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Apocalyptic Log / Video Games

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Apocalyptic Logs in video games.

  • 96 has only one. That's Cherry's diary, which details what happened to her after she got released from the hospital during the initial outbreak.
  • AdventureQuest Worlds, of all games, has one of these in the notes you find during your run through the creepy and horror-tastic Summit of Insanity questline. It's from the adventurer you're here to find, who was captured by Darkon and subjected to experiments that turned him into an Eldritch Abomination that you have to kill.
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  • Aka Manto: You can find tape recorders throughout the school. Each one contains a message you can read.
  • In Alien Legacy, you are the captain of a colony ship sent from Earth (which, by that point, has likely been destroyed by a vicious alien race), arriving at its intended system only to find out that another colony ship got there first (it was sent later but had a faster engine). However, instead of thriving colonies, you find nothing but ruins and messages. Besides surviving and establishing colonies of your own, the main task of the game is to discover the fate of the original colonists. And yes, by the end, the messages get more ominous and vague, even suggesting that those same vicious aliens have found you.
  • In the original Alone in the Dark, Jeremy Hartwood's diary is a chronicle of Derceto's increasing doom. One of the first things you find is the suicide letter of Jeremy Hartwood. It is literally written just after he has unwittingly released the evil of the mansion and hears the footsteps of the newly awakened abominations closing in.
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent is basically built upon this trope. The main character, Daniel, wakes up in a castle with, you guessed it, Amnesia. His only clues to any backstory or objective come from diary entries he wrote to himself, on account of his amnesia being self-inflicted. These entries tend to sound more and more unhinged as the player finds them throughout the game.
    • Also Mandus' final journal entry in the sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs:
    "I doubt I will ever be found, yet I leave you this, scrawled in the malodorous half-light, whilst my tormentor shuffles below, my fellow prisoners keen and squeal in the gloam, and where I wait for the knocking upon my cage that signifies it is, finally, my turn to make that dark journey into the interior."
  • Antarctica 88 has these. One is available in a folder in the rescue team's garage.
  • Assassin's Creed has something like this with Subject 16's encrypted messages and voice clips, especially towards the end of his sanity streak.
  • Back in 1995 has its share of notes. One of which is found on a whiteboard.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum has Patient Interviews with idealistic doctors trying to cure some of Arkham's worst inmates hidden throughout the game. Each has five segments and they all end up getting more and more unnerving as you find them.
    • The worst is definitely Zsasz, whose doctor truly tries to cure him... so he tries to kill her halfway through. The last bit has him escape, and his current doctor giving an urgent call to warn her... but she can't talk, there's someone at the door... but an observant player will note that the doctor is actually alive on the island right now, and a preorder bonus comic reveals that Batman stopped Zsasz before he was able to go through with it.
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    • Croc's is a close second for most unsettling. His doctor simply can't believe that he's cannibalistic like the rumors say...Well, in the end he escapes — she makes it out unscathed, but the scene she sees... isn't pretty.
    • Scarecrow’s interview tape 4 ends with him exposing his doctor and guards to fear toxin, leaving you to wonder how worse things will get only to learn they don’t. Tape 5 has Batman arrive, save everyone, and hit Scarecrow with a Breaking Speech.
  • Belladonna delivers most of the early plot this way.
  • Bendy and the Dark Revival: Like Bendy and the Ink Machine, there are audio logs — starting with the game's promotion, hinting that something big is coming. By the time Player Character enters the studio, there are many horrors waiting for her.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine: Joey Drew sent Henry Stein to the studio where they used to work on cartoons together with the claim that there's something he needed to show him. However, by the time Henry gets there, the place is falling apart and overrun with monsters. There are audio logs scattered around the studio from various employees that, when pieced together, explain how the studio ended up that way.
  • Caynan's log in BioForge as he slowly succumbs to insanity after his Unwilling Roboticisation. Lampshaded; as the Mad Scientist Dr. Mastaba notes, the victims of the cyborgization process after a certain point typically begin to obsessively write down everything that's happening to them.
  • Blame Him has notes you can read found around the game.
  • BlazBlue: Arakune actually becomes oddly sympathetic for a cannibalistic swarm of insects held together by a mind hanging off the brink of insanity thanks to this. His arcade ending starts with an audio log on tape, detaling his undisclosed job and how he hates meetings regarding turning a local phlebotonium into weapons because of the "hard chairs and harder people" involved. Eventually, the logs become slightly more detailed as he begins to find out things about the power source that "everyone uses, but no one quite understands". He thinks he's cracked it when it fast forwards forward again... and we slowly hear his descent from coherent, normal speech into the scattered, stuttering voice he speaks with in game, slowly detailing the process of his becoming Arakune.
    "Of course if I don't have a face, I'll just make one."
  • The journal collecting missions in Borderlands plays this for laughs where you collect the journal entries of scientist Patricia Tannis. The entries depict her Sanity Slippage as she progressively becomes more Ax-Crazy and more Cloudcuckoolander with every day (including developing a relationship with her audio recorder).
    • An early mission in the Zombie Island of Dr. Ned DLC plays this straight, by way of the ECHO correspondence of Jakobs Cove logger Hank Reiss. Gradually, his ECHO logs detail the zombie outbreak on Jakobs Cove, though for his part Hank remains hopeful throughout the ordeal — why, the company physician, Dr. Ned, thinks he can develop a cure! Hank volunteers to be a test subject for the cure, and his last log ends as he's just about to go see Dr. Ned. As you find out a little later, Dr. Ned turned him into a wereskag. You're forced to kill Hank after Ned sics him on you.
      • In the same DLC, there's a mission where you collect the logs of various other adventurers who tried to tackle the zombie problem at Jakobs Cove. Most of them are very confident in their first log, and near tears, overwhelmed by the creatures in their second.
    • Borderlands 2 has a number of these. In particular, one mission involves collecting the notes of an adventurer named Taggart, an old pal of Sir Hammerlock's. It appears Taggart went missing after he set off to study Stalkers. As you collect his notes, you discover that for a while, Taggart had fun punching Stalkers and learned quite a bit about their behavior, until a big one he calls "Henry" (after his mother) stole a special mother's day present. An incensed Taggart vows revenge, and in his next log he is dying, having had his hands eaten by Henry. Henry comes back to finish the job as Taggart screams for his beloved mother.
    • In the Caustic Caverns, there are ECHO logs detailing the Dahl mining operation that discovered Crystalisks, giant rock creatures with precious crystals on their bodies. At first, Crystalisks were friendly to humans, and a big one called Blue seemed to take a particular shine to Security Officer Boothe. When Boothe was killed by her boss over the matter of 'killing Crystalisks for their crystals, yes or no', the creatures went berserk and killed the whole crew. It's implied that this was the Start of Darkness, so to speak, for the Crystalisks, as they've been hostile to humans ever since.
  • "D's Journal" in Bravely Default is increasingly this as it progresses. It starts to get dark around Ancheim. It casts Agnes as a Dark Messiah (which is a bit of Unreliable Narrator) but gets into some unambiguously bad stuff, like D. being subjected to torture by a man on his own side, and then failing in his mission to prevent Agnes and her companions from triggering the apocalypse. The final entry is a sketch of a terrible monster and an ominous smear. The entire thing can be read end-to-end as soon as Ringabel joins the party.
  • Brink, as unlockable Audio Logs.
  • Bungie has a long history with this sort of exposition. Their early games Pathways into Darkness, Myth and Marathon all relied almost exclusively on this method of story telling.
    • This trope is also invoked to the letter on at least one computer terminal in Marathon Infinity.
      "The shields are gone, not down, but gone, and so are the engineers. It's coming back, I'm sure: and my last mercy is immolation."
    • There's also:
      "I am Arther Frain, Chief Petty Officer, USEC Marathon.
      Arther Frane calling all USEC personnel.
      Calling Cmdr. Robert Blake...
      Calling Security Chief Jones...
      Arther Frain calling any USEC controlled ship in vicinity...

      Station hull breached, we are losing pressurization. More than half the men are without vacuum suits. Patrols reporting intruder, last location unknown.

      Any USEC controlled ship surviving nova event, transport when ready.

      Arther Frain calling.
      That is all..."
    • Pathways in particular took this even further, as instead of reading the journals lying next to mangled corpses in order to progress, you can use a mysterious artifact to talk to them. Needless to say, most people aren't very talkative after spending twenty or forty years trapped in their corpse as the Horror-spawned monstrosities that killed them shamble by and occasionally nibble on them in the darkness.
  • In Chrono Trigger, seeing the video playback of the Day of Lavos is what prompts our heroes into trying to prevent it from happening.
