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Video Game / Imscared

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Hello! Do You know my name? I made something for You.

"The game will try to deceive you as many times as it can. In case something goes wrong, feel free to check the folder in order to report any error.
I'm extremely sorry. I didn't really want to do that."

"Forgive me."
Some of the game's introductory text

Imscared: A Pixelated Nightmare (also spelled as the more grammatically correct I'm Scared) is a short indie horror game produced by the independent game developer Ivan Zanotti in October 2012. At first, this game appears to be an experimental project made by a novice at best. The novella-length introductory text includes a profuse apology for any errors or glitches that will inevitably appear in the game. The game's graphics themselves look like they were either drawn in Microsoft Paint or otherwise came right out of a Windows 95 screensaver. During the first few minutes of gameplay, the player encounters half-hearted scares such as pixelated blood and some creepy music that doesn't even continue playing for more than a minute. And then the game abruptly crashes when a monster ambushes the player. Well, this game definitely lives up to its title of "pixelated nightmare" all right...

But the game's introductory text also mentioned that outside files would appear once the game glitches occurred. The player opens these up, and the text file mentions something about entities becoming data. It seems that one of the game's glitches has taken a life of its own, and wants the player to continue the game...

This game can be downloaded here, if you dare to interact with the sentient game glitch yourself. A sequel is in the makings as well, information about that as well as instructions to download the demo found here. A new version of the game was released on Steam on January 31, 2016. For the 10th year anniversary, a new version of the game was released October 12, 2022, adding modern settings and mixing the content from previous versions.

Because this is a relatively unknown horror game, expect many spoilers ahead. Remember, players will have the best possible horror experience if they cannot anticipate any of the frightening events that await them.

