehema with all the possible battle trophies, she deems you unworthy and consumes you.

Queen Nehellenia is Nehema.
Aside from the name, they're both monstrous women who need gems (different reasons). Also for some reason, the anime design for Nehellenia includes an eye-like crown thing. In Eversion, there is a giant eye in the room you meet her at. Mostly did this because of the name.
  • Nehema and Nehellenia have sort of similar hairstyles, don't th- OH MY GOD.

The entire game is a dream that was eaten by Tapir

One night, Zeetee (who is in fact just a little flower guy) had a dream where his girlfriend Nehema (who really is just a princess) is kidnapped and he's the one to save her. (The happy Cocoron music is a hint.) However, his dream soon caught the attention of Tapir, who decided that it would be a good dream to corrupt and devour. As time went by and Tapir began to corrupt the dream more and more, the dream slowly begins to decay, revealing progressively scarier worlds. The bad ending is where Tapir himself finally appears in the false form of Nehema, and finally eats him and his soul. Level 8 is where Zeetee tries to heal his dream with his powers — but alas, that also proves to be a false construct, as hinted by the hand at the end. In the good ending, Tapir has corrupted Zeetee's soul so much that Zeetee became an Eldritch Abomination himself. The game closing itself at the end? That was the dream, finally consumed by Tapir.

The game is about a Tyranid invasion, and Zeetee is actually a Genestealer hybrid.
The changes and eversions are the hivemind calling, and the invasion fleet approaching.

The main character is but an innocent puppet being sent through a gauntlet of death by a torturous monster

The main character is nothing but a nice, happy asterisk living in a nice, happy world. Then his body gets suddenly taken over by a mystical force. This mystical force moves his body without his control and changes the world around him without any input of his own. He is forced to touch the gems that were known by all in his world to... change... anyone that touched them. He is forced to watch as he kills his happy mushroom friends, and as those happy mushroom friends slowly change into horrible monsters. He is forced to feel every death the mystical force puts him through, and then have to feel it again after he is magically transported to earlier in time. Then the mystical force that is controlling him finally stops controlling him just long enough to see the princess of his world appear before his eyes and it seems as if he's able to return to his happy asterisk-y life, but then the mystical force changes her into a monster worse than any he had seen on his way and his world into somewhere more horrible than he had experienced so far... and then his princess eats him. Then he is pulled back to life yet again to experience the horror yet again, but touching even more of the evil gems. As he sees the area that was the final area the previous time, he sees it change to an area as horrible as the princess. Then he has to experience going through every one of the horrifying versions of his world randomly coming at him, but when he is finally dragged through all of that, the gems finally take effect. The mystical force finally leaves him for good and he is turned into the avatar of the most horrifying of the worlds he was pulled along, but even though he is now as horrible as what he was forced to go through, he doesn't care because the mystical force no longer has control over his body. Then another asterisk experiences the same thing. Oh, in case it wasn't obvious by this point, the mystical force... is you. As for the beige ending, a similar thing happens, but he is freed upon his petrification after the first run-through.

Zee Tee has maybe only 3 forms
Zee Tee starts as a level/world X-2 monster (in flower form), not a level/world X-1 monster.
  • I think maybe many people think otherwise, but after noticing how close his two eyes are and checking with the enemy designs in worlds X-1 to X-3, I find that he is closer to X-2.
  • But well, an X-2 monster is surely not a good match for an X-7 or X-8 monster (refers to Nehema).

Zee Tee ends as a level/world X-7 monster, or possibly X-8, in the good ending.
  • Actually, I hope that he is X-8, so that he can match with the princess perfectly, but seemingly he is maybe more like in between X-7 and X-8.

Zee Tee's form in Beige Ending
  • Obviously, it is level X-4.

World X-4 is the result of the gods using their final move: time stop.
Or else, why is every monster stopped? Gods hope that by using the extreme final move "time stop", it can stop corruption. But too bad, the corruption still runs and even breaks the spell and then starts affecting World X-5 and further more. The gods are unable to care further anymore, as the "time stop" depletes their energy too much, yet they still need to maintain the "time stop" in world X-4 (at least "time stop" is still a little useful in the sense that it still stops the monsters), so they isolate world X-5 and further away. World X-4 acts as the wall to separate between the light realm (world X-3 and before) and the dark realm (world X-5 and after) so that corruption can't go back, while no one can go to World X-5 easily anymore.
  • This may explain why once ZeeTee steps in world X-5 (in world 4), he is not really able to go back to World X-3.
    • Until World 7.