  • Clea 2019: These take the form of noted taped to walls, and diaries.
  • Plenty of these can be found in Corpse Party (PC-98), recording the thoughts of various people who've been pulled into Tenjin Elementary before. The Fan Prequel Corpse Party Zero actually hinges on the creation of one of those notes... while other notes seem to directly mirror their experiences to a startling degree...
  • Corridor Z: Audio Logs, pages from Jill's diary, and others serve as this. You know they're coming up if you hear a cell phone ringing.
  • Inverted in Crysis: after being dropped into a cavern near a buried alien spaceship, the Player Character, Nomad, narrates his observations as he moves through the spaceship, becoming more and more nervous as the extent of the danger becomes clearer. By the end of the level, he's pleading for anyone who hears his transmission to evacuate the island, because the aliens are waking up. In a later level, naval officers on an aircraft carrier are playing back Nomad's transmissions in classic Apocalyptic Log style. Nomad is there to hear them.
    • Played straight with the CELL blackboxes in the third game.
  • Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw adores these.
    • Episode 1 of 1213 includes a document of the days before an orderly's demise at the hands of the mutants, ending with said orderly holding his pistol to his head, ready to fire.
    • In Trilby's Notes, the third installment of the Chzo Mythos, diaries are found belonging to a dead traveler, telling of the death of his wife and his own slow loss of sanity, concluding with the series' Arc Words: it hurts.
    • Not forgetting the tie-in fiction, The Expedition, charting a journey in the Mythos Dark World, with repeated Arc Words at the end, signifying the narrator's continuing terrible, painful existence.
    • Additionally, if Trilby dies during Notes, you are treated to a brief note stating that these were the last words written in a notebook found in the wrecked hotel (as Trilby was himself keeping a log during the game).
  • Parodied in The Curse of Monkey Island with the plaques of the Plunder Island Naturalist Society.
    Guybrush: (reading the last plaque, found on the edge of a quicksand pit) Quicksand pit. Quicksand pits of this type are common throughout Plunder Island's nature trails. Many an unwary traveler has found himself trapped and unable to esca— Someone, anyone, please, please help me, I'm sinking...
  • Not a few of the journal entries you find during your adventures in Darkest Dungeon turn out to be these.
  • The player character in The Dead Mines finds notes scattered throughout the abandoned mine.
  • Much of Dead Space's story is told through these.
    • In the first game the opening recording is also an Apocalyptic Log, but you don't get to see the apocalyptic part until the end of the game.
    • The first game features, among others, a log of a man saying goodbye to his wife and child before shooting off his own limbs to prevent himself resurrecting as a necromorph. As you find out later, it didn't work.
    • You can also find the logs of an Ishimura crew member named Jacob Temple and his girlfriend, Dr. Elizabeth Cross, detailing their frantic efforts to find each other in the middle of the necromorph outbreak. Against all odds, they eventually manage to find each other and start trying to look for a way off the Ishimura. Then they're captured and murdered by Dr. Mercer in front of Isaac.
    • In Dead Space 2, Stross is carrying one of these on his person detailing his Sanity Slippage and the things he sees in his visions. You can only find this log if you desecrate his corpse after Isaac kills him by driving a screwdriver into his brain. But since Stross is The Millstone, most players didn't mind going through the extra trouble.
  • Deus Ex
    • In the undersea lab level of Deus Ex, at least one scientist attempts to send a message for help all the way to the last moment. The message, retained in text format, is notably filled with spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, as would be expected. In several other points in the game, the last words of the dead are to be found on datacubes left beside their bodies, including in the Hong Kong Canal Road tunnel collapse, X51's underground section and the MJ12 base under Hell's Kitchen.
    • Likewise, the Antarctica level of Deus Ex: Invisible War is also strewn with Apocalyptic Logs.
    • It is to be noted that the designer of Deus Ex, Warren Spector, had previously worked on System Shock, which used this trope effectively as a core means of plot progression.
  • Diablo III is loaded with these. Some people leave them on lecterns or with abandoned personal possessions, and others carry them around until they die and you find their corpses (or until after they die and you defeat their undead corpses). Sanctuary may be a Crapsack World but at least it seems to have a high literacy rate.
  • Diacrisis: You can find notes around the prison detailing thoughts from the prisoners.
  • Doom:
    • Doom 3 and Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil both have a few PDAs in them with this. Though your protagonist is present for the beginning of the Apocalypse, most of the story of the game, as well as the How and Why of said event, is told through the scattered Apocalyptic Logs of Mars City's scientists, soldiers and workmen. Most of them are members of the task force complaining about security problems, other members, or the occasional Things That Go "Bump" in the Night, however a few PDAs involve people trying to relay a last minute message, and the one inside of Hell details two logs about a man being toyed with for nearly two days by the demons. One man involved in the storyline gives you a data disc he asks you to send back to Earth when you escape which details the entire plan that Dr. Betruger and the powers of Hell had for Mars.
    • DOOM (2016): The codex entries found on Mars detail the decline of UAC as more members succumb to demonic influence. Amusingly, the demons have their own in the form of the Slayer Testaments found in Hell, which tell the tale of the Doom Slayer's nigh-unstoppable rampage through their realm before the events of the game.
  • Dread Of Laughter: There are papers and videotapes scattered around the house detailing the goings-on in the house before Catheryn arrived.
  • Practically every book you can find in Dungeon Siege and its expansion. For bonus points, most of them contain variations on "The rest of the pages are covered in what appears to be blood."
  • The Dorfs of Dwarf Fortress will often make artworks depicting significant events in the fortress. "Significant events" usually means "terrible, bloody violence": "On the item is a finely-designed image of a goblin and dwarves in pink tourmaline. The dwarves are dead. The goblin is laughing."
  • In Dying Light, there are pages of a "battle journal" and notes to be found lying around, as well as the recording from the side quest Catching Past.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Morrowind:
      • In the dungeon of the tower Tel Vos, a construction crew was working on building the place and fragments of the foreman's journal are all that is left. They are scattered around to be found by the player. What's mildly funny is that the Telvanni wizard who owns the place doesn't actually care that much there's a monster loose under his tower. Or that he sent the construction crew to their deaths, or even hired them in the first place.
      • The Bloodmoon expansion includes an expedition to Solsteim in a restored Dwemer airship powered by magic. As one can expect, it crashed, leaving everyone dead but the man who had spent his life designing the ship. He records the days he spent stranded in the Solsteim wilderness, slowly freezing and starving to death. The last sentence trailed off, due to his hand becoming too frozen to write. You later have to bring the journal back to the man who funded the whole trip, which starts an annoying Fetch Quest.
    • Oblivion:
      • Several quests have this. For example, the Forlorn Watchman quest allows the player to read the log of an abandoned, haunted ship and the Lifting the Vale quest involves collecting the journal of a messenger who was headed to the same place as you. The Origin of the Gray Prince has one of these at the end in the form of a diary.
      • There is also a miniquest near Kvatch involving a man that believes he must appease "The Sunken One" to prevent the rest of the world from suffering the same fate as Kvatch. You don't meet him while he is still alive, learning of his quest (and its depressing ending, as he died believing that his failure to appease The Sunken One will doom the entire world) through journal entries.
      • A Fighter's Guild quest sends the player to find out why some comrades (including the guildmaster's over-protected son Viranus, who desperately wants a chance to prove himself in battle) haven't come back from clearing out a troll-infested mine. They're all dead, of course. The son's journal, found on his body, explains how it all went wrong. For bonus sad points, in his diary he writes about another Fighter's Guild member that he had a very, um, special relationship with. Four feet away from Viranus is that guy's corpse.
        "I hear trolls..."
    • Skyrim:
      • In a great deal of dungeons, most commonly those featuring the Falmer, the player will find already slaughtered bodies and the remains of those who went through the dungeons before. The player will also often find the journals of those ill fated travelers, often involving the situation leading up to their grisly demise. Many involve them noticing strange sounds or strange behavior in their compatriots with increasing frequency, just before everything goes horribly wrong... this is usually the only way to gain any kind of background as to what happened in these places, and most are quite harrowing.
      • One example can be found in Japhot's Folly. Japhot's journal chronicles his ill-fated attempt to start a settlement on the inhospitable hellhole of an island. Even when the rest of the settlers went Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, he stubbornly refused to leave. He was eventually reduced to eating ice-moss before starving to death. The journal is found in a small locked room with Japhot's desiccated body. The final entry in the journal? "OH GODS HELP ME"
      • Labyrinthian is another good example, and one involved in a major questline. As the player delves deeper into the dungeon to find the Staff of Magnus, they come across ghostly imprints of a group of eager young wizards who seek to discern the secrets of the place, serving as an Apocalyptic Log the player can see unfold before their very eyes. The expedition is marked failure — one of the explorers dies before they reach the final chamber, and another is forced to be left behind in a room with a trap. The group visibly starts cracking mentally before they even reach their goal, which they have to force themselves to continue towards... and then they accidentally free a trapped Dragon Priest...
