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Video Game / Detention (2017)
aka: Detention

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If a paper plane could whisk my dreams away from here...
Where did Ms. Yin go..?

Detention is a Taiwanese independent horror game developed by Red Candle Games, and released on January 12, 2017. A 2D point-and-click side-scroller, Detention is set in 1960s Taiwan during its period of martial law, and begins with bored second-year high school student Wei Chung Ting falling asleep during a history lecture. While Wei sleeps, class is interrupted by the school's JROTC officer, who pulls aside the teacher, Ms. Yin, to ask about a list in his possession.

Some time later, Wei awakens to find the classroom deserted, with a hasty message saying "typhoon warning" scribbled on the blackboard. Surely enough, a nasty storm is brewing outside the windows, and the school has been evacuated. Rushing to get home and beat the downpour, he encounters senior student Fang Ray Shin in the auditorium on his way out, and they agree to leave school together. But after a horrible incident, the school begins warping itself in strange ways, and hostile spirits called the Lingered appear.

The studio's second game, titled Devotion, was released on February 19, 2019, and is a vast narrative, stylistic, and mechanical departure from its predecessor. A film of the game was released on September 20, 2019.

A series based on the game was released on Netflix in 2020.

Not to be confused with the cartoon or movie that share the name.

This game has examples of the following tropes:

  • Achievement Mockery: Attempting to dial 911 on the phone nets you an achievement titled "What made you think this would work?"
  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: The fact that the Lingered can bend their backs in a perfect 90 degree angle makes it clear that they definitely aren't humans.
  • Abusive Parents: Ray's home life isn't the greatest. Her family initially started loving until her parents started to fight, her father becoming physically violent towards her mother and a heavy drinker while her mother became distant and neglectful to Ray. It was bad enough that it affected Ray's life at school and her mental health, and she needed to see the school counselor. One night when her father came home drunk, Ray noticed the faint smell of powdered make-up around him.
  • Action Survivor: Ray, a normal high school student that has to face supernatural threats that lurk around the campus.
  • All for Nothing: Ray's betrayal of the forbidden book club. She meant for it to separate Ms. Yin and Mr. Chang so she could date Mr. Chang again... but unbeknownst to her, Mr. Chang was supplying the forbidden book club, and so was executed, and Ray took her own life out of guilt.
  • Arc Words: "Snitcher". It's later revealed that this is what Ray's classmates would call her after betraying the secret book club for selfish reasons.
  • Assimilation Academy: The school has turned into this, drilling the students with anti-communist propaganda. The forbidden book club was Ms. Yin's attempt to counteract that, and Mr. Chang helped her by providing her with material.
  • Big Bad: The Lingered, spirits that haunt the school, are the main enemies of the game, for the first half. Afterwards, Instructor Bai Guo Fong, the radically anti-communist government supporter, is revealed as the one who had the secret book club arrested after Ray herself busted them, causing her to kill herself out of guilt. Ray's spirit becoming trapped in Purgatory can ultimately be traced back to him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the Good Ending, Ray's finally able to accept and remember her sin, no longer repeating the endless nightmare, while in the present, the martial law has been abolished and an older Wei is released, returning to the now abandoned school where he seemingly reunites with Ray's spirit. However, Ray's forever cursed to wander, barred from Heaven and Hell, and Wei still lost half of his life because of Ray's actions and most of his loved ones and teachers are long dead.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The school gradually turns into this, with all manner of strange things happening to the surroundings, and your movement around the levels make little sense. Justified since it's not the real school, but a ghostly representation of Ray's guilt and trauma. The actual school, which has rather normal architecture, has been abandoned for years by the time of the epilogue.
  • Book Burning: At one point, Ray sees Wei and another classmate burning the outlawed books in an attempt to hide the evidence from Inspector Bai. It's not enough, because Ray still had the list of books, and used that to rat out the book club.
  • Book Ends: The game begins with Wei in his classroom, then finding Ray in the middle of the auditorium. In the Bad Ending, Ray returns to the center of the auditorium to hang herself (before the cycle starts over). In the Good Ending, Wei returns to his classroom 30 years later and reunites with Ray.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Aside from improvement in her mental health, it is implied that Mr. Chang ended his relationship with Ray because Ms. Yin advised him that he would risk putting her in danger due to him being part of the book club. This ends badly for Ray, Mr. Chang, and Ms. Yin.