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: The Steam version has 11 achievements, and you're required to get the first ten in order to get to the final decision. You only get the last one when you purge White Face from your computer.
    Achievement Unlocked: Loneliness
    Steam: You've unlocked every single achievement. Congratulations!
  • Affably Evil: The caption to this page's image are some of White Face's first lines of dialogue to the player. And while White Face is creepy and seemingly finds pleasure in the player's terror, it also seems to enjoy simply watching the player's behavior and playing tag with them.
  • Alien Geometries: All the in-game locations. Everything is darkly lit and the unrelated, bizarrely constructed locations seem to blend into one another. At times the darkness turns blindingly bright for no apparent reason or morphs into a darkened Womb Level. Available entryways can appear and vanish in an instant, and their destinations can be variable.
  • Always Night: Once the player does get to look out some windows, it's pitch black most of the time just like every other area of the game. The darkness outside is also where White Face prefers to watch the player.
    • The beginning room gets even darker in the door ending. This is no longer the case after deleting White Face, which suddenly makes the entire area sunny.
    • Averted in the ending. The entire sky becomes clear blue instead of the dark fog that covers the rest of the game. Considering the context, it doesn't make the place anywhere near happier looking.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you're near the end of the Steam Version (specifically, when you've placed the three valves and activated the device), a bunch of shortcuts to the various stages open up in the first stage's basement.
  • Apocalyptic Log: When compiled into chronological order, the game's introduction, as well as the text files the player receives outside the game can be considered this.
  • Arc Words: "I'm scared" and lines about regret.
    • In the Steam release, BURY HER and "Six will do". The former is the name of the game's YouTube channel and appears in title screens. The latter is used to promote the game on Twitter and shows up exactly once in the game.
    • A small one, but HER asks the player if they "want this nightmare to end" - a reference to the game's "Pixelated Nightmare" title.
  • Art Evolution: White Face has become much more expressive in the Steam release, being able to close its eyes and mouth now.
  • Author Powers: Upon digging around looking to reset the game to play it from scratch, players can find a note from Ivan himself asking the player to not mess with the files, and to let White Face do it itself. He also thanks the player for playing. Doubles as Heartwarming, because at the end of the note, Ivan writes "You're great and so is your life! Don't commit suicide, okay? I love you :).
  • Beat Still, My Heart: At one point the player finds a still-pulsating heart on the ground.
    • The door ending involves deleting White Face's heart from your computer.
  • Being Watched: Constantly, by White Face.
    White Face: I love watching you.
  • Big Bad: White Face, also known as HER and Ivan Zanotti, is the mysterious entity that hijacks the game to torment the player. Given that the game is merely a completely empty walking simulator with no threat whatsoever, it can be said that White Face is responsible for literally everything in the game except the Player downloading it (which in itself is debatable, given that White Face claims the name of the developer as its own.)
  • Book Ends: The message "Forgive me" appears as the last sentence in the game's instructional text in the game's beginning as well as the last sentence in the last text file given after the player achieves the final ending.
    • The phrase "Bury Her" appears when you start encountering HER and appears again in the credits.
    • The game's beginning and ending both involve a heart.
    • Both the beginning tutorial and the ending involve giving White Face a flower.
    • The phrase "Choose wisely, for it is irreversible" appears both at the very beginning of the game and during the ending.
  • Chekhov's Gun: While in the room containing the rusted key, if the player is observant enough they may notice a line of pixels on the concrete wall that are darker that the rest of the gray textures. When the player inspects this darkened spot more closely, it turns out to be the game's rendition of a crack in the wall. What can the player see through the crack? A pitch-black room with only a chair and noose in view. The latter is also the game's file icon. These items have immense significance near the end of the game.
    • The flower from the tutorial comes back in a big way during the game's ending.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The player first encounters White Face as an eerie, ghost-like apparition that then slowly fades from view into the shadows. The player may have assumed that this apparition was a brief jump scare provided by the game. Not long later it turns out that White Face is the entity that will actively torment the player for the rest of the game.
  • Creepy Basement: One of the first areas of this game is presumably some very poorly lit, concrete basement-like area. Among the more notable eerie things, it includes a dark jail cell with bloody chunks of flesh scattered on the floor; a previously locked fleshy hallway that leads to a dead-end; and a gaping abyss in which one can hear echo-like chuckles if the player approaches.
    • The cellar when you encounter HER. Things get creepy immediately after solving the puzzle.
  • Controllable Helplessness: The second ending seems to end well and the game closes itself... revealing White Face invaded the player's internet browser, after which the game opens again, with the player locked up in a cell as White Face floats by.
    • Also, when you first enter White Face's room, you are unable to move, only look at White Face slowly approach you.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: White Face writes its notes to the player in pixelated blood.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Many of the things White Face says to the player or leaves as notes consist of this. While White Face's statements are coherent, they come with no provocation or known context, likely leaving the player confused as well as terrified.
    White Face: I didn't mean to do that.
    The Player: [likely response] ...You didn't mean to do what?
    • It's easy to miss, but the 2016 version has this message appear at the same time someone's footsteps can be heard running past you and a door opening. Is it White Face? Who knows...
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The new content in the 2022 update involving the Restorer requires you to have chosen the Door ending, with the Restorer explicitly stating that White Face has been dead since 2016.
  • Death Seeker: HER begs the player to shoot them... with a revolver that has no bullets. Initially.
    "Six will do."
  • Developer's Foresight: Inputting any of the other names before you know what they are will result in White Face asking if you're in a hurry, or will flat out tell you that you're not supposed to know yet.
  • Died Standing Up: HER dies like this after you shoot her six times.
  • Downer Ending: The final ending of the game requires the player to interact with the chair and noose in White Face's room. Presumably, the player must commit suicide in order to leave White Face's exitless domain. After this, the game will always immediately crash when opened. The final appearing text file also implies that White Face may still be dwelling within the player's computer despite the game file having crashed.
