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Welcome to the Game is a puzzle-based horror game developed by Reflect Studios, the same lovely people who brought us Rides With Strangers. It was released June 15, 2016 on Steam.

The game follows a Featureless Protagonist browsing The Deep Web, a real-life digital Wretched Hive, in search of a Red Room, a live streaming service hosting actual Gorn. To find the Red Room, the player must find 8 pieces of the url scattered around the web, all while avoiding the Kidnapper who is after them, and (as of ver 2.9) the Breather, a Serial Killer who goes after people browsing the Deep Web.

On November 11, 2016, the game's content sum was almost doubled with the 2.0 update, adding, in addition to the new villain, 30+ more websites, new mechanics, achievements, and a duo of Harder Than Hard to unlock secret endings.

A DLC for this game titled The Waiting Room was released about a year and a half later, serving as a prelude to the sequel. In it, you play as a captive in the Red Room, who must go through the Deep Web to find and decrypt 6 hashes, then enter them as one code to escape, all while making sure the Executioner doesn't catch you.

See also Welcome to the Game II, the sequel.

The game provides examples of:

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    Welcome to the Game 
  • All Myths Are True: Adam labels the Deep Web kidnappers as "urban legends", yet you'll soon find to see that that's untrue.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: To boost the scary factor, literally every person you see on the Deep Web is badly depraved in some way, whether they be cold-hearted adulterers, wannabe serial killers, satanists, or sadistic kidnappers.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Just like on the real Deep Web, it's impossible to tell whether the self-proclaimed and aforementioned adulterers, Serial Killers, and Satanists are legit, or are simply trolling/trying to get attention.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In a rare moment of leniency in an otherwise unforgiving game, losing all of your notes to a hacking attack will not require you to redo the notorious Claffis puzzle to get the URL for the third wiki page. It does reset ChosenAwake though.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When clicking your way through "Forgive Me", you'll find people talking about desires of mass-murder, actual mass-murder, callous cheating, and worse, yet there's this one guy talking about how he hates being called "bro".
  • Author Avatar: The tutorial character is the game's creator.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Kidnapper and The Breather are after the player and stalk them at their house, serving as the enemies the player must evade while finding the Red Room.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The kidnapper that stalks you throughout the game speaks exclusively Russian.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: The advertisement for the two sisters is written by their brother, who implies he and his father used them as Sex Slaves and want to start sharing.
  • Canon Welding: With Rides With Strangers. If you want to know more about our Villain Protagonist, look up details on Lydia, the Nympho.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In this game, you can only get a small glimpse at the Shadow Web and The Prey. In the sequel, they're basically the story's Red Room.
  • Crapsack World: The Deep Web's universal depravity is exaggerated to make the game scarier. The tamest stuff you find are hundreds of people on the Forgive Me website, an anonymous confession generator, talking about how they want to get stalked and raped, or how they want to commit senseless mass murder, or how they've done mountains of sexually explicit things. The worst it gets are actual satanic cults, hitmen organizations, and of course, Red Rooms.
  • Creator Cameo: Adam is voiced and named after the creator.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The person running the Black Hat Post website:
    Idiot, you need a picture of the face. Thanks for the free money though.
  • Determinator: The shit you're willing to go through just to find a Red Room is insane (digging through mountains of sickening Deep Web content, fending your computer from armies of professional hackers, fending yourself from actual home invaders). However, when you remember Red Rooms are just Gorn for lifeless sickos, this starts to seem more Loser Protagonist-y. The Who Am I ending reveals it's actually Villain Protagonist-y.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The Hitmen groups and the evil Doctor Murder torture/murder ring advertisements you see refuse to target pregnant women and those under 18.
    • When the greedy Black Host hackers were requested the details of a little boy from an obvious pedophile, they not only refused the request, but confirmed they had the pedophile assassinated without hesitation.
    • Entering The Pedo Handbook site leads to the Kidnapper tracking you down instantly, leading to a game over.
