by Robert Fenner
Get it on Steam
Haunted technology makes for an effective postmodern horror story. If old houses and creepy dolls can bear host to malevolent spirits, why not computers and software? It's a theme that has haunted my dreams since childhood, albeit in an abstract fashion. Computers and televisions that must be turned off but refuse to do so, posing a disquieting annoyance.
Imscared channels this 21st century primal fear. The setup is simple; Imscared is a found object whose lo-fi, heavily pixelated aesthetic belies its horrific nature. As you attempt to play this esoteric first person adventure game, you soon find yourself pursued by a grinning white face. As you attempt to escape, the game crashes to a fake Blue Screen of Death...and a folder is created on your desktop, with .txt files providing further insight into just what you've stumbled upon.
This fourth wall breakage is what makes Imscared, and it's the kind of thing that can only work on a personal computer. Youtube links to "tutorial" videos open without prompting, as a man with a monotone Italian accent explains how to "win" at Imscared's obscure "goals".
In a striking moment, I found myself trapped in a garden with no way out, when a new .txt file appeared with a map and a Youtube link both denoting how to reach a secret passage. When I followed the steps shown in both examples, I did not come to the exit seen in the video, but instead a wall, upon which hung a picture reading "You fell for it".
Lo-fi, lo-priced, strange, and exciting, Imscared is the premiere found object horror game.