    • The Steam release has an even more depressing ending. Choosing to leave the game involves literally deleting White Face's heart from your computer, killing "it" and lifting the curse from the game.
  • Empty Room Psych: This game's introductory text encourages avid exploration of surroundings. Therefore players may spend a lot of time during their first-time playthroughs thoroughly searching for items in the most unlikely of places, or trying to access locked doors that will never open.
  • The End... Or Is It?: This game has false endings. Players will know that the game has ended for good once they encounter the ending that involves killing themselves. Expanded upon in the Steam version. After attempting to hang yourself, the ending gives you another name to input after collecting the heart: HER.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: According to Attention.txt, "A sound will predict its [White Face's] arrival." That sound happens to be static-like sounds that get louder as White Face approaches.
    • It's the same for HER, except her chase theme starts with a pounding sound. In the basement, this is first heard when the message "BEHIND YOU" appears.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "I'm scared" is exactly what players will say once they get into Imscared's more intensely scary parts. Additionally, the entity called "White Face" is well, a white face.
    • Additionally, HER is the spirit of a woman.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Who are you playing as? What made your character trapped in a weird room that has a bloody wardrobe and an exit that requires a still-pulsating heart to open anyway? No one ever knows.
  • Footprints of Muck: Or more like "streaks of blood" since White Face doesn't have feet.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Inputting one of the achievement names ("Loneliness") in the text field results in this message:
    "No you don't want to."
    • At times, White Face quotes lines from the author's texts and writes their own files because they were the Narrator All Along.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The longer one plays this game, the more likely sinister files will show up on the computer and the more likely White Face will "hijack" the computer.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: White Face itself. Whenever it touches the player, the game will automatically crash.
  • Ghostly Goals: Why is the ghostly White Face pursuing and tormenting the player? Not even its cryptic statements allude to any possible answer.
    • HER ultimate goal is to be put to rest.
  • Giggling Villain: White Face lets out child-like giggles whenever it does something behind the player's back.
  • Guest Fighter: White Face becomes one of the monsters in the Endless Mode DLC of Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of the keys or other items are so well hidden that it may take a frustrating amount of time to find them.
    • In the Steam version, the labyrinth area, where at one point, you have to edit a certain file to unlock a gate. You are given no indication that you could do this, aside from a very cryptic hint.
    • Also from the Steam edition, the Market area. Specifically, rebooting the PC in the office.
    • Accessing the new content in the 2022 update is a tad esoteric. Specifically the part where you have to play an Imscared 2022 Test Build and solve the puzzles within in order to receive a file that allows you to clip through the gates in the Street map of the full game to talk to the update's new character, Restorer. One of the few hints you're given is a .txt file that generates in your imscared folder when you enter the post-Door ending version of the Street map, which gives you a link to the aforementioned Test Build.
  • Hope Spot: When things might be looking up, they aren't. Unsurprising, since this is a horror game.
  • I Have Many Names: White Face also goes by HER and Ivan Zanotti.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: This quote isn't said outright, but White Face mentions how cold and dark its room is. In this pitch-dark and enclosed area there is a chair and noose in the background, and the skull-like White Face is slowly approaching the player who cannot move away. The player would certainly feel like they're about to die in this eerie situation...
  • Interface Screw: White Face disables your run key in two separate rooms in the valve area.
  • Interface Spoiler: An interesting example in the Steam version. After getting the rope, you receive an achievement called "Don't touch me". If you're the type of person that checks achievements immediately after getting them, you'll note that there actually is no achievement by that name. Another fake achievement pops up moments later, giving you a hint on how to escape HER.
  • It Can Think: When referring to how "entities" can become data files to possess our computers (also doubles as Paranoia Fuel):
    Attention.txt: There is a way to turn an entity into data. They have a life of their own, and it is difficult to distinguish them from normal computer files. In our actions of everyday, while we sit at the computer, this byte entity observes, and studies our every move and fear.
  • It Won't Turn Off: Even after beating the game and getting the final ending, 0.txt suggests that White Face may still be "haunting" the player's computer.
  • Jump Scare: Many of them are by White Face or otherwise any other loud and sudden sounds.
    • Exaggerated when you try deleting White Face. Hope your volume is low when it happens.
  • Law of Disproportionate Response: Being too loud in the parlor? You'll get a warning. Do it again, and you'll have to reopen the game.
  • The Maze: The game has two of these, both of which are in HER's sections, of the Tricky variety and the Homogenous type.
  • Mind Screw: Is White Face hiding in some of those shadows? Ugh, what is that horrible sound? Did this game give my computer some sort of virus, or is it actually possessed by a malevolent spirit?
    • When White Face says the things it does, is it truly scared and regretful for some unknown reason, or is it just mocking and screwing with the terrified player?
    • If you move right after you kill HER, you can briefly see that the player character looks nearly identical to White Face before the screen fades to black.
  • Minimalism: There's no item inventory, health bar, ability to save the game, nor anything really explaining why these crazy things are happening. We don't even see, hear, or learn anything about the player character.
  • Minimalist Cast: Aside from the First-Person Ghost, there is only one real character- White Face itself. There is also the Arc Villainess HER, but White Face claims that she is the same being with another name. Other than that, there is possibly the unknown author of all those outside text files, who never makes an appearance, except it is revealed to be White Face yet again.
  • Morphic Resonance: White Face/HER can take many different forms, but they are all recognizable by having a skeletal, maniacally smiling face.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The last text file in the demo version is reminiscent of this:
    0.txt: It's alive. It's real. Sorry... I'm really sorry. I didn't have any other choice. I'm scared. I don't want to die. From now on remember this: the sound predicts its arrival.
  • Nightmare Face:
  • No Fourth Wall: White Face talks directly to the player, repeatedly asks them to check files in the game's folder, and he's an alter ego of the real life author of the game, Ivan Zanotti, who also engages in deceiving players about the game's content. In the 2022 remake's epilogue, the Restorer plots to hijack the game from Ivan after White Face's death and to make a sequel of it after learning how to convert entities into data.
  • No Name Given: HER. White Face indicates that it is one of its many names.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The introductory text (and tutorial area in the 2016 release) advises the player to inspect and interact with everything in the game's surroundings. This game offers nothing else to do until White Face make its debut.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The ever-present shadows and silence in this game serve to enhance players' paranoia.
    • In the Market area, sounds such as breathing and items being knocking over are heard in the darkness until you turn the power back on.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: During the game of "tag" White Face will immediately crash the game if it touches the player. The player then has to start this section of the game all over again.
    • The same thing happens when HER chases you twice: once through the parlor, and again in the Station. There is a checkpoint in the parlor chase, though.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: While White Face is actually considered an entity, it can certainly be considered a "ghost" due to its appearance and behavior. It seems to enjoy following and scaring the player, as well as doing freaky things to their computer outside the game.
  • Perpetual Smiler: White Face/HER is seen grinning and laughing most of the time.
  • Playable Epilogue: If you kill White Face, then you'll be able to walk around through the various areas again, which are now bright and peaceful. The 2022 remake adds a Sequel Hook, in which an entity named Restorer who's a fan of the game unveils her plans to port it to consoles and create a sequel with a new hostile entity according to her own whims.
  • Psychological Horror: White Face may or may not like to screw with the terrified player's head.
  • The Reveal: The unknown author of the outside text files was White Face all along.
  • Right Behind Me: White Face will be this if the static sounds get really loud during the game of "tag." Before that, it is how the game first "ends".
    • HER does this in the parlor chase, with bold red text.
    • In the valve rooms, one sign (presumably left by White Face) announces "I'm Right Behind You".
  • Rustproof Blood: Most of the blood stains in this game are bright red. Justified since this is a pixelated game.
  • The Scream: White Face lets loose an absolutely HORRIFYING one in the door ending. Keep your volume WAY down when listening to it.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Apparently White Face is a glitch/virus/spirit who was sealed into Imscared's game file.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: During the door ending, White Face chaotically flickers through each form it has taken through out the game as it pursues the player.
  • Silence, You Fool!: At one point, you are told to be quiet. Failing to heed that warning results in a quick image of a red face saying "Quiet I said" Get too loud again, and the face suddenly gets much bigger and louder before closing your game.
  • Silent Protagonist: The player character.
  • Spooky Painting: There's a painting that will become bloodstained when the player isn't looking. The first couple of portraits of HER in the Steam edition don't do anything, but later on you'll see a corridor of empty ones. After solving a puzzle, multiple HERS appear in them, reaching out for you.
  • Stalker without a Crush: White Face really enjoys watching the player...
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: HER has this design.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: White Face constantly trails the player.
  • Survival Horror: This game mainly consists of the player finding items to further exploration, all while avoiding White Face catching them.
  • Title Drop: Also doubles as a Lampshade Hanging, as White Face's otherwise out-of-place dialogue may also express the players' feelings while playing this game:
    White Face: Help me. I don't want to die. I'm scared.
  • Tortured Monster: White Face says certain things indicating it to be this, such as "I'm suffering" and "I'm scared."
    • HER may also be this, if her pleading to be put down is any indication.
    • White Face literally is one in the door ending.
  • Touch of the Monster: White Face never does anything to actually harm the player per se besides terrifying them and crashing their game. However, the panicked player may flinch back/scream whenever White Face flies by and touches them (Touch of Evil variant), or the player notices White Face silently watching them from a distance (Death Ray Vision variant).
    • HER has the Touch of Evil variant as well. It's implied that she doesn't like doing this, but has to anyway. This is most evident when she begs you to kill her as she lunges towards you.
  • Undeath Always Ends: See Death Seeker above.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Ultimately, all White Face wants is to be friends with you, so if you choose to start the story over at the end instead of getting rid of it, it smiles warmly and says it loves you.
  • Villainous Breakdown: White Face goes through a particularly terrifying one in the door ending.
  • Villain Shoes: The player takes control of White Face itself when shooting HER. Word of God reveals that White Face is essentially killing off HER due to her stealing its spotlight in a Final Battle-like fashion to appease the player.
  • Void Between the Worlds: White Face's "room" simply consists of White Face, a chair, and a noose. It's cold, dark, and seems to have no walls or boundaries.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: White Face has this ability, and has another major form known as HER.
    0.txt: It's alive. It's real. It's changing again, like the last time. What form will it take? It's just a phantom of deception.
  • Wham Shot: Upon confronting HER in the end of the second scenario, the featureless protagonist appears to raise a gun on their right arm to kill HER. Then, once the deed is done, the arm remains frozen in place as you move around and it is seen the one actually shooting was White Face.
  • White Mask of Doom: While White Face may not be a creepy white mask itself, it certainly looks like one.
  • A Winner Is You: The second ending. NOT!.
  • Womb Level: Either some of the areas are this, or all the walls, floors, and ceilings are covered with blood or rust. One such location near the end of the game even has accompanying distorted moaning and gurgling sounds.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: White Face does this very often.
  • You Monster!: White Face calls you out for wanting to erase it and end the game. To say it doesn't take it well is an understatement.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: And the exit door requires a heart for some reason...

Congratulations. You made it to the end. But you can't escape from here. Stay with me. I will always be here. Looking at you.


Video Example(s):


Cardiac Arrest

While covering Imscared, Caddy has a comically exaggerated heart attack in response to a well-timed jump scare.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HollywoodHeartAttack

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