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Little Nightmares (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

(also mention of suicide, abuse, abortion and sex)

I can take some things at face value. This wasn’t one of those things.

I’ve played some games in a horror genre before, namely “creepypasta” games like Slenderman or the ever popular Five Nights at Freddy’s. I typically avoid horror games that have gore or anything really explicit.

A game called “Little Nightmares” came out recently and I decided it looked well made enough that it might be worth a play-through.

If you don’t know anything about the game; it’s a horror game without text that starts you off in the cellar of a man-made island called the maw. You’re a child named Six working to escape this place, where obese people come onto the island to (probably) eat themselves to death, gorging on meat and anything remotely similar (including yourself if you’re not careful).

The game starts out in what loosely like a child’s nursery, and one of the first things you’ll pass is a man’s dangling pair of legs where he clearly hung himself, and what is most likely a suicide note can be seen on the floor below.

Six is plagued by debilitating hunger pangs - she can scarcely move when she gets them. On top of being rendered nearly immobile, the lights flicker and she begins to hum an eerie tune. The first time this happens, a shadowed figure in the background throws you a piece of bread, which Six scarfs down and is able to continue the journey.

As you go forward, the disturbing reality of the Maw begins to become clear. What look like small children are kept in cages, raised presumably until they’re ready, and taken away to be wrapped up like chunks of meat and sent off to the kitchen where they are processed and ground into sausages. It all seems sort of vague at first but hindsight is 20/20 - there’s a nursery but no children, then children in cages, then wrapped bodies dangling from meat hooks, then sausages. Lots of sausages.

As you progress, you meet pale figures with masks over their heads called Nomes. They’re smaller than Six, and scared of her in the beginning, but if you’re able to approach one, you can give it a hug, at which point they then begin to gain trust and even follow you around.

After leaving the cellar - where you see the nursery, the cages, children being dragged away in said cages - you go onto the kitchen. Six grows hungry again and this time, is desperate enough to eat a chunk of completely raw meat. Throughout the kitchen level you get to see and avoid two gluttonous creatures who are mostly occupied chopping, slicing, and grinding meat of seemingly every origin - pig, fish, and what is very likely human flesh.

Before you pass this portion of the game, Six again grows hungry. This time, a rat is caught in a trap and she eats the half-living creature much to my disgust.

You continue forward only to see what this food is processed for. You reach the outer part of the maw and watch as dozens of passengers, all overweight, board the island from a ferry. They’re practically cattle driven through narrow pathways into dining quarters where they eat and drink themselves away, scarfing down anything and anyone they can get their grubby hands on. You briefly see a woman dressed in Geisha attire overseeing this “cattle drive”, and once you pass through this dining area, you reach the final zone which is the Lady’s Lair.

Six grows hungry once again. This time she meets a Nome in a hallway, and the Nome, noticing her hunger, offers her a sausage. She instead grabs the Nome and eats it alive.

The game ends after the Lady’s Lair. I presume that the Lady is Six’ mother, because she stands in front of a mirror brushing her hair while singing the same tune Six hums when she becomes famished. However if you approach the Lady directly, she kills you on sight with a single look. And although she stares into a mirror, it’s shattered, along with dozens of other mirrors in her lair. The only way to defeat her is to uncover a mirror small enough for Six to carry, that hasn’t been shattered, and force her to see her own reflection. After repeating this so many times she at last is too weak to fight.

At the end of the battle, Six grows hungry once again. The only option is to approach the Lady, and Six eats her, gaining her dark powers.

The final scene involves Six walking back through the dining. This time however, as the gluttonous creatures reach out to grab and eat her, their life force is drained from them and drawn into Six. She’s then able to leave the ship.

Alright so - at face value, you can’t help but think it’s just some really sick twisted but charmingly stylized horror game with decent gameplay, wherein your character is desperate and will do anything, including eating the flesh of what is very likely her own mother, in order to escape this corrupt place. There is still DLC to be released which may give a more in depth explanation of the story, but as of right now, it has been left open to interpretation.

Now it’s time to theorize.

A lot of players have looked into it and decided that the most plausible explanation is that the game is an allegory for child abuse victims. They speculate that the morbid setting of the world is how abuse can amplify a child’s fear of everything. Don’t get me wrong - I agree with this and think that this is probably a very likely explanation, but I want take it a step further.

My own interpretation is that this game is indeed an allegory for child abuse, but the greatest and most plentiful child abuse victims that exist in this day and age; victims of abortion.

Hear me out.

Throughout the game you see an empty nursery filled with children’s toys and yet no children to play with them. You see children in cages, being processed as meat and for what reason? To be fed to a mass that cares only about satisfying their own ravenous appetites.

Is it really just a game about mindless eaters? Or is it a morbid–albeit accurate—representation of the sick reality of the world we live in?

I like to believe when horror games are made, that there is thought that goes into it. Stories don’t just come to be. Regardless of the genre of the game, everything is inspired, consciously or subconsciously, by something. And in this day and age, to make a blatant political statement on a platform such as gaming could only be done in a way that would be so discreet it might only be known by a few, or else the developers might lose their funding.

That being said - what does abortion satisfy? The seemingly endless sexual appetites of people. It allows us to continue to gorge ourselves, while we put our children into a meat grinder.

This is the first thing that stood out to me, but I then began to consider other things in hindsight that offered some support to my theory. I felt like the theory of child abuse was clear, but it didn’t elaborate and clarify enough aspects of the game to satisfy me.

The man who’s hung at the beginning is one of the few figures in the game that isn’t distorted. The men and women boarding the ship to eat are obscenely huge. The first creature you encounter (called the Janitor, who seems to tend to the nursery and lower quarters of the ship) has a massive head and short or non existent legs, as well as long arms. Next you encounter the chefs, twins who are obese as the passengers are, and seem to wear masks. However the man who committed suicide has proportionate legs and feet.