  • Eldervale: From memos in the Institution, to newspaper clippings, this game most certainly has these to read.
  • The Mo'ia Atoll tablets in Endless Ocean, albeit a lot less disturbing than most. Also, the emails you get after discovering parts of the Deity Idol.
    There is something... from the window...
  • In the fifth chapter of Eternal Darkness, Max Roivas picks up three notes from his father, each more distressed than the last. Four if you count the envelope with the key. There's also Brother Andrew's diary entries in Paul's chapter and Private Jackson's letters in Peter's chapter.
  • In Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, there are several examples, in fact — radios and phones can be tapped for information regarding the townsfolk, such as their relationships with one another, and even some information about when and where they were "Raptured." The balls of light take this even further, constructing entire scenes of what happened before the events in question.
  • Evie (2018): You can find 16 pieces of paper in the building, each one being a page out of Evie's diary.
  • Exmortis
    • In this online game , while exploring the abandoned house you discover the journal of the most recent inhabitant, a man who found the house while hunting deer in the surrounding forest. The earliest entries report that shortly after he started exploring the house, he heard countless voices screaming at him in rage before he fell unconscious: when he awoke, he found himself unable to leave, forced to listen to the ghostly voices speaking to him — voices belonging to "The Exmortis." Over the course of the next few entries, the writing grows increasingly deranged, as the man is slowly brainwashed into a pawn of the Exmortis. The final entry claims that a party of five hikers is approaching the house, and all of them are to be sacrificed in a ceremony to release the Exmortis into the mortal realm. Later it's revealed that the writer is none other than the player character, suffering from amnesia after making four out of the five sacrifices needed to release the Exmortis.
    • Exmortis 2 features the diary of a farmer who found himself unlucky enough to observe the destruction caused by the Exmortis in the months after they were released, recording the news of initial attacks on isolated communities, the first autopsy of an Exmortis creature, the sky turning red, the assaults on capital cities, the failed nuclear retaliation, and the fall of major religions and most of human society: he also kept several newspaper clippings of each event, most of which are found pinned to a cork board in one of the rooms of his home. Eventually, the farmer finds himself directly in the path of the oncoming Exmortis horde, and has no choice but to kill his wife and two children, and then kill himself.
  • Fable II
    • In one quest, you can find pages from the increasingly illegible diary of a man who escaped being sacrificed by cultists, befriended a band of hobbes, and started to think he was a hobbe too.
    • The promotional site for Fable II also included one of these to explain the fall of the Heroes Guild, covering the journals of an unnamed Hero who survives the fall and then tries to escape extermination at the hands of the anti-Hero mobs. He even writes a journal entry as he's dying of a gunshot wound with the mob breaking down the door to his house. What a trooper.
    • Another chilling example is "Terry Kotter's Army", the area behind the Wraithmarsh Demon Door. Cotter was a shy, young Momma's Boy who befriends an army of silent golems called the Knights. His journal, which lies beside his corpse in a room filled with suits of armour, details his first encounter with the Knights and his ever-more frequent trips to the cave where he found them. His final entry simply repeats over and over the phrase: "They watch. They watch. They watch. They watch."
    • Also, the first cave you enter also has three pieces of paper — a journal entry, a letter and a suicide note — written by three dead treasure hunters who grew to mistrust each other and, amusingly, poisoned each other at the same time.
  • Fairune 2 has the texts displayed whenever unlocking the next set of floors in the Administrators Tower, written from the perspective of the world's creator as his work is complete and Fairune begins rejecting his presence.
  • The Fallout series is packed with these:
    • In the original Fallout the most notable is The Master's.
    • Fallout 3:
      • Probably the best example is in the Dunwich Building. Something about the building is conducive to turning people into radiation ghouls. In the days after nuclear war, you can read the journals and track the progress of the building's residents as they lose higher brain functions and end up as violent, mindless cannibals.
      • The Keller Family Tapes one must collect in order to get the Experimental MIRV in Fallout 3 detail how one family desperately tried to survive the coming war by finding a vault in the National Guard Depot to huddle in. One is even recorded as the bombs are falling. The last of the logs is from a member of the family who refuses to spend life inside the vault with his father. He decides to give them his part of the passcode and walk into a mushroom cloud. "Have a happy Holocaust!" There are also some holotapes in Little Lamplight that shed some light on him the city started up.
      • There's a cut tape that provides an epilogue for the Keller family's saga that can be obtained in the PC version through the console. It was originally meant to be found in the shelter that the other tapes are about trying to get to, and indicates that at the very least Dad and Candace survived. However, Candace complains that her father keeps leaving the shelter and going out into the bombed-out DC ruins to scavenge for useless junk and that everytime he does, he lets a little more radiation in...
      • There's also the notes and holotapes from the residents of Vault 92, and the scientists performing experiments on them.
      • And Peter Stevens' journal entries in Vault 87; in the last entry he appears to be going mad after losing his son Jason and hearing the laughter from Little Lamplight on the other side of the door.
      • The logs of the Canterbury Commons search party that was looking for Cheryl. Neither they nor you are able to find her, although you find the corpse of one of the searchers, which spawns a Super Mutant Behemoth.
      • There's this in the Point Lookout DLC. A crashed plane with a blackbox recording, a Parachute in a Tree, and a soldier's skeleton.
      • The radio signal Oscar Zulu consists of a man broadcasting a distress call asking for medicine for his sick son, repeating over and over. If the player investigates they will find an improvised fallout shelter in a nearby sewer drain, with one room containing the skeletons of a man and woman, and another the still active ham radio. However a child's skeleton cannot be found, leaving the son's fate unknown.
      • In Mothership Zeta, you find recordings from the people that the aliens have captured, most of which are deceased by the time of your arrival. One records a captive being mutated into an Abomination, the alien version of a Feral Ghoul.
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
      • Vault 11 is a major example; the first thing the player hears when searching is an audio log of five people swearing they can never let anyone know what happened inside, before they all commit suicide (excluding one who cannot bring himself to go through with it). Searching the terminals inside, you learn that the citizens of the vault had to make a human sacrifice once a year or else the computer system would kill them all. The first sacrifice was their Overseer, because he was the one who told them the bad news. After that, they decided that whoever was elected as the new Overseer would be the sacrifice every year, just to keep things simple. This led to the creation of a heavily corrupt voting bloc that could elect whoever they wanted to get killed off. At one point they extorted sexual favors from a woman by threatening to get her husband elected if she didn't comply, and then went ahead and elected him anyway. She then started killing as many of the bloc as she could get her hands on, which naturally led to them electing her next, which was just what she wanted them to do. Her first act as Overseer was to do away with the elections in favor of purely random selection done by the computer, stripping the bloc of all their power. The bloc was furious over this and started a civil war, after which there were only five citizens still alive. With so few survivors left and their guilt weighing down on them, they went to the computer and told it to Get It Over With and finish them off, because they were done with sacrificing people... and the computer congratulated them for their "commitment to human life" and rewarded them by unlocking the vault door, as the whole thing was a Secret Test of Character.
      • You also find four letters at the Matthews Animal Husbandry Farm, showcasing the mental collapse of the writer who is forced to kill their own parents when they become feral ghouls, then develop the paranoid conviction that the farm animals have become ghouls too. The last note is found in the burnt-out house, as the writer decided to burn themself to death to prevent the ghoul animals from eating them. (How the last note survived the fire is a mystery.)
      • In the Honest Hearts DLC, there is a series of supply caches left by a survivalist, each accompanied by a journal entry. The last, found with the man's skeleton and a unique Service Rifle, is his own epitaph.
      • One can find a lot them in the Lonesome Road DLC, not surprising given the nature of the Divide, nuked during the great war then nuked again by accident two centuries later, thanks to the Courier, turning it into an irradiated treacherous hell hole. these include a soldier's diary that ends with a series of random letters from when the apocalypse happened, numerous travelers and NCR scouts who tried to cross the Divide and ended up defeated by it, a silhouette of a flash-vaporized person, and some haunting graffiti of unknown vintage proclaiming everyone is dead. There also several holotapes left by Big Bad Ulysses describing his travels in the Divide itself, the Big Empty, and Zion Canyon.
    • Fallout 76 revolves around these logs, since every human character in the game is dead thanks to a mysterious plague. Any story is found via holotapes, notes, terminals, and robots.