Zee Tee is a UAC researcher on Phobos during the events of Doom.
Z. T. (his nickname around the lab), after working with his partner for years to create a functioning teleportation device on one of the moons of Mars, develops an obsession with her and begins to refer to her only as "Princess" in his PDA diary. Once all Hell breaks loose during a successful test, the object of his desire is thrown into the maw, at the mercy of the demons/evil souls dwelling within. While Doom Guy is doing his thing, Z. T. follows her through the 8 levels of hell, gaining a working knowledge of how to stabilize the teleporter technology using the souls (gems) contained within. If he gathers them all, he gains full use of the technology and can teleport his consciousness into a demon strong enough to withstand his lover's new form. If he doesn't, he simply telefrags the demon and is devoured by his transformed Princess. If he enters her lair too late, Doom Guy destroys hell right before he unites with her, rendering them both stuck in a paradoxical universe where if anything changes, it entirely ceases to exist. He's forced to be locked in failure within walking distance of success for all eternity.

Zee Tee is a Geass user and Nehema is a Code bearer.
Nehema gives Zee Tee the Geass power that allows him to enter a multi-layered mirror world, a-la The Twilight in Lukyanenko's Night Watch. She then sends him on a quest to collect diamonds, so that he can realize his full potential. As his power increases, he gains access to deeper levels of the mirror world, and h inevitably starts losing control over the Geass. By World 4, he loses the ability to re-enter the real world. However, the diamonds are hidden in such a way that it is impossible to collect all of them without re-entering World X-1 in World 7, so he has to regain control in order to succeed. Therefore, in the bad ending, Nehema decides that Zee Tee is unworthy and does a more cruel version of what C.C. did to Mao, while in the good ending she passes the Code to him.

Zee Tee is an avatar of Nyarlathotep.
Perhaps he has lost his memory or identity on the world he is in, and he is seeking, without knowing it, another avatar of Nyarlathotep that seeks to reintegrate him into the whole, by force if necessary.

That green "sun" in the HD Version of X-4 is really the Giant Eye of Doom.
Once you see it, you can't unsee it.

Eversion originally *was* as cutesy as it first appears.
But at some point during development, there was some... interference... and what was once an innocent little platformer was transformed into what it is today. The creator either left it as is, liking the changes, or never noticed the difference.note 

The game is a metaphor of Real Life.
X-1 is where you believe what everyone tells you. X-4 is where you start realizing the truth. X-8 is where you don't mind the truth... in fact, you crave it. The good ending has two messages: True love lasts through anything, and if you don't give in to the truth, you die.

World X-9
There is in fact, a world X-9 that's Dummied Out in the game. It's probably just there as a placeholder, but what's interesting to note is that the Goomba enemies look exactly like Zee Tee. Again, probably just a placeholder, but why not incorporate that into a WMG? Zee Tee was one of the Goomba guys who ended up everting through the worlds and became a monster, but when he hit World X-9, he hit the Bishonen Line and became a flowery dude. The "Bishonen" here is compared to the Goomba dudes - he does look quite a bit like them (more than Mario ever did to the actual Goombas), but he has flower petals which make him incredibly pretty. After he makes it to World X-0 (which also exists in the code), metaphysics or something causes him to loop back to World X-1 so he can do it again.

The princess also started off as a goomba dude, but she went through the cycle a few more times, crossing the Bishonen Line proper to become relatively humanoid. When Zee Tee finally rescues her, she reveals that she's about to cross the line once more to become an actual cosmic horror (the eye is a preview of her new form), and she either kills Zee Tee to gain enough power to complete the transformation (in the bad end), gives him a share of her power so he can cross the line and become her companion (in the good end), or they're foiled at the last minute by an eversion into World X-4 caused by the goomba dudes (in the neutral ending).

Princess Nehema is Zee Tee's mother
If you look at some of the phrases that pop up, one of them says "MOTHER". While it might just be a desperate cry for help, it could be that Zee Tee is thinking about his mother on his journey. The fake Nehema didn't turn him back to his true form. But the real Nehema turned him back to his true form. The gems Zee Tee collected were simply the keys he needed to actually get to her. When you look at the two characters' true forms, Zee Tee does look like a young version of her.

Zee Tee has no part in this
Let me explain. Zee Tee is told that the princess has been kidnapped, and, being the valiant knight he is, goes off to save her. He expects the kidnappers to have left traps. In X-1, this is his world, and he's comfortable, and — wait — what's this? Why did everything change? In a nutshell, Zee Tee doesn't evert willingly, and it's all set up. As he keeps going, he thinks he knows that the things in the environment are just put there by the supposed kidnapper. Yay, he's reached the princess! But wait! Where are the kidnappers? Zee Tee realizes that something's not right — too late. The REAL kidnapper has disguised himself as the princess and killed her! HELP- game over And the so-called 'good' ending is not so good at all — why is the hideous monster coming towards me? OH NO I'M CHANGING HELP-

The world isn't changing, we're changing it
The world is the cheery, happy X-1 the whole time. The good and bad endings are essentially the same thing (in the bad ending, the princess simply isn't there). We're the ones who see it as progressively becoming more evil because of what we've been told about the game. We made it this way for us. The STOP, GIVE UP, that's trying to tell you that it isn't really this way. It could be much better.

Sweet dreams.

