It was first discovered by Obscure Horror Corner, a silent Let's Player of, you guessed it, obscure horror games. He claimed it was sent to him by an anonymous user on The Deep Web called "ZK". With his playthrough, OHC provided a link to the game that turned out to be invalid. He revealed it was because the game contained child pornography and actual snuff, and he didn't want to publicize an illegal game so he let's played a heavily modified version instead. Then a person claiming to be ZK appeared on 4chan and called OHC a coward for censoring the game, linking to the "true" version of Sad Satan. It was riddled with the real-life grotesque content OHC warned of, as well as computer-destroying viruses.
Now there are countless versions of the game, some harmless like the version OHC played, others illegal and dangerous to your computer like the "true" version, and the rest in the middle. Several websites and YouTubers, most notably Kotaku, PewDiePie, and SomeOrdinaryGamers, further publicized the game and helped turn it into the legend it is. Many people theorize ZK and OHC are the same person and it was all a Publicity Stunt to popularize OHC and make a legend. Regardless, it worked, and Sad Satan has the reputation as The Most Dangerous Video Game of recent memory.
All of this backstory, and the game itself is just a senseless, surreal trek down a series of dark, nightmarish corridors.
The game provides examples of:
- Central Theme: The game is just a nonsensical mishmash of random Nightmare Fuel, but its favorite topic seems to be child abuse. This leads to theories that the game's twisted, nightmarish experience is supposed to personify that of child abuse.
- Creepy Child: The only NPCs are statue-like children. Later on in some versions of the game, they begin pursuing the player and hurting them on contact, eventually killing them.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Some versions of the game are entirely black and white, while others are just mostly.
- Endless Corridor: The setting.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Some versions of the game are downright dangerous to play because they mangle your computer and contain illegal content.
- Jump Scare: Images will randomly flash on the screen. Depending on the version, it could be as harmless as a picture of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand (the Austro-Hungarian royalty whose assassination caused World War 1) or Lady Justice, pictures that fuels the above-mentioned Central Theme such as people convicted of child abuse/rape/murder, to graphic and horrific content such as actual child pornography and snuff.
- The Most Dangerous Video Game: The content of some versions of the game really can leave an impact on the player due to the fact it's real, plus the worst versions are stuffed with computer viruses with symptoms that range from sluggish performance, keylogger installations, to even permanent, irreversible shutdown, allegedly.
- No Plot? No Problem!: The game isn't even a game. It's an experience, if anything.
- Rule of Scary: The Game.
- Sensory Abuse: The game's main schtick is that its visuals and audio are butchered and specifically tailored to make you feel physically ill. It's terrifyingly effective.
- Shout-Out: The title is a reference to an infamous reversed lyric in the Led Zeppelin song "Stairway to Heaven". As a matter of fact, all sounds and music derive from somewhere.
- The Ominous Music Box Tune (swede.wav) is called The Swedish Rhapsody, one of those creepy Cold War Numbers Stations.
- The bassy slowed down track (alab2.wav) is "Alabama Song" by The Doors.
- The bloodcurdling screaming (derscream.wav) is an Aztec Death Whistle.
- The repetitive highpitched track (hong-kong-reverse.wav) is "I Love Beijing Tiananmen", specifically the Hong Kong '97 version of it.
- The "none whatsoever" conversation (jim.wav) is Jimmy Savile defending himself on his child sex abuse allegations.
- Snuff Film: The worst versions are littered with actual pictures of horrific mutilation.
- Touch of Death: The creepy children have these in some versions.
- Unwinnable by Design: Some versions of the game do have an ending, but others trap players at a dead end or have the NPCs relentlessly pursue them until death.