  • The Fatal Frame series of games include text diaries, audio logs and, as appropriate to the genre, ghostly apparitions that record exactly what happened before the whole situation went to hell in a handbasket. Sometimes, the last expression can be taken quite literally...
  • Fear The Dark Unknown: The Beresford Mansion contains the diary of someone named Robert.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy VIII includes one of these on the spaceship Ragnarok. In an odd subversion, the crew apparently succeeded in destroying the aliens infesting the ship, and made the log in case anyone else encountered the creatures. Considering that the Ragnarok was left orbiting the moon, abandoned, and with more of the same aliens on the ship, however....
    • The DS remake of Final Fantasy IV features a sort of mental example. When you pause, you can see a small sentence that the leading character is currently thinking. Switch to Kain just before he is taken over by Golbez again at the end of the Sealed Cave, and you get lines like "this feeling... I've felt this before" and "No... not... not again!"
    • One of the secret Reports in Dissidia 012 Duodecim Final Fantasy is written by a Lufenian scientist. It's a log of the events happening around his lab in Cardia, including a few things about Garland's growth and Cosmos. When disaster strikes, his final log is this:
    Military on orders to expunge all persons with knowledge of experiments.
    Lab is on fire as I write this. But I'm not letting go of these documents. This will be my final stand.
    Sucks to know you're going to die.
  • In Five Nights at Vault 5, we have the pre-recorded messages from the Overseer, Nicolaus Ainsworth. Each depicts how the situation goes From Bad to Worse in a Vault from which you cannot escape and which has an Arena that people must be sent into on a regular basis until someone wins, or else the entire place will get flooded with radiation.
  • Flesh Birds: You can find papers in the cabins which reveal what happened that lead to the birds attacking you.
  • The first Descent: Freespace game has the main plot hinge on one of these. The log itself is shown in segments during cutscenes, and documented the rise of an empire, their conquest of hundreds of star systems, their contact with a powerful new race, and ends just before their destruction by the Shivans, thousands of years before the game starts. Bonus points for being the last recording not just of an individual, or a group, but an entire species. The last message, which is found by the player's side of the war late in the game, is the key to the survival of the human and Vasudan race.
    "There is little left for us. Little time. But much irony. The galactic destroyers that darkened out skies are not invulnerable. They can be stopped, but we have no way to deliver the blow. This, then, will be our legacy. In subspace, they cannot use their shields. And into subspace, they can be tracked."
  • At least one of the Fullmetal Alchemist games does this, detailing Shou Tucker cracking under the pressure of having to create a chimera that can speak, while you may not see him or Nina in the game, knowing the adaptations and seeing what went on in his head is horrifying.
  • After things go wrong in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, it is possible to read the minds of corpses, many of whom are recalling their last moments. Most of them are full of snarky commentary and Lampshade Hanging.
  • In Grandia, the party finds a captain's log on a ghost ship detailing an attack by a sea creature that killed the crew. Guess what promptly happens.
  • In The Guardian Legend, the Sole Survivor of NAJU's native population left a ton of helpful notes, including the introduction to the premise of the plot. The full text can be read in the quotes page.
  • Bones are scattered throughout the Crystal Desert in Guild Wars. Examining some of them lets you read the last written entries by the person when they were alive. The desert really, really sucks, by the way....
  • The Half-Life mod They Hunger has a series of audio logs left by a doctor experimenting on the... creatures. His final recording (which describes his own infection) plays right before he attacks you.
  • Halo (Bungie is quite fond of this trope):
    • Halo 3 includes a series of hidden Terminals which contain reports, memos, and recordings made by the Forerunners chronicling their war with the Flood.
    • Halo: Combat Evolved first introduces the Flood by way of a video recording from the helmet cam of a (deceased) Marine named Jenkins. If you read the novelization Halo: The Flood, though, you find out that the marine whose video the Chief watched wasn't dead at all — he'd been turned into a combat form, but had somehow retained his consciousness, turining it into an "And I Must Scream" scenario.
    • Halo 3: ODST features 30 hidden Audio Logs littered about New Mombasa that reveal a subplot called "Sadie's Story," in which a girl attempts to reach her scientist father during the panic of the Covenant attacking the city. She gets out safely, but it's best described as a Bittersweet Ending. Ironically, she finds herself in more danger from the panicky, opportunistic, and stupid actions of the people around her as she is from the genocidal aliens.
    • Halo CE Anniversary also had terminals added, telling the backstory of Alpha Halo's Monitor 343 Guilty Spark through his own words and detailing how he gradually went mad during his 100,000 years of isolation (and giving a little preview for Halo 4).
    • Halo 4's terminals primarily tell the story of the Didact's fall into madness from the perspective of the Domain, an ancient information repository which, according to the expanded universe, happens to be a sapient Unreliable Narrator.
    • The audio logs in Halo 5: Guardians's second level detail how all the humans aboard the Argent Moon died after a bioweapon test went horribly wrong.
  • HEPH: You can find, among other things, a text recording of an audio log about people looking into a disturbance.
  • Hollow: There are papers strewn about the ship detailing just what went down.
  • In Ian's Eyes, Ian can find cassette tapes around the school that he can play on his tape player, which act as these.
  • In Iji, some of the few logbooks written by humans are quite apocalyptic, but it's nothing next to those the Tasen write when the Komato attack.
  • The game Implosion has you landing on Earth 20 years after an alien invasion has destroyed everything, and your hack drone is gathering more info by tapping into the remnants of local messaging systems. Since the messages are somewhat random, you collect not only the history of the alien invasion, but also engineering status reports, interoffice memos, and the results of a company betting pool. Messages that aren't part of the storyline tend to be ShoutOuts, written by people like "Stephen Jobbes" (Head of I.T.), "Albert Weinstein" (Head of R&D), and some lowly researcher named "Nikola Telsar".
  • Inunaki Tunnel has these, which are written on red paper and folded up into origami cranes.
  • Iron Helix: The crew of the Jeremiah Obrian recorded video journals shortly before they were killed by the ship's automated Defender. Finding these journals is required to gain access to the ship's systems.
  • Kabus 22 has its share of these, such as newspapers.
  • Killer7 has as its second-to-last level a high school in Seattle dotted with old style tape-recordings containing the details of a detective's investigation of the murderer and assassin Emir Parkreiner. The tapes become increasingly disturbing, as the facts presented seem bizarre and contradictory (much to the exasperation of the detective). The final tape ends with him mentioning in shock that Emir is standing right in front of him, with his final words cut off by a gunshot.
  • Ansem's Reports in Kingdom Hearts. Especially subtle in the first game, where you only have the odd-numbered logs to begin with, showing Ansem under steadily increasing threat from the Heartless... then you're handed the even-numbered logs in the second-to-last area, and learn that he created the things.
  • Knights of the Old Republic
    • In the first game, whilst out on a particular quest on Kashyyyk, you find the corpses of several Wookies — all murdered by the shape-shifting assassin you're looking for. Thankfully one of his victims was smart enough to keep a diary of the systematic murder of an entire hunting party:
      We found Grarwwaar's body last night: what was left of it. If we do not leave the Shadowlands soon, I fear we will all become victims of the Faceless One.
    • The logs of the Republic ship Harbinger in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
    • As well as the entire Peragus level before it, containing holographic recordings of the crew being systematically killed off by an assassin droid turning the station's automated systems against them.
      HK-50: Mocking Query: Coorta? Coorta, are you dead yet?
    • KOTOR enjoys this trope quite a bit. KOTOR 1 let you find the journals of a Terentatek hunting party, each written shortly before the final fights of their owners, each written in a manner that suggests doom. At least one Sith student heading into a tomb left a datapad on how he or she was going to get around the traps and monsters left in there. A party going after a malfunctioning assassination droid with oversensitive hearing and using stealth belts takes a moment to log this and note with irritation that one of their number is clumsy. KOTOR 2 had these in multiple places, from the holorecordings on Peragus to the journal left inside the Jekk' Jekk Tarr's ventilation system...It's hard to find a planet that doesn't have one of these.
    • Malachor V. Unfortunately, this only serves as a stunning reminder that the entire planet and everybody on or around it were obliterated too fast for even The Force to catch up, so maybe it doesn't much count.
      • Not to mention a reminder that level is no where near finished.
  • The Last of Us several can be found throughout the game in the form of journals, including one from a boy whose parents make an attempt to escape long after the infection has hit and the leader of a doomed Disaster Democracy.
  • LISA: The Painful RPG has a diary found in the Nice Homes behind a Joy Mutant. There, a scientist rants about a "Doctor Yado" and how he was happy that Yado's project ended in failure, claiming that such experiment had no value to the army. Also, something about polkadots. In the last pages, scientist wishes he could see his wife one last time... to bash her skull in, before trailing into incoherency. No a real guess who was the mutant fought to have access to the diary.
