Petscop: The Haunted Video Game

A spooky essay about a spooky video game.

On March 31, 2007, a video titled Petscop was uploaded to YouTube. The video’s description merely read, “The game I found.” This video, and the following 23 parts, have become wildly debated about online. Many consider the game to be haunted, or not even real. So, what is Petscop? Is it a real game? What happened to Paul, the person initially playing the game, whom mysteriously disappeared in later parts? This spooky season, we thought we’d explore one of gaming’s biggest mysteries, Petscop.

What is Petscop?

Source: YouTube

Petscop was created by “Garalina” studios, a seemingly fictional company, in 1997. The ‘Let’s Play’ style video was filmed by a person named “Paul”.  Paul appeared to be filming the game to share the videos with a particular unknown person. In the second video he states that he hopes the person he’s recording for will be around soon to help him figure out the game, seemingly verifying this. It seems the main goal of the game is to collect all of the “pets”, similar to games like Pokémon, often having to solve a puzzle in order to catch it. The game also appears unfinished.

During the first video, Paul reveals the person who had given him the strange game, also gave him a note with a cheat code for some reason. Once activated, the happy music playing initially immediately stops. Paul goes outside which is now a strange, dark area with only a closed cellar door. The door seemingly opens on its own when Paul is out of the room, and once down the stairs, he seems to enter a strange underground portion of the game, far different from the place where the game began. Additionally, as the parts go on, it becomes clear that Paul isn’t the one playing anymore. His commentary grows less and less over the parts, until in the last few it doesn’t even seem to be him anymore.

Theory 1: The Candace Newmaker Theory

Source: The New Yorker

24 Petscop videos have been released since 2007. The most recent was uploaded on September 1st, 2019. It seems we are still no closer to figure out the truth, however there have been many theories about the game and it’s meaning. The most common of them, is the Candace Newmaker theory. The story of Candace is honestly very shocking. And the saddest part of all, is that it’s true. We won’t explain the full details here, but it sadly resulted in the death of an eleven-year-old little girl, who was undergoing the now banned,“rebirthing therapy”.

Petscop makes multiple references to the abuse of care throughout. In addition, one of the locations in the game is called, “the Newmaker plane”. There are also multiple references to, “Tiara”. This was Candace’s original middle name. There’s also a number of interactions with the Red TOOL, which is a little blob that answers questions. Paul specifically asks a few questions which draw direct allegories to the Candace Newmaker theory. The first being when he asks who “Tiara” is. It replies Tiara is, “Petscop kid very smart.” He also asks, “Remember being born?” and it replies with, “I’m not Tiara.”

There is also a room where a little girl is trapped behind a mirror. The little girl mirrors all the players movements. The room is, “The Quitters Room”, echoing something the doctors who murdered Candace had said. They had taunted her and said that she was a ‘quitter’, for not fighting through the re-birth to save herself. The world ‘rebirth’ also pops up a few times in the game. Later installments of the game, however, have somewhat distanced itself from this theory, making fewer references. So it’s hard to know if this is really was the inspiration for the game or not.

Theory 2: The Dr Seuss Theory

Source: YouTube

A second theory that is quite popular around the game, is the Dr Seuss Theory. This theory pertains to the character of Care. While the “pets” in the Gift Plane (the brighter, happier world) seem to be strange animals, in the underworld, “The Newmaker Plane”, the pet you collect, Care, looks like a human child. The theory also refers to the book, “Daisy-Head Mayzie” by Dr Seuss.

When you first meet Care in the game, she is crying in front of a large daisy. The way she sits makes it look like the daisy is growing out of her head, just like the character in the story. Care comes in three forms in the game, Care A, B and Care NLM – the latter is the one we meet in this room, covering her eyes and crying. The NLM is implied to stand for “Nobody loves me”. This alludes to the daisy from the Dr Seuss story, where the character does the, “he loves me, loves me not” with the petals. When Paul does this in game, it causes Care to glitch out. The number of petals is 16, which means it’s odd. So the daisy would have landed on loves me not.

Who is Paul?

Lastly, there is all the questions around Paul and their intentions with these videos. Paul starts off being very talkative, but as the parts progress, this changes. Paul gradually becomes quieter, until there is no narration anymore at all. It’s hinted that the person playing in the later videos isn’t Paul anymore either. The channel was also confirmed to have been given to someone else to take over.

Paul is an interesting part of the Petscop narrative as well though, as he makes the game even freakier. Through Paul, we realize how little in control of the game he is. This is what gives rise to the theory that the game is haunted. Numerous times, things happen in the game outside of Paul’s control such as the door to the Newmaker Plane opening when he was allegedly out of the room. It does beg the question of whether Paul is actually a real player of the game, or perhaps is also the creator of the game and is playing this part to further the creepiness of the game. It also begs the question of, is it a game at all, or just a rendered video with a voice over? Like a creepypasta but in video format?

So, there’s our look at Petscop!

Sadly, there have been no further updates to the YouTube channel since the last video in September  this year, so we are no closer to finding out the truth behind this creepy game. All the videos go for about three hours in total if you watch all 24 episodes, so if you haven’t checked out the videos yet, I definitely recommend it this spooky season!

Posted by Sarah

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