  • Break the Cutie: The White Terror was not a pleasant time to be living around 1960s Taiwan. As shown by our two central characters:
    • Wei was a normal student in Greenwood High who was arrested and taken away from his mother by officers due to being a member of the secret book club that Ray told Instructor Bai about. While he was only given 15 years of imprisonment, his life was still stolen from him. His mother died while he was in prison, his school's counselor was executed along with possibly some of his classmates and schoolmates, Ms. Yin fled and died abroad, and he heard of Ray's suicide. By the time he was released, he lost all his loved ones, the school he went to is abandoned, and much of his life is destroyed, wasted because he was outed as a reader of forbidden books by a close friend.
    • Ray watched as her once loving family became broken up, affecting her daily life at school, and witnessed her mother turn her father to the police for bribery once she learned of his affair. She received emotional support from Mr. Chang, who helped her with her family problems, who she has heavily implied to have fallen in love with, and when the counseling sessions came to an end, her relationship with him ended as well, nearly making her fall once again into depression. She soon becomes jealous of Ms. Yin and. seeing her as a rival for Mr. Chang, revealed the book club's existence to Instructor Bai to get rid of her. However, in doing so, she accidentally ruined the lives of her teachers and classmates, including her friend Wei, and sentenced Mr. Chang to death. She then took her own life out of guilt.
  • Broken Ace: Prior to her broken family life, Ray was a promising student who performed academically well and participated in many school activities, earning the respect of her peers. However, her life at home soon affected her school life, making her an outcast and falling into depression.
  • Broken Bird: Ray. It ends badly for her.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In the prologue, Instructor Bai inquires Ms. Yin about a list he has. The list is revealed to be an order of outlawed books for Ms. Yin's secret book club that Wei had given to Ray when she asked for materials for reading, which she later gave to Inspector Bai when selling out Ms. Yin out of jealousy. It's even shaped as a gun when the player receives it with the description explaining that it could get "rid" of whoever she dislikes. Ray shows the paper to Mrs. Yin while her reflection points a gun at Mr. Chang.
  • Choke Holds: The Lantern Specters and the hanging ragdolls by the furnace use this method to kill.
  • Cool Teacher: Ms. Yin is well-liked by her students, who worry about her whenever she has to take leave and dislike the substitutes. She encourages her students to be able to express themselves and learn freely in knowledge and self-actualization — so much so that she even created a secret book club that allows students to read forbidden books that will help them think independently, even warning her students the risks should they join. Ms. Yin had also praised Ray's paper and given her words of encouragement, which makes Ray's betrayal all the more sad.
    • Mr. Chang shares Ms. Yin's belief that people should have the freedom of choice and self-actualization, even helping out in her secret book club by smuggling prohibited books.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Had Ray not tried to use the government to break up Mr. Chang and Ms. Yin, or had at least talked to Mr. Chang about their alleged relationship, Ms. Yin wouldn't have been exiled, Mr. Chang wouldn't have died, the book club members wouldn't have had their lives ruined, and Ray herself wouldn't have committed suicide and wouldn't be in Purgatory.
  • Crapsack World: 1960s Taiwan is not a fun place to live. Oppressive authoritarian government under an iron-fisted dictator, censorship, brutal anti-communist lawsnote , the second-longest period of martial law in history, it just doesn't stop. The strange Dark World a.k.a. Ray's Purgatory that the school turns into is even worse, what with being an Eldritch Location and the home of the Lingered and Lantern Spectres.
  • Creepy Doll: There's an entire room full of them in the second half of the game, and you have to find two of them for a puzzle.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • It is implied that Mr. Chang's past was "complicated" as it is mentioned that all his siblings are dead. Which was why he was able to understand Ray's problems at home and gave her the emotional support she needed. It is implied it evolved into more than just counseling.
    • Ray also has one. Her family was initially loving, but when her parents started to fight, the situation slowly slipped into the gutter and they eventually became neglectful and abusive to Ray. Despite being a model student, she eventually became so troubled that she needed to see the counselor. She improved with Mr. Chang as her Living Emotional Crutch… but when he broke off their relationship (because he was afraid to connect her to the forbidden book club that he was involved in), she didn't take it well. She thought that it was because he was in a relationship with Ms. Yin (founder of the forbidden book club) and ratted the club out to the authorities to get Ms. Yin out of the way. She got Ms. Yin out of the way, all right… when she was forced to flee the country to avoid imprisonment or execution along with the rest of the book club. However, Mr. Chang, who didn't have Ms. Yin's connections, could not flee and ended up being executed. Ray took her own life out of guilt, and became trapped in a purgatory resembling her school until she could atone for her sin. Cue the events of the game, where she can either refuse to accept her sin and repeat the whole experience, or come to terms with it and escape.
