It doesn't take long for the place to go from moody and dark into a full-blown nightmare as parts of the school begin to grow dilapidated, an insane janitor goes to town on a seemingly random student before he starts coming for you, and two girls that seem pretty unfazed about the school turning into a hellish nightmare. And everything goes downhill from there...
The game was released in Korea for PC in 2001 with an English European release planned by the UK-based 4AM Entertainment in 2004 (even including translated screens from the import game), but it was unfortunately cancelled. In the same year of cancelled localization, the game was re-released with six other games developed by Sonnorinote during their 10th anniversary in the Romance of Package compilation. The game was quite notable for several patches on the creator's site made to tone down the creepiness factor due to complaints from people being too terrified to finish the game and locked the real horrors away in the harder difficulties. It was later released on mobile phones in 2009 but sacrificed the 3D graphics for still images that hampered the atmosphere of the game.
Since the cancellation of the localization and Sonnori closing up shop, the original game itself had become something of a rarity with a few people seeding torrents and file downloads in an attempt to keep a copy available. Unnamed Studios has been working on a fan-made translation/restoration project that translates the game and fixes the compatibility issues so it can be played on non-Korean PCs.
The game's graphics did not age well, but its place was between Clock Tower's 2D interpretation of the helpless victim and Resident Evil's 3D depiction of Badass Normal if it was a game using a first-person perspective that took functionally of a defenseless protagonist and pitted him against a haunted building with a stalker...
While regarded by many as a cult classic, the game had been seen by many as not having a chance of a sequel or re-release... However, in early 2016, it was announced it would be re-released for the PlayStation 4, made to be used with its new VR technology, and completely redone from the ground up. An Android and iOS version of the remake has been released overseas in April 2016 under the title The School: White Day, with a PC version that was quickly greenlit for Steam and was finally released on August 22, 2017 and can be purchased here. It was also released for PS4 the same month.
A VR game called White Day The Courage Test was developed for theme parks in 2018 before being released for home devices in 2020, in time for Halloween.
Warning! Due to the nature of this game, it is best not to read any further past this point since the game can be a minefield of spoilers, despite the amount of spoilers covered up on this page.
White Day provides trope examples of:
- Abandoned Hospital: According to Seong-ah, the school was built from one during an old war.
- Abandoned Playground: The school shows signs of regular wear and tear, but after you leave the vents in the first area it really begins to show.
- Alien Geometries: The weird maze at the end as well as the void as you escape the school.
- Air-Vent Passageway: One of the ways of getting around the school is going through the air vents found the restrooms and various places.
- Always Save the Girl: Not in the Hyacinth ending. You Bastard!.
- It's worth noting that choosing to stay and help sweet, timid, and kind-hearted Ji-hyeon leads you straight into the worst ending in the game.
- Ass Shove: By getting a pair of gloves from the biology room, it's possible to do this to one of the janitors. Doing so lets the player steal a key which opens up a locker with a figure that gives you loads of lunchboxes.
- The janitor, though it's more like creepy laugh and baseball bat crazy. There are two guys wandering the school with baseball bats.
- The Mother's half-ghost. A real peach that one is. Tragic, but nuts.
- Batter Up!: The janitor's favorite toy. RUN.
- Bittersweet Ending:
- The Hyacinth ending, where you make the choice to save yourself and leave So-yeong unconscious to die. It helps that this flower means "I'm sorry".
- The Tuberose (Ebony?) ending is this in a way. So-yeong is doomed, but Seong-ah is revived as a human and on your side. However, there is a stinger moment, with Seong-ah giving the camera a bit of a Psychotic Smirk; it leaves one to wonder if she really is on your side at that point. She may not be, if she's been possessed as she was in the So-yeong endings Uh-oh. There goes the sweetness.
- You can't save all the girls in any ending. Save one per ending. Choose Ji-hyeon, Seong-ah, or So-yeong. You can Take a Third Option where they all die except you. That is, at least overtly. Ji-hyeon is never directly involved in any of the plans and tends to be out of the way, so there's no reason to assume she dies in most endings even if she doesn't leave with you. For Seong-ah, there are implications it was never her to begin with, and she was already dead anyway, so she was arguably never in the running to be saved.
- Big Bad: Seong-ah, the ghost of a girl corrupted by the horrific nature of her death and the toxic feng shui of the school into the Keeper of the Labyrinth.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: An old translation was a horrible example of this.
