Arthur's Nightmare is a freeware horror game released in June of 2018 by Varun Ramesh. A self-described "meme game" based on the PBS Kids show Arthur, the player is tasked with collecting Woogles while exploring Arthur's home. However, they also have to watching out for Arthur himself while they're at it, as he's not as friendly as you remember him... and neither are the other residents of the house.
The game can be downloaded for free on itch.io.
This game provides examples of:
- Adaptational Villainy: Every Arthur character in this game, far from the source material's friendliness, is a villain hellbent on hunting you down.
- Art Shift: Combined with Medium Blending in the ending, which is entirely live-action.
- Body Horror: Downplayed with DW, who lacks their nose, has a perfectly round mouth full of teeth, and also displays reptilian eyes.
- Color Motif: Red (obviously associated with danger). The game's title screen is entirely in red, various rooms can change into red-tinged Eldritch Locations, every enemy has red eyes. Even minor details, like a QR code shown on the house's TV and the protagonist's computer's wallpaper in the ending are colored red.
- Disproportionate Retribution: One interpretation of the game's premise - Arthur and company are haunting a man's dreams solely because he dislikes the later seasons of their series.
- Easter Egg:
- The house's TV displays a QR code. Scanning it leads you to a Pastebin page consisting entirely of repetitions of "Jekyll" and "hyde", which while a reference to the infamous "Jekyll Jekyll Hyde "song, when you replace every appearance of "hyde" with 0s and every appearance of "Jekyll" with 1s, it turns out to be a binary combination. translating it supposedly leads to an unmarked extended ending on the creator's youtube channel.
- On very rare occasions, it is possible to encounter Baldi or Golden Freddy while changing rooms.
- Eldritch Location: The house has a habit of turning random rooms into red-lit, Hellish places full of teeth as you make headway in collecting Woogles (though this only impacts their aesthetics).
- Excuse Plot: You're an embittered Arthur fan who dreams about having to collect Woogles in Arthur's house while avoiding its residents. Good luck.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the ending, as the protagonist deletes a folder full of Arthur rants from his computer, other folders dedicated to fellow PBS Kids shows like Cyberchase, Dragon Tales, and The Magic School Bus are briefly legible.
- Fan Dumb: In-Universe, it's implied that the player character is part of it. The game opens with "ArthurFan598" posting a comment complaining about the series' switch to Flash animation in season 17 and saying it "ruined the show". After beating the game, the ending shows what is presumably the same man waking up and deleting a whole folder full of Arthur rants from his computer (with similar folders for other PBS Kids shows (such as Cyberchase, Dragon Tales, and Thomas the Tank Engine) being barely visible).
- Hellish Pupils: DW has these.
- Jump Scare: Running into an enemy unsurprisingly leads to this.
- Mythology Gag: Several to the cartoon it's based on.
- The title screen replicates the original show's Episode Title Cards.
- The player is tasked with collecting Woogles (from "Arthur Ride the Bandwagon") in each night.
- As mentioned above, scanning the QR code on the TV in the living room leads to a reference to the "Jekyll Jekyll Hyde" song from the original series' Musical Episode.
- In the ending, the protagonist finally waking up is accompanied by the sound effect used for the end of Fantasy Sequences in Arthur itself.
- Nightmare Sequence: As the title indicates, the entire game is one.
- Non-Indicative Name: You don't play as Arthur - he is in fact the main antagonist.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Every enemy in the game has them.
- Scary Teeth: Arthur has markedly sharper teeth than in the actual series. DW has them as well.
- Sensory Abuse: The game's main scare tactic - all the Jump Scares are accompanied by extremely loud audio clips from the original TV show.
- Stalked by the Bell: DW serves this purpose - they slowly rise up from the floor in whatever room you're in and Jump Scare you if you stay in one place for too long, necessitating frequent movement.
- Tears of Blood: Jane and David both have these.