    • By the time of the epilogue, Wei has one. He was a normal student who secretly participated in a club for forbidden books. He gave the list of what books they had to his friend Ray for safekeeping — unaware that Ray was jealous of the book club's leader Ms. Yin and would use the list to set the government on her. Along with getting rid of Ms. Yin, Ray revealing the book club led to Wei being arrested and spending fifteen years (until martial law was lifted) in prison. He got out, but much of his life and youth was destroyed, and as far as we know, he's the Sole Survivor of the club.
  • A Darker Me: A shadowy version of Ray appears near the end of the game, and asks Ray questions. Ray's answers to these questions determine what ending she gets. She's implied to represent Ray's guilt and sin. Answering her correctly each time results in Ray accepting her guilt and being able to move on.
    Shadow Ray: I, am you. Yet you, are not me.
    Shadow Ray: (after a correct answer) You... are me.
  • Dark World: Well, darker, given that the main school is already pretty freaky. You visit one late in the game, and you're required to switch between it and the regular world to bypass certain obstacles. It's even more surreal than the main game world.
  • Dead All Along: The majority of the characters, including Ray herself, have been dead for years. Only Wei is still alive.
  • Dead to Begin With: Ray committed suicide prior to the game's beginning, and the events of the game are Ray stuck in purgatory, trying to remember and atone for her sin.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When her counseling sessions came to an end, and by extension, her relationship with Mr. Chang, Ray fell into depression once again, describing herself as a "walking corpse". She permanently crosses this and committed suicide after her betrayal not only led to the arrest of her friends, but also Mr. Chang's death.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Wei isn't the main character, Ray is. You only control Wei for the very early parts of the game, and one of the endings.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The visual aesthetics and characters are stylized to resemble black and white photography, especially since the game takes place in 1960's Taiwan. Or rather, repeated past memories of Ray's sin as she forever wanders Purgatory. And when an older Wei returns to his old school after being released, Wei and the school are no longer monochrome, signifying the present.
    • One notable flashback is not only in color, but in vivid, dreamlike neons — it was the recollection of a movie date Ray has with Chang, probably to demonstrate how she felt like being around him brought her world back to life.
  • Delicious Distraction: Laying down food offerings can be used to bait the Lingered. While they are busy eating their meals, it makes it easier for Ray to sneak past them.
  • Dirty Communists: Due to the conflict with mainland China, and being set during the Cold War, the KMT government note  has this stance. At the school, the most fervent anti-communist is Instructor Bai, who is a civil war veteran. Needless to say, there is an ongoing Witch Hunt, and the main characters are on the ass end of it.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ray's alcoholic father was eventually arrested for bribery and corruption. It is implied that Ray's mother turned him in as retaliation for his cheating and abuse.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The section where you use your movie tickets. It is perhaps the most colorful place in the entire game with signs of many Taiwanese foods and pop culture references during that time in the background.
  • Downer Ending: In the Bad Ending, Ray still refuses to remember and come to terms with her sin and tries to hang herself, but the scene flashes to the present before she can do so, repeating the endless nightmare once more.
  • The Dreaded: Instructor Bai. The student body fears him and some don't dare to speak his full name.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ray, after she realizes exactly what she's done by selling out the book club.
  • Eldritch Location: Wei and Ray are trapped in something that resembles their school where the Lingers wander around, complete with nightmarish imagery and a giant shadow. It is actually Ray's purgatory, and represents her guilt over selling out the book club. As long as she refuses to accept responsibility for her sin, she will wander it in a "Groundhog Day" Loop forever.
  • Enter Solution Here:
    • A three-digit combination lock uses Bagua trigrams as its symbols. Even if you already know the answer or how to decipher the trigrams, you still need to the guide to unlock it.
    • There is a piano puzzle that needs you to play the exact melody of "The Torment of a Flower" (雨夜花), as heard on an eight-track tape. For anyone who is tone deaf, beware.
  • Escape Sequence: After you reach the counselor’s office, a giant being with a sack on its back will chase you across a seemingly endless hallway until you find a white door to escape.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Wei and Ray were close friends at school. Wei trusted her enough to give her Ms. Yin's list for the book club, only for Ray to betray him and turn the list over to Instructor Bai, which resulted in Wei being imprisoned for fifteen years. Ray regretted it immensely, as she never intended for Wei to get caught in the crossfire.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Totalitarianism is not a toy, Ray. There's a Witch Hunt going on, so the government won't just come in, arrest Ms. Yin, and leave. They'll arrest everyone you care about and sentence the man you loved to death while they're at it.
