Convenient Is Horror That Rewards Good Decisions

We all know the tired cliche of characters in horror making bad decisions. You sit there with your snack of choice and drink yelling at the screen because you, the protagonist of reality, would never make such a bad decision in a moment of panic. “I would simply overpower the hulking, 7-foot-tall killer, and beat him to a pulp before I let his chainsaw get with 10 feet of me”, you say, as you struggle to get a straw in your mouth without looking, poking yourself in the lip and somehow drawing blood. The point is it’s easy to judge when you’re not there. When it comes to horror games, it’s almost the opposite. You can do everything right, and the developer still needs you to suffer. Convenient changes that a bit.

Convenient is a textbook hidden gem. I grabbed it during the Halloween sale because it was cheap and I love buying loads of cheap horror games during sales. I do cover horror games, after all. It has become a kind of bonding experience for the DreadXP crew to get together in a Discord call and stream games to each other. Usually, it’s a way to blow off steam and chat while checking out what’s new out there in the horrorsphere. I started playing Convenient with a blank mind. I had bought it based on its PS1 aesthetic and simplistic key art -and its price.

Convenient starts you out simply enough. You’re getting gas at an empty gas station in the middle of the night when the guy working behind the counter knocks you out, and chains you to a radiator in the basement of the gas station. From there, it’s time to make those important decisions that you swear up and down you could make in a horror movie. This is where Convenient shines. It plays out like an escape room, but one that makes a fair amount of sense. You’re chained to the radiator, there is a couch, a picture frame with some cracked glass, and the dirty mattress you’re sleeping on. I did what was available to me and punched the picture frame. It splintered further with a satisfying crunch.

I grabbed a piece of glass and then the station attendant came downstairs and stabbed me to death. So, not the best decision? You