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Video Game / Smile for Me

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Someday, you'll all smile for me. : - )

Smile For Me is an unconventional Point-and-Click Adventure Game developed by Day Lane and Yugo Limbo that centers on a florist who visits the Habitat, a group home owned by a guy named Dr. Habit who preaches its supposed goal of treating depressed, unhappy, or jaded people. Unfortunately, the Habitat does not do a very good job at doing what it is claiming to do, and as the days count down towards "the Big Event," the florist interacts with the Habitat's residents during their stay and helps cheer them up, and slowly uncovers the dark secrets of the Habitat and the history of Dr. Habit. The game was released on March 31st, 2019, and is currently available on Steam.

On May 31st, 2020, an interactive epilogue set one year after the game's events was released to celebrate its positive reception and the growing fan community surrounding it. You can play it here.

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew: The game takes place in 1994. This doesn't stop Dr. Habit from having a Twitter account, of all things.
    • A very, very downplayed example with Tim Tam being referred to by they/them pronouns. In the 90s, singular they was not a very common neutral pronoun; typically, nonbinary people instead opted for nonstandard pronouns like zie/hir or ey/em/eir note . However, given that while usage of nonstandard pronouns have seen some resurgence in The New '10s amongst certain nonbinary communities, they/them pronouns have also become more commonplace and are likely a lot more accessible to the average player.
    • Averted with the epilogue, which is deliberately designed to look similar to internet forums and chat rooms of the late 1990s.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Flowers. The backgrounds of some of Dr. Habit's announcements are flowers, the player character made a living delivering flowers before coming to the Habitat, you cheer up the first Habitician you meet by giving her a flower, Dr. Habit wanted to be a florist when he was younger... really, the list goes on.
    • In a strange yet fitting marriage of the two symbols mentioned above, the item that you can use to trigger Dr. Habit's Heel Realization is an erythronium flower - otherwise known as a tooth lily.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Boris Habit, owner of the Habitat, is the main obstacle to Flower Kid making the Habitaticians happy and is responsible for a lot of the unhappiness, because he wants to make everyone happy himself by stealing everyone's teeth and brainwashing them.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All three endings have some shade of this, with varying bitter to sweet ratios:
    • In the good ending, you manage to save the Habiticians by way of having cheered them all up so that they have no reason to stick around for the "Big Event," and you make Dr. Habit happy for the first time in years, if not decades. But he still very clearly has a lot of issues, with his newfound guilt over what he tried to do to the Habiticians (and what he's done to other people in the past) only being the latest addition. However, the blow is softened by the Creative Closing Credits showing not only the Habiticians safe and enjoying their lives wholeheartedly, the Habitat likely a distant memory, but Dr. Habit with a flower pot containing a small sprout, implying that all lingering trauma and consequences from the Habitat aside, he'll eventually be able to be truly happy. The epilogue confirms that this is indeed the case, as Habit is set to start working for Flower Kid's family at their store downtown starting next month.
    • In the neutral ending, Dr. Habit doesn't cheer up - he only realizes that he can't fight Flower Kid and that all he's been doing is hurting people. He dismisses Flower Kid so that he can be left alone, and his ultimate fate is left unknown.
    • In the bad ending, you end up punching Dr. Habit off of the balcony, which unsurprisingly kills him. Nobody holds it against you, not even Habit, but you still get the impression that there could have been a more peaceful solution. There's also the fact that if you didn't help everyone, the ones left behind end up turning into nightmarish "collage" versions of themselves - granted, it's possible this is a gas-induced hallucination, but it's still rather jarring - and what happens to them once Habit is defeated is never made clear, since they disappear from the credits.
  • Body Motifs: Teeth. Dr. Habit is very determined to have people grinning by the end of their stay at the Habitat and puts emphasis on those "pearly whites," all of the songs Tiff Webber has to sing as part of her record contract are about teeth, "Martha" is a large machine modeled to look like a grinning mouth with very prominent teeth, etc. All of it turns out to be foreshadowing for Dr. Habit's true intentions, as well as some of his past.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Thanks to the quirky artstyle, the character's designs experiment with all kinds of shapes and no two characters look alike.
  • Character Blog: Dr. Habit has his own Twitter page run by the developers, where he posts about his various ramblings and going-ons at the Habitat.
    • The interactive epilogue falls into this territory too, being a reunion that Kamal hosts for the entire cast via instant messenging.
  • Crappy Carnival: There is an area called the Carnival that you can unlock. However, befitting the rest of the Habitat, it's not much to work with and very bare-bones. There's only 2 games and a fortune-teller; the only required game is horribly rigged, and the gameplay is that you hit all the buttons that match the lights behind you... and if you try to turn around to see what buttons are lit up, you automatically lose.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Habitat is a place where unhappy or otherwise dissatisfied people come to be happy again, and it's willing to accept any and everyone in need of help... except that the doctor who runs the Habitat is an emotionally unstable Manchild who insists that he's the only one allowed to help the Habitat's residents, and who has a multitude of issues that even you can't completely solve during the game's run. And that's not the only little quirk of his that you have to worry about...
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: If you want to get 100% Completion ( which is how you get the Golden Ending), you have to some cruel things like help Millie hit Ranbo with a golf ball and punching 20 people for Tim Tam.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Naturally, considering the objective of the game - you have to cheer up people living at a temporary group home that fails its basic purpose of making people happy. However, with the exception of Dr. Habit, who was abused as a child and forced to give up his dream of being a florist, this is relatively downplayed as most of the character's issues are often comedic and lighthearted - such as a vampire who has trouble communicating with his rebellious teen daughter, a clown who broke up with his girlfriend who took him too seriously, a Conspiracy Theorist who claims he's a werewolf, and a guy who lives inside a wall, just to name a few.
  • Final-Exam Boss: A lesser example, but in order to escape Dr. Habitís dentist office, the player must use a mirror to look at the back wall and crank a wheel, two mechanics included earlier in the game.
  • Foreshadowing: Several instances throughout the game, most in the form of Habit's announcements and his old diary pages. There are, however, several blink-and-you-miss-it examples:
    • One of Mirphy's photographs is labeled "fear," and only shows a red object in the shape of a tooth.
    • Putunia claims that her villainous Arch-Enemy is only known as "The Green Menace." It's easy to initially dismiss this as poking fun at "The Red Menace," since Putunia is clearly a kid who just happens to take her superhero fantasy very seriously... but it quickly becomes obvious that she's talking about Dr. Habit if you choose to give Putunia a kiss, as she claims that they're evil and that the Green Menace believes they are useful for his plants, before correcting herself to say "plans."
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: The main purpose of the epilogue. While in-universe it's a convenient way for the characters to catch up with each other as well as the player character, it also acts as a showcase for fanart, zines, Let's Play's, and the like.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The game makes it sound as though the player has a limited amount of time to cheer everyone up and give them a reason to leave the Habitat before Dr. Habit does... something to them. In reality, there's no way for the climax to even happen without manually triggering it by talking to Kamal after helping every necessary Habitician and then going to bed.
  • Hell Hotel: Downplayed. The Habitat is marketed as a retreat where unhappy people go to cheer themselves up, but it doesn't take long for the place to start feeling off, due to both an obvious lack of actual counseling for even very basic problems and the general eeriness of its overseer.
  • Jerk Jock: Averted with Gillis, who, despite his strength and imposing form, is rather sweet and sensitive.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Averted, as multiple male characters also sport long hair, and very few adhere to strictly masculine or feminine archetypes.
  • Mass Monster-Slaughter Sidequest: While you don't murder them, Tim Tam will ask you to punch 20 people for her.
  • Mirror Characters: Flower Kid and Dr. Habit, at least according to Habit himself. Both have a connection to flowers, and in the good ending in particular, Habit claims that Flower Kid reminds him of himself when he was younger (and saner.)
  • Mood Whiplash: The largely lighthearted events that take place during the day are often juxtaposed by Dr. Habitís unnerving nighttime PSAís.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on how many Habiticians you help (and whether you choose to help Dr. Habit during the climax), you can get a few different endings.
  • Noodle Incident: A frequent occurrence at the Habitat, at least if Wallus has anything to say about it. Notable examples include Trevor biting Jimothan and subsequently getting banned from the lounge, Tim Tam using Wallus' hole to hide their stash, and the Running Gag of Putunia punching a few of the adults as "practice," just to name a few.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: The character's voice samples consist of random reversed sentence fragments stitched together.
  • Shout-Out: The slideshow on the roof of a scene from Dr. Habitís childhood seems to be a reference to the memory sequences from Psychonauts, which also serves as a clear inspiration for the gameís art style.
    • Putunia recognizes one of Dallas' paintings of being of Masked Driver.
  • Title Drop: Two in total, both said by Dr. Habit. The first instance is in the Habitat's introductory video:
    Dr. Habit: So, rise and shine buster! And remember... Someday, you'll all smile for me. :-)
    • And the second, considerably more somber example, Habit's final request to the player in the good ending:
      Dr. Habit: Please. Make them smile. For me?
  • Voice Grunting: All of the dialogue in the game is written - the characters do have voice actors, but their sound bytes are very rarely actual words, and are often reversed in random places to boot.