  • Evil Phone: The phone in the principal's office. It's implied to either represent Instructor Bai or a metaphor to Ray's snitching, or even both. It also features a quick Jump Scare in its first use.
  • Eye Open: After you have collected Wei's blood from his cut throat, his eyes will suddenly open for a brief moment. Just when you go in to check on him, they're closed again.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In the Good Ending, when the military police arrive to arrest Mr. Chang due to his affiliation with the book club, he knows he won't able to escape easily this time and accepts his inevitable death, joining with his dead brothers and sisters.
  • Footprints of Muck: This is a puzzle in where you have to pour a pink glow-in-the-dark liquid into a puddle to follow ghostly footprints through a maze of doors.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • If you pay close attention, the Lingered are actually a hint to Ray being dead from the very beginning. This is because the Lingered are pretty much hungry ghosts; ghosts that have no one to remember them or pray for them, and thus are doomed to be always hungry. Ray was buried in an unmarked grave, forgotten. That is why the Lingered looked like her, and why they are distracted by food. The Lingered are Ray.
    • Wei sees a flyer that encourages students to rat out potential communist supporters to Inspector Bai and proclaims that informants would be greatly rewarded. Ray took him up on that offer and sold out the secret book club to Instructor Bai due to her jealousy towards Ms. Yin. In the Bad Ending, she is seen walking up the school hall's stage to receive her reward — a noose.
    • In one of the early puzzles, Ray has to slice open Wei's throat to get his blood. Ray's actions in real life resulted in Wei being imprisoned for 15 years, essentially destroying his youth.
    • The word "Snitcher" is seen multiple times scrawled on the background, calling out Ray for betraying the forbidden book club to the government.
    • One door early on is painted with Taoist symbols, and Ray can't open it without paint remover to rub out the symbols. The symbols ward against ghosts, and Ray cannot enter because she's Dead to Begin With.
    • When Ray looks at herself in the bathroom mirror, her reflection will ask her if she's "forgotten… or just too afraid to remember?" Ray has been repressing her memories of what actually happened to the school because she's afraid to deal with her guilt over causing the Forbidden Book Club to be arrested.
    • During the Red House segment, Ray comes across an unmarked grave in the auditorium and it seems to be Wei's. Then it's revealed that after Ray committed suicide, she was buried in an unmarked grave, and in Taoism belief, committing a misdeed or not being given a proper burial results in the person's spirit being trapped in Purgatory and forced to eternally experience their sins.
    • At one point, you'll see a figure on the roof of the school, who jumps off the railing before you can get a good look at her. It's Ray herself.
    • At one point in the game, Ray has to collect two puppets for a puppet play — the Inspector Puppet and the Hooded Puppet. When she puts them onstage, the Inspector Puppet will execute the Hooded Puppet, also killing another puppet dangling upside down between them. This is basically what Ray's actions in snitching about the book club led to — the central government executed the leaders of the book club and destroyed the lives of its members in the crossfire. Notably, the dangling puppet is quite reminiscent of how Wei's body hangs upside-down in the auditorium.
    • When Ray sees a memory of her having a meeting with Wei regarding the book club, she asks Wei about the relationship between Ms. Yin and Mr. Chang. This hints that Wei encountering Ray in the game wasn't their first meeting, as well as her relationship with Mr. Chang and her jealousy towards Ms. Yin, which resulted in her betrayal.
    • When Ray receives the book list and meets Ms. Yin in the mirror room, the book list is shaped like a gun in your inventory and in Ray's reflection, and Ms. Yin's reflection is that of a man with his face covered by a hood. At the end of the confrontation, Real!Ray will curl up in a ball, while Reflection!Ray will shoot the hooded man. The mirror is reflecting how Ray used the book list as a weapon, and it wasn't Ms. Yin that said weapon ultimately killed — it was Mr. Chang. Additionally, the mirror presents a direct reference to the White Terror itself, with victims hooded and executed in prison.
  • Flash Step: The Lingered may occasionally cross short distances at a whim.
  • Flower Motifs: Daffodils. They represent prosperity and good luck, but also vanity and oftentimes, death. Ray's betrayal was motivated by her own selfishness and indirectly caused the deaths of her counselor and a majority of her schoolmates, causing her to commit suicide out of remorse.
  • Fluorescent Footprints: Pouring a glass of pink fluorescent liquid reveals footprints that will help Ray navigate through the room filled with Magical Mystery Doors once you turn off the lights.
  • Gasp!: Ray always makes a big gasp when a large enemy is approaching, like the Lantern Specters or the shadow figure.
