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Video Game / Perception (2017)
aka: Perception

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"Although the world is full of suffering, it's also full of overcoming it."
Helen Keller
Perception is Survival Horror video game developed by The Deep End Games and published by Feardemic.

The story follows Cassie Thornton, a blind woman who perceives the world using echolocation. Her adventure begins when she is drawn to a large mansion, which is ostensibly the source of her nightmares.

The game was funded on Kickstarter on June 23rd, 2015. It was released for Microsoft Windows on May 30, 2017, followed by the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions on June 6, and by the Nintendo Switch version on October 31.

The entire game's premise isn't as simple as "blind woman explores weird house," so beware of spoilers.

The game provides examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cassie's classmates used to exploit her blindness to make fun of her.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Echolocation mechanics aside, only need to tap landmarks and hiding spots once and they'll be remain "visible" so long as you're a certain distance near them.
    • Doors will be locked, seemingly at random. While this does a good job in letting you know the house is fucking with you, it also makes sure that you don't get too lost.
  • Arc Symbol: Every chapter ends with an explanation for one of the items that shows up in Cassie's dreams.
    • The rope is what Felicia used to hang herself.
    • The ticket was for a trip that Betty was never able to board.
    • The apple was how Heinrich died, as he was stoned to death with them.
    • The axe hadn't come into use yet, but it's what Cassie needs to cut down Susannah's body.
  • Based on a True Story: The game claims at the start that the story is inspired by true events, but doesn't specify what those events are. The finale reveals that they're based on the Salem witch trials, as the house was cursed by a victim of the trials, one of Cassie's ancestors.
  • Blackout Basement: The entire game is this, but not because of the lack of external light sources.
  • Book Ends: The first supernatural instance Cassie encounters is a fireplace starting by itself. She sets the whole house on fire by the time it ends.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. The dolls shooting at her will reload, giving you time to abscond to your next location.
  • Break Them by Talking: The house tries to do this to Cassie, by mentioning her partner.
    ''He doesn't need you. You've pushed him away.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth / Macabre Moth Motif: Whenever a ghost disappears, it explodes into moths. Moths are also mentioned by former residents of the house all of which are dead. Every now and then, Cassie can hide from the presence inside oversized cocoons.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Very much averted. Cassie's phone is a vital tool for her survival, as her "Friendly Eyes" app lets her contact Nick, who helps her navigate the mansion, and her text-to-speech app lets her read the various documents scattered around.
  • Closed Circle: Doors leading to the exits can occasionally lock themselves. By the end of Part 1, thick brambles grow to physically block Cassie's way. She is, however, completely capable of contacting the outside world. Serge can call her and she regularly uses the Friendly Eyes app to contact Nick. She sends him photos and he interprets them for her. This changes near the end of the game, where Serge can't call her from his plane, and Nick is possessed.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: What you normally "see" when you use your echolocation is in blue. Landmarks and other important items are green. When you're in danger, everything that is usually blue turns yellow. When the environment turns red, you're in for a surprise.
  • Computer Voice: Cassie's text-to-speech app, Delphi, lets her read the various letters lying around.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: As early as halfway through Chapter 1, Cassie stops questioning the supernatural things happening around her.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Heavily implied. Cassie takes a photo of a mirror and sends it to Nick. He says that the words "Durem" scrawled over and over in what appears to be lipstick. At least he hopes it's lipstick.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Cassie's nightmares and the sanity slippage of the house's former residents were caused by sins committed against them. Cassie breaks free by rescuing Susannah from being hanged.
  • Creepy Doll: Chapter 3 is inundated with these.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Dr. Bosch is stoned to death by apples.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cassie. It might be a coping mechanism for the stress as she becomes progressively more glib as the game carries on.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Betty is continually rejected from being a soldier in the 1940's because she is a woman. This contributes to her deteriorating mental state and eventual suicide.
  • Dedication: We dedicate this game to anyone who has been misunderstood or misjudged. To anyone who has been underestimated. And to anyone who has been told they can't do something."
  • Determinator: Cassie, by resolving to figure out the strangeness behind the house, regardless of her disadvantages.
    • Betty counts as well, doing everything in her power to be a part of the war effort despite continually being rejected. She ends up breaking down and committing suicide when she misses her chance to see her lover in Europe.
  • Disability Superpower: On account of being blind, Cassie has developed echolocation to make her way around.
  • Disabled Snarker: Cassie has quite the sharp tongue.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Serge calls up Cassie, telling her that he needs to be around to make sure she's safe. She treats this as Condescending Compassion. According to her, once she starts accepting help, she'll never stop.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Felicia to hangs herself at the end of chapter one.
    • Chapter 2 ends with the revelation that Betty drowned herself in the bathtub.
  • Eldritch Location: The house Cassie explores will lock doors, randomly catch on fire, grow vines to stop her from escaping and will teleport her to various locales and time periods.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Bosch, in his last audiolog, declares he won't do anything to escape his fate as the door he's hiding behind gets pounded.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: After trying and failing to join the army to be with her lover, Betty breaks down and kills herself... right before her lover comes back on leave.
  • Ghost Memory: The various trinkets she picks up while exploring trigger memories that belong to previous residents of the house.
