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Video Game / American McGee's Grimm

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"I wanna make the insufferable suffer!
Bring back the dark!
Bring back the gruesome!
Bring on the Grimm!"

Once upon a time, people told stories filled with danger lurking around every corner and important lessons. But as time passed, the stories got watered down into a pile of mushy stuff that would put Walt Disney to shame.

In this episodic platformer, your player character is Grimm, a dirty dwarf who hates how the fairy tales have turned out and decides to bring back their darker aspects... by running around the settings of said tales, his very presence causing things to become as grim and gruesome as he is. The more things he darkens, the more powerful he becomes, allowing him to darken bigger objects and even people, until the whole setting and its inhabitants are grotesquely moulded to his satisfaction.

    The Fairy Tales Featured 
  • Season 1
    • A Boy Learns What Fear Is
    • Little Red Riding Hood
    • The Fisherman and His Wife
    • Puss in Boots
    • The Girl Without Hands
    • Godfather Death
    • The Devil and His Three Golden Hands
    • Beauty and the Beast
  • Season 2
    • The Master Thief
    • The Singing Bone
    • King Midas
    • Cinderella
    • The Golden Goose
    • Iron John
    • The Pied Piper of Hamlin
    • A Christmas Carol
  • Season 3
    • The Frog King
    • Jack and the Beanstalk
    • Mulan
    • Pinnochio
    • Sleeping Beauty, with Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin
    • The Adventure of Thumbling
    • Snow White

Originally released as weekly episodes on GameTap from July 2008 to April 2009, the whole series was made available on Steam in January 2014.

A Comic Book adaptation by IDW Publishing has Grimm, having successfully Grimmified the fairy tale world, moving on to various Comic Book settings.

    Comic Issues 
  • Crisis on Earth 57: Grimm, ticked off by the heroes always triumphing over the villains, interrupts a Captain Ersatz-laden superhero comic to make the villains truly despicable and to give the heroes no chance of winning.
  • Love Hurts: Grimm decides to show a cheesy love comic what it really means to fall in love with someone.
  • The Revenge of Thumbless Jack Hammer: Thanks to Grimm, a western comic outlaw gets another shot at terrorizing a local town.
  • Gotta Kill 'Em All: Grimm is displeased at the lack of fatalities in a Pokémon-like manga and attempts to rectify this "issue" once and for all.
  • Trouble in Twigville: Aggravated by the Long Runner status of Twig, Grimm intervenes to give the comic book an ending — no matter the cost.

Provides Examples Of:

  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The final part of Snow White's story, where Grimm goes and collects everybody from every story he's turned grim.
  • An Aesop: Grimm delivers one of these at the end of each darkened fairy tale, they range from normal, to outlandish, to (unsurprisingly) rather disturbing.
  • Back for the Finale: For the final level in "Snow White", Grimm decides to recruit every protagonist of all the fairy tales he corrupted to help crash Snow White's wedding.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: Grimm enjoys the disgusting and dark, while the sweet stuff makes him sick.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Most definitely prevalent. Grimm seems to be doing it on purpose just to have a chuckle at burying a village under lava, or setting TNT in a bunny warren.
  • Brass Balls: Referenced in the first episode, after the boy survived the night in the castle. Grimm says the parts are either missing or made of brass.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Grimm notes that the titular character in A Boy Who Learns What Fear Is found out that fear and surprise have one common element: both can make you mess your pants unexpectedly!
  • Broken Aesop: Stories like Cinderella or Rapunzel shouldn't be changed just because they have some unseemly parts to them...unless they had a happy ending to begin with, like A Christmas Carol.
  • Call-Back: Most levels will feature things you grimmified in the previous scene near the start of a level.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Grimm's motto is, "Happily Ever After" ends NOW!"
    • Grimm usually ends his commentary on the light version of the story with "If you disagree with [x], play on."
    • He also ends each episode with "May all our stories end so well! Until next time."
  • Cats Are Mean: Grimm comes to this conclusion in Puss in Boots. He even considers getting one of his own.
  • Christmas Episode/ Yet Another Christmas Carol: Grimm takes on "A Christmas Carol", then goes on to trash Santa's workshop and hijack his sleigh in order to grimmify all of Dickensian London.
  • The Corrupter: This dwarf corrupts both the land and the people of every story he visits, such as turning the friendly woodsman into an axe-swinging madman who chases the uncorrupted with the intent to chop them up. Grimm goes after everyone, hero or villain.
  • Crapsack World: Grimm's motivation is to transform the Utopia of the fairy tale world into this.
  • Darker and Edgier: Grimm tries to turn the stories into this.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: This seems to be one of Grimm's beliefs. He believes that the "Happy Endings" in modern fairy tales are undeserved by the protagonists.
  • The Elevator from Ipanema: From episode 7 onward, pausing the game results in a tinny muzak rendition of the opening theme. The style and tinniness make it clear that this trope is being invoked.
  • Episodic Game: There are 23 episodes, each subverting a different fairy tale.
  • Evil Brit: God help you if Grimm doesn't like the way your story goes...
  • Eviler than Thou: Grimm is this to several of the villains he encounters. At one point, he even berates Satan for having a half-assed plan.
  • Fridge Logic: In-Universe, Grimm sometimes points out some of the less logical things in the stories he visits.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Grimm speaks to the player and is aware that they are controlling him during gameplay. Makes some sense since he's also the narrator.
  • Grimmification: Very literally here.
  • Ground Pound: Butt Stomping is an important part of the gameplay. Not only does it allow you to darken things out of your reach, but also stun cleaners. You could squish them too, but you have to turn them dark first, and by then, they're harmless.
  • Grotesque Cute: The game's visual aesthetic. Behold puppet Satan!
  • Halloween Episode: Grimm turns "The Master Thief" tale into a cheesy B-movie about vampires.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted. They seem to be the official Butt Monkeys of the game.
  • Humans Are Bastards: After he's done, everyone in the story will live and breathe this. If there's any way to spin an action into a selfish act of violence, Grimm will point it out and then make the story reflect his interpretation.
  • Hypocrite: Grimm often expresses a contempt for (characters he perceives to be) Karma Houdinis in spite of himself getting away with mass corruption, pollution, murder, and other grisly things within the story worlds.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Zig-Zagged. Babies are spared, but young children can and will be killed or otherwise harmed.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Yup, that's a guy doing Cinderella's voice.
  • Lethal Lava Land: If there's a body of water, you can pretty much bet it'll be lava by the end of the level.
  • Level Ate: One part of The Golden Goose takes place on a mountain of bread. Grimm decides to make it all rotten and stale.
  • Loony Fan: Grimm is a Death fanatic.
  • Motive Decay: Grimm himself, in the IDW comics. Rather than wanting the stories he corrupts to mean something in the end and restore them to their macabre origins, he instead messes with things for the simple sake of making them shocking and subversive, often refusing to allow things to run their course by the corrupted world's standards until he's personally made the original ending completely unachievable.
  • Number of the Beast: One of the loading screens says that Grimm was born on July 6, 1966.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same:
  • The Pigpen: Grimm is a filthy, filthy little man. He weaponizes it in his crusade to make everything dark, and him just being near darkened people makes them vomit from the smell. Also, if you stop walking, he'll use a line to show where he would land should he jump... by peeing.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: What Grimm thinks cats follow, and he excuses Puss in Boots for it since he was going to die if the cat didn't do something to save himself.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Typically the lowest form of cleaners and, as such, are easily blackened.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Grimm likes to give these to abused heroines, such as Cinderella and The Girl Without Hands.
  • Spoof Aesop: The ultimate result of much of Grimm's interference is such gems like "you can't get rid of cruelty in your own generation, so why bother?" and "Felines are cruel and vicious creatures who only help others out of the knowledge that they'll come off better in the long term". To show just how bad the Sugar Bowl is before Grimm comes along, these actually make more sense then the previous ones.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Snow Means Death : In the Godfather Death episode, Grimm's progress turns most of the areas into frozen wastelands.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Grimm is like this at times. Despite his preference for filth and crude humor, he has a surprisingly large and elegant vocabulary.
  • Sugar Bowl: The stories before Grimm does his dirty work.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Grimm's weakness is liquids of varying types, up to and including vomit.
  • Too Dumb to Live: What Grimm thinks of several characters
  • Too Kinky to Torture:
    • Grimm himself. Hit him hard enough to send him flying? He'll treat it like an amusement park ride along with an unironic "Wheeeee!". Getting the boot from an angel or Death himself? Ditto.
    • However, this quickly gets subverted in later episodes, where he obviously does not like getting hit and sent flying. Perhaps it was fun at first, but the luster wore off quickly.
  • Villain Protagonist: Grimm himself, though he might argue differently.
  • Villain Song: The Intro song, sung to the tune of "The Hearse Song". The penultimate part of the last scene of the very last episode has him sing the song again, but with different lyrics.
  • Walking Wasteland: Grimm brings decay and crapulence to the stories he chooses to rewrite.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Grimm's goals include delivering retribution to Karma Houdinis and granting some folks who were victimized like Cinderella and Mulan some closure (with brutal revenge against their oppressors), but he commits a great deal of morally and ethically questionable acts to do so.
  • Womb Level:
    • As to be expected, one of the second to last scene in Little Red Riding hood takes place inside the Big Bad Wolf.
    • One of the scenes in Thumbling has Grimm and the title character make their way through a horse's body... butt-first.


Video Example(s):



Grimm is a dirty little dwarf-like being who seeks to corrupt the Fairy Tale World into its dour and cruel original self.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainProtagonist

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