Local Spotlight: darkwebSTREAMER Is An Occult Streaming Sim Not For The Faint-Hearted

Local Spotlight: darkwebSTREAMER Is An Occult Streaming Sim Not For The Faint-Hearted

darkwebSTREAMER poses the question of how far you’d be willing to go to gain money, power, or fame – even at the expense of your own mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. The permadeath horror RPG streaming sim is filled with distorted, nostalgic early internet-style graphics, and described as a “love letter to the internet” by South Australian studio We Have Always Lived In The Forest (helmed by Chantal Ryan).

Leaning heavily on the concept of the streaming content grind, streamer culture, and parasocial connections online, darkwebSTREAMER  is played through in 60 minutes (as the game’s itch.io page says, “because really, who has the time?”), and involves embodying a struggling streamer on the dark web, browsing for paranormal and absurdist content to unbox, rituals to perform, and creepy oddities to show your viewers as you strive to make it big (and make enough money to survive). 

However, despite the concept of creating content to grow in influence and wealth, not everything in darkwebSTREAMER  is straightforward; while opening that Dybbuk box on camera might bring in more subscribers, it may also invite malevolent entities into your home; while building a parasocial relationship with your viewers might lead to gifts and tips, it might also lead to a stalker showing up in your room in the dead of night.

darkwebSTREAMER features an infinite procedurally generated internet, so no two playthroughs are the same – the entire narrative, webpages, stores, emails and even the viewers you interact with (referred to a non player persons/NPPs because of their capacity to lead their own independent lives and change as the game progresses in a very real way) are procedurally generated. Ryan taught herself to code to build an AI system in-house, completely separate from any popular text AI technology you might be used to (like ChatGPT) to bring dynamic language generation, speech patterns, and unique interactions that span on infinitely with every playthrough. 

As part of the love letter to the internet in all of its grainy, glitchy glory, darkwebSTREAMER also takes the time and care to lean into the very nature of the real internet since it began – memes, virality, communal gathering to consume the odd or absurd together. Images are scratchy, some seemingly pasted on top of one another – the email inbox even reminds me of the good old dial-up days. 

Even down to the mechanics of the game itself, the internet and dark web are interwoven into it – Ryan has previously spoken about the fact that the dark web doesn’t have a browsing feature, and exact URLs are required to access the desired web location. In order to access a site in darkwebSTREAMER, you need to be provided with, or stumble upon, the link, whether it’s to order another occult item to show your adoring (or scornful) fans, or to contact a doctor should you fall ill.

There’s a granular level of care that’s gone into the creation of darkwebSTREAMER, and it’s pretty clear that it’s a passion project, a commentary on all that the internet has been, is, and will be, and a spooky game with enough content to keep you playing over and over. It’s been inspired by media like World of Horror, Creatures, and Rim World, as well as the horror movie Dybbuk Box: The Story of Chris Chambers, and takes aspects from these and many more to create its own unique experience and vibe – it’s truly a pastiche of popular culture in the same manner that the internet itself ultimately is, too.

While darkwebSTREAMER doesn’t have a confirmed release date just yet, it’s one of the PAX Aus Indie Showcase winners, so if you’re interested in testing your mettle as an occult streamer and seeing just how far you’d push your health and safety to be successful, explore complex relationships with NPPs, and question the very nature of internet culture and humanity itself, you can check it out in October during the convention.

The Cheapest NBN 1000 Plans

Looking to bump up your internet connection and save a few bucks? Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Kotaku, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *