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Video Game / SIMULACRA

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SIMULACRA is an adventure/horror game created by developer Kaigan Games, and is a Spiritual Successor to Sara is Missing. A phone is left on your doorstep, corrupted but still working. After a system restore, you discover a video of the phone's owner, Anna, crying and pleading with whoever finds the phone to not come looking for her. Using this information, and with the help of some of her friends, you must use the data on her phone to find her.

The game was released for PCs + Android and iOS on October 26th, 2017, and is available for purchase on Steam here.

Another installment subtitled as "Pipe Dreams" revolving around gaming addiction on a mobile game called FlapeeBird has also been released in 2017, and can be downloaded here.

A sequel, titled SIMULACRA 2, was released on December 12, 2019 for mobile. It was released on Steam on January 16, 2020


The SIMULACRA series contains examples of:

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  • All for Nothing: If you choose to have the Simulacra save Taylor over Anna, Taylor must kill Anna to save his own life, rendering everything you did useless.
  • Arc Words: "I am her as she is me." Both Anna and Taylor (though it turns into "I am it...") say this. The Simulacra itself says this during its chat with the Player.
  • Big Bad: The one responsible for Anna’s disappearance is the titular Simulacra, a digital abomination residing in the Internet which is killing and absorbing people into itself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Even if you get the Golden Ending and save both Anna and Taylor, the Simulacra is still out there, and will presumably continue to "delete" people. And you made it stronger.
  • Bland-Name Product: Jabbr (Twitter), Spark (Tinder), Vloggr (a cross between Vine and Blogger), Kappafeed (Buzzfeed), and Surfer (Safari).
  • Brown Note: The strange noise that Greg records in Anna's apartment. Also a similar noise recorded by James' co-worker. It's the voice of the Simulacra.
  • Call-Back: In the middle of the game, the player learns that James Aulner left his phone at his workplace prior to his disappearance. This comes back later when Anna tells the player that they are texting via James's phone - tipping the player off that this is not the real Anna.
  • Controllable Helplessness:
    • When someone calls you, you can answer, but can't speak.
    • Occasionally, the choices you select in conversations will be overridden by the Simulacra.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: The culprit behind Anna's disappearance turns out to be an Eldritch Abomination residing in the Internet.
  • Domestic Abuse: Greg is abrasive, clearly has anger issues and paranoia, and is currently in the process of breaking up with Anna because he nearly got another woman pregnant. This raises the question of whether he abused Anna, and whether he's in some way involved in her disappearance. This is ultimately subverted. He is a jerk, but he's too cowardly to physically attack someone. Though there's still room to argue that he was potentially verbally abusive, or at least manipulative.
  • Downer Ending: The ending where both Anna and Taylor are lost to the Simulacra.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The good ending requires you to lie indiscriminately in order to get the characters to act in opposition to their normal selves. If you manage to hook Ashley up with Anna, get Greg to turn himself into the police, and get Murv fired, the Simulacra recognizes your ability to manipulate the world around you and spares both Anna and Taylor.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Yolanda was upset to learn that Greg had a girlfriend while he was seeing her. She tells you that if she had known beforehand Greg was seeing another girl, she wouldn’t have gotten involved with him.
  • Exact Words: If you choose to save Anna over Taylor, then the Simulacra will tell you that "the being known as Anna will be returned". It is only after you sacrifice Taylor that the Simulacra clarifies that it meant Anna's physical body will be returned, and that her consciousness/soul will still been absorbed into its influence.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: You can't save James Aulner no matter what, but James can help you save Anna.
  • Fission Mailed: The phone data reset is pretty much unavoidable, even if you answer all the security questions. But instead of the game over it leads you to expect, you're greeted with a new login screen, and your first contact with Aulner.
  • Foreshadowing: Look closely at Anna's photos with Ashley. Ashley seems to be unusually close to Anna, physically. Almost like they're dating. Turns out Ashley has a crush on her BFF.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Anna's "Work Sucks" vlog, the text on the printed paper is: "I am screaming in text right now why shouldn't I fire".
  • Golden Ending: The one where both Anna and Taylor are spared. The only hitch on this ending is that the Simulacra is still out there, and while you've rescued two people from its clutches, you still haven't killed it for good.
  • Guide Dang It!: In order to get the best ending, you have to be a complete jackass. You have to lie as much as possible, get Greg arrested by having him turn himself in, hook Anna up with her best friend Ashley without her permission, report her coworker for sexual harassment (okay, that one would be the good option if it didn't also involve blackmail), and fake an interview under Anna's name to get her a new job. In the end, it makes Anna's life better, but that's only because the simulacra is so impressive with you being a completely manipulative bastard. All the while, you, as Greg's accomplice, stealing Anna's identity, and blackmailing someone get off scot-free. In order to even guess that you had to do all of that, you would have to understand the personality of the villain from the start AND stoop to their level, the first of which is only possible if you beat the game already, and the second one would be difficult for most players to stomach.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Besides the many jump scares throughout the game, whenever you dial a number on the phone that isn't connected to anyone, you're greeted to metallic screeching and white noise and a "Signal Error" message.
  • Jump Scare: Quite a few of them, the most infamous being the ones that occur shortly before Anna's phone background changes...
  • Multiple Endings: There are four, three of which are untitled. Each has their own associated icon.
    • The Moth: You have Taylor kill Anna in order to save him, but in doing so, brand him a murderer.
    • The Lamb: You save Anna by sacrificing Taylor to the Simulacra, but it's implied that only Anna's body was returned, not her consciousness.
    • The Worm: You manage to save both Anna and Taylor. This ending is unambiguously good, with the only downside being that the Simulacra is still on the loose.
    • The Inkblot Test: You lose both Anna and Taylor to the Simulacra. This is the only ending with a proper title - it's called "Abandon All Hope."
  • Mood Whiplash: In the ending where you save both Taylor and Anna, you come immediately from a disturbing conversation with the Simulacra to a lighthearted video of Taylor asking the newly-rescued Anna to get a cup of coffee.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: It is never revealed what exactly is the Simulacra or how it was made, but one thing is for sure, it is ascending at a rapid rate.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In the best ending, the Simulacra recognizes you as its intellectual and spiritual equal if you successfully undo its influence via manipulation, and this allows you to convince it to let Taylor and Anna go. He even almost drops the trope name outright:
  • Poor Communication Kills: If you can't get Taylor to trust your word, he'll immediately go after Anna when the Simulacra contacts him, and die as a result.
  • Pull the Thread: Towards the end of the game, the Simulacra messes up when it-as-Anna pretends that it's texting you over James' phone...when you know that James left his cell phone behind. It realizes this, changes its text background to its distinct inkblot, and converses with you as itself from then on.
  • Red Herring:
    • The phone's OS is called IRIS, and claims to be watching over you in the email you receive upon restarting the phone. However, this does not come up as a plot point in the game. It may be connected to the Simulacra.
    • Both Greg and Taylor are set up as suspects in Anna's disappearance. Greg has anger issues, leading to the possibility that Anna either fled him to avoid Domestic Abuse or was murdered by him. It's later revealed Anna met up with someone on Spark, pointing towards Taylor which isn't helped by his status as a sex offender. However, neither are involved. Greg does have poor anger management skills, but he wouldn't be the type to physically hurt someone, even if just out of cowardice. Taylor got his sex offender status for public urination, and wasn't the one who Anna met up with. Instead, she met up with the Simulacra-as-Aulner.
    • James Aulner is able to pinpoint everything in the lives of Anna and Cassie. When reading over his texts and messages to Anna & Cassie, it becomes clear this was the Simulacra trying to get its next victim.
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse: Each time the player looks at the phone's lock screen, the picture of Anna changes very slightly, fitting in with the haunted technology plot and doing a good job of unnerving the audience.
  • Shout-Out:
    • After the phone seemingly gets wiped and you're asked to input another name, type in Jacksepticeye. IRIS will automatically change it to the YouTuber's real name, which Jack himself discovered during his Let's Play of the game, to his horrified surprise.
    • Similarly, typing "Markiplier" provides his real name. Mark didn't discover the easter egg however.
    • The Simulacra, when introducing themself, tellingly refers to smartphones and computers as "black mirrors".
  • Suddenly Voiced: The text is suddenly voiced when you begin speaking with the Simulacra.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: One character mentions that he once really had to go to the restroom and ended up peeing in a stairwell, only to have a mother and her kid walk in. It sounds like the typical Potty Emergency joke, but in context it's Taylor explaining how he became a registered sex offender. It's a significant plot point, as it adds strain to his relationship to Greg and the player. His simulacrum is also weaker for this reason, making him the Simulacra's target in the climax.
  • Timed Mission: The whole game is this. If the battery on Anna's phone runs out, it's an instant Game Over.
  • Villain Protagonist: Downplayed. The player, in-order to find out where Anna is, performs criminal acts such as blackmail, impersonation, and later, murder-by-proxy. But if one gets the Golden Ending, all of that is becomes justified as both Anna and Taylor live and you managed to (temporarily) defeat a digital evil. But no manner what the ending you get, you still have committed numerous criminal acts and have to live with your actions, no manner how great the cost.
  • Wham Line: When Anna speaks to you near the end of the game: "I am really scared... I've been trying to reach out. Thank god I found James's phone."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Greg states that he doesn't see Anna's cat Tobias anywhere in the house. His fate isn't addressed.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Sara is Missing. Likely intentional, given that the creators of S.I.M. worked on SIMULACRA. Many elements are shared between the two games, such as:
    • The victim being a girl with a four letter name and two A's in her name (Sara and Anna).
    • The victim being a Kindhearted Cat Lover.
    • The victim having a strained relationship with their mother due to career-related disagreements.
    • The victim have a least one friend who was shown to be kind and supportive, and clearly the Only Sane Man due to them being genuinely concerned about their friend (Aya and Ashley).
    • The victim being sexually harassed at least once by an acquaintance (Buddy and Murv), and the player having the option to punish them accordingly by either getting them fired (Murv) or potentially dooming them to die (Buddy).
    • The victim having recently gone through a bad break-up which she initiated (Sara because Derek ditched her on her birthday to take nude photos of another girl, and Anna because Greg cheated on her with a client and almost got her pregnant.)
    • The player being contacted by someone named James who helps them find the victim. Both James's are doomed to die, and cannot be saved.
    • The player being forced to choose which one of two people to save. Whoever is not saved dies, and the ultimate fate of whoever is saved is usually left ambiguous. Slightly subverted with SIMULACRA due to the fact that it is possible to save both Anna and Taylor, though it can be difficult.
    • A digital being going rogue in some way or another, either by kidnapping their victims and melding them into their larger consciousness (the Simulacra), or by being a Knight Templar for their owner at the cost of others' lives (IRIS).
    • The main antagonist being a mysterious, gender-neutral being who is responsible for the disappearance of the victim and believing that they are somehow justified in their actions.