  • Ghost Reunion Ending: Towards the end, the ghosts of Cassie's past return to help her defeat the Presence once and for all.
  • Haunted House: Cassie regularly encounters ghosts in the house she's exploring. Most of them are rather neutral towards her.
  • Hearing Voices: Ghost whispers pop up with regularity and it makes Cassie question her sanity.
  • Heroic Mime: You have the option to play Cassie as this. Otherwise, she would speak and react to the things happening around her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cassie's father tries to lower her down to safety while the flames consumed him. He succeeds in saving her life, but ends up dropping her a fair distance. This blinds her.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: One of the clues to a password in chapter 3 is a painting of this.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: In order of increasing difficulty, Story, Spooky, and Scary. Story allows you to browse through the game casually, Scary will make enemies more aggressive and boot you to the start if you die. Spooky is the "default" mode to play and you'll only be sent to the front door of the house, all your progress saved.
  • Jump Scare: Every time something loud, like a door slamming or a TV turning on, counts as this.
  • Lightswitch Surprise: Every now and then, you'll find yourself completely pitch black. You tap your cane to make sense of your surroundings and immediately end up regretting it.
  • Living Motion Detector: By necessity. Cassie uses echolocation, which means she can "see" a short distance in front of her with every step she takes. More importantly, she uses this to sense where the monsters are coming from.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Felicia and her husband are actually Cassie's parents and every resident of the house prior was their ancestor.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Heinrich Osmond Bosch. Just walk around his lab and you'll see why.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: A few examples, most from the previous owners of the house.
    • Felicia hangs herself after she's burned her husband and child to death.
    • Bosch laments the fate of the children he "rescued". This leads him to accept his death.
  • Notice This: Landmarks and other important things (such as lockers to hide in) are marked green and can usually be seen without needing to generate noise.
    • While not necessary to proceed, the audio logs containing the backstory constantly emit static that Cassie can perceive.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: All of the ghosts whose memories Cassie uncovers returns to help her defeat the presence. Heinrich even creates some sort of invention that can trap it.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: One of these plays behind a plot door in Chapter 3.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Nick is very cheery and overlooks doesn't find the pictures you send him strange. This all changes when you drop down into ankle-deep liquid. You send him the photo and he becomes unnerved, offering to call the police if you think it's necessary. Cassie unknowingly sent him a picture of a dead body.
  • Orphanage of Love / Happily Adopted: We don't know much about Cassie's childhood other than that she lived in an orphanage before finding a foster home. Not much is said about her experiences there, but she is keeps correspondence with one of her fellow orphans.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Some of the more prevalent puzzles in the game is looking for passwords, some of which are found in the same room as the locked object.
  • The Reveal: The ghosts are Cassie's ancestors and Felicia is her mother. She was blinded after she fell from the tower as he father tried to rescue her from the fire.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When a strange French man asks for the password to enter a door, Cassie quips that she has to be all "Sherlocky" to find it.
    • Cassie becomes pissed off that she travels through time despite never entering a phone booth or police box.
    • Nick makes a pun about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest when Cassie shows him blueprints for an asylum escape. Cassie does not get it.
    • The achievements for finding poppets are titled Like it's Hot.
    • The achievement for finding one key is called Master of...
  • Story Bread Crumbs: There are audiologs scattered around for Cassie to find that reveal the history of the house she's exploring. These provide greater context to the previous inhabitants.
  • Survival Horror: Notable in that, by default, you are shrouded in darkness (on account of being blind), and the only time you can actually "see" anything is if you have landmarks or if something produces sound.
  • This Is Something She's Got to Do Herself: Cassie's reason for not accepting Serge's offer to help her.
  • Time Travel: The house doesn't limit itself to bringing memories to her. It brings her to the memories.
  • Tough Room: Nick makes a joke that Cassie doesn't respond to (not that she actually responds whenever she contacts him). He calls her this.
  • Unfinished Business: Implied to be the reason the ghosts of Felicia, Betty, Heinrich, and Susanna are still around.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Zig-Zagged Trope. Cassie understandably freaks out whenever hostile ghosts appear, but she's rather nonplussed about other supernatural phenomena. For example, she doesn't care that one of the house's rooms turns into a barn.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The game was based off of Susannah Martin, the ancestor of the director of the game, Bill Gardner. Susannah was charged with practicing witchcraft and hanged in 1692.
  • Voice Changeling: The presence only seems capable of repeating phrases it's heard other people say. It mimics Serge's voice over the phone to lure Cassie into a trap... but it fails when Cassie remembers that Serge is on a plane, and shouldn't be able to call her.
  • Witch Hunt: Susannah was a victim of this, and why the house was cursed in the first place.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The memories in Chapter Three allude to this, as it's children complaining about having to do things. Subverted as Bosch wanted to help them, but since he "rescued" them from an asylum, he might not have been able to care for them as much as he wanted to.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Your very last conversation with Nick leaves him seemingly possessed by the Presence. We don't know if this is permanent, or if it's just a temporary thing.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Cassie does not like fire, and briefly freaks out whenever something bursts into flames in front of her. This is implied to be a result of her house burning down when she was a baby, which ultimately resulted in her blindness.

Alternative Title(s): Perception