  • Livestream: Escape from Hotel Izanami: The titular hotel has "memos" that can be found around the hotel.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online
    • One of them is the Book of Mazarbul from the original saga, which you actually get to write the final entry in during the "We Cannot Get Out" session play in Moria.
    • In an early quest, you are tasked with recovering the journal of a dead Dwarf outside a cave filled to the brim with spiders. Piecing together the pages reveals an Apocalyptic Log that ends with the Dwarf preparing to take the battle to the spiders to keep himself from being used as bait for his cousin, a spider-slayer who has passed his prime.
  • Mass Effect has a few of these.
    • Vigil is a textbook example; though originally designed as the overseer of the research station, Vigil was modified by its creators with the most complex translator algorithms they had so that it could communicate to future species, and contained every piece of information they had on the Reapers and their plans, in order to buy future cycles more time. Per its programming, Vigil shut off most of the stasis pods it was charged with preserving, in order to keep itself operational — making the messenger complicit in the very same kind of slaughter it existed to prevent.
    • In one case, the party boards a spaceship that is seemingly abandoned besides one brain-dead man on life support. It eventually becomes clear that the comatose man's lover, a powerful biotic, was violently opposed to his being taken off life support. Logs left by the captain and the ship's doctor reference her declining mental state, and it's fairly obvious that she eventually killed all the other passengers. If you turn off the man's life support, she will appear behind you and attack.
    • And then there's Ilos, where you can hear recordings from the Protheans as they try to get the word out about the Reapers in the vain hope of fighting them off. The fact that the recording is slightly garbled doesn't help.
      Cannot be stopped... cannot be stopped...
    • The second game lives on this trope; nearly every mission or sidequest includes, at a minimum, a datapad or two documenting events in the process of going horribly wrong. Notable examples include the excavation site with the datapad reading, "If you're reading this, GET OUT RIGHT NOW," the logs of the quarian scientists on the Alarei (including Rael'Zorah's last message to Tali), and the logs of the Cerberus team studying the derelict Reaper, which depict the horrific course of reaper indoctrination, even though the reaper is supposed to be dead.
      Scientist: But a dead god can still dream!
    • That last has one log that stands out, at first seeming more banal and harmless than the others. Someone talking about his wife Katy's anger management issues. The other exclaims that Katy is his wife, he must have told the first the story. He hadn't. They wonder how the hell they can remember the same thing. In context, you can see that this is part of the Loss of Identity and indoctrination they're going through.
    • Part Video Game and part Web Original, in the days and hours leading up to the release of Mass Effect 3, the Twitter account Alliance News Network, along with hundreds of fans, performed a flawless viral ad campaign, releasing tweets in real time of the Reaper "invasion" of Earth, not unlike the radio show The War of the Worlds.
    • Mass Effect 3 itself has far fewer instances of this trope. Most logs are made with no hint or inkling of the fate that befell the writers, like at the Ardat-Yakshi monastery and the hopeful, doomed staff and refugees at Sanctuary. The situation devolved too quickly for them to write about it. On Mars there's one memorable instance of a banal email that suddenly became an allcaps warning that the atmosphere was venting. At the end, on Earth, there are a few logs scattered around
    • A demo for the DLC Leviathan certainly makes it appear that they're making a strong comeback, with a level on a crashed ship whose crew ran out of food. And were indoctrinated, though arguably this was a kindness — the crew would have died of starvation either way, but this way they did not feel hunger.
    • Crossing over with Fling a Light into the Future, we have the Refusal ending of Mass Effect 3.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda keeps the tradition going. Exploring the failed colony on Eos finds a few notes from the settlers as things get increasingly worse. One side mission ends with Ryder and SAM finding a very short, succinct message: "Run." Cue one very angry Fiend.
    • The exploration of Khi Tasira yields a few. The first notes Ryder finds are things like scientists noting their experiment's progress, or a note essentially saying "yes, we know the weather system's not working. Stop bugging us about it!" Then Ryder goes through a bit that's been smashed to hell, with the note there saying "grab what you can and run." It's not until Ryder gets to the top of Khi Tasira that they find a wholly intact recording from the Jardaan explaining what happened in full.
  • The final level of Messiah contains a couple of scientists' logs to that effect — they chronicle how Satan broke free of imprisonment, how only a handful of people survived, and how they managed to find out how to defeat Satan.
  • Metroid
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes includes several logs from the doomed Marine crew. The corpses of certain Luminoth warriors (which mark the locations of Plot Coupons in the Dark World) can also be scanned to get accounts of their deaths (generally concluding with a Bolivian Army Ending).
    • The entire plot of Metroid Prime: Hunters is revealed by reading lore datashades with the scan visor on the way. It's impossible to miss several crucial messages that refer vaguely to something called Gorea, but unless you actively look for the log it's basically a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere when it arrives, and you never get to know what's going on.
    • The first Metroid Prime also had Chozo Lore scattered throughout the world (mostly in the Chozo Temple stage). Some of these detail Samus's past, while others talk about the spread of Phazon and the death of the Chozo on Tallon IV.
      • Space Pirate logs and computer scans in the Metroid Prime are largely a record of memos, announcements, and reports detailing the Space Pirates' increasingly desperate attempts to stop Samus from killing them all. Let's emphasize that: your enemies are keeping Apocalyptic Logs about you, the hero. Since the game, in fact, largely consists of Samus killing them all, this alternates between mildly depressing and extremely awesome.
    • The best logs are in Prime 2, when Samus and Dark Samus inadvertently attack the same Space Pirate installation. Their logs read something along the lines of "oh crap, there's two of them."
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption loves this, as it has a series of journals for each corrupted planet you visit. The Space Pirate lore gives you a bit of a twofer as it begins with Dark Samus corrupting them, and continues on as Samus begins killing them all. Again.
    • Bryyo is also a variant, as it details the literally planet-shattering civil war that drives the surviving natives to savagery, before The Corruption arrives.
    • There's also a message from the Aurora Unit of the destroyed Valhalla? First you have to activate the message by getting a code from a dead trooper, then you have to listen to its deep voice go on about how it feels the "Darkness Coming..." Add in the effects such as the ship rattling and it just adds to the apocalyptic factor.
  • Minecraft has music disks, which can be played by crafting a Jukebox and putting them in. Most of them are just fun little tunes, ranging from silly (C418-Chirp) to creepy (C418-13). However, a damaged, black disk labeled "C418-11" plays the sound of footsteps and heavy breathing, accompanied by creepy ambience. While the person recording it never talks, it's easy to hear what happened to them. They stop running as the ambience dies, panting and coughing as they catch their breath. Paper can be heard rustling before the ambience kicks back in. The person starts and breaks into a sprint before an animalistic howl sounds and the recording cuts out.
  • ''Mother: Cognitive Dissonance:
    • Played straight on Mars, where a series of computers offers access to log entries describing the arrival of Giegue's "extrasolar race," the subsequent conquest of Mars, and the conscription of its people as the Starmen.
    • Used more subtly in Giegue's Magicant, where scattered tombstones mark the progressive deaths of more and more of Giegue's Flying Men, who represent his courage. Each tombstone's epitaph is bleaker than the last, with the final one reading, "Here lies Flying Man. He abandoned me." This, just outside the final door leading to the location of the mad alien's deteriorating ego.
  • Either subverted or mis-handled in the casual game Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, in which you collect videotapes from some graduate students' Apocalyptic Log. The video clips include footage of things the students couldn't possibly have filmed themselves, like the four of them driving off in their car. While this could be a Hand Waved continuity error, it's later implied that the supernatural forces in Dire Grove have lured you there deliberately, so those same forces might have doctored the tapes' contents.
  • Mystery Of Mortlake Mansion: The later diary entries of "R", a previous inhabitant of the mansion, become this, describing his experiences with Big Bad Cagliostro's magical power.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 Storm of Zehir has an example of this in the wizard tower "Tempest's Fury". In this tower, they were experimenting on a djinn. Then the obvious happens, as it does with most unpleasant experiments on extremely powerful entities. You can find a journal in one of the rooms, of which the last two entries are "I'm certain the wards on my room can keep him out," and, presumably moments before being obliterated, "I was wrong about the wards."
  • Night Delivery: First, there's a letter to a tenant from their mother ofund in the dumpster. Then you find a number of notes in apartment doors on the red side.
  • Ninja Outbreak: There's notes to find around the research facility of the various staff and what they did leading up to the events of the game.
  • Notrium has you the player writing a log each day you're trapped on the planet for any who find your corpse, it can very easily turn apocalyptic after you've been on the planet awhile and succumb to one of the many ways of dying.