    SIMULACRA: Pipe Dreams 
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: Advertisements can play at random on people's phones with no rhyme or reason.
  • Allegedly Free Game: In-Universe. FlapeeBird has the eggs system, where you could either pay with real money, share the game with friends, or watch advertisements.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Some of the "gamers" in the advertisements are way too over-the-top about certain things in the games they play.
  • Big Bad: The one who is responsible for Teddy's strange behavior and is out to get him is the FlapeeBird AI/Simulacrum, which controls the FlapeeBird game and seeks to kill and assimilate victims into its consciousness, much like the original Simulacra. It’s not clear what relationship they have.
  • Bland-Name Product: Jabbr and Surfer make a return, and are joined by FlapeeBird (Flappy Bird), Boxdrop (Dropbox), and CBB (CNN).
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: In-Universe. FlapeeBird in Pipe Dreams encourages this, considering how demanding the score requirements are and the difficulty, especially in the final time it's played.
  • The Cameo: There's a CBB news article about Anna's disappearance and her boyfriend being the biggest suspect in the case.
  • Cast from Lifespan: You can pay for Eggs in "hours". If you do that, your sight starts getting darker and hazier, and doing that too much will result in getting the worst ending even before entering the final sequence.
    • One extreme case is the Subscription, which lets you automatically win the final level but condemns you to forfeit your existance to the Simulacra.
  • Cessation of Existence: FlapeeBird erases its victims from reality.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Chosen replies are sometimes overridden by the Big Bad FlapeeBird.
  • Corpsing: In-Universe. Whenever you lose in FlapeeBird, the AI giggles before coughing as if pretending to not be mocking you.
  • Demoted to Extra: IRIS is still the OS used by the player character in this game, but it doesn't interact as much as it did in the previous one.
  • Enemy Within: Teddy apparently has no recollection of his moments of complete obsession with the game, implying the Simulacrum is controlling him.
  • Escapism: One of the main themes of this installment. Teddy, who is having a hard life, becomes addicted to a mobile game to the point that it is mentally consuming him.
    FlapeeBird: "There's no 'self' in peace."
  • Game Within a Game: FlapeeBird, which is obviously based on Flappy Bird, and is the center of the plot, given that it is controlled by a malevolent AI.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You actually don’t do this immediately, but a little into the game when signing up for FlapeeBird's Royale Mode. Naming yourself Teddy, a swear word, or a famous Youtuber actually gets you different achievements.
  • Interface Screw: Happens often to the phone inside the game, just like in the original game.
  • Jump Scare: A distorted image of Teddy's face appears right after he kicks out Fake Teddy from the group chat.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Finishing the game will lead you to watching an ad for the original game, which is also skippable, much like all the other ads.
  • Mercy Invincibility: FlapeeBird has this every time the bird is revived with eggs.
  • Multiple Endings: Much like the original, there are four endings symbolized by different icons.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Done in a roundabout way; the AI in the final time you play FlapeeBird replaces any hopeful messages with bleak statements, because at this point it's having a full-scale impatient tantrum and trying to lure people into playing the Fantastic Drug of a game. It's not a trustworthy source, and sending hopeful messages is key to saving Teddy.
  • Stylistic Suck: FlapeeBird is a Take That! towards every annoying habit of mobile Allegedly Free Games.