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cw: brief mention of suicide and allusions to familial abuse.
also spoilers for petscop! which can be watched here

no its NOT technically a video game unless you count giftscop. yes i still count it in the video games section!!!! after all, you'd basically need to make a whole game to deliver petscop's narrative in its particular way.

petscop goes in a more subtle direction than your average haunted video game creepypasta, to the frenzy of video analysts and arg enthusiasts. it is abstract enough in its storytelling to feel intangible, maybe to a frustrating extent to some - if you asked me, i couldn't tell you what i thought literally happened, but i don't think that's the most important takeaway from the story anyway.

there are reasons in-universe and out why petscop delivers its narrative through distorted digital breadcrumbs; our collective obsession with old games and corrupted nostalgia, the themes of lost childhood, the intrigue of uncovering the secrets of a game that cannot be truly be documented or walkthrough'd like basically any contemporary game can.

uniquely, the horror aspects of the story aren't only delivered through the game's contents, but its files and construction. the narrator goes out of his way to dismiss the idea of the game being haunted, and it really doesn't feel that way. instead it feels like the game is the medium through which malicious and grieving actors find ways to hurt each other. the game is constantly monitoring the players' actions. marvin uses it to communicate with and abuse people he might not have proximity to in real life. rainer is implied to have used it as a suicide note.

petscop is the object of the characters' obsession for much the same reason we as viewers obsess - to peel back its secrets. who wouldn't be? entwined as it is in the personal history of the family that produced it, what lost traumas could be hiding in the endless Newmaker plane, hidden behind some obscure, randomly accessed puzzle solution?

in this way i find the series more melancholy than scary. not only is it sad that an innocent game made by a guy as a gift for his little brother was eventually warped into an expression of anger and grief, but also that the main character and his friend are forced to relive their traumas at the whims of family who can't let go of the past.

paul is transgenner and i subscribe to the theory that he was care lol.

it isn't all gloom and daisies with petscop in the end, though. all this stuff is largely implied rather than shown graphically. at the base of it, petscop (the game) is still a charmingly crafted, brightly colored children's game. the ending is surprisingly uplifting and i'm glad the characters were granted it after everything they went through. with all the themes of twisted family, it's sweet that the end message of the series chalks up to something like 'family is who you make it, regardless of bonds through blood'.

it's refreshing to see a horror story not automatically go for the most horrible and dreary ending, especially one that so heavily features abuse as a theme. it's a good pivot for the series, as it started in a direction that could have quickly become a lot more distasteful.

Favorite Characters

  • Care
  • Paul
  • Tiara

Favorite Creatures

  • Roneth
  • Toneth
  • Pen

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