  • Evil Laugh: The skull avatar of the hacking minigames gives out a deep, robotic cackle whenever it appears.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The Player is a mute First-Person Ghost whose only motivation is finding a Red Room, which implies either childlike curiosity or morbid sadism. The Kidnapper also calls them "kid" though only in the demo version. Subverted in the Who Am I ending, which reveals the protagonist to be Lydia.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Kidnappers can hear you through your microphone. So if a kidnapper's approaching and you want to avoid a game over, you have to keep your mouth shut on top of turning off the lights. Fortunately, you can turn this feature off in the options menu.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The Red Room segment of the game has a lot of this. When the Executioner is about to attack, it cuts to a black "BUFFERING..." screen, but it cuts back in as the Victim screams in pain from... SOMETHING. And just before the final coup de grace, the game ends.
  • Hacked by a Pirate: The avatar that personifies the hacking minigames is a cackling skull.
  • Harassing Phone Call: The Breather's M.O, and what warns you that a Serial Killer is about to break into your house.
  • Harder Than Hard: "1337 Mode" skyrockets the game's difficulty and gives the player a secret ending for beating.
  • Hell Is That Noise: You hear random creaking and knocking around your house a lot. It's not just ambiance...
  • Heroic Mime: While the secret ending reveals "heroic" couldn't be more incorrect, the protagonist is still so silent it's unrealistic. Even when a Malevolent Masked Man breaks into their house and kidnaps them, our hero still doesn't make a single peep. Suddenly subverted in the secret ending where the player all of a sudden starts having a conversation on the phone.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Every now and again, you're assaulted by a hacker that you can block with certain minigames.
  • Hollywood Satanism: There are multiple sites dedicated to Satan-worshipping or something similar.
  • Immobile Player Character: Although you can still get up to switch the lights on and off. The 2.0 update averts this even more by allowing the player to go to the door (although it's still limited, uncontrollable movement).
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The Father from Rides With Strangers has his own website you can explore. The two secret endings also further emphasizes this by having the Executioner's Red Room be right outside the RWS highway right as Elora is picked up by the Father, and revealing that the player is the Nympho.
  • In the Hood: The Breather wears a dark, blood-stained hoodie with the hood over his head.
  • Irony: The reason you're going through all of this chaos is just to find a Red Room, Deep Web streams of innocent people being kidnapped and tortured to death for the viewers' entertainment. One of the ways to get a Game-Over is to get kidnapped by a Deep Web person yourself, which implies you yourself will get to star in a Red Room. You got your wish, alright.
  • Jump Scare: When you fail at hiding from the Kidnapper or keeping out the Breather.
    "Dobryy vecher..."Translation 
  • Justified Tutorial: The game's tutorial is just a Skype friend telling you how to navigate around the dangers of the Deep Web, though he does occasionally break the fourth wall to tell you the controls.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: All three antagonists. The Kidnapper has a balaclava, the Executioner has a hockey mask, and the Breather has a surgeon's mask.
  • Morton's Fork: If you're really unlucky, a hacking minigame can trigger at the same time a home invader is approaching, and the hack will continue even if you turn the lights off, forcing you to choose between letting yourself get hacked (costing you a few days and potentially losing your notes—meaning any codes you typed and saved would be lost) or stopping the hack and risking getting a game over if you can't block the hack and turn the lights back off or hold the door shut in time (instant game over). This goes double late in the game where losing those days and/or codes wouldn't leave you enough time to get all the codes and unlock the Red Room before it's shut down, but blocking the hacks takes much longer, making it more risky to leave the lights on and stop them in this case.
  • Multiple Endings: There's three endings in total.
  • The end goal is to access one such "Red Room".
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The sites The Butcher, Testical Mutilation, Hail Satan, Grandmas Fantasy, The Bomb Maker, and Is Evil aren't very inviting names.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • There's plenty of young women on "Forgive Me" that want to be stalked and raped or have self-admitted sociopath fetishes.
    • The protagonist might also be this, as a hardcore Deep Web navigator and an active seeker of a Red Room. One of the secret endings takes this literally by revealing the protagonist is looking for a Red Room for sexual pleasure.
