Hotel 626, le jeu vidéo Doritos Horror style PT dans lequel vous avez été piégé pour toujours

Hotel 626, the PT-style Doritos Horror video game you were trapped in forever

Believe it or not, potato giant Frito-Lay’s strangest concoction was combining video game horror and its famous brand of tortilla chips to create something different: Hotel 626 . A blatant advertising action for Doritos, of course, but also a transgressive format for a year 2008 when media like Twitch were still in their infancy and YouTube or Twitter were still taking off. And despite its limitations, it was an experience in itself.

What is Hotel 626? If we’re getting technical, this was a horror game designed for web browsers where you played with both your PC screen, as well as the microphone and WebCam. It only lasted about fifteen minutes. or less if we go for a fixed shot, but it doesn’t matter what you do, since no matter what you do, you would be trapped in their world. And that we write in the past tense is no coincidence, since the game has completely disappeared from the internet. We will come back to this.

The game was released just in time for Halloween and it was clear from the start that Doritos was behind this initiative. However, far from promoting the flavor of its snacks, it was a superb mix between current first-person horror games and ingenious elements of modern Scape Rooms, encouraging us as players to smash the fourth wall and use our computer as a tool to play. To try to survive its horrors.

So much so that the game I used photos of us playing , he mixed them with those of other real players and it is only as we progress in the game, between the scares, that we realize it. That they made them to us. Today it would have been seen with different eyes and there would have been legal repercussions, but if we put it in context, this experiment achieved exactly its goal: to leave us uncomfortable. Especially, when after this very special experience, we received a phonecall .

Hotel 626, the incredible horror experience perpetrated by Doritos

Unlike other games made with Flash or for browsers, Hotel 626 I had two prerequisites to play: the first was to book a hotel room, which served as an excuse to provide our email and phone number, create an account and activate what was necessary, including a some consent. Among other things, for access the microphone and webcam.

The second requirement was much more interesting since, as its name suggests, it was only accessible Hotel 626 at the hours during which the experiment was active: from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The reason for the latter? We had to play at night no matter what. If possible, in the dark.

Logically, they did not wait for virality (or the closest thing to it in 2008) to promote the initiative. SnackStrong, the creators of the project, have created their own mockumentary. Clarify that this has nothing to do with previous Doritos initiatives.

A level visual, Hotel 626 It was a more or less pre-planned visit to a cursed hotel that began with shots from films and video games of the time. From the superb film 1408 released just a year earlier in theaters to The Ring or the Project Zero game saga. Anticipating this style of first-person environmental horror that would definitively consolidate with success and retirement TP by Kojima or the more recent Silent Hill: The Short Message.

In fact, at the beginning there’s more than just a scary setting: you have to photograph a ghoulish figure looking for jump scares (or scream scares) in a closed room. A real cliché. However, as we progress through Hotel, we find that the puzzles become more and more twisted:

  • We have to use our PC’s microphone to not sing anything to a sleeping girl in the middle of nowhere.
  • We have to intentionally increase the volume of the PC sound to hear among the whispers the combination to escape from a room in which we are together with a tied madman.
  • Later, we have to find our own photo among a room full of Polaroids with the portraits of other players. Additionally, the photo was taken by the game itself without notice.
  • And as if that were not enough, at some point in the game, before completing the experience, we will be called on the phone to receive instructions to escape following precise instructions.
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As we mentioned, many these ideas could not be realized today . Not without more precise authorizations. In a way Hotel 626 It’s a type of terror that could only be practiced in 2008, where media existed, but there weren’t many limits from users. And yet, the experience does not end there. A few weeks later, after a period where you may have forgotten you played it, one day at 6 p.m. you receive another call saying:

“You will never be able to leave the hotel. And there is no escape from its horrors.”

Does the Doritos proposition seem surreal to you? As an example, here is a complete game of Hotel 626 played by DrossRotzank

And, if you prefer jumpscares in English, another one in which PewDiePie He checked into the Hotel and left those listening with red headphones in their ears.

As expected, this advertising action quickly became a phenomenon which, unfortunately, was more or less forgotten decades later. And SnackStrong gave it its own even more twisted sequel: Asylum 626.

Asylum 626: much more horror, but much more commercial

The initiative of Hotel 626 had enough depth to take this idea to the next level, so SnackStrong upped the ante by starting from two even more promising bases: instead of a doomed hotel, in Asylum 626 We would be locked and helpless in a madhouse and the procedure to enter was simply to grant permission and permissions from a Facebook that was widely standardized among Internet users. Needless to say, the latter gave a master key to the creators of this new nightmare.

It might seem that those who returned from this experience were cured of their fears, but Asylum 626 He was able to give new perspectives to the same premise: he used photos of our Facebook contacts in certain puzzles and also played with our proximity in front of the camera to generate scares. Plus, of course, a much more twisted and visceral plot that took advantage of our visit to the asylum. And yet, this sequel destroyed all the genius of the original game.

To complete a substantial puzzle and continue Asylum 626 Our ingenuity and courage were not enough: we had to buy a bag of Doritos and that we used the promotional code included there. Far from being an effective resource for taking immersion beyond the screen, the result was to remove the player from the entire experience.

Needless to say, none of these experiences are currently available. The two addresses of Hotel 626 as Asylum 626 They lead nowhere and, given current privacy controls, it is very unlikely, if not downright impossible, that both games can be recreated. They are both children of their times and they came out when they needed to. Neither before nor after.

Since then we have seen how the entertainment industry has evolved, the type of information shared has become more and more closed and, we are not going to deny it, there are still snacks and drinks that provide content for successful video games. Will we see scares like this again? In case, Always cover your webcam when not using it.