The game is a metaphor for Zee Tee growing up and realizing all the problems with the world.
  • X-1: Early childhood. Everything is just great and perfect. He plays around all day every day. Pretty great.
  • X-2: Middle childhood. The hills are broken; Zee Tee discovers things don't last forever. The clouds in the background are on strings; Zee Tee discovers some things are out of reach, and there exist such things as flaws. Maybe this is the first time his parents failed to keep a promise, or the first time his toy broke.
  • X-3: Late childhood. The clouds are melting off of their strings, symbolizing the destruction of aspiration. Zee Tee is discovering the experience of true sadness and the feeling of hopelessness. This is perhaps when he was first bullied by his classmates or reprimanded by a teacher.
  • X-4: Early teens. There is no background scenery. The enemy characters now sit around like lumps and no longer look even remotely friendly. Zee Tee is beginning to develop an independent identity; to facilitate this process, he develops a temporary tendency to ignore other people and his surroundings. It's like they say: teenagers just don't give a shit.
  • X-5: Middle teens. The background scenery has returned; the hills now have vaguely defined arms and mouths, so that they resemble zombies. The enemies still resemble cyclopses and now move, coming off as hostile, and arms emerge from openings in the floor. Awakening from his self-search, Zee Tee has become aware of competitive and sexual tension, and has realized that just as he now has an identity, so too does everyone else, and they can have intentions distinct from his, and those intentions might likely wind up involving manipulating or taking advantage of him. He begins to tread more carefully in his life, hence the foreboding music and the notoriously difficult sections of platforming.
  • X-6: Late teens. The hills' living features are now much more clearly defined, and there's lots and lots of blood. Zee Tee has now noticed that everyone is striving for success, but not everyone can achieve it, and the bitter struggle for success has become clearly evident. Zee Tee begins to learn that it's impossible to get ahead in life and also keep from hurting or offending anyone.
  • X-7: Early adulthood. The hills are melting and appear to be grasping desperately at what remains of their lives. Hands fire from all directions to attack Zee Tee. Zee Tee learns about guilt. He has achieved success, but at what cost to others? The guilt he feels for leaving behind those he hurt grasps at his feet as he sees constant evidence around him. The fast-paced nature of this eversion level reflects Zee Tee's desire to run away from this guilt.
  • Bad ending: Zee Tee settles down and enters a relationship. He learns things about his wife that remind him of the things he's done, represented by her turning into a monster. Zee Tee can't handle being with her because she brings the guilt back. He has nowhere to run now.
  • X-8: Middle adulthood. Everything is pitch-black. Zee Tee's guilt seems to have faded away, to black, as it were; he has accepted that what's done is done, and he can move forward.
  • Good ending: Zee Tee settles down and enters a relationship. He learns things about his wife that remind him of the things he's done, represented by her turning into a monster. Zee Tee then tells her about his own exploits, represented by him turning into a monster. They've both done some things that are in the past now, and that maybe they still feel a little bit guilty about, but just as they accept themselves for all their flaws, so too do they accept one another. They're happy together.

The game is a metaphor for the development of criminal intention.
  • X-1 is hedonism. All smiles. No troubles.
  • X-2 is responsibility. Zee Tee is given something important to do or look after.
  • X-3 is grief. Zee Tee has failed. He must face the practical consequences of his failure. They are tragic.
  • X-4 is stagnation. Zee Tee falls into a deep, remorseful depression.
  • X-5 is resentment. Zee Tee finally decides it's not just his fault: it's everyone else's, too. He's pissed.
  • X-6 is violence. Zee Tee finally acts out and starts fucking people up. The song is a messed-up version of X-2 because violence is a messed-up version of responsibility: Zee Tee has wrongly identified the source of his problems as other people, and has taken it upon himself to rid his life of those problems.
  • X-7 is retribution. Zee Tee is apprehended by saner people.
  • The fake ending is imprisonment. Zee Tee is imprisoned for his crimes by a figure of authority.
  • X-8 is tyranny. Zee Tee evades capture and continues his crimes. They become routine, and the victims lose all distinction in his eyes and become just more and more of the same faceless horde of fresh meat. The repeated killing slowly calms Zee Tee down as he rises through the system by force, until he lives a hedonistic lifestyle once more. Even so, he gets the feeling that maybe something is somehow wrong, but he ignores his conscience and continues.
  • The good ending is assimilation. Zee Tee confronts the authority figure again, but instead of being imprisoned, he is assimilated as a part of the corrupt system.

The game is a metaphor for life.
The first world is childhood. Ignorance is bliss, everything is happy! Then you start to learn more about what's going on around you and things slowly get more worrisome and stressful, to the point where it feels absolutely overwhelming and you don't know if you can go on. The gems represent life's little joys — if you don't seek them out, you'll be swallowed up by despair (The bad ending). But if you keep a sharp eye out for them and make sure to remember them, you'll find out that, though things may look bleak outside, though you still have responsibilities to take care of and things to worry about... hey, they really don't make things so bad after all! (The good ending)


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