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Static Screw

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A common thing to place on a player's screen is television static. This may be as bad as making the game unviewable, or as mild as causing light interference. This is common in games set with Deliberate VHS Quality. This may also be the result of looking at a Brown Note Being or Eldritch Abomination. In exploration games this often happens when in irradiated or toxic areas, typically accompanied by the radiation sound.

Sub-Trope to Interface Screw. Compare Camera Screw. Super-Trope to Snowy Screen of Death, for when this happens on the game over, error, or crash screen.


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    Action Adventure 

    First Person Shooter 
  • In Dystopia, the EMP grenade and GreenICE deactivate all of your implants and cause a static effect on your screen and sound.
  • Half-Life: Getting near toxic zones will trigger static on your suit's HUD.
  • Halo 4: Static appears around the edges of the HUD as Cortana deteriorates from age, and the effect becomes more frequent as her condition worsens throughout the plot.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy: Certain enemies have the ability to temporarily cause static over Samus's visor, obscuring her vision. Generally this is caused by enemies that utilize electricity somehow, whether via attacking (such as the Chozo Ghosts and Sentry Drones from Metroid Prime and the Dark Pirate Commandoes and Rezbits from Echoes) or otherwise (the Scatter Bombu and Jelzap from Prime cause static if you're nearby, and the Sentry Drone from the same game dies with an explosion that briefly scatters the Visor if not taken out with the Wave Beam). Echoes' multiplayer even allows players to inflict it on each other via the Hacker Mode powerup. In Corruption, Samus' X-Ray Visor is overcome with static if a nearby enemy is in Hypermode.
  • Project: Snowblind, a Spiritual Successor of Deus Ex, puts you in control of a soldier enhanced with nano-machines. If an EMP grenade explodes near you, it disables the nano-machines, making your screen fills with static for a short moment.

    Hack and Slash 
  • In NieR: Automata, when 2B is infected by the Logic Virus, she takes herself to a location to isolate herself so that she doesn't infect the server. As you make your way there, her pod warns you of the level of infection and your screen & sound gets increasingly staticky. When you reach the bridge, your pod warns you that your head is overheating, which is immediately followed up by your screen going black for a second, then 2B's head exploding in flames (her head is still fine).

  • Lost in the Static takes this trope to its logical conclusion: everything in the game is made of static, although it's possible to discern the shapes of the player, enemies, and level geometry by how the static moves.
  • Rayman Legends: The stage "Orchestral Chaos, 8-Bit Edition" repeatedly blurs with TV-style static throughout the level. The effect later appears (alongside the rest of the world's Interface Screws) in the 8-bit version of Grannies World Tour.

    Point and Click 
  • Fran Bow: When under the influence of the pills, all monitors change to display static, with a barely visible version of Fran's head crying blood.

  • The Binding of Isaac: Delirium may occasionally cloak the room with static, leading to the layout of the room to change. After Delirium is defeated, the screen will also flash with static for an extended period of time. Fitting, considering the fact that Delirium is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Isaac's mental breakdown as he lies dying in the chest.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Some bosses in The Desolate Hope can cast "Hackworm", which causes static to periodically cover the screen, making it harder to choose the right commands. Since the boss battles use ATB, while you're waiting for the screen to clear up, the boss has more time to prepare its next attack.
  • OMORI: A secret entrance to the Docks in Black Space 2 exists in the Backyard Area of Black Space, accessed by collecting the area's key, waiting 143 seconds, jumping off the edge, and interacting with a figure in an open area. This is the only way to access this location on the True/Sunny route. However, since you aren't meant to be there normally, the screen will constantly glitch out and fill with static.

    Run And Gun 
  • Copy Kitty: Interference by the Cybers' Prison prevents Mission Control's messages from getting through clearly. Some words are more staticky than others, but it's all obscured, starting from World 6, Stage 2.

    Simulation Games 
  • Mechwarrior: In Mechwarrior 4, 5, and Online, your radar and other cockpit displays will briefly become filled with static any time your mech is hit by a PPC.
  • In X: Rebirth, the Albion Skunk's Diegetic Interface will begin to show glitches when the ship is damaged. It is most prominent in the "Hawk" cockpit configuration that replaces the Skunk's glass canopy with a panoramic viewscreen display, where excessive damage causes sections of the window to show heavy static.

    Stealth-Based Games 
  • In Metal Gear Rising, when Raiden's had his ass handed to him by Jetstream Sam you spend a brief segment of the fight stumbling around the arena sloppily swinging your sword at Sam while he dodges and taunts you. The entire time the screen and your UI are overtaken with static.
  • Yandere Simulator:
    • If Ayano attempts to exit school before the day is over, the screen will fill with static and a message will appear stating "No... I must not".
    • As shown in the article image, if Ayano tries to look up Info-chan in the Student Information menu, static will distort the screen and Info-chan herself will tell her to not bother.
  • In the Gamecube/PS2 version of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, during your first mission in JBA Headquarters, Sam's trademark goggles and radio will be distorted and riddled with static. Your first mission is to find and fiddle with four separate fuse boxes to reduce the feedback which causes it.

    Survival Horror 
  • Around the Clock at Bikini Bottom: Prowler Patrick will cause this as a warning whenever you are in his line of sight.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach: Whenever Vanny is actively chasing you, your screen will fill with static which grows worse and worse as she gets closer.
  • Silent Hill 4: The Room has the screen be covered in static if you draw near to one of the Ghost Victims or the Apartment Hauntings. Keeping close to this for too long will begin to drain your health unless you're equipped with a medallion which repels the ghosts and exorcises the hauntings. Without one of those or a special candle to help repel them, your only option is to keep your distance.
  • The Slender Man in Slender: The Arrival and many other Slender games causes the screen to distort whenever he goes near you, because the whole game takes place from the perspective of a camera, which Slender Man is known for fucking with. Also, you cannot pause when there is static on screen; this was added in as a way of preventing Jump Scare rage quitting.
  • Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion:
    • Specimen 8 causes this throughout his chase, and the static even extends to his chase theme.
    • Specimen 4 doesn't do anything special to your screen in the base game, but her other 2 forms in Endless Mode repeatedly covers your view in static that gets thicker until you literally can't see, before immediately going away and soon coming back again.
  • Strange Terror From The Deep: ??? will regularly cause this when nearby.


Video Example(s):


Slender Man

Taking place within the perspective of a camera, the game interface would begin to distort into static the closer the Slender Man is to you. And should the Slender Man gets too close to you before you could even escape it, it's game over.

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Example of:

Main / StaticScrew

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