"If you're not careful and no-clip out of reality in wrong areas, you'll end up in the Backrooms, where it's nothing but the stink of moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, and endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in. God save you if you hear something wandering around nearby, because it sure as hell has heard you…"

The Backrooms are a fictional, extra-universal location created in 2019 when someone posted the above quote and a picture matching the description. A thousand creepypasta plot seeds are posted and die of neglect everyday but for whatever reason this one landed in fertile minds and thrived. People speculated, theorized, and wrote about this weird, featureless place and a new internet mythos began to congeal. How do you survive there, what lurks in the dark, is there a way out? Obviously, none of these questions had answers which meant that anybody with a compelling vision and the prose to get it across could shape the setting. Certain assumptions became part of collective pseudo-cannon. The yellow carpeted area became the first of several levels accessible by stairs. Levels are typically more randomly laid out rooms and hallways, be they steam tunnels, rundown apartments, cave systems, or parking garages. What is there with you varies from level to level from nothing to nightmarish monsters.

In the proud tradition of internet horror fiction much of this info comes to us from within the setting itself as one of the few amenities of the backrooms is ubiquitous wifi. Of those who survive long enough to find safe places, many record their experiences and document the features typical to the levels. Well ... all of that is true for the wikia and wikidot cannons which are unashamed copies of the SCP wiki's format. Other cannons, like Kane Pixels videos on Youtube, take place in the nineties (pre-wikis) and lean on found footage/analog horror motifs using computer animation obfuscated by fuzzy home video VHS filters to lend a ton of verisimilitude to what is almost entirely CGI environments created by one teenager. Check it out; it's impressive. The Backrooms really lend themselves to computer rendering since they're little more than a random assemblage of right angles. It's probably for this reason that there are at least a half dozen Backrooms games on Steam. Every portrayal is thoroughly amenable to procedural generation and can be created with off the shelf assets.

The Backrooms is arguably the third internet horror meta setting to emerge. It's less of a urban legend turned mythos than Slender Man but more diffuse than the SCP Foundation and its central wiki. While the core concept is solidified around no-clipping into an endless yellow maze most other features are negotiable with each writer focusing on their preferred elements. While there is a fair bit of variance in its portrayal one particular vibe seems to be predominant: eeriness. Several of the found footage videos of the backrooms are about exploration where nothing happens. In a genre of jump scares and gruesome carnage the Backrooms is carving out a niche by just having a lone camera exploring lonely and perhaps empty corridors. Wariness is one of the most common and least appreciated emotions, fear's precursor, and the core feeling evoked by the infinite corridors of a gargantuan maze sparsely populated by strange things.


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