  • Noble Demon: Tango Down's hitmen seem to be this. While they'll pull a hit on almost anyone, they still won't assassinate anyone under 18 or pregnant women. Additionally, their website explains that they won't perform torture on a victim. That being said, they are still hitmen Only in It for the Money...
  • Number of the Beast: The game was meant to be released June 6, 2016 (6/6/16), but was unfortunately pushed back a few weeks for polishing.
  • Pædo Hunt: A couple of examples.
    • On the Black Hat Post website, a request to find a young boy made by an obvious paedophile is answered by the hacker stating that he had the requester assassinated.
      REQ> "I saw this little boy today.. I need to know who he is..."
      RES> "Readers, the person who made this request is no longer breathing."
    • A website called "The Pedo Handbook" might give you a key on its initial page, so a player might be tempted to go to the actual page to see what lies within... but the Kidnapper will instantly find you if you do so.
  • Parental Incest: A confession on Forgive Me is a dad saying that he regularly rapes his 17 year old daughter after his wife died, and the My Sisters advertisement implies the titular sisters were Sex Slaves to their father.
  • Pop Quiz: "The Gatekeeper" site is a trivia quiz about the other sites on the Deep Web, with questions ranging from the number of URLs that Takedownman has taken down to what offerings are demanded by what cults to the price a specific website sells a specific firearm for. Since you need to complete this quiz to get the 8th key to the Red Room, this also counts as a Final Exam.
  • The Reveal: In the Who Am I ending, the player is revealed to be the Nympho from Rides With Strangers.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Player is the Nympho from Rides With Strangers.
  • Schmuck Bait: Go on, go to The Pedo Handbook site and click on enter, see what happens. The Kidnapper finds you instantly. Even moreso since that site can give you one of the key for the Red Room just by going to its initial page, which can make an inexperienced player tempted to check the actual site.
  • Self-Made Orphan: A few people on "Forgive Me" want to murder their parents.
  • Sex Slave: The Deep Web is littered with advertisements for them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Sociopath:
    • A good chunk of the "Forgive Me" anons (specifically the omnicidal maniacs and cheaters) are clearly sociopaths...or pretend to be (see Ambiguously Evil).
    • A definitely-straight example is the Executioner.
  • Take That!: Some confessions from the "Forgive Me" site have anons who want to be forgiven for voting for Donald Trump.
  • Timed Mission: The entire game is this, as you only have 30 days till all Red Rooms are shut down. The hacking minigames are also this.
  • Title Drop: The last line of the game is the Red Room operator welcoming the crowd and his victim to The Game.
  • Villain Protagonist: You play as the Nympho from Rides With Strangers, which means you're a Depraved Bisexual rapist. She also blatantly admits she's looking for a Red Room for sexual pleasure.
  • What the Hell, Player?: There's only a few reasons for why the player plans on watching, and thus supporting, a Red Room, actual innocent people being horribly tortured for the viewers' entertainment...
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: While there are still plenty of people on the Deep Web who have no qualms about doing things to children, there are still quite a few who clearly oppose it. It's also heavily implied in one case; go into the Pedo Handbook and the Kidnapper gets to you immediately.
  • Wretched Hive: The game's interpretation of the Deep Web uses a combination of exaggeration, urban legends, and actual twisted Deep Web content to make it seem like a Survival Horror setting.

    The Waiting Room 
  • Ascended Extra: In the first game, the Executioner was in a single cutscene. Here, he basically takes the Kidnapper and Breather's role as Big Bad.
  • Big Bad: The Executioner takes full reign as the one running the Red Room, and the protagonist must escape him to avoid being murdered live.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: As in the original, the game is microphone-sensitive, so you better shut the hell up when the Executioner is near. Made extra sadistic in that this whole game was specifically made as a contest for Let's Players, whose entire purpose is to commentate over the games they play.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The background ambiance is the evil that goes on in the Red Room. Screaming, drilling, gleeful whistling, all of that jazz.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's part of a contest, so the layman absolutely cannot beat it. The puzzle aspect of escaping is already hard enough, but the Executioner breathing down your neck 24/7 makes it nigh-impossible.
  • Room Escape Game: The entire game is composed of a mere two rooms that you must escape.
  • Torture Cellar: The setting, the titular Waiting Room, is where Red Room victims are kept when they're not being tortured to death in front of thousands.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: A very traditional example.