Petscop 05/14/21

This YouTube creepypasta series about a nonexistent videogame that has ghosts in it is the best work of art I’ve seen since Twin Peaks: The Return. Clearly influenced by Lynchian aesthetics, these videos, modeled after the “Let’s Play” format popularized by YouTube (where you literally just watch a person play a game while they talk) is by turns frightening, mystifying, and excruciatingly boring.

Paul begins his playthrough by showing you the demo of the game. He received it, along with a note containing a cheat code. The demo itself is standard late ’90s Playstation fare: it’s a colorful, bouncy world where you solve dumb puzzles to collect weird animals. Once he puts in the cheat code, however, he ends up in a vast, empty field. He wanders for hours (the videos thankfully cut this out), and finally comes upon a door in the ground. More hours pass, and while he’s away, the door opens on its own.

And at that point, we’re off to the races.

Some episodes run a scant 5 or 6 minutes. Paul is pointing out weird things about the game, running around collecting jewels, etc. But as we move through the series, things become increasingly surreal. The use of ominous, oppressive white noise music and the clipping found in these old games create an atmosphere of dread, and as the mystery (which is never really clear, let alone solved) deepens, Paul begins to realize that his thoughts have an influence on how the game works. There’s also another game going on in a different dimension to the one we can see, one that’s being recorded over the recordings he’s making. There are dead kids, missing kids, a car crash, a birthday party…the clues mount up, and he goes back into the earlier developments of the game, talking to someone on the phone about “the family” and “the windmill,” and parts of the videos are censored out for some reason…

It’s all very well done. After I finished it, I went online to see some theories, and immediately decided against it. I don’t want to know what I just watched. I like that I spent five hours exploring a haunted, ominous world, I like that there’s something going on that I’ll never understand. I’m good with it just the way it is.

I highly, highly recommend checking this thing out. Confounding, brilliant, and creepy. Time well spent.

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