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"I've never heard of this particular summer camp, but it was cheap and we were broke."
This is the story of eight-year-old Billy and his wondrous adventures at "Camp". Arriving at what seems to be an innocuous summer camp with nothing but the clothes on his back (the driver took off with his things in the trunk), Billy quickly finds himself in an empty house with a dead land line and no way of escape. He's quickly informed that he's in debt for a house he didn't buy and then swindled into working for Tom Nook, a Mafia-like raccoon he suddenly owes money to.
...But there's more. Something is off about the camp; there are no other kids around except him, and the only company he has are that of animated talking animals. Everyone in the camp seems to be in on some secret, and Billy can't trust any of them. Some of them even disappear suddenly during the night, leaving without a trace. With his world spiraling out of control, Billy takes matters into his own eight-year-old hands and attempts to find out what dark, dirty secret this cute little place is keeping...
This provides examples of:
- The Alcatraz: Much of the story is about Billy's attempts to escape the camp. Towards the end, it is revealed that he isn't the first one to try to do so.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Billy in the anti-box ending.
- Apocalyptic Log: Nook's diary.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The description of Billy's "new" "cabin":
No toilet, no sink, not even a goddamn chair. I get a cardboard box, a candle with no matches and a boom box that only plays one song. And it fucking skips.
- Artifact of Doom: Those gyroids aren't all that they seem...
- Art Shift: The LP slowly goes from screenshots to drawn artwork. Goes into full effect in the pro-box ending.
- Audio Adaptation: Only Chapters 1 and 12 were done.
- Ax Crazy: Penny
- And Billy in the anti-box ending. All he wanted to do was introduce Tom Nook to his pretty friend Mr. Axe...
- Baleful Polymorph
- Big Bad: Tom Nook, or so he appears to be at first...
- Biological Mashup
- Body Horror: If you consider the slow transformation into an animal along with the loss of your sanity body horror, then yeah.
- It's revealed that you get better from your loss of sanity, but for real horror, look at Penny's slowly decaying face.
- Book Ends: Anti-box ending only.
- Choose Your Own Adventure: It works out about as well, too.
- Crazy Survivalist: Billy. Did we mention he's only eight years old?
- Crap Saccharine World: The epitome of this trope. Everything's all cute animals on the outside, hard-to-top horror on the inside.
- And this was preferable to what they did at first. Tom says that they used to torture the new kids, and he's the one who came up with the idea to at least keep them distracted and happy until, and sometimes even after they cross.
- Cute and Psycho: Billy in the anti-box end.
- Dark Fic
- Darker and Edgier
- Deconstruction: More or less showing just how disturbing finding oneself in a world full of Anthropomophic Animals and not being able to leave would be. To say nothing about how most of us would react to being confronted by such creatures in Real Life.
- Despair Event Horizon: Tom Nook crosses this towards the end. It is eventually what drives him to suicide.
- Downer Ending: The anti-box ending. And then Billy was a rabbit.
- Driven to Suicide: Poor Tom Nook.
- Also, Billy in the anti-box ending. It didn't take, though.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: In some ways, the pro-box ending. It's definitely more bittersweet than happy, but it comes about by Billy acting rather than turning away and refusing to open the box.
- Eyepatch of Power: Well, it's more of a band aid, but it doesn't make little Billy any less badass.
- Eye Scream: The residents rip Billy's eye out and give it to Penny. Oh, but don't worry. He gets it back.
- Face Revealing Turn: Penny does it here (spoiler warning).
- Fate Worse Than Death: In hindsight, slowly turning into an animal is bad, but having to work with every single demand of Penny's or otherwise being slowly ripped apart is even worse.
- Fisher Kingdom
- Fridge Logic: In-universe; Billy wonders how Penny could send a balloon message every day without being noticed, how she stole Nook's notebook, and how she escaped from Nook. He ignores all of this in favor of allowing himself to believe that he's finally found someone he can trust, but then you find out that Nook was the one behind the balloon messages all along...
- What do the gyroids turn animals into?
- Genre Savvy: Billy, most of the time. For example, in the pro-box ending, while Penny monologues about the ways she could dismember Billy, he attacks her while she's still talking.
- Hope Spot: The early balloon arc. Billy gets messages in balloons from a girl named Penny, someone who might be an ally; from this he starts piecing things together about the camp, and he eventually figures out that there are other kids and they might even be able to escape all together... then wham, Penny apparently gets captured and it turns out it was actually Nook sending the messages. Penny is the one running the whole freakshow, and Nook is the only friend he's got.
- I Am Spartacus: Played with. Penny demands Billy to tell her who took her papers, or else someone from a crowd of kids gets it each time he lies. A boy in the crowd named Phillip claims it was himself. Penny takes him to the back of the house, and he gives her a gut wound with his sharpened crutch before she kills him.
- Infant Immortality: Averted, and how! Most of the animals started out as children just like Billy, and numerous other children are imprisoned and going through the transformation themselves. Billy notices a few children with missing limbs in the crowd near the end. And in the very same scene, Penny asks the crowd who it is that's trying to betray her. When no one answers, she takes a random little boy, rips him apart, and waves at the crowd with his severed arm.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: After beating the crap out of Penny, she falls off the balcony, taking Billy with her. This is followed by Billy twisting his body around and executing a twelve-story body slam, then gets up and rips her eye out.
- To be entirely fair, the eye he rips out was his in the first place.
- Let's Play
- MacGuffin: Subverted with the Gyroids. Collect enough and they'll turn you into an animal
- Multiple Endings: Pro-Box or Anti-Box. Take your pick.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: What Billy does to Penny at the end. Chewbot states that he chose this because of how brutally raw beating someone with your fists is.
- One-Scene Wonder: Mr. Resetti appears in the anti-box ending to yell at Billy for attempting to commit suicide and give him a life lesson.
- Only Sane Man: Billy
- Precision F-Strike: Invoked many times, despite the fact that the narrator is only eight years old.
- To be fair, He's thirty years old when he's writing all this down.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Tom Nook, a few times.
- Subverted in that he's a pretty decent guy, trying to help others avoid his and the rest of the island's fate.
- Sanity Slippage
- Schmuck Bait: for people who come into it knowing what to expect. "Hey, it can't be that bad... *several chapters later* FFFF-...
- Shut UP, Hannibal: Billy kills Penny while she's going into detail about how she'll kill him.
- Sir Swearsalot: Billy, who happens to be 8 years old.
- Smug Snake: Tom Nook, or at least how Billy sees him. Of course it's subverted.
- Sugar Apocalypse
- Talking Is a Free Action: Subverted in the final chapter. See Shut UP, Hannibal above.
- The End - or Is It?: In the epilogue, Billy wonders... If the Gyroids turn humans into animals, what do they turn animals into?
- Title Drop: Of the original game. Animal Crossing describes the transformation from human into animal.
- Town with a Dark Secret
- Was Once a Man: Why do you think they call it Animal Crossing?
- Wham! Episode: Chapter 10. Boy, howdy.
- Wham! Line:
Tom Nook: "I sent you those letters, Billy.".
- Also, in the form of the picture of that Billy pieces together and we realize he's on an island.
- "Tom died unloved and alone in a dirty hole like an animal".
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: The very last coda reveals that the story is actually an official transcript to the US government that Billy wrote. He is now almost thirty, has had intense psychiatric treatment, and has never returned home.
- X Meets Y: Animal Crossing meets Silent Hill. Yahtzee probably did it first, but this one actually did it to even more disturbing levels.