  • Genre Shift: After the confrontation with Ms. Yin, the spooky Taiwanese mythology references and monsters largely vanish, being replaced with a surreal sequence of flashbacks exploring Ray's past, and how she came to be in the monster-filled school to begin with — it's her purgatory, after she killed herself out of guilt for selling out Ms. Yin and the book club. The Bad Ending returns to the supernatural aspects, while the Good Ending focuses more on the character-driven aspects.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Ray just wanted to get Ms. Yin out of the way so she could keep up her romantic relationship with Mr. Chang, but her actions in telling Inspector Bai about Ms. Yin's book club ended up ruining the lives of pretty much everyone Ray knew — Wei was imprisoned for fifteen years, only being granted his freedom with the lifting of martial law in 1987, Ms. Yin was forced to flee the country (she eventually died in exile), and while the rest of the book club isn't revealed, they likely had a similar fate to Wei. The only confirmed hard casualty of this action? Mr. Chang, the person Ray did it for in the first place.
  • Gravity Screw: Ray's parents can be seen sleeping on the wall in their bed when we enter their room.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The president/general of Taiwan at the time. He doesn't actually show up in person, but a statue of him is a recurring background element and Ray will comment about feeling watched when inspecting it.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The Bad Ending reveals that Ray is trapped in one after her suicide. The loop starts with her reliving the last day of the forbidden book club, being woken up by Wei in the auditorium and being stuck in school with him because the bridge is broken. Then she goes to sleep and wakes up in the auditorium of a demonic version of the school with Wei dead and puzzles her way through it until she comes across a flashback of herself gaining the book list and then confronts Ms. Yin. After this, she is taken through a recreation of her past and the events leading up to the point where Instructor Bai confronts Ms. Yin to force her to confront her sin. A shadowy version of herself will then pose questions as a Test Of Character. Ray's answers will determine the ending: the correct ones (the ones where Shadow Ray responds with a monologue) will have Ray own up to her guilt and escape to the real world, while any incorrect ones (where Shadow Ray remains silent afterwards) mean that she refuses to face herself and the loop continues on to Ray's award ceremony for snitching on the book club, where she commits suicide and the loop resets to her asleep in the auditorium again.
  • Guide Dang It!: Getting the Golden Ending requires you to answer four cryptic multiple-choice questions correctly at the end of the game. There really isn't any indication what the expected answers are or that this dialogue is more than just Flavor Text. You'll almost certainly see the Downer Ending first. Thankfully, replaying the last chapter is quick and easy.
  • Haunted Technology: The game makes liberal use of the kind of 60's tech you might find in a high school at the time, such as a rotary phone, an 8-track player, a movie projector, etc.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The cackling and screeching made by the Lingered.
  • Hint System: Whenever Ray dies, she ends up in an area with an old woman walking around. If Ray stays close to the woman, she will receive a vague hint on how to deal with what had killed her.
  • Human Sacrifice: One of the clues mentions it, but the requirements for the victim differs from each language. You need to sacrifice the innocent in the English version; however in Chinese you need to sacrifice a young boy to reveal a prophecy. Regardless of language, both them hint that you have to slit Wei's throat to finish the puzzle.
  • If I Can't Have You…: The reason Ray betrayed Ms. Yin and Mr. Chang to the government is because Chang ended their romance. Unfortunately, this also means that she unintentionally ruined the lives of everyone else in the book club, including her friend Wei. Ray also didn't intend for Mr. Chang to be killed, but, well, see Evil Is Not a Toy above.
  • Impairment Shot: Ray can't hold her breath forever, and holding it for too long causes the scene to appear fuzzy.
  • In-Series Nickname: Fang Ray Shin prefers to be called Ray in the English version. In the Chinese version, she simply states that it would be more natural to call each other by their first name instead of their full name.
  • Invisible Wall: Walking off the stage is impossible and you're stopped at the edges of the spotlight, after accepting the noose in the Bad Ending.
  • Invisible Writing: There's a message scratched into one of the school benches, but it's illegible. To reveal it, you need Wei's blood.
  • It's All About Me: Ray is a perfectly Ordinary High-School Student… who snitches on her classmates and teachers, getting many of them killed and ruining the remaining survivor's lives, all out of petty jealousy. Whether she keeps this attitude or not is up to the player.
  • Jump Scare: More subtle compared to other horror games, but they're still there:
    • There's a brief shot of a Nightmare Face when Rei hangs up the principal's phone.
    • Ray's reflection in the mirror smiling and twitching her head around, causing the mirror to break.
    • Successfully completing the piano puzzle results in a whole audience of applauding ghosts showing up from nowhere.
