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Video Game / Back in 1995

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Back In 1995 is a Retraux Survival Horror game by Throw The Warped Code Out. It was released for PC through Steam on April 28th, 2016, and then ported to Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Xbox One in May 2019.

Kent returned to a city rocked by a catastrophic event to reach a tower. To do this, he will need to solve puzzles, hunt down items, and battle against a bevy of monsters, all in a style meant to evoke the feeling of old survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

Back In 1995 contains examples of:

  • Always Night: The sky in the game is always black.
  • Anachronism Stew: 1995 is an odd year to set a retro game based on old Survival Horror games. The TropeCodifiers of the genre, Resident Evil and Silent Hill (the latter of which the game seems to be heavily influenced by) didn't come out until 1996 and 1999 respectively. Quake and the 3D revolution wouldn't happen until 1996 either. 1995 games were primarily either sprite-based, 2.5D (Doom-likes), or FMV games. The only major fixed camera angle 3D Survival Horror game at the time would have been Ur Examples like Doctor Hauzer and the Alone in the Dark trilogy, the 3rd game of which came out in 1994.
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  • Apocalyptic Log: Plenty to be found.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI is very basic and prone to getting stuck on obstacles, or losing sight of the player really quickly, barely reacting to him even when he's up close.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played with; there's a very basic blood spray effect from attacks, but it fades out almost immediately in mid-air, and never actually lands upon any surface.
  • Driven to Suicide: By the end of the game you discover a note strongly implying that Kent's daughter Alissa had committed suicide after Kent had suffered from a form of dementia for a long time and then the normal ending consists of Kent asking Alissa to forgive him and leaping off the radio tower himself.
  • Everything Fades: Dead monsters immediately turn black at death and fade out as soon as they hit the ground.
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  • Excuse Plot: The game's story is essentially window dressing for its nostalgia, as it only consists of a few notes that barely even try to explain anything. The normal ending arrives abruptly and consists of Kent leaping off the radio tower after finding the letters revealing his daughter committed suicide and he's on the mental health watchlist due to brain swelling causing him to develop a belief the year was still 1995. The real ending spells out the not-so-hidden message of the normal ending outright. See Gainax Ending.
  • Gainax Ending: The real ending completely abandons any pretence the game had a plot, and instead reveals it was all a meta commentary on old survival horror video games and our relationship to them.
  • Misidentified Weapons: The game's interface calls a pretty obvious short-barrel revolver a "pistol".
  • Mook Chivalry: The monsters are pretty bad at swarming the player and will often end up lining up to fight him one at a time instead.
  • Multiple Endings: There a normal ending, and a true one that's only achievable on New Game Plus.
  • Retraux: The game is done in the style of Playstation and Sega Saturn Survival Horror games, with blocky graphics, appropriate camera angles, and even a screen effect meant to mimic the resolution on a standard-definition TV. Notably, while the weapons, enemies, and overall scenario are heavily inspired by Silent Hill, the graphics and interface are much older and cruder and more akin to the likes of the original Alone in the Dark or Doctor Hauzer.
  • Run, Don't Walk: Averted. Kent only has one walking speed.
  • Sanity Slippage: By the end of the game, you find letters that reveal Kent is a mental patient who is delusional about the year being 1995, and likely much else, like the existence of monsters. In the normal ending, Kent responds by jumping off the radio tower.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The shotgun does much more damage than the pistol, while ammo for it is just about equally as common.
  • Spoof Aesop: The only coherent lesson that can be gleamed from the plot is Silent Hill 2 probably isn't the best game for a mental patient on suicide watch to be playing over and over again.
  • Stylistic Suck: The game's movement, textures, lighting, music, and sound effects are crude or non-existent, a deliberate homage to 3DO era 3D games.
  • Take That!: By the end of the game, it's hard not to read the revelation that the year is not in fact 1995, but that the protagonist's cognitive ability is stuck in that year and refuses to process any information that indicates otherwise, or accept anything newer than things from 1995, as a dig at either the players of Retraux nostalgia, the creators themselves, or both.
  • When Dimensions Collide: You find a few notes throughout the game that seem to imply the monsters are creatures from the 3rd Dimension or 4th Dimension who are appearing in the world after the explosion of an experimental atomic collider built to study said dimensions. The idea that the game world is one in which the 4th Dimension was unheard of and merely theoretical also ties into the real plot, where Kent is a delusional man playing a video game who due to brain swelling is unable to conceive of the year moving past 1995.
  • Wrench Whack: One of the weapons Kent can wield against monsters is a monkey wrench.