Stories Untold is a multi-genre horror game created by developer No Code. Released in 2017, the game features four different episodes, each one with a different story and twist ending.
In the first episode, The House Abandon, the player is sat in a room playing a classic 80s text-based game.
In the second episode, The Lab Conduct, the player is working as a volunteer in a laboratory regarding a top-secret experiment.
In the third, The Station Process, the player is working at a remote Arctic station, in which he must process radar signals.
In the fourth and final episode, The Last Session, the connection between all the previous stories is revealed...
The game is available for purchase on Steam here.
Stories Untold contains examples of:
- Abandoned Hospital: A portion of "The Last Session" takes place in one - it's the hospital where James has been lying comatose for two weeks.
- Adventures in Comaland: "The Last Session" reveals that at least one of the previous 3 episodes were set while James was in a coma.
- Always Save the Girl: Painfully averted in "The Last Session". James deliberately leaves his sister to die so he can't be incriminated for the accident.
- And You Were There: The other voices that can be heard within the first three games are those of James' doctor, Mr. Alexander, his little sister Jennifer, and a police officer that arrived at the scene of the car accident.
- Arc Number: 1986. It's the year of James' accident.
- Arc Words: Every chapter has at least one example, and the meaning of each one is revealed in the final chapter.
- "The House Abandon" has "I'm sorry, I don't understand." and "It was all my/your fault." The former is what James' mother said upon finding out that his sister had died in the crash, and James' sessions with Dr. Alexander are helping him to realize the latter.
- "The Lab Conduct" has "You need to get out of here." James escaped from a car wreck that put him in a coma.
- "The Station Process" has "What is happening?" Dr. Alexander is trying to get James to tell him what happened in the crash.
- Awful Truth: James killed a man in a drunk driving accident, and then left his little sister to die and made it look like the other man was the drunk driver so he wouldn't go to jail. The guilt of this causes him to dream up the events of the first three games.
- Big Fancy House: The titular "House Abandon" starts off this way, with the Interactive Fiction game outright stating what a large and grand house it is. That is, until things begin to go awry...
- Book Ends: The first thing you see when starting "The House Abandon" is the intro animation with credits. It's also the last thing you see in "The Last Session".
- Brand X:
- But Thou Must!: In "The Last Session", James can keep trying to change the outcome, but since it already happened, it just amounts to trying to avoid facing what he did. This even extends to how Jennifer keeps failing to notice that James was drunk; she didn't in real life, and we know he's an Unreliable Narrator.Game: That's not what really happened though is it?
- Crapsaccharine World: "The House Abandon" starts off pleasant and inoffensive. When you put the game tape into your computer, everything goes to hell.
- Creator Cameo: "The House Abandon" game was made by No Code, and their logo can be seen on some of the various gadgets in each chapter.
- Cypher Language: The alien symbols at the end of The Lab Conduct are in a font based on the Prawn language from District 9.
- Dead Person Conversation: All conversations with the girl at NS-2 from "The Station Process" — that girl is actually James' deceased younger sister, Jennifer.
- Easter Egg: Some radio stations in The Station Process contain public emergency broadcasts and music channels.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Jennifer clearly loved James, supported him, trusted him. And when they crashed, he preferred hiding his whiskey bottle in a dead innocent man's car over pulling her out of the poisonous fumes and giving her first aid.Station 2: I can't feel my legs... James? What are you doing?
- Everyone Knows Morse: In "The Station Process," a message is sent to NS-3 only in Morse. Luckily, the player's microfilm contains instructions on how to decode it.
- Featureless Protagonist: The only information given about the player character is his name, James Aition.
- The player can find photographs of a forest road at night in the sister's closet with the mention that they seem familiar. Returning to the weather station in "The Last Session" shows the accident report with mention of how the car accident had happened on "Pleasant Hill Forest Road".
- In "The Lab Conduct", the flashes shown by the entity are from a burst metal, a silhouette in front of bright lights and a woman with a black background. AKA, the broken car, the officer that finds James and his sister in a body bag. The photo of Jennifer during the flashes is even the same that appears during "The Last Session". There is also a moment of a forest with both the light effect and sound of an obvious car emergency light blinking.
- During "The Station Process", the acronym "GCS" keeps coming up, with the meaning blacked out. It stands for "Glasgow Coma Scale", a way of measuring the consciousness of a patient. James overheard or saw his own assessment at some point. The first page of the microfilm has four words, whose first letters spell "COMA".
- In the same episode, you are decoding what at first appears to be emergency broadcast signals. But as you progress, your monitor starts showing commands like 'scorched earth scenario' and 'launch successful', as areas on your global map all become engulfed, save for your location. As he presses onward, things start to not add up, as two previously unseen and unacknowledged operators suddenly begin chiming in, and before you have to fix the generator outside, the 2nd operator suddenly calls you 'James'. And if one looks into the snow surroundings such as behind the fences, one can see many cars, with some of them clearly totaled.
- Genre Shift: Between each episode. "The House Abandon" is an atmospheric Interactive Fiction game, "The Lab Conduct" is more similar to a puzzle-horror game, "The Station Process" is closer to a traditional adventure horror game, and "The Last Session" is a combination of all three.
- Game Within a Game: "The House Abandon" is a text adventure of a happy revisit of an old home, and it contains a game "The House Abandon" which is a text adventure revisiting a house entering disrepair.
- It's All About Me: What James Aition's actions right after the car crash ultimately amount to, letting his sister die so she won't tell the cops and pinning all the evidence on the driver that collided with him so that he could get away with driving under the influence.
- It's All My Fault: Averted, at first.For a while, James couldn't even accept responsibility for his actions, however, the guilt of what he did eventually drives him insane to the point that he is committed to an asylum and eventually admits what he did. The therapist even points out that the police may not take him anywhere because he'll probably be there for quite some time.
- Meaningful Background Event: In "The House Abandon", everything that happens in the Interactive Fiction game affects the player's surroundings and the very room that you're in.
- Meaningful Echo: The game is full of them in a brilliant way. Half the things said suddenly gain meaning in "The Last Session". "The House Abandon" alone has plenty, but the most outstanding are "I'm sorry I don't understand", "It was all my/your fault", "Say it" and "Make it stop".
- Minimalist Cast: The game only consists of three major characters - James, his sister Jennifer, and his doctor Mr. Alexander. Even if one adds all other slightly relevant characters, then that only adds four more people, of which only two are even voiced: James' mother, James' father, the driver he killed and the work collegue of the killed driver.
- Murder by Inaction: After drunkenly crashing his car and causing Jennifer to become severely injured, James leaves her to die in favor of framing the other driver as the drunk.
- Mysterious Past: Invoked in "The House Abandon", where the player hints at some Noodle Incident involving his sister Jennifer but does not go into detail. This is changed in "The Last Session", where this incident is elaborated upon.
- Numbers Station: The Station Process involves tuning into number stations, and decoding them to transmit computer code back out for reasons unknown. Things get weirder down the line.
- Parental Abandonment: This seems to have happened to James following the accident, if his mother's conversation with the doctor and the plot of "The House Abandon" are anything to go off of.
- Recursive Canon: The game is made to resemble an 80s style TV show from the beginning. It turns out in "The Last Session" that it actually is a TV show, on a VHS that James had been watching many times in the hospital, despite being in a coma the entire time.
- The Reveal: James was in a coma for two weeks, caused by a car accident. All the previous games were dreams he had while comatose that were related to the truth of his car accident - he drunkenly killed another driver, planted the whiskey in his car to make it look like the other driver was the drunk one, and left his sister to die in the process.
- Rewatch Bonus:
- After "The Last Session", you can play through again looking for Foreshadowing. For example, in "The House Abandon", the second go-round of the in-universe game starts with James getting out of a "warped" car. Like it's been in a car accident.
- The end credits for the first three episodes list James Aition and Peter Hennings as "Drivers", Daniel Alexander as "First Aid" and Ty Williams as "Security".
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Present in the text adventure portions of the game, which is quite jarring in a game of generally high quality of writing. Notably, the amount of mistakes is inconsistent, with the second half of The House Abandon (which starts out just fine quality-of-writing-wise) and the text adventure portions of The Last Session being the worst offenders, although some parts of The Lab Conduct also exhibit this.
- Self-Deprecation: Examining the VHS case of "Stories Untold" in the fourth section results in:"The only video they have. Some horror compilation. Trash."
- Sigil Spam: In the first two chapters, a logo on two coffee mugs and a computer display are for the Department of Experimental Sciences, which Chapter 2 presumably takes place in.
- Synthetic Voice Actor: The various number stations are read out from generic Text-to-Speech programs, some of which stem from MacInTalk.
- The Unreveal: In "The Station Process", the character never sees the thing that dragged James out of his building.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Midway through the fourth chapter, The Lab Conduct's reprise ends with the drill closing in on James' head, while he's awake. One of his eyes shown on a monitor shuts just before it makes contact.
- Wham Shot: In "The Station Process", when the player gets to station W4 and opens the door to find the room from "The House Abandon."
- Whole-Plot Reference: The entirety of "The Station Process" references the film The Thing (1982), incorporating its subarctic setting and the lurking horror of the unseen monster stalking James. In fact, it's possible James saw the movie and integrated it into his dream.
- World of Symbolism: All of the games function in this way, and each of them are Justified In-Universe by Dr. Alexander's attempts to use them to help James remember and reconcile the events of the car accident.
- You Can't Get Ye Flask: Like the classic text adventures that inspired it, "The House Abandon," is very picky about what specific phrases will advance the story, and the player can sometimes find themselves stuck if they can't guess exactly what the developers intended.