- A translation/game-fixing project made by a person named Unnamed have mostly averted this, although some lines of text still remain in Korean. The project unfortunately ended for reasons unknown.
- Brown Note: Soon after you meet the two other sane people in the school, the fire alarm goes off and spooks one of them. Your next task is to turn it off. You will be sick of the sound within a minute, and it takes a bit to shut it off.
- Checkpoint Starvation: Hard mode cuts down the number of pens available, making it much more strenuous on your progress. In Real mode, the game eliminates your ability to save your game by removing the pens altogether.
- The Corruption: It doesn't affect the living, but the war crimes committed by Japanese solders on the ground of the school turned the feng shui into an outright malevolent force that, even sealed, turns ghosts malevolent and creates the Eldritch Location nature of the school.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The first thing you see the janitor do is brutally beat a student to death then giggle about it. You're next.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Not all the ghosts want you dead
- Dead All Along: It turns out Seong-ah was already dead, and is possessed by The Corruption of the school's toxic feng shui.
- Demonic Possession: Implied by a note from the janitor mentioning that he doesn't remember patrolling the school at night and he hopes that he's not contributing to the rising number of deaths at the school. It later turns out that they're possessed by demons summoned to guard the elemental seals.
- Death by Falling Over: The fourth floor's broken guard rails. Doesn't stick. The mother comes back, though she can't run.
- Difficulty Levels: The levels are Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Real.
- Downer Ending: It is a survival horror game. The Ivy ending takes the cake, though. Heartwarming at first glance. Then you realize Ji-hyeon's comment " Oh...It's warm." means that she and the hero are dying. After all, it was so cold that they could see their breath. Although it's a bit ambiguous, as there was just an inferno in the room and it would make sense to be warm, and the cold breath is always an effect in the game and the developers could simply have forgotten to turn it off in that scene.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Wow, do you ever.
- Easier Than Easy: Very Easy, which also cuts down a lot of the creepiness in the game.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: Playing the game on anything below Normal will prevent you from accessing the game's Multiple Endings.
- Eldritch Location: The school is a haunted mess that has tens of ghosts haunting several rooms, a lot of it being students who died by suicide and at night, many of them come out to attack the students they find. Some parts of the school apparently have Alien Geometries that turn it into a labyrinth. A lot of character refer to the school as being cursed and it being at fault for a lot of the ghosts, and it seems to trap the souls inside of it. You later discover it was built on the remnants of a concentration camp made during the Japanese invasion, turning the feng shui toxic and malevolent. The ghost trap is a side effect of the talismans meant to seal it.
- Ethereal White Dress: Two Stringy Haired Ghost Girls in white appear. One of them seems fairly benign and occasionally appears to point out important items to you. The other one clings to the ceiling and you have to defeat her.
- Evil All Along: Seong-ah.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The janitors Lee-Bong-gu and Son-Dal-su don't have any actual dialogue in the game, but instead make deep, almost animalistic, growls and grunts if they see you.
- Fanservice Pack: One of the DLC packs for the remake is the "Swimsuit pack" which allows you to dress all the characters in swimsuits. So-yeong and Seong-ah both don pretty revealing bikinis, and there's Gainaxing aplenty thanks to this. Especially with Seong-ah.
- Flower Motifs: The titles of the endings you can receive depend on your actions during this game: White Chrysanthemum (Truth), Hyacinth (Sorrow/Forgive Me), Ivy (Friendship), Tuberose (Dangerous Pleasure), Ebony (Hypocrisy/Darkness), Dandelion (Sincerity/Happiness), Althea (Consumed By Love), and Yew (Death).
- Fun with Acronyms: All the ending titles are acronyms for WHITE DAY, which is very surprising considering that there wasn't even an English translation of the game for many years.
- Game-Breaking Bug: One in particular if the game is played on non-Korean PCs; in Chapter 3 of the game, if you get caught by one of the ceiling monsters, your game will freeze, you fly out of the map and become stuck with no way of getting out. The only way around this is to load your previous save and try to avoid being caught again, although this could be rage-inducing if you're playing on Real mode, which strips you of your ability to save. Thankfully, this was fixed in v16 of Unnamed's Improved Version.
- Guide Dang It!: The chalkboard puzzle that tells you the code to the Principal's office is written in Chinese/Koreannote characters. A nearby note helpfully translates Chinese numbers into English, but doesn't translate equation symbols, which the puzzle consists of. As a result, the puzzle is unsolvable if you can't read Chinese unless you look up a guide online.
