A downloadable game

Buy Now$6.99 USD or more
"I loved how it freaked out my family . . . you’ll find yourself questioning what’s real and what’s part of the game."

- Becca Smith, GameSpew

"Made me audibly gasp"

- Blake Weil, No Proscenium

"If you’re interested in learning more about Subtext, play the demo. Even if you don’t think you’re interested in the full experience, play the demo: it’s that good."

- Michael Andersen, ARGNet

You get a text from someone you don't know. They say they've been kidnapped, and they need your help to escape. Do you trust them? Do they trust you? Will they make it out alive?

Subtext is an Alternate Reality Game (ARG). The game plays out in real time through actual text messages, phone calls, emails, etc. that you receive from characters. Along the way, you'll need to solve puzzles, break into systems, and use social engineering to unravel the story of a mysterious research facility and a person who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For more information, and to play the free demo, visit subtextgame.com

Please note that Subtext is currently only playable in the US and Canada.

Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
(4 total ratings)
AuthorWilliam O'Connell
GenreInteractive Fiction, Puzzle
Tagsarg, Escape Game, Experimental, Horror, Mystery, Sci-fi, Short, Story Rich, Text based
Average sessionAbout a half-hour


Buy Now$6.99 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $6.99 USD. You will get access to the following files:

subtext.pdf 217 kB


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This was exactly what I was looking for when trying to find surreal games, too bad it seemed so short. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed playing this game, so bravo! ^_^


I really liked this one. I thought the end raised far more questions than it actually answered, and I'd honestly like to see a sequel that answers them. However, all in all, this is a really unique way to tell a story and I was happy to be in for the whole thing.

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Okay so I have some Thoughts about this game. It was good. Very good in fact. I enjoyed myself with it. 

However there wasnt as many puzzles as I was expecting. There was only one that really stumped me. I dont like the twist ending. It's clever, and freaked me out at first, but...it's not as entertaining as the premise I was given. It makes me feel like the puzzles I put time into solving were mcguffins and the 'real' puzzles were talking to a chick and using crlt+f on a github dump.  

That being said, it was an interesting couple of days. I was constantly waiting for when Johnathan would text me, and there's a section in there about his backstory that honestly really touched me. The game does what it sets out to do and I feel it does it well, and the bits I dont like may very well be simple personal preference, or maybe I just took a less twisty route. 

Either way; 9/10 would recommend

EDIT: get the extended contact. I just got something in the mail that made things...much more personally interesting. Definitly adds real weight and consequences for the story. 

Thanks for the feedback!

I didn't include a lot of hard puzzles partly because I didn't want people to get stuck and never finish it. Since you didn't really like the ending anyway I can see why that would be a disappointment. You might like The Black Watchmen if you haven't seen it. It's much more puzzle-focused.

I'm definitely going to check it out! Again, the ending is just a personal preference, but you did an excellent job of crafting a very unique, engaging experience! Even if the ending isnt my cup of tea I'll definitly be recommending this to people!

And thank you for the game rec!

You might wanna add that this game is currently only playable if you're in the USA or Canada to this page too. I didn't see it on your website until after I purchased the game.

Good point, added that. There are some free US texting apps that I know other people have had luck with. If you can't get that working I can give you a refund (email contact@subtextgame.com).


Oh, I'm gonna look into that. 

Either way you can keep the money. I'm happy to support a game dev who creates something this innovative.

This is amazing.my night just got that much better!!!!

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Here is part 1 of this fantastic ARG. I really enjoyed everything so far. A bit difficult to record but otherwise a great experiance so far.


That was a fun experience! I think playing it on a computer in a short period of time does take away from it tho. I think playing it over two or three days with messages coming when you don't expect them probably makes it more immersive.

But the way you set it up made it pretty easy for recording (except that night thing :) ) and it would have been troublesome to record it under "normal" play conditions.


Wow, thanks for the video! It's really cool to get to see how people react as they play it. Glad you found the easter egg with the website at the end.

Don't trust anyone!


Subtext is a relatively short game, but it packs in a lot of clever ideas--about AI, trust, psychological manipulation--and some jaw-dropping twists.  I highly recommend it, including the "Extended Contact"!