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A Dark Place is a 2018 indie meta-horror game on Microsoft Windows published by XerStudios. While technically harmless to the host computer, the game will frequently disrupt the normal function of it for the purpose of scares, typically utilizing several joke programs that are packaged with the main executable and are automatically launched at certain points in the game. For this reason, it is often detected and blocked by antivirus programs, which the developer recommends the user disable before playing.

The Game

A Dark Place has the player going through rooms, solving puzzles, and unlocking doors to find four music boxes and beat the game. Throughout the four chapters, they will be hunted by a mysterious corruption (initially taking the form of a white pixelated face before becoming a photo-realistic skull) that has special control over both the game and the user's computer.

The game can be found here alongside a "safe" version that removes many of the payloads.

"Payloads"

While still actually harmless to the computer, A Dark Place will periodically attempt to scare the player by utilizing programs outside of the game (usually after abruptly crashing it). It can:

  • Lock the user's mouse for ten seconds and take control of the mouse at will
  • Change the user's desktop background
  • Open a fake RAT program to make the user think they have a virus
  • Jumpscare the player while the game is closed
  • Jumpscare the player if they attempt to Alt-F4 out of the game
  • Create popups on the player's computer
  • Shutdown the computer
  • Utilize the players webcam (it will scare the player if they don't have one but will leave a developer note telling them how to proceed without it)
  • Open .txt files and write in them (for the purpose of sending clues to the player)
  • Exit the game at will
  • Attempt to block the player from playing the game when they have 3 of the 4 music boxes
  • Open and close the user's disk tray
  • Threaten to reformat the player's hard drive