    • Playing with a broken light switch in one of the Red House's corridors will trigger a Lantern Specter to spawn right next to Ray so it can turn it on.
  • Knight Templar: Instructor Bai is a fervent anti-communist hardliner, and harshly enforces the government's anti-communist policies, no matter who breaks them. Even Ms. Yin, Mr. Chang, and Wei as well as anyone else involved in the book club.
  • Last-Name Basis: Wei Chung Ting is often referred by his surname from Ray and throughout the game.
  • Left the Background Music On: A sample of the song 雨夜花 will keep playing until you reach the piano after you set the broadcasting tape on the final track.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Mr. Chang was this to Ray. When he ended their relationship, she became determined to keep her anchor to life, even going so far as to rat out Ms. Yin's book club to get rid of her. Unbeknownst to her, he was helping out with the club, and her betrayal resulted in one of the people she cared about getting killed.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: When Ray looks into the mirror in the girls' bathroom and hopes her current situation is All Just a Dream, her reflection will smile, glitch out, and ask her a question:
    Ray's Reflection: Forgotten… or just too afraid to remember?
  • Mind Screw: The game eventually becomes this after Wei seemingly dies. This also extends to whenever the environment suddenly changes without warning.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: At one point, Ray will have a confrontation with Ms. Yin in front of a mirror. In the mirror, Ray will instead point a gun at a hooded man. What's happening in the main game is what Rei thought she was doing with her snitching, while the mirror is showing what actually occurred. Instead of Ms. Yin being forced to stop pursuing Mr. Chang (which she wasn't actually doing in the first place), most of the book club were executed (like Mr. Chang) or imprisoned until martial law ended (like Wei).
  • Mood Whiplash: The Good Ending abruptly changes the mood from the rest of the game's overwhelming horror to a sense of melancholy and sadness.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe, this is the reason for the events of the game happening. Ray crossed it when she sold out the book club in a selfish attempt to Murder the Hypotenuse… except Ms. Yin wasn't even having an affair with Mr. Chang, which rendered the horrific selfishness of Ray's act completely pointless. The situation seen in-game is Ray suffering in Purgatory as punishment for her guilt (and her refusal to admit it).
  • Motif:
    • Ray and Mr. Chang's relationship is symbolized by paper airplanes. In the Good Ending, Ray finds a yellowed paper airplane with a farewell message from Mr. Chang.
    • Ray and Wei's relationship is symbolized by a school desk and chair.
    • Ray is represented by daffodils.
    • Mr. Chang is represented by deer, like the pendant he gave her.
  • Multiple Endings: There's a good ending and a bad ending. In the bad ending, it's revealed that Fang's spirit is trapped in a never-ending cycle of guilt, and constantly relives her pain, misery, and eventual suicide. In the good ending, we find out that Wei has been released from prison under the post-martial law amnesty, and returns to the now-abandoned school, where he's seemingly reunited with Ray's spirit.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: What Ray intended to do by ratting out the book club. While she probably didn't actually intend for Ms. Yin to die, she definitely thought that Ms. Yin was her rival for Mr. Chang (due to overhearing out of context their conversation about the forbidden book club they were both part of and how Mr. Chang would be putting Ray in danger by continuing his relationship with her) and intended to get rid of her by setting the authorities on her. Unfortunately, it went horribly wrong, resulting in Ms. Yin fleeing the country and eventually dying in exile, Wei being imprisoned, and many others, including Mr. Chang, being executed.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ray after her snitching resulted in her friend Wei being arrested, friendly teacher Ms. Yin being exiled, and her crush Mr. Chang executed. It drove her to suicide.
  • Never My Fault: Ray has this attitude while running around the school, especially when Ms. Yin shows up. Whether she gets over it or not is up to the player.
    "Shut up! If you were gone none of this would have happened!"
  • No Antagonist: Instructor Bai, the closest thing the game has to a Big Bad, only actually features in one scene in the beginning. The main gameplay is Ray solving puzzles and attempting to get through the school and come to terms with her guilt.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: While Ray isn't pretending to be one, she has to stay perfectly still and hold her breath without looking at the lantern spectres to avoid their attention.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: At one point, you'll be chased by a giant shadow, but you never get a good look at it other than its silhouette.
  • Old School Building: The game takes place in a haunted school. Well, a demonic copy of one.
  • Only Friend: It is implied that Wei was this to Ray, as she felt remorse and guilt for unwittingly getting him arrested along with others.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Most of the ghosts in the game can be sneaked past without their attention by holding your breath.