  • Oakwood features several notes player character Madison finds written by people either confirmed, or at the very least heavily implied, to have been killed by the Living Dinosaurs that turn out to be inhabiting the titular campsite and surrounding area by virtue of entering it from a hidden Lost World.
    • One particularly notable note Madison finds is written by her friend Dylan in the game's Absurdly Spacious Sewer level that indicates that he's been separated from their mutual friend Zoey (whom he had been accompanying the entire game up to this point), that he has a bad feeling he won't be able to make it out of Oakwood alive, and for whoever reads the note to tell his mother something important before ending abruptly before he can reveal just who or what he'll miss.
    • Another notable one can be found in the game's Secret Room written by the assistant of a scientist implied to have done extensive research on the Lost World hidden within the Oakwood campground and ended up killed by the prehistoric fauna within. The note in question involves the assistant admitting that he's terrified out of his mind after having gotten lost and separated from his boss, aware that there appears to be something watching him from where he's currently positioned, and that he just wants to go home.
  • One Dog Story: The Elaborate Underground Base you explore has diaries and computer logs detailing the goings on there.
  • Onryo (2020): There's a number of notes in the house detailing what happened inside of it.
  • Outbreak The Nightmare Chronicles has its share of notes from people who have been in the mansion before Lydia came.
  • Outlast and it's sequel go all out with this. Not only do you learn much of the backstory through documents detailing the lead up to the disaster, but your character has a camcorder and journal that you use to make your own Apocalyptic Log as the game unfolds.
  • Overload features audio logs spread throughout the levels of the game, most of which are recorded by the facilities' human employees from before or during the attack by mining bots gone berserk.
  • Pacify: In the single-player campaign, you can find papers strewn throughout the house detailing what went on in their.
  • Paranormal has you making a video diary of the bizarre haunting your character is experiencing. There are multiple ways for the log to end, all of which involve you dying; the Golden Ending, however, has you take the ghost down with you.
  • Both Penumbra games had plenty of these type of logs. First with Dr. Roberts' (the spider hater) insane diary, then with Eloff Carpenter (who recorded on cassette his horrifying final moments) and at last, with Philip himself.
  • Persona 3: The tape left by Yukari's father, and the Old Documents found in Tartarus. Interestingly, the writer of the Old Documents survived — according to the last one, she now runs the Antique Store in Paulownia Mall.
  • Phantasy Star Online has the character find the logs of Red Ring Rico, a fellow hunter who is always one step ahead of the player. The logs mostly serve as a guide for the levels, enemies, and bosses the player encounters. It's not until the final level that Rico notices all the creepy architecture and realizes something is wrong. The final log found right before the last boss which Rico unknowingly released, killing her was presumably recorded minutes before the player got there. It makes the whole thing a lot more personal than something that was recorded a while ago.
  • Pokémon
    • The original Pokémon Red and Blue (and their Videogame Remakes FireRed and LeafGreen) feature logs throughout the abandoned, Pokémon-overrun Cinnabar Mansion detailing the discovery of Mew, and its giving birth to Mewtwo. The last entry obliquely notes Mewtwo's "vicious tendencies".
    • The movie adaptation goes on to use the same trope in describing Mewtwo's origin, through a narrating scientist who's almost Lovecraftian in his devotion to finishing his report. "We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon...and we succeeded."
    • Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness has one during the Cipher takeover of Phenac City when the player goes to the mayor's house, only to find he's not there. There is a note, however, to Justy on the second floor, which shows his growing concerns over the increasing Cipher presence in Phenac. The letter abruptly ends.
    • A subversion also appears in the first Pokémon Colosseum: Late into the game, Rui's grandfather sends Wes an email, but most of it is cut off, causing Rui to fear that her grandpa may be in trouble. They arrive at Agate Village, and learn that her grandfather's perfectly alright: It was cut off because her grandfather was unfamiliar with current technology. He then supplies Wes with the thing he alluded to in an email: a Master Ball.
  • At various points throughout Portal, you can escape the testing facility into the 'warehouse' areas, and there you find various notes, clues and mementos left by previous test subjects... including lovingly enshrined pictures of the Weighted Companion Cube.
  • In Project Firestart, the science logs detail the initial conception of the genetically-engineered organisms all the way to when they become too aggressive to control.
  • Some of the Blackboxes in [PROTOTYPE 2] are records of Kick the Dog moments. The others are these.
  • The summer camp in Psychonauts has a history of the area display, complete with gradual decent into madness of the entire town. The display is matched with the rings of an ancient tree, making it a literal Apocalyptic Log.
  • Every Resident Evil game has these, often including succumbing to The Virus and committing suicide. Generally, since everyone you meet in the average Resident Evil game is dead or crazy, nearly the entire Backstory of the game series is told through this trope. One obliviously continues writing about how itchy and hungry he's become. After you read the last page, the author bursts out of the closet behind you.
    • The remake of the first game for the Gamecube even has one written by one of the monsters. Lisa Trevor, the daughter of the architect of the Spencer Mansion, and the first test subject of the Mother virus. By the time you face her (and her diary ends) she is essentially a 45 year old woman with the personality of an insane 14 year old, that being the age at which she was infected. The final entries of her diary are broken, incoherent, desperate cries for her mother, whom she had become obsessed with and had murdered several years earlier, believing her to be an imposter and tearing off her face.
    • Saving the game requires a typewriter and consumes a typewriter ribbon, meaning the player's save files are an Apocalyptic Log.
    • Resident Evil 4 is different from the others in that the logs are generally written by your enemies, and usually detail either general orders or what plans they happen to have for you. Nevertheless, there is at least one "Oh crap the protagonist has killed us all" note to be found.
  • Resistance 2 has a live version of this: At various points in the game, you can listen to live radio broadcasts delivered by Henry Stillman from the overrun city of Philadelphia. After running out of food and booze, his last broadcast ends with: "I think I'll go for a walk."
  • Roots Of Insanity: You can find a note from a dead nurse telling you to get out of the hospital to tell the world what went on in there.
  • Journals found in random chests in Runefall tell the story of an anonymous soldier whose unit invaded the kingdom of Silverdale only to perish due to harsh weather and a supply shortage.
  • In the beginning of RuneScape's Stronghold of Security is a corpse. Looting it gets you a journal written by the explorer as he wandered through the place. It vaguely describes the monsters and atmosphere of each level, and at the end he writes that he has run out of food and needs to head back through the dungeon, and just prays the monsters don't get him. There are no monsters in the area where you find his corpse, and you can bypass most of the monsters by using the nearest ladders to go back up.
    • Later on you'll find one in Mort'ton, a ruined town where the populace has gone mad with a strange affliction. The log tells of the affliction's spread and concludes with the author succumbing and writing gibberish. The quest in the area deals with using the author's research to develop a cure.
    • However, easily the most literal use of this trope is during the quest Ritual of the Mahjarrat where you have to go to a ruined plane called Kethsi and, after an extensive puzzle, find a bunker with a log sitting at a desk detailing how The natives of this plane found the Stone of Jas and, upon using it for a few months, learned rather unfortunately that its use causes creatures known as the Dragonkin to appear and destroy every living thing on the plane the stone was used on.
  • Second Sight
    • While searching the abandoned village of Dubrensk, John Vattic finds a diary belonging to one of the dead villagers — apparently the mother or father of one of the psychic children being experimented on nearby. As the writer refused to leave the village when Director Hanson's mercenaries invaded, it's safe to assume that he or she was murdered some time after writing it.
    • Also, scattered throughout the Zener facility under Dubrensk are notes on the various children that were held in the facility: almost all of them ended up horribly deformed by their medication.
  • The Secret World is jam-packed with diaries, research-logs and half-finished emails documenting the incoming horrors of the setting. Easily the most common of these are lab notes left behind by researchers from the Orochi Group — hardly surprising given, the attrition rate at their labs. Among the more notable examples throughout the game are as follows:
    • The quest-giver duo known only as "The Smiths," only provide mission introductions in the form of video logs, and given the fact that they're Orochi researchers stranded in the middle of the Carpathians with no backup, a vampire army roaming the mountains and a juvenile superbeing in their care, just about every intro has a strong flavor of this trope: "Breached" ends with Julia being blasted across the room and Winston being left facing down their increasingly-uncontrollable ward; "Contagion" features Julia being exposed to a dose of the Filth; and at least one tier of "Mortal Sins" provides a tense look at the immediate aftermath of the vampire invasion.
