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Video Game / Love, Sam

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Love, Sam is a short 2019 Psychological Horror game by independent developer Korean Linguistics Lab.
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Gameplay-wise, it's a series of very well-choreographed scares in a tiny piece of a suburban household, like Silent Hills. Story-wise, it holds a plot rich with real horror and tragedy, told entirely through journal entries.

It takes place in a single bedroom, with the player character reading the diary of a teenager and their tragic decay into depression and insanity over a boy they have a crush on named Brian, or "B". Meanwhile, there's someone, or something, stalking them.

The characters include two couples: Sam and Brian (a Cute Bookworm and a Lovable Jock), and Stacy and Kyle (an Alpha Bitch and a Jerk Jock).


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This game provides examples of:

  • Academic Athlete: Brian is a superstar athlete and a bookworm.
  • Accidental Murder: Kyle's emotional confrontation with Sam ends with him accidentally scaring her off a cliff, which gets her killed.
  • The Ace: Brian is perfect. It seems like everyone has a crush on him. Even the Guys Want Him.
  • Alpha Bitch: Stacy, a bitchy cheerleader who dates jocks. She even helps Kyle ruin Sam's life with "pranks".
  • Armored Closet Gay: Kyle seems like a meatheaded stereotypical jock, but he's actually a psychological mess who hates himself for being gay.
  • The Beard: Stacy is clearly just one of Kyle's many ways of repressing his sexuality.
  • Big Bad: The stalker. Who isn't Sam, nor Stacy, but Kyle.
  • Broken Ace: Brian is flawless, but only because society pressures him so. He's really torn up over his mom's recent death too.
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  • Camera Fiend: The stalker keeps taking photographs of the player without their permission. It's a combination of Kyle stalking Brian, and Sam's ghost stalking Kyle.
  • The Cheerleader: Stacy. Sam, being a geek, hates her.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The journal. There are actually two of them.
    • Early on in the game, you pick up a tree branch that's just randomly hanging around in your bedroom and use it to reach for a journal page that's under your bed. This is the same branch that Kyle used to reach for Sam's bag to get rid of it moments after he had pushed her off a cliff.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Not only did Sam fall off a cliff, but she broke every bone in her body, including her neck, and slowly choked to death on her own blood.
  • Cute Bookworm: Sam seems like this at first. And it turns out she actually is. Perfectly sane, too.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Kyle is a gay Yandere.
  • Downer Ending: Kyle ruins Sam's life, Stacy ruins Kyle's life, Kyle accidentally gives Sam a slow and brutal death, Kyle gives up on life. And this is all before the game even starts. So it's basically a Downer Beginning, Downer Middle, and Downer Ending. It's just a tragic fucking game, okay?
  • Driven to Suicide: Out of guilt and despair, Kyle tries this. But whether he goes through with it or not is up to the player.
  • Dumb Jock: Sam expects Brian to be this, shocked at seeing a jock in a library. But he turns out to be an Academic Athlete.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The supernatural entity stalking the player eventually devolves into an abstract mess.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Stacy eventually gets fed up with Kyle's obsessive hatred of Sam and snitches on him to Brian. Not out of sympathy for Sam, but because she mistakenly believes that Kyle wants to get rid of Brian so he could have Sam. See Wrong Genre Savvy below.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When first reading through the diary, players believe they're playing as Sam (who's a girl). However, when paying close attention to the bedroom, you'll notice that the clothes lying around are men's clothes.
    • Early on, Sam's real diary notes that Brian and Kyle are "more than friends." In addition to this, Kyle's diary refers to Brian by his full first name when talking about him generally/in reference to Sam or the others, but when referring to his own relationship with Brian, Kyle uses the more personal nickname "B."
  • Frameup: Kyle frames his obsessive stalkings on Sam.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Kyle is driven to stalking and murder over the jealousy of Sam and Brian's relationship.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The ghost makes a creaky croaking noise exactly like The Grudge. It's the last noise Sam made as she choked on her own blood.
  • Hidden Depths: Brian is not the Jerk Jock one would initially think, and actually takes a keen interest in Stephen King's Misery when recommended it by Sam. And while Sam peppering her diary with drawings is probably to be expected from the Cute Bookworm it's much more unexpected form a Jerk Jock like Kyle, who ACTUALLY owns the Journal. The art is mildly Animesque, to boot.
  • Jerk Jock: While Brian is a Lovable Jock, Kyle is definitely a Jerkass. Especially when it turns out he's a murderous stalker.
  • Jump Scare: The game has a handful of well-timed ones.
  • Karma Houdini: Downplayed; Kyle is quickly exposed for his cruel pranks toward Sam, and gets shunned by everyone, including Stacy and Brian. However, he gets no comeuppance for murdering Sam. However, the player has the option to make him confess his crime to the police, subverting this trope.
  • Kill It with Fire: Kyle burns all of the evidence (i.e. the notes and journals) and has such little to live for that he doesn't really resist the flames himself.
  • Lovable Jock: Sam expects to hate Brian for being a jock, but she eventually warms up to him for being a Nice Guy.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Kyle ruins Sam's life and kills her for Brian.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: At first, it seems like a typical "haunted by a ghost girl" scenario, but it's likely more psychological and metaphorical than that.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Being a master of Psychological Horror, the game is full of this.
  • Opposites Attract: Sam theorizes this is the reason a Nice Guy like Brian is best friends with a Jerkass like Kyle.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: It's doubtful that Sam's ghost is really haunting Kyle. This ghost is just a metaphor for Kyle's insane guilt.
  • Red Herring: Sam's diary is a little emotional, but nothing out of the ordinary for a teenage girl. Kyle is the real psycho.
  • Red Herring Shirt: Kyle is this, both in Sam's real diary and his own - he is mentioned a small handful of times by Sam, and not at all in his own diary, fooling the player into believing he is largely unconnected or merely an accomplice to Stacy's antagonism, when in reality, Kyle is both the protagonist and Sam's Villain of Another Story.
  • The Reveal: It's set up that the stalker's journal is written by Sam, but it's actually Kyle. It's a combination of Kyle framing Sam as a psycho, and his actual true feelings.
  • Removing the Rival: Kyle tries removing Brian's girlfriend, Sam. First, he breaks them up through social manipulations. Then, after Brian finds out and "dumps" him, Kyle snaps and kills her. It's ambiguous whether or not it was on purpose.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The bedroom eventually devolves into this, a visual metaphor of Kyle's fracturing mind.
  • Secondary Character Title: Sam may be a central character, but she's not the protagonist - Kyle is. The title serves to bolster the Bait-and-Switch that comes later on.
  • Secret Diary: The whole focus. There's actually two, one written by Sam pre-breakup, another written by Sam post-breakup. The latter is actually Kyle.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Sam is bullied and treated like a freak for having a father who was convicted of molesting a teenager.
  • Slasher Smile: The game is absolutely riddled with these. It's because the smiles of the girls on the Greenhart University posters that took Brian away from him drove him insane.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: It seems at first like Kyle is a background character. That's exactly what he wants you to think.
  • Spanner in the Works: Though she's mentioned a lot, Stacy is a minor character. She does, however, have one moment where she changes everything, by betraying Kyle. If it weren't for that petty little gesture, Kyle wouldn't have been driven to murder-suicide.
  • Spiritual Successor: Interestingly to Dear Mariko, with The Reveal being a I Am Not Shazam coming in play.
  • Spooky Photographs: The game's main motif, because Kyle took creepy pictures of Brian and used them to frame Sam as a stalker.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Sam.
  • Vengeful Ghost: It seems like Kyle is being haunted by Sam's ghost, for killing her. It's probably just a metaphor for his guilt though.
  • Villain Protagonist: Kyle is such a central character that he's also the Big Bad.
  • Walking Spoiler: If you haven't noticed, there are a rather large number of spoiler tags on this page. Kyle in particular is responsible for most of them.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The stalker is a monster, but a very sympathetic villain since you get to see their tragic decay of sanity through their journal. They become even more sympathetic once it turns out they're a self-loathing Armored Closet Gay.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Played With. Stacy breaks up with Kyle and tells Brian everything he did to ruin Sam's life because she's realized his real goal was to separate them so that he can make his move... except she believes that it's Sam he wants, not Brian. Regardless of her mistake, though, her plan works - Brian realizes what kind of person Kyle is, and promptly cuts him off.
  • Yandere: The journal is written from the perspective of a Stalker with a Crush on Brian. It's set up to be Sam's, but it's actually Kyle's.
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