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Tattletail is an indie "virtual pet horror" game from Waygetter Electronics, created by Ben Esposito, Geneva Hodgson, and Tom Astle. It was released on Steam in late December of 2016.
December 20, 1998: Unable to contain their excitement, a young child sneaks into the basement to peek at their Christmas presents... especially the hot new toy of the season, Talking Tattletail. This squat cartoon critter really talks, eats, and plays games with you, and with other Tattletail toys. After a night of fun, the child puts Tattletail away and goes back to bed, hoping their parents will be none the wiser...
But now that Tattletail has been let loose, he wants to have more fun with his new owner, whether they like it or not. The child will have to keep Tattletail fed, groomed, and fully-charged if they want to avoid the wrath of the sinister "Mama Tattletail"...
On May 9, 2017, the game got a "kaleidoscope" extension, which included an update and bug fixes.
Tattletail contains examples of:
- Adorable Abomination: Who'd have thought that a Furby Expy would be a monster capable of leading a ritual used to destroy the only monster that's truly evil. Besides everyone that owned a Furby in the 90's.
- Adorkable: A lot of love went into making purple Tattletail, and it shows. The little toy loves the child.
- Antagonist Title: Kinda, since while the Big Bad is a Tattletail, it's Mama Tattletail, none of the others.
- Author Avatar: Waygetter Electronics, the company that made the game, is also the in-universe creator of the Tattletail toys.
- Badass Adorable: Surprisingly, the titular Tattletails. In fact, they manage to use Ritual Magic to seal their "Mama" away.
- Bland-Name Product: The Tattletail is basically a Furby, except with even more terrifying rumors surrounding them that happen to all be true. Mama, meanwhile, has more of a Teddy Ruxpin influence.
- Broken Record: In the Kaleidoscope update, the VHS tape you find has a few audio glitches near the end, where it constantly repeats "BABY TALKING TATTLE-" until the end of the commercial.
- Candlelit Ritual: On the final night, you must bring the Tattletails candles to help them perform a ritual to destroy Mama Tattletail.
- Character Blog: Tattletail himself has an official Twitter account. While the Waygetter Electronics account is mostly a straight developer feed, it does occasionally roleplay as the in-universe toy company of the same name.
- Collection Sidequest: There are twenty-two eggs hidden throughout the game, with random junk hidden inside them. Collecting them all gets you the good ending.
- Creepy Basement: You spend a lot of time in the basement throughout the game, and it's pretty creepy even before Mama gets involved.
- Creepy Doll: Tattletail seems harmless, if annoying, at first... then it starts moving around on its own and messing around with things. Then more of them start showing up, including Mama Tattletail. While the other Tattletails are ultimately Creepy Good, Mama is your worst nightmare.
- Creepypasta: The game is basically an interactive version of one. The trailer even evokes this, playing an original commercial and implying there are dark rumors of why Mama Tattletail was banned. This being a horror game, of course they're true.
- Darkness = Death: Stay in the dark too long, and Mama Tattletail will catch you, especially since being in darkness makes Tattletail freak out. Being in the light (not counting your flashlight) also means you're safe, as the power goes out when she's attacking.
- Eldritch Location: The update's titular Kaleidoscope is a distorted realm were physics doesn't behave like normal, where all memories are allegedly held, and where your vision looks like it's filtered through...well...a kaleidoscope.
- Eye Motifs:
- Tattletail's eyes are the most expressive part of its face, allowing it to say things with a lidded, potentially sardonic look or glance left and right furtively yet robotically. Starting on Christmas Eve, it begins to show its true nature by rolling its eyes as it assures the player that its Tattletail and it loves them, and glancing down to the side worriedly as it says it likes to play with them.
- During the ritual, the eyes of all the Tattletails roll back in their head and go completely white to underline the power they're channeling.
- Eyes play a pretty big role in the "Kaleidoscope" expansion. An eye symbol is apparently the trigger for Waygetter's memory modification technique, and one of the more notable differences between the false-memory Tattletail and the real one is in the eyes.
- Fake Memories: In the "Kaleidoscope" expansion, the player discovers that their memories of the main game's events have been modified so that they now remember the main Tattletail as a boring educational toy and Mama as good.
- Featureless Protagonist: Downplayed. While the creators have gone on record to say that there is no canon gender for the main character, they are presumably one of the children seen in the photos in your room.
- Foreshadowing: On night 1, if you decide to answer the phone after returning Tattletail to his box, you can hear Mama Tattletail's casetophone grinding among all the static. On night 2, once you get the flashlight and head to the main basement, lights go out and you can see her red eyes. She can't do anything to you beyond giving you a minor jumpscare, but still serves to herald her debut during the following night.
- Gainax Ending: The Normal Ending counts as one. When Christmas comes, you open your Tattletail present only to see... Nothing. Then, for some reason, Mama Tattletail jumpscares you, and ROLL CREDITS!
- The Ghost: The protagonist's parents are never seen, nor are the family pets. The parents may have been revealed in an in-game picture though.
- Glamour Failure: Tattletail initially pretends it can only move its eyes left and right or raise and lower its eyelids, to appear more toylike. As the nights go on, it lets some emotion slip through the charade.