    • Issue #5 is all about this, with players following the tracks of Tyler Freeborn through the video journals he left scattered across Solomon Island; most of these are featured as mission intros, illustrating his ongoing investigation into the Draug and the Fog while also giving players a start on where to look next. Ultimately, Tyler's quest for answers led him to don a gas mask and stride off into the Fog itself... and players have to follow him in. After a very trippy run-in with the Dreamers, players ultimately wash up on the shore of the island, where they find Tyler's waterlogged corpse — along with his final entry.
    • The Fear Nothing Foundation Headquarters in Tokyo is a goldmine of this trope. There's actually three sets of Apocalyptic Logs here, one of which is an actual quest: the counselor's journal, Kinji's letters to his parents, and Sabrina's diary; all of them concern the brainwashing of the FNF's members, with the former managing it and the latter two experiencing it firsthand. It all ends with Kinji and Sabrina being fully indoctrinated and the entire membership heading upstairs for a mass-suicide.
    • Another goldmine crops up at the Morninglight clubhouse in the form of the missions "Torn Pages" and "Dead Letters," which both charge the players with collecting the final diary entries and correspondence of the young cultists. Beginning with the Clubhouse being locked down in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Tokyo's subway system, the notes chart the membership's attempts to cope with remaining under siege, the first escape attempts, the gradual descent into cannibalism, and the unexpected appearance of The Black Signal — which was bad enough to drive at least one member to suicide. The final entry ends with the writer deciding to escape and risk tangling with the monsters outside.
  • The Japanese Famicom version of Shadowgate has first-person narration, rather than the third-person narrator all English versions have. This includes The Many Deaths of You, which are even more ludicrously melodramatic.
  • In Shin Super Robot Wars Eiji Asuka is able to identify an artifact that Eri Anzai brought back with her: a storage device which despite its age he may just be able to get running. After some fiddling with it, he gets it to project a hologram — a hologram of a beautiful woman. With an expression of deep sorrow, she relates that her people are the descendants of refugees from war with the Balmar. They had scarcely begun establishing their own culture on this distant planet when the offworldly assault came again, and the battle rages on even as she records her words. She tells of a massive battle of attrition, the destructive fruit of which is a ravaged surface of the planet soon to be submerged as the polar ice melts. Believing their destruction to be imminent, her people have created twelve special children using the DNA harmonizing apparatus, and sent them to the highest spot on the planet in the slender hope that they can one day revive her people, and with her people's last reserves of Tronium. With a sad smile, she says that even the faintest glimmer of hope that one day her words will be heard and understood makes the undertaking worth it, and says that all depends on the twelve children, and the Mutron-powered combat robot, Raideen.
  • Shivers
    • Professor Windlenot's tape recorder plays back an audio journal in which he discovers the Ixupi have been released from their vessels and are loose in the museum. The player hears how the professor is dying due to the Ixupi sucking out his life.
    • Both of the two kids (who unwittingly released the Ixupi) leave behind notes too. The boy's notebook is instructive and helpful at first, but end in panicked scribbles about having to find some place to hide. Do some poking around near where you find it, and you'll find... his dessicated corpse, curled up inside one of the displays. Hiding didn't help, evidently.
  • From Sierra's games:
    • Space Quest V: The Next Mutation has this as Roger Wilco pokes around in Genetix, finding around what causes the Body Horror disease he has been witness of, explained in the scientist logs. Pretty chilling when combined to the creepy background music, and when you realize they dumped this vicious mutagen where they could dispose of it, by bribing high-ranking StarCon officers.
    • A Second example is on Klorox II, where Roger digs up the doomed colonist's log. A third is in Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers, where Dr. Lloyd is describing the destruction the Vohaul-possessed supercomputer has done to Roger's homeworld. For a comedy series, Space Quest was nasty about inducing Fridge Horror.
    • In another Sierra game, Quest for Glory IV, the hero will find, in the adventurer's guild, the story in the logbook written by a paladin Pyotr of how he attempted to defeat the Dark One cult and lost most of his men, and how the mage Erana tried to seal it away and was trapped with it for eternity. Another log, in the thieves' guild, tells of the guild's demise as things in the valley got From Bad to Worse, the chief thief was transformed into a monster and members got killed one by one. Yet another log is obtained shortly before the end from the monster who used to be the leader of the Dark One cult.
  • Silent Hill 4: The Room had a version of these in the red memo pages the main character collected in his scrapbook — so many red pages, in fact, that between catching them all and traveling among different worlds, it felt more like a diabolical version of Myst than a Silent Hill sequel.
    • The other games feature this to an extent, such as the scattered pages near the beginning of Silent Hill 2 (which are basically a tutorial on how to deal with enemies). However, it is often the absence of explanation as to what on earth is going on that makes things creepier.
    • The final tutorial you find, though, greatly increases the creepiness: it's just the phrase "Run away!" repeated over and over.
    • In the first Silent Hill has the main character himself doing this: before you save for the first time he mentions that he'll write his experiences down and leave them behind, in case someone else ends up going through the same thing. Sure enough, in Silent Hill 3 you can find Harry's notes from the first game in the amusement park.
  • The Sims 3: World Adventures has a plaque on the wall you can read about how an adventurer will get out the tomb you are exploring any day now. You find a skeleton next to it on the floor.
  • Skyhill has these in the form of cassette tapes, newspaper clippings, and abandoned cellphones.
  • Parodied in South Park: The Stick of Truth, where during the spaceship section of the game you can come across audio logs from a hobo who notes that he keeps coming across audio logs from other people, each more "boring and irrelevant" than the last and wonders why everyone (including him) is taking their time to make these rather than focus on escaping. Predictably, the final log ends abruptly after the hobo finds some green goo, turning him into a Nazi Zombie. The last we hear is him spouting Nazi propaganda in German.
  • In SOMA, you learn about the events that lead up to the current events of the game through various notes, logs, and audio diaries left behind. The undersea station, Pathos-II, was the only place left on Earth with any surviving humans after a comet impacted on Earth. You also learn that the black goop surrounding the station is under control of WAU, an A.I. gone bonkers, having interpreted its directive of "save humanity" in ways that's quite horrifying.
  • You find one right near the end in The Spirit Engine 2, attempting to Fling a Light into the Future, warning not to use the World Eye, as it will cause the user to become insane. The villains find it as well, but they're too impatient to translate it all. It's anybody's guess whether reading its warning would have changed their course though.
  • Spookys Jumpscare Mansion has several examples of this, from victims to GL Lab personal Spooky let die. However, the most prominent is the "romantic", a poor fellow so desperate to drink he drink ink, only to die anyway.
  • In Star Control II, your Redshirt lander crew will discover some logs left by the Androsyth. Apparently, the entire race managed to catch the attention of an unseen something from "outside". And now... they're all gone, bar the cities full of crazy. Predictably, the guy reading the log doesn't escape with his sanity intact.
  • Starcraft II
    • In the mission "In Utter Darkness", the Protoss create and seal one of these, along with the history of their species, into a temple as the last of their civilization is destroyed by the Xel'Naga hybrid-controlled Zerg Swarm. The mission is a prophetic one that takes place in an alternate future.
    • Egon Stetmann's logs on the Zerg and Protoss specimens read like this ("it grew an ocular organ today", "it must be getting power from somewhere", "at the first sign of trouble I'll throw it out of the airlock myself..."). By the end of the game, it's subverted with the Protoss specimen, which has been helping Stetmann all along, whereas the log on the Zerg specimen still seems to be playing straight.
  • The tradition of dying words holograms continues in Star Wars: The Old Republic where you find multiple examples of quest instructions and macguffins from such holograms. Apparently, it's remarkably easy to set up and record your dying words and still look directly into the camera while you're being murdered or mauled by wild beasts.
  • Stigmatized Property: The tenant's diary pages. The point of the game is to find and read them in hopes of finding out what happened to him.
  • String Tyrant logs are over the place, detailing the adventures of previous guest of the mansion. They come in three types and range from fluff to giving hints necessary to complete the game.
  • Ledo discovers an ancient recording in the Remnant Sea route split of Third Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-hen. Turns out Hideauze were created by Chrono reformationists as a method of shinka, and that the project was started as a result of the Axis drop in the Black History. It also mentions the Civilians and the Moon Race.
  • One of the trailers for Sword of the Stars has the last surviving crewman of a crippled SolForce destroyer describing the disastrous First Contact with the Liir and the Tarka (well, technically, they didn't even get to talk with the Liir before the latter were destroyed by the Tarka). The Tarka opened fire on the small SolForce flotilla. Only one ship managed to complete a node jump, but the ship's reactor was hit, and deadly radiation flooded all compartments. The survivor explains that he will die soon from radiation poisoning and is sending this message to both warn SolForce about the Tarka and warn other ships not to board their destroyer. According to The Deacon's Tale novel, the message was received.
  • Syndrome has plenty of digital logs scattered throughout the ship.
