Scary games are the gift that keep on giving. They’re more than just their innate ability to scare the crap out of you, it’s how some developers take the time to weave incredible lore into the dark expanse of these nightmares. Emily Wants to Play is one such game.
The horrors that await those willing to seek them out are not for the faint of heart. What lies under the veil of mystery is dark and dangerous. But, if you want to dip into the demented backstory that makes Emily Wants to Play so special, read on if you dare.
SPOILERS AHEAD! AS WELL AS SOME SCARY #&*!, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!
Before dipping into the lore, let us explain what Emily Wants to Play is. This game is one of those exploration horror types that forces you to survive without any real defenses. Think Five Nights at Freddy’s, only this time you have free movement.
You are a pizza delivery boy and on your last stop, you find an empty house. It isn’t run down or anything, but there are these dolls scattered about. There is also Emily, the twisted visage of a little girl that wants nothing more than to play a game with you starting at the stroke of midnight.
Your job is to uncover the story by finding letters, drawings, and audio recordings while surviving until morning. As each hour passes, one of the dolls will become active and you will have to learn its patterns to avoid it. They have a strong connection to the house, one that leads to the death of all who enter.
The house in Emily Wants to Play doesn’t get much of a backstory to it while you play. One thing you do learn is that it houses those three mysterious dolls that become Emily’s playmates. They are creepy and use every room and access point to their advantage.
Whatever the house was before the events that preceded your arrival, it is now a sort of tomb. One that collects the bodies and souls of those who enter its walls. This seems to most definitely be the case when you take a look at the artwork scattered throughout the house and one of the final recordings found in the basement. The recording says in the three demonic voices of the dolls:
“Don’t ever leave. We just want to play. We are one.”
The dolls want to have fun within the house, they just go to deadly measures in each of their games.
Emily’s parents go through hell up until the point of their demise. After moving to the house, Emily changes. At first, her parents thought maybe she was upset because it was a new home in a new town. Kids tend to grow attached to what they’re comfortable with, so it wasn’t too out of the ordinary. But then, things took a turn for the violent and downright scary.
The mother (the only parental voice heard in the game) left recordings around, recounting her experiences with Emily and the house. She was suffering from depression so her psychiatrist suggested she make recordings of herself to cope.
After finding the dolls in the basement and giving them to Emily, she began talking to them. She started becoming violent in school and at home, and even began watching her parents as they slept. This naturally left them mortified, so the parents decided to lock her in the basement where she wouldn’t be able to harm others.
One day, the mother found Emily dead. She had no bruises, no markings at all in fact, but she was gone. Yet now, the dolls began to move about the house. The parents’ worst nightmare came true as the dolls came to claim them.
One recording makes it seem as if the parents may have actually left. The mother leaves the following message:
“Emily’s gone and the dolls keep appearing around the house. I don’t know if this is just me imagining it or if this is really happening. Either way, we have to leave this place.”
But the final recording in the game treats you to the sounds of the dolls as they utter a frightening message. They want nobody to leave… ever. And the fact that they left that recording shows that they caught on to the mother. Another clue that they never escaped is the fact that everything is packed up but it’s all still in the house. The parents had every intention of getting the hell out of there, but they never made it.
Upon beating the game, you find out that police had found the bodies of the parents the month before, but no details are given. Nothing is ever mentioned of poor Emily’s body.
Emily is the titular antagonist who just wants to play a little game. She is downright terrifying. This is mostly to due to the fact that, unlike the three dolls, this is a dead little girl lumbering at you with murderous intent (there’s just something really terrifying about ghosts of children). The question remains, though, why is she haunting this house along with her doll friends?
When the family first moves into this new home she is upset, as most kids are when this happens, but she’s still normal. She has no friends and is constantly sad until given the three dolls found in the basement. She has friends now, everyone is happy. That is, until she starts talking to them. Her mother finds her whispering to them in a way that shows they may be talking back:
“There was a box of three very strange dolls down the basement. Emily talks to them as if they can hear her. Maybe it’s a good sign; it’s the first positive thing in a long time.”
That’s when the violence begins. Emily starts harming other children in school, so badly that she ends up expelled. This happened before, at two other schools, and she’s only getting worse. Her parents buy her a puppy to cheer her up, make her normal again. Although Emily Wants to Play never outright says it, it is inferred that Emily killed the dog in one of her violent episodes. It goes downhill from there as the parents grow terrified of their own child and begin locking her in the basement.
This is when things get interesting, you would think that she would start haunting immediately in order to get revenge along with her doll pals. But the mother makes it clear that she only sees the dolls moving. There’s a good chance that it was the dolls who murdered Emily and then move on to her parents, yet Emily returns after the death of the parents. It may be due to the fun she sees the others having.
The clue to this is when you look at the laptop in the kitchen when you arrive, you will see that it is her account logged into the Checker’s Pizza site. She orders a pizza in order to bring someone to the house and on the whiteboard near the fridge, it is written that she wants to play a game starting at midnight. She has become part of the cycle.
The dolls are easily the most mysterious element of Emily Wants to Play. Everything can be explained except for these three mysterious beings: Mr. Tatters (the clown), Kiki (the porcelain girl), and Chester (the classic dummy). They can talk, they can move, and they can definitely kill, yet there’s no way of telling how or why.
What we do know about the dolls is that they each have a different game they like to play. Kiki likes to play with lights, Chester loves to play tag, and Mr. Tatters plays a version of Red Light/Green Light. All common kids games. The fact that each shares the “don’t leave me alone” sentiment may allude to them all having been kids at one point. Even when Emily joins, she introduces a brand new game (hide and seek) to keep up with the pattern, but for some reason, she appears as a ghost.
The dolls are most certainly possessed by something, yet it is unknown what. It’s interesting that they adhere to their rules, though. If you do manage to survive until 6 a.m. they let you out without a fight. You can just walk away. It’s almost as if they truly are children that just want to play. Perhaps the dolls were brought in at different times and possessed by the ghosts of children who moved in, which makes you wonder what is it about this house that causes this to happen?
At the end of the game, you can hear a news report talking about the events of the game while a tour of the house is underway. Everything is just as you left it, only at the very end when the camera turns, a box with the three dolls is sitting there and the camera suddenly goes black with a loud noise.
The game is dark, and terrifying, but the cycle continues. Make sure that if you find yourself delivering pizza after 11 PM one day that a human answers the door.