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Nightmare Fuel / The Stanley Parable

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...I want to watch you for every moment that you're powerless, to see you made HUMBLE.

Beneath its comedic exterior, The Stanley Parable is a tale of Existential Horror, rife with both Nightmare Fuel and Paranoia Fuel with its surprisingly excellent use of Nothing Is Scarier and Controllable Helplessness.

  • The Narrator's progressively more manipulative and antagonistic behavior can get this way.
  • The Apartment ending is particularly disturbing because the game ceases commenting on game conventions and begins commenting on free will as it pertains to the real life of the player. Stanley returns home from work to find that his wife is a mannequin and in fact doesn't exist as a person (much to the Narrator's mirth, as he suddenly enters full sadism mode). Coercing Stanley into entering the apartment, the Narrator smugly states that Stanley sits behind his screen all day wishing he was on fantastic adventures that "will never happen". The game forces you to press buttons with instructions such as "Press O to go out with the boys", "Press V to tell your wife you love her" and "Press H to go to sleep.", implying everything the player does in their real life is completely meaningless and predictable. The level also confines you to a TINY room, barely able to move as it morphs back to Stanley's office. This pleasant experience concludes with the game simply telling you "PLEASE DIE" as the Narrator begins to loop. It's one heck of a Player Punch and comes across as genuinely fatalistic and unnerving.
    • The original "Pawn" ending is another creepy variant, where the Narrator restarts the story and changes it so that the monitor commanding Stanley never shuts off to give him an opportunity for escape. Thus, he is left a mindless slave as it dictates his every action, while the Narrator creepily describes how it's all hopeless and how Stanley will never escape, and then the monitor suddenly displays "Please die" and everything goes black...
  • If you wait to or don't enter the code in the boss's office, the Narrator gets impatient. What differentiates this from his other, humorous tirades is the fact that a while in, his subtitles turn red. This is one of the few times in the game this happens, and it's probably the first one you'll come across, so it really takes you off guard.
    One. Nine. Five. Seven.
    Two. Eight. Four. Five.
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  • The "Museum" ending where you end up trapped in a cage and slowly move towards a crusher, while the second narrator cuts in and begs you to take control away from the game by exiting it, her voice growing increasingly desperate, and then is suddenly cut off by the crusher smashing into you.
    Female Narrator: But listen to me. This story is not over. You can still save these two. You can stop the program before they both fail. Push escape, and press quit. There's no other way to beat this game. As long as you move forward, you'll be walking someone else's path. Stop now, and it'll be your only true choice. Whatever you do, don't let time choose for you! Don't let timeSMASH
  • The gradual realization that the Countdown ending is unwinnable, when you first play it.
    • The Narrator takes a sudden turn for the sadistic in that ending, with a long, taunting monologue:
    Narrator: Oh, dear me, what's the matter, Stanley? Is it that you have no idea where you're going or what you're supposed to be doing right now? Or did you just assume when you saw that timer that something in this room was capable of turning it off? I mean, look at you, running from button to button, screen to screen, clicking on every little thing in this room! These numbered buttons! No! These colored ones! Or maybe this big, red button! Or this door! Everything! Anything! Something here will save me! Why would you think that, Stanley? That this video game can be beaten, won, solved? Do you have any idea what your purpose in this place is? Hahaha, heh,'re in for quite a disappointment. But here's a spoiler for you: that timer isn't a catalyst to keep the action moving along. It's just seconds ticking away to your death. You're only still playing instead of watching a cutscene because I want to watch you for every moment that you're powerless, to see you made humble. This is not a challenge. It's a tragedy. You wanted to control this world. That's fine. But I'm going to destroy it first, so you can't.
    • Additional playthroughs of that ending are no better, with the Narrator mocking your vain attempts in trying it again.
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  • The "Sneak Peek" trailer, which starts out looking like a Let's Play until the Let's Player (Chilled Chaos) gets stuck in a dead end, at which point he seems to start losing his mind before the screen cuts to black and the Narrator starts delivering a chilling monologue. The end of his speech is just the cherry on top of it all.
    Narrator: Soon, you will be the one to walk. The controls will be in your hands. Soon, we will find out if your friends turn and laugh at you as they did with him. [Laughs] Oh, I think I'm going to enjoy this. When you find out how alone you truly are, I will be laughing more than anyone. Very soon, now. The end is nearly here. Let's play, everyone. Let's. All. Play.
  • In the HD Remake, when unplugging the telephone, the room you were in starts glitching up and deteriorating from "Narrative Contradiction" after the Narrator forces you to watch a video about choices. When he redirects you back to the room with the two doors and instructs you to go left like normal, going through the right door leads you into a glitched dead end. After going back left, the meeting room has glitched. After going back to the room with two doors, the glitching and deteriorating further spreads until the Narrator shuts the game down and everything goes black, and then the room reappears again except dark and completely destroyed.
  • Any part in either the original mod or the HD Remake that doesn't have narration.
  • During the Confusion ending, the Narrator attempts to fix the breaking of the story by the use of The Stanley Parable Adventure Line, which is supposed to lead you down the proper path, but the Line itself starts swerving in unexpected directions. The finale to this ending is a room with a schedule board with the description of all five false restarts so far and three additional restarts that are supposed to occur afterward, beginning with the Narrator forgetting about the previous restarts and ending with the Narrator abandoning Stanley until he dies. The Narrator objects to his memory being erased and seems to successfully abort the plotline altogether, but the game is violently restarted against his will. This is, however, a completely fresh start, but if you choose to go through the door on the right at your first choice and look through some windows in the hallway, you'll see the Adventure Line rambling its way around the interior of the room.
  • The HD Remix's Crazy/Mariella ending. The new music and the Narrator's much more desperate, emotive commentary combine to form an ending far more intense than the original version.
  • Sometimes in the HD Remix, on rare occasions, you can see another person walking through the hallway through a window. Using cheats, the Steam community have discovered that he uses the same model as Stanley; therefore, this is happening over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over.
  • The concept of the game as a whole. Essentially, the message of the game is that not only do you have no control over anything that happens in your life, neither does the one controlling you in the first place. If you don't hold the power, and the puppeteer pulling your strings doesn't hold the power, who does?
    • The octane rating of the Nightmare Fuel doubles when you realize the questions of choice and destiny can, and are really not-so-subtly meant to be, applied to Real Life in general. The very nature of this game most likely will cause you to have your very own existential crisis. What fun!
  • The Games Ending. The Narrator, so fed up with Stanley, essentially abandons him in an unfinished netherspace of half-finished environments and utter darkness. Stanley plunges down and lands in the setting of the original mod- decimated, and devoid of light... and he's left alone there, presumably forever.
  • The Escape Pod ending. Nothing Is Scarier than Stanley to walk alone, without the Narrator to guide him, with no sound. And when you reached the Escape Pod, all of a sudden the screen turns to black before reseting.
    • When the Steam community dissected the inner workings of the ending, they found fine print in the ending's room and console errors that indicate two things: One, the Narrator needs to be present for the pod to launch (he isn't, hence the silence.) Two, the bugs that trigger the console errors are intentional and more or less boil down to the game being unable to handle the Narrator straight-up ditching Stanley. That's right - he up-and-front abandons you over the same conditions that trigger the Cold Feet ending. Many speculate that the Escape Pod ending could have been a Golden Ending, had the Narrator simply stuck with Stanley.
  • The first section of the game - from Stanley's office to the two doors - is the most played section of the game, played over and over again. Thus, to avoid you getting too comfortable in this constant, the game likes to change it every now and again. This can be quite unsettling at times. To give but a few examples of possible changes:
    • The floor is covered in papers.
    • The ambient music is replaced with the sound of rain.
    • There is no ambient music at all.
    • The copier makes copying sounds.
    • All of the monitors display a fullscreen version of the loading screen's "THE END IS NEVER THE END IS NEVER THE END IS NEVER..."
    • Occasionally, the narrator will give different voiced lines when Stanley leaves his office, ranging from Stanley's inner monolouges and thoughts to the narrator telling Stanley that he is being followed by someone. Considering that this only occurs after quite a bit of gameplay where the player's only artificially human contact is a single voice, this can be quite paranoia inducing.
    • The route changes - either Stanley's office opens into a blue room and corridor, or there is an extra corridor or two just before where you would normally enter the two-door room, or it will skip the majority of the office and go straight into the two-door room from your office. Additionally, usually the first turn you make through the office leads to a hallway going to the right, but sometimes that hallway instead points left, which is just enough to make you wonder if something actually did change, or if you just imagined it.
    • One of the office telephones starts ringing. Finding and answering the phone will play a semi-randomly selected one-sided conversation, which sometimes has an effect on subsequent playthroughs.
      • One of said messages will ask you to confirm a shipment for boxes. Should you confirm it, the office will be littered with boxes on the next playthrough.
  • The original "Real Person" ending happens when Stanley unplugs the ringing phone. The Narrator gets to the conclusion that if Stanley did such a non-intuitive choice there must be a real person (you, the player) controlling him and then he removes you from Stanley's control. The last scene is a view from the ceiling in the room where Stanley has the choice to pick a door, with the Narrator desperately begging him to go the left door, realizing that he can't tell his story because without the player Stanley can't do anything. Quite unsettling. This is also the true ending of the game. As, without a player, a game isn't a game. Therefore, with the player gone, the game is over and the narrator is trapped forever with unresponsive Stanley in a And I Must Scream scenario.
  • A bit of narration that appears in the dark echoey room of the Museum implies the Confusion Ending would originally have closed with the narrator realizing he's only a disembodied voice incapable of deviating from the game's script, and frantically pleading Stanley to tell him where (and who, and what) he is, only for his words to start cutting off, leaving him incapable of speaking more than disjointed syllables before the last reset.


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