  • A staple in the System Shock series; logs from personnel can be found scattered everywhere and frequently out of order.
    • System Shock 2 in particular, contains an audio log which follows this trope word-for-word, where a scientist tries to focus on conveying useful information about The Many, even as he is being devoured. In System Shock 2, the logs each come with a little icon of the speaker's head and face, not moving, probably just there to show players what they looked like. One, Anatoli Korenchkin, is infected by the Many early on, as the logs show. At one point he leaves a log full of him speaking in a warped voice about the glory of the Many; the icon, rather than his face, shows a mass of unfacelike tissue, vaguely like a jellyfish. At a later date he sends the player character an e-mail which contains the same icon.
    • You find quite a few of these through the course of System Shock's Spiritual Successor BioShock, regarding both the destruction of the Underwater City in a civil war and personal tragedies. For example, Dr. Steinman's logs detail how, thanks to ADAM abuse, he went from an ambitious plastic surgeon to a deranged, self-proclaimed "Surgery's Picasso" whose motto was "Aesthetics are a moral imperative." And it gets the bonus points too. In one log, Dr. Suchong, a man the player has been given some very good reasons to hate, is reporting that the plasmid he designed intended to force the Big Daddies to bond with Little Sisters and protect them, violently for preference, is more or less a failure. At the same time, a Little Sister can be heard in the background, trying to get his attention. Fed up with her bugging him, Suchong slaps her, and then a Big Daddy's whalecry can be heard. Guess what happens next. You find it on a body stuck to a desk by a Bouncer's drill. Gee, how could that have happened? BioShock maintained this trend for the most part; the few people the player makes direct face-to-face contact with don't live long after the meeting, with the exception of the eerie Little Sisters and Dr. Tenenbaum. (BioShock 2 also shows those tape recorders are very resistant, given they are even found in an area that was flooded prior to the player's actions)
  • Every dungeon in Tales of Maj'Eyal has some form of records or diary entries, and almost all of them end with the writer about to die horribly at the hands of the dungeon boss. Twists include: the writer let the boss kill him, the writer allied with the boss, the writer is the boss, and, at least once, the writer may possibly have gotten out alive.
  • A subtle (though increasingly less so as you get deeper in the game) example in The Talos Principle, where you can read or listen to logs about the fall of civilizations and the direction of humanity, with the implication that humanity was going extinct as they were being written.
  • Parodied in the Team Fortress 2 official blog with A Week in the Life of the TF2 Team, where they depict themselves as insanely devoted to making new Nice Hats, to the detriment of everything else.
  • The infamous "The Cradle" level of Thief: Deadly Shadows was built around this, allowing a separate (and chilling) diversion from the main story line.
  • The Thing (2002): Blake finds MacReady's log from the film at the destroyed Outpost 31 site and listens to it.
  • Threads of Fate has a somewhat silly example of this: Mint comes across the remains of a workshop and finds a diary. There are only a few entries, but the second to last one has the magician howling about how incredibly genius he is for hiding the item inside a monster. The final entry has his lamenting his foolishness for doing the same thing, once the monster escapes. Mint's only response the situation: "Moron."
  • A quest-related diary in Tibia ends like this:
    It's just Arthei... he got burnt really badly... I barely recognise his face... Kala is sitting at his bed 24 hours a day with red swollen eyes and praying for his life. When she falls asleep in exhaustion we are keeping watch.
    (from here on, all of the pages have been torn out, only the last page remains:)
  • Today Is My Birthday has notes strewn throughout the game written by various characters.
  • In the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider, the history of the island Yamatai, on which Lara is stranded, is mostly told through a whole collection of documents, which range from the personal diaries of a court priestess two thousand years ago to the last words of an unfortunate WWII-soldier.
  • Alric's journals in Torchlight as he gets crazier and crazier from the effects of Ember.
    • And, in the sequel, we get one in the form of scattered diary entries spread around an abandoned sawmill whose inhabitants were gradually picked off by werewolves, along with another in the form of a diary entry in one optional ice cave that's a direct shout out to The Thing (1982).
  • Transistor features an ongoing log, with Red being able to read news reports from a reporter covering the slow processing of Cloudbank. By the end of the game, the reporter is standing with the last surviving citizens of Cloudbank, and Red can read her final news report just before she and the others are processed.
  • Trenches (2021): This game has these that take the form of, for one, letters from soldiers who came before you.
  • In Trials of Mana, the party stumbles upon the captain's log of a Ghost Ship. The last page is nothing but "death" (or "die") repeated over and over again, and one party member is cursed to become a ghost soon afterward.
  • Undertale has two sets, found in the same location. One are Alphys' research entries on the walls, detailing her attempts to revive deceased monsters with "determination" (a tangible force in the game) and the tragic abominations that result from her failures, which explains her present personality. The next are the old VHS tapes of Prince Asriel and the First Human, which reveal that 1. the child's fatal illness was a Thanatos Gambit, 2. they were something of an Enfant Terrible and 3. the "fallen child" you named at the start isn't the Player Character, it's this kid.
  • Unreal has no movies, no dialog and no explanatory scenes. The plot (along with random facts) is relayed entirely through logs, some of which are of the "oh no we're doomed" variety.
  • The Unreal Tournament 2004 mod "Alien Swarm" (which basically lets you play out the Aliens movie in an "original" and copyright-free environment]]) has a number of these scattered around the Swarm-infested outposts and drifting space hulks. One even involves a crewmember on a colony, who was Late to the Tragedy because he was outside when the Swarm attacked. He complains and wonders where everyone is, then notices that there are a lot of lifeforms in Sub-Processing. He ends the log saying he's going down there to ask them what's going on. You can find his body later on, in two separate rooms.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
    • The recordings of doctor Grout, the LA Malkavian Primogen, in the madhouse sequence. Hey, he's a Malkavian. They all go insane.
    • There's also less logical examples (Grout wasn't in any direct danger when he wrote his last log) found in the Ocean House Hotel and the LA sewers, with people even writing down "aaaaah!" while they were being assaulted.
    • The Ocean House Hotel is a terrible offender, where a woman's diary describes how during their stay her husband was basically acting out The Shining. It ends with an entry where she wrote down that her son seemed to be knocking on her door (who writes that in their diary?), then the woman apparently went to open the door, found her husband who just murdered their son, and then WENT BACK to write so panickly in her diary before being murdered herself.
  • The Wedding has scribbled notes and diary entries of Uncle Jack's, which reveal what has been going on in his house for an apparently long time and show his descent into madness.
  • the white chamber has three "reports" by one Arthur Anderson that gives insight into what the hell was going on prior to all hell breaking loose. He happens to be responsible for what the protagonist goes through, and makes The Reveal in person... Sort of.
  • Wick tells the fate of both the protagonist and Weaver family this way.
  • Withstand: While exploring the island the game is set on, Howard can find notes left behind by people to read.
  • World of Warcraft has lots. Some of the most memorable:
    • A journal found in Azsuna written by the tauren Paladin Aponi Brightmane details how she and her comrades have fought the Burning Legion for days, only to fail. The final entry claims they've been captured and are about to be dragged through a portal to the Legion's hellish domain. (A subversion, as she still lives, and can be rescued and recruited.)
    • In Suramar, a journal left by Arcanist Kel'danath, a Nightfallen mage, details his attempts to find a cure for the Nightfallen's condition. While he came very close to success, the Legion's initial invasion ruined his research, and the last entry suggests he is about to succumb to his addiction and become withered. (Which is exactly what happened; when the player actually find him, he is a mindless husk of what he once was. However, his work was not in vain, because the player can bring it to the other Nightfallen to continue and improve it.)
  • According to the manual for X-COM: Terror from the Deep, one of the signs that the aliens have reappeared is an increase in the disappearances of ships and aircraft in the ocean in 2039. However, since this behavior is inconsistent with the original aliens, no one wants to admit the possibility of another impending war. Scientists keep writing them off as natural occurrences, while the governments refuse to act. While investigating a UFO crash site from the First Alien War, the submarine operated by X-Com inexplicably implodes. Hours later, investigators are unable to find any signs of foul play. It's not until two months later that someone discovers the submarine's distress call at the Pentagon's X-Com War Room. The message ends with "I think they're back."
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown implements a very subtle form of this kind of log with the News Ticker in the Situation Room. If you are doing poorly, the news reports that come up on the ticker will paint a very grim picture of the consequences of suffering defeats against the aliens.
  • The generally weird You Are Empty had a level set in an abandoned farm. Along the way you'd see written notes from the former owners indicating that the chickens were growing strangely quick, and that something was wrong with them. Sure enough, near the end of the level, you have to fight van-sized chickens.


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