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Video Game / We Become What We Behold

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Due to the game's small size, all spoilers are unmarked. You have been warned.
News cycles. Vicious cycles. Infinite cycles.
We Become What We Behold is a video game created by Nutcase Nightmare, released on Kongregate in 2016. It's a Deconstruction Game where you work as a photographer for an unnamed social media network and must take picture of interesting things to make them go viral. It starts off innocently, but it really functions as a satire of the internet/modern media cycle.

You can play it here. It's recommended to do so before reading the trope list, since it is rather short.

We trope what we behold:

  • An Aesop: Our tendency to only cover things based on what generates attention and to hold ignorant beliefs based off little evidence is incredibly dangerous.
  • Ax-Crazy: Whenever they go on a killing spree, their faces become downright unhinged.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The menu screen warns that the game contains "snobbery, rudeness, & mass murder."
  • But Thou Must!: Figured out the trick? Think you can dial down the tensions by reporting on the peace rally? Don't bother — the headline will just tell you "Give the people what they want" with a broken hashtag if you do so repeatedly, and it will do nothing to calm things down.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Quite literally. The man in the hat at the beginning seems innocuous enough at first. He triggers the war later on by shooting the happy (formerly shouty) square man.
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  • Chirping Crickets: If you take a boring picture with a broken hashtag, the only one watching the screen is a cricket. Take a picture of the cricket, three will be watching.
  • Deconstruction Game: For Memetic Mutationinvoked and Flame War and also the trope Good Is Boring. Too much attention to negative things, even if it gets good views and viral chances, can spiral out into something horrible.
  • Downer Ending: The game eventually reaches a point where things dissolve into total chaos and violence, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. The couple advocating peace lives, though.
  • Easter Egg: Taking a picture of the cricket before it jumps off-screen has a small group of three crickets observing their colleague. Taking a picture of them gives the hashtag "ok that's too many crickets"
  • Fantastic Racism: Taking a picture of the spiky-haired, square-headed guy screaming into someone's face leads to a circle-headed person becoming afraid of all square-heads, which ultimately spirals into all the circle-heads and the square-heads killing each other... with the exception of the romantic couple, one of which is a circle, the other a square.
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  • Flame War: Happens after a certain amount of time and gossip. Later turns into an actual war.
  • Flyaway Shot: When all-out war happens, the camera slowly pans back to show all the violence is being displayed on a laptop screen, before a cut to credits and one last shot of the romantic couple mourning all of the dead.
  • The Generic Guy: The normal people walking around. If you take a photo of them, the broken hashtag is "Just some normal peeps".
  • Good Is Boring: And true love too. Taking pictures of people getting along after a certain point gives broken hashtags about how people getting along is boring.
  • Get a Room!: Taking a picture of a couple walking around gives the hashtag "GROSS... GO GET A ROOM!"
  • #HashtagForLaughs: Every single picture you take has a hashtag with a witty sentence. Though it isn't played for laughs for long.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: After the credits, it's shown the couple advocating peace survived in the end, and set up a memorial.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: The game is a brutal parody of sensationalist "click-bait" news. All bets are off when trying to broadcast good news for a change leads to "Peace is boring. Violence goes viral."
  • Jerkass: The spiky-haired guy starts as one, but mellows out. Unfortunately, by taking pictures of circles being fearful of squares they began to despise the former and vice versa.
  • Love Redeems: The couple gives one of their hats to the spiky-haired guy who was scaring people and he spends the rest of the game with a goofy smile, not scaring anyone. Until he's blown to bits.
  • Manipulative Editing: The entire point of the game relies on this. The very first picture you take that has drastic consequences is of the odd square who yells and instills fear in the populace. When the circle runs from a square as a result, the caption phrases it as rudeness and intolerance, and this in turn causes a square to turn his nose up to a circle, and it just snowballs from there.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Everyone stops what they're doing and looks on in horror when the man in the hat draws a gun on the spiky-haired man.
  • Mood Whiplash: Immediately before the man in the hat murders the spiky-haired man, you can take a picture of him and mock his hat. Being only five minutes long, the game is also this.
  • A Truce While We Gawk: Everyone stops dead the moment the man in the bowler hat pulls a gun on the spiky-haired square man. The player hears the gunshot behind the pop-up photo they take, then all hell breaks loose.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: It's unclear what the spiky-haired guy was intending to do. But by the time he's mellowed out, another character's grudge against his past actions leads to his own death, immediately followed by the deaths of nearly everyone else.
  • Wham Shot: The moment the man in the hat draws a gun on the spiky-haired guy. Everything stops cold as they all realize what's going to happen and that there's nothing they can do to stop it. When he pulls the trigger, all hell breaks loose.
  • Windmill Crusader: At the end of the game, any pictures you take generate the hashtag "BE SCARED. BE ANGRY." and more people start attacking each other.
  • You Bastard!: The player’s desire to take “interesting pictures” inadvertently leads them to turn circles and squares against each other, leading directly to the top-hatted circle shooting the spiky-haired square and the other circles and squares killing each other.