- Handicapped Badass: Lee-Bong-gu is a villainous example. The man is pushing 60 and has a pretty bad limp, but he'll beat you to death easily if he corners you.
- Harder Than Hard: Real mode. All the horrors the game has to offer that were locked away in lesser difficulty levels due to complaints about the game's fear factor are in full effect here. Also, you cannot save your game on Real. And there's a time limit to boot! Didn't finish the game within midnight (in-game)? Sucks.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Drinking Soyabean Milk, Canned Coffee, or eating Lunch Boxes refills your health.
- Implacable Man: The Janitor. He cannot be fought. He cannot be killed. You can only run, and pray he loses track of you. The Janitor does get knocked out in the third chapter. But then there's the second one... and he doesn't have a limp. Or if you can, get the gloves from the biology room and... well...
- Kill It with Fire: A boss takes place in an inferno. If you help Ji-hyeon after the boss fight, it becomes the Final Boss. Also, a very important plot point has to do with fire: Seong-ah's death as well as her mother's descent into madness.
- Meaningful Name: White Day, the whole reason why you are in the school in the first place.
- Ms. Fanservice: Seong-ah has certainly become this in the remake, since most of her DLC costumes were designed to show off her figure (especially her swimsuit). Hell, her latest one is called "Sexy Santa", which looks exactly like what you'd expect.
- Multiple Endings: Several as long as you don't play the game on any difficulty below Normal. From worst to best: Yew, Ivy, Althea, Tuberose, Ebony, Hyacinth, Dandelion, and White Chrysanthemum.
- Nice Guy: Hui-min, the main character. Ji-hyeon is fairly sweet as a female example.
- Ji-hyeon mentions that Lee-Bong-gu (the janitor with a limp) is "nice in the daytime".
- Non-Action Guy: You have two options when being pursued: Run or Die.
- Non Standard Game Over: Most of the player character's endings are of him dying in some way. There's one you can only get on Real, in which you let the in-game clock hit midnight.
- Reincarnation: Seong-ah's motive. All well and good, too bad that can only happen if So-yeong is sacrificed.
- Rewatch Bonus: When the fire alarm goes off at the beginning of the game, it just seems like an annoying obstacle that takes you into a really weird room. By the end of the game, or on a second playthrough, you might realize that it was actually the first haunting, and the girl who was so freaked out by the sound was the one killed in the event it was repeating.
- Sadistic Choice: Whichever girl you help potentially dooms the other two to a Fate Worse than Death.
- Save-Game Limits: You can only save with pens which are found scattered throughout the environment. Use them wisely.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Earlier versions of Unnamed's version of the translation had instances of this with names like So Young and Ji Hyun instead of the more technical So-yeong and Ji-hyeon respectively, although these can be used alternate spellings of the characters' names.
- The Tease: Seong-Ah certainly acts this way when you first meet her, being quite flirtatious with Hee-min in order to get him to do what she wants.
- Temporary Platform: The last level as you are escaping the school. Whether or not you take So-yeong with you is up to you.
- 13 Is Unlucky: The date the game takes place is on March 13th, on the night before White Day.
- Timed Mission: Hard and Real mode have a time limit that you must complete the game in. And you don't want to let the timer reach zero.
- Tsundere: Seong-Ah. Holy fuck, Seong-Ah. Though out of everyone in the school, she is the only one who saves YOU. TWICE!
- Tragic Monster:
- Updated Re-release: Unnamed Studios' Improved Version of the game, albeit a fan-made updated re-release, contains some changed things (such as all difficulties available from the start), added some extra features (skins/costumes for the female characters), and removed a lot of glitches and crashes. v15.9 also added a multiplayer component.
- An official remake of the game came out in 2016 for the PS4, complete with graphics redone from the ground up, a new game engine, and compatibility with PlayStation VR.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The demons possessing the janitors are trying to protect the spell keeping The Corruption sealed away and to resurrect Seong-Ah, summoned by Ji-Won.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The student that's presumably killed by the janitor at the beginning of the game is never directly acknowledged and has no known reason to be at the school after closing, unlike the rest of the cast. Presumably this was to show that the janitor is a threat for the sake of the gameplay, but it might be leftover from one of the earlier versions of the game that had a bigger cast.
- When Trees Attack: When you finally run into So-Yeong early into the game, she gets roped in by an evil tree and you have to save her quickly if you want her to survive.
- Wild Card: The protagonist's decision to enter the school at night could either hinder the plan of the Big Bad or help it along.