Game development as horror writing – Petscop

I was recently introduced to a video series called Petscop, which is a collection of let’s plays where “Paul” plays a PS1 game he has found, called Petscop. The game has a cartoonish sprite main character similar to it’s time. At first it seems like a bad, vaporwave aesthetic puzzle game where you have to collect pets from around the play area, but it quickly gets dark and ominous.

Petscop is commonly classified as creepypasta, which is an online horror story written as if it was real, and usually has strong elements of internet culture or digital technology in it to make it relatable to its’ readers. Creepypasta has its origins in chan culture, where it derives from the term copypasta, which is copy paste of a text that might be mind bogglingly stupid or just interesting in another way so that different people copy and paste it occasionally as a new post or a reply. Petscop also belongs to the emerging genre of multimedia horror writing, where a sort of new media is used, such as the Twitter ghost story Dear David.

There is clearly a large amount of work put into the Petscop game, as there is quite a substantial amount of content. Also, the videos are clearly scripted to build both a suspenseful storyline and to give the sense that it’s an actual let’s play video.

There are several theory videos related to Petscop, which I won’t get into and it’s been a very popular series among Reddit horror and mystery fans.

There are several theory videos related to Petscop, which I won’t get into and it’s been a very popular series among Reddit horror and mystery fans. Each video, except for the newest ones, have around 400k to over 1 million viewers. I do recommend checking this out. Each video is around 10 minutes long and it’s a very fun digital equivalent of the found footage genre.

This is an interesting take on development as the game hasn’t been developed to an audience, but for the narrator themself to play. Making a fully playable game would require a lot more effort, though, so this might become an interesting new thing now that game engines are more accessible.