The other character who isn’t distorted, besides Six, is the Lady. She wears a mask and possesses a great and dark power, but otherwise her figure seems natural.

Follow me on this. I want to say that the man at the beginning of the came who committed suicide is Six’s father, and the Lady is her mother judging by the fact that Six shows to posses some of the Lady’s powers even before consuming her, and that Six knows the the same sad song.

Recall that the Lady is dressed as a Geisha. In the real world, the Geisha is a dying tradition, and it takes years of training to be a Geisha. However, traditionally, when they were more common, besides dancing and performing ceremonies, it wasn’t uncommon for Geishas to perform sexual favors for their guests. Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this.

Consider if Six was the sixth child that the Lady might have been forced to abort - or, worse yet, did abort - thus explaining her seemingly random name.

As a Geisha who might be expected to perform such favors, or perform in general - pregnancy would compromise her career. Six is also a female, and even in this day and age, females are highly aborted among Eastern Asians who firmly believe it would bring shame to their family if they did not bring forth a boy to continue their family line.

Now speculate if the Hanging Man is the husband - perhaps he wants for children and is discouraged. My theory forks in a few different directions here but I’ll expand on the one I’ve considered most.

Lets say that Six is an aborted child. You’re playing the game seeing through the eyes of a soul that is awake to the horrors of the world. Because she is one of the victims, she sees how the other children are being made victims, and we go through the game seeing essentially the steps of abortion - you start in the cellar which is the nursery for the children. Actual children who already exist. You see how they’re taken and put in cages, and their value as living creatures is taken away (they go from having beds and blocks to nothing but a cage). You proceed on to see them processed like meat, and ultimately given to the gluttonous. You see how an entire life is destroyed so one more obese man might have another bite, even though he’s full to bursting.

The Lady, the mother, is haunted by the memory of her child. When she sees you, she instantly kills you. More women than will ever be reported struggle after having aborted their child. They see their children’s face in the other children who would have been the same age. The thought of their child brings them agony. When the Lady sees you, she’s clearly afraid. She sees herself in your face, and vice versa - which is why all of the mirrors are broken and why she wears a mask. At the end of the game, her regret literally consumes her in the form of Six actually eating this woman. She is actually consumed by her guilt.

The man who hung himself was potentially abused by the Lady or manipulated. I want to think he wanted a better life - in the cellar, you initially emerge from a suitcase with photos taped on the inside, which likely belonged to him. Perhaps he was too afraid to stand up for his children, and it destroyed him. Perhaps he had seen this happen to several of the other children, and his cowardice led him to hang himself.

I would like to point out also - at one part of the game when you’re trapped in a cage alongside other children, all of the children are strangely stoic, as if asleep. They have large heads (like a developing child) and otherwise relatively shapeless, small bodies, and sit in a position reminiscent of a fetus. And consider Six’ size in comparison to the adults of her world.

I feel like the types of people in our society are very clearly highlighted in the game.

You have the husband, or the hanging man. Someone who sees the evil and does nothing about it, and it eventually leads him to his demise.

You have the Lady, who under the pressures of a societal standard sacrifices her children to uphold a certain image, and in doing so drives herself to insanity with her remorse.

You have the obese men and women, consumers who unlike the Lady who is remorseful, support this as a good thing because it feeds their appetites.

And then you have Six to represent the children - the small, voiceless people who can want nothing except to have a chance in the world.

Another thing to consider are the shoes.

Shoes are everywhere in the game. It can’t be said whether the gluttonous people on the ship are killed, and fed the next batch of guests, and their shoes are just a byproduct of this; however that would beg the question of why children would have to die if there was a much greater source of meat available. Also it makes you wonder where the rest of the clothes are.

My younger brother presented the one theory that in Japanese culture it’s not uncommon for those who are about to commit suicide to take their shoes off and leave them somewhere. For example, if you see a pair of shoes on a bridge, it’s a good indicator that someone jumped to their death.

However I’m not entirely convinced that the guests are conscious enough to be driven to suicide. I feel more as though shoes represent what could have been - there are no children to “fill the shoes” of their parents.

Perhaps I’ll go over and expand on this later, but I wanted to put this out here. I could be reading way too far into it - in the end, it’s “just a game”, and you can take it for what you like. Ultimately I would rather this be a game that speaks for those who can’t speak for themselves, instead of a game where we see a little girl gradually corrupted by the world she lives in.

This is the local bookstore I was talking about that I wish was active on social media because books and cats! And the people that work there are always so nice. And cats!

My OTP: Ichihime

I honestly hate when someone proclaims my ship is non-existent, delusional, or just a one-sided crush that ruins the relationship between two characters. 

I can’t seem to understand how this is sexual assault or harassment? Inoue-san did not kiss Kurosaki-kun, nor did she violate him or force herself on him, why because she stops and considers the situation. She is not a selfish girl that would force her desires on Ichigo. Also Orihime would of course want to see the guy she “loves” because she cares for him.

Two strangers that evolve to classmates and then friends, and in the process she begins to understand him better. Look at her coming to understand him, and become a resolve for him. If she hadn’t given him the pep-talk I wonder if he would have made up his mind to save Rukia?

Orihime is so weak! Tite is ruining her image! Orihime is just fan-service! She needs to get over Ichigo! Her love (obsession) is bad for her!

Orihime never gets those exasperated expressions Ichigo makes! (Obviously he cares about her, just like all his other friends, including Rukia, Ishida, or anyone he wants to protect or save.)

I don’t care if Ichigo does or doesn’t end up with someone; I ship Ichigo and Orihime because I love them together.