    • The Lingered are female ghosts that make creepy noises and disturbing giggles. They are shown to teleport randomly and attack by scratching you. They can even arch their back in impossible angles when chasing you. Laying out food offerings can distract them for a moment, giving you a chance to safely sneak past them.
    • Lantern Specters are giant ghosts that carry a lantern and patrol the area. You have to turn your back towards them and hold your breath at the same time when they will lower their heads to check on you. If you are detected by them, they will grab you up and strangle you to death.
    • Then there's the giant, multi-armed shadowy ghost that pursues Ray at one point in the game. In this case, there's nothing else to do but run.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: Ray, near the end, can jump through different timelines depending on the frequency of the radio. The first time is Ray's early, happy life, while the second is her life after her family situation's gone to pot.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Ray overhearing a snippet of conversation without knowing the full context caused the plot to happen. Mr. Chang and Ms. Yin had a conversation in which Ms. Yin scolded him for being involved with Ray while also being involved with her. Ray took this to mean that the two teachers were romantically involved. Ms. Yin actually meant that both she and Mr. Chang were involved in a forbidden book club, and thus carrying on a romantic relationship with anyone would be dangerous as they would be dragged down with him if the White Terror government ever found the club out. Ray, who both thought that Ms. Yin needed to be removed and didn't know that Mr. Chang was also a member of the book club, decided to rat out the book club so Ms. Yin would be arrested. This resulted in Mr. Chang being executed along with an unknown number of the book club's members. Had Ray bothered to confront either teacher and clarify the situation, she probably could have carried on with their liaison if she could convince him that she knew and accepted the risk.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: Both of the Hei Bau Wu Chang (Black and White Impermanence) show their long tongues in the picture. However, at the door, only the white one has his tongue out. The Lantern Specters have them as well, though the illustration doesn't show them with one.
  • Patrolling Mook: Remember to hold your breath and don't look at the Lantern Specters when you meet them.
  • Perpetual Storm: Wei wakes up to a typhoon warning, and the typhoon continues throughout the game. It's sunny during the modern-day sequences.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Ray overhearing a vague and out-of-context conversation and not confronting anyone about it is what set off the whole plot. She thought that it was Ms. Yin persuading Mr. Chang to break up with Ray because he was in a relationship with Ms. Yin, so she betrayed Ms. Yin's book club, intending to get back with Mr. Chang when Ms. Yin was out of the way. The conversation was actually about how Mr. Chang was putting Ray in danger by seeing her, since it associated her with the forbidden book club that Ms. Yin helmed and Mr. Chang supplied, and her betrayal ended up killing Mr. Chang, making Ms. Yin an exile, and getting the rest of the book club arrested.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The game has an interesting selection of real songs as its Background Music. Rather notably, many of them were banned songs during the White Terror era.
    • The first track the 8 track player plays is the rewinded version of the Taiwanese Flag Song.
    • The second track in the 8 track player is the older version of the National Gymnastic Excercise.
    • "The Torment of the Flower"(雨夜花) is the final song played by the 8 track player and the solution for the piano puzzle. A middle aged man, who is revealed to be Wei, also plays this song on the piano. The song was banned by the government because of its melodramatic tones.
    • "Bāng Chhun-hong"(望春風) is the first song to be played on the radio.
    • The second song played by the radio is 四季紅. The name of the song would be "Four Seasons Red" if literally translated.
  • The Piano Player:
    • You play a melody of 雨夜花 to complete the piano puzzle that unlocks the hand puppet in the cage.
    • An middle-aged man (Wei) plays a part of 雨夜花 before disappearing.
  • Piggy Bank: Ray has a ceramic piggy bank in her room. When she switches timelines through the radio, it gets broken to pieces. If she drops a coin in it in the first timeline, a movie ticket appears in the remains of the piggy bank in the second.
  • Poltergeist: Poltergeist activity will appear in the dining room after Ray has finished observing her family portraits.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Shows and songs broadcasted by the 8-track player or radio are either in Mandarin or Taiwanese, so the foreign may have trouble understanding the reference and meaning behind them due to the lack of translation.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Ms Yin created the book club so that she could help her students develop their own independent thinking and pursue knowledge freely as they wish, all the while warning them the risks of joining the club should it be exposed.
  • The Reveal: The middle-aged man in the striped shirt that can be seen lurking around the school in the later parts of the game is the now adult Wei, having been released from prison, and returned to his old school. He's the one who is still alive; Ray is the one who is actually a ghost.
    • It's a bit staggered, but here's the main reveal: The cast was involved in a group that secretly read literature that was outlawed by the government, and were all exposed when Ray betrayed Ms. Yin out of jealousy. Ms. Yin fled Taiwan and eventually died abroad from lung cancer. Mr. Chang was executed for crimes against the state, and Wei was imprisoned for 15 years. Ray killed herself out of guilt.
  • Rivers of Blood: While trying to leave the school, Wei and Ray discover that the bridge leading out has been swept away by a torrent of what looks like blood. Wei rationalizes that it's probably chemical runoff from the factories upstream. It reappears in the Bad Ending when Ray refuses to remember her sin, and this time bodies of her schoolmates are floating in it, symbolizing how her actions killed many people.
  • Room Full of Crazy: At one point, you'll enter a room where someone has scribbled Buddha's name all over the walls, presumably as protection. A more subdued variant is the screening room where the big blackboard is filled with the word "Snitcher".
  • Save Point: There are several altars scattered throughout the game, and praying at them saves the game. Ray feels blessed after she prays.
  • 6 Is 9: Does anyone wonder why Ray's parents portraits are flipped? It turns out to be a clue for a clock puzzle.
  • Slashed Throat: At one point, you have to slash the dead Wei's throat and collect his blood. The blood is used to reveal a hidden code scratched on a bench.
  • Spooky Painting: A potrait of Ray will weep pink glow-in-the-dark tears when you turn off the light. Considering that her image and that of her parents are eyeless except for a occasional flash where they stare at you, the pictures are spooky no matter the light setting.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In the Good Ending, the last written quote of the game is spoken by Ray in Mandarin.
    Ray: Daffodils dyed by a river of crimson blood. Decaying, rustlike into the void.
  • Surreal Horror: Oh yes. Justified since it's taking place in Purgatory, not the real world.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: It's heavily implied that Ray was romantically involved with Mr. Chang, the school counselor, while he was helping her deal with her bad home life. Even after her counselling sessions ended and by extension, their relationship, Mr. Chang seems to genuinely care for Ray in the Good Ending (though it is ultimately left ambiguous whether or not he actually did return her romantic feelings towards him). His final words sound as if he confesses that he broke up with her because he feared for her life, not because he didn't love her.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Ray is left staring in her hands in horror when she sees her fellow students being arrested, to say nothing of the realization that her tattling killed Mr. Chang.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Ray is Dead to Begin With, and condemned to Purgatory because of her sin of selling out the book club for her own selfish reasons.
  • Unexpectedly Abandoned: When Wei wakes up, the entire school is empty.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Due to the story being told from Ray's perspective, it opens quite a lot of questions regarding the nature of her relationship with Mr. Chang. While Mr. Chang clearly did care for her, it is somewhat ambiguous whether or not he actually did reciprocate her romantic feelings towards him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The broadcast room has a very creepy tree with human faces somehow growing in one of its corners, but Ray either ignores or doesn't notice the faces when investigating the tree itself.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The main way of avoiding the ghosts and spirits that lurk around is holding your breath, though this is harder than it sounds because you can only hold it for a finite amount of time and the ghosts move slowly.
  • Wham Line: A certain line from the telephone is repeated near the end of the game.
    Instructor Bai: Miss Fang, your country appreciates your assistance.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ray selfishly betrayed the secret book club to the government so she could be with Mr. Chang, causing the deaths of her teacher, counselor, and so many of her classmates. Those who remained angrily called her a "snitch" for it, and her Purgatory never ceases to remind her of her sins with "Snitch" carved all over the walls.
  • Witch Hunt: The White Terror era of Taiwan — the backdrop of the game — amounted to this, much like the Red Scare going on in America at the same time… except much, much worse.
  • Woman Scorned:
    • Ray's mother hired a PI to investigate her husband under suspicion that he was having an affair. When she found evidence, she had her husband arrested on the charges of bribery and corruption.
    • Her daughter would soon follow her example, only for her to regret it once her betrayal had much more dire consequences for her teacher and friends other than arrest.
  • Yandere: Ray is this to Mr. Chang. He was her Living Emotional Crutch, so when she thought he was seeing Ms. Yin (he wasn't; they were discussing how Ray could be in danger because of his association with Ms. Yin's forbidden book club), she sold out the book club to the to the government, presumably hoping that Ms. Yin would be arrested. She regretted it when the consequences turned out to be much more severe than she anticipated.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Ms. Yin managed to flee the country, escaping arrest and possibly execution, but in the process became blacklisted. She couldn't return to her country and spent the rest of her life abroad as a social rights activist until she passed away. After the martial law has been abolished, her remains were allowed to give a proper burial in her home country as per her last wish.

Alternative Title(s): Detention