- Golden Ending: Collecting all the eggs changes the game's ending. Instead of the box being empty, Tattletail appears and gives you his tag and a golden flashlight. The protagonist then goes to wake up their mother, and the game ends on a white screen with Tattletail saying "Thank you."
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Mama was designed as an option to keep the Tattletail children out of too much mischief. Stories on cassette sold separately. Instead, she savaged and maimed anyone who dared to interact with the cute critters. She was recalled, but evidently, not quickly enough.
- Haunted Technology: Unlike the AI Tattletails, Mama, specifically her VHS tape, has no artificial sentience but is instead a monstrous, murderous supernatural entity. You have to work with the Tattletails to banish and destroy her if you hope to live to see Christmas Day.
- Hollywood Giftwrap: Your protagonist's present.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The game takes place over the last five days of the Christmas season.
- Infinity +1 Sword: Getting the Golden Ending rewards you with the Golden Flashlight, that never runs out of batteries, making subsequent playthroughs much easier.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Your main purple Tattletail has these.
- Jump Scare: It's a Horror game, it's to be expected.
- Kid Hero: The protagonist is a child no older than about nine or ten.
- Madness Mantra: On the final night, the Tattletails start shouting "NO MORE MAMA!" as they cast their "ritual".
- Meaningful Name: Between their battery needs, note grooming needs, note and food needs, note you, the player, have to go through a lot to keep these loudmouthed tattletales from revealing your position to Mama.
- Multiple Endings: There are two endings you can get, the Normal Ending (which you get by playing through the game normally) and the Golden Ending, which you can get by finding all the Easter Eggs hidden throughout the game.
- My Beloved Smother: It's implied the Tattletails take a distinct issue with Mama because she keeps killing people who just want to play with them.
- New Game+: If you get the Golden Ending, you are rewarded with the Golden Flashlight, which never runs out of power. This carries over to subsequent playthroughs of the game.
- No Communities Were Harmed: Waygetter Electronics is located in a nonexistent town called "Decent, Illinois". Its zip code corresponds to the real-world town of Dwight, Illinois.
- Non-Malicious Monster: Mama Tattletail is the only one that actually wants to kill you. The rest just want to play, even to the point where they perform a ritual to banish her.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Used very often during the earlier nights of the game. Specifically Nights 1 and 2, where the darkness of the basement can fool a player into thinking that something is coming.
- Oh, Crap!: When the power goes out on Night 2, a "Task: Oh no..." will appear.
- Present-Day Past:
- The game is set in 1998 and your flashlight is a shake light. Faraday shake lights only came to the market in 2002.
- The Tattletail gets power from a charging cradle. Rechargeable batteries weren't that common in children's toys in the late 90s and would have been more likely to use regular alkaline AA or AAA batteries like the original Furby did.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: A pair of glowing red eyes are the only sign that Mama Tattletail is about.
- Retraux: The game makes judicious use of VHS-esque graphical artifacts to add to the vintage 90s feel.
- Shown Their Work:
- Tattletail really does look and move like an actual Furby. The only real difference is that Tattletail looks more like a cat than a bird. It can still lay eggs, though.
- December 1998 actually is the time when Furby was first released.
- Mama Tattletail seems like an inversion of the IRL Furby Babies.
- With the motherly personality and the eggs, Mama also resembles a "Wuv Luv"; A similar electric toy creature coming from around the same time Furby did. The Wuv Luvs were Always Female and could "lay" an egg with a baby inside.
- It's possible Mama was also inspired by Teddy Ruxpin, another mammalian doll with a tape deck that tells stories.
- Ten-Second Flashlight: When the lights go out, your only source of light is a shake-powered flashlight that lasts only a couple seconds and makes a lot of noise when you recharge it.
- The End... Or Is It?: The regular ending. On Christmas Day, you open your present... and it's just an empty box; Tattletail is gone. Then you're treated to the Jump Scare that plays when Mama Tattletail catches you. Then the game abruptly ends.
- Theme Music Power-Up: While the Tattletails are performing the ritual, the song from their commercial plays in the background.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Despite how annoying he can be, it's rather common for players to get attached to Tattletail. Some even want a real Tattletail toy of their own, or a game without Mama that just involves playing with your Tattletail.
- Wham Episode:
- Christmas Eve. The "party" Tattletail and his friends throw in the basement turns into some kind of terrifying arcane ritual, complete with a pentagram drawn in Christmas lights, intended to banish the... thing that is Mama Tattletail.
- Prior to that is night 3, when Mama is properly introduced. The first two nights just introduced the mechanics and the spooky atmosphere; after you put that cassette in, you're now in actual danger.
- A Winner Is You: Should the player character obtain the Golden Ending by collecting all 22 eggs, your gift will be a golden flashlight. The flavor text is as follows: Waygetter Gold, new from Waygetter Electronics. The Long-Lasting Golden Flashlight! You love it!"
- Would Hurt a Child: You think Mama Tattletail will go easy on you since you're just a child? Think again.
- Yandere: Mama Tattletail can count as a parental example, seeing as the only reason she's attacking you is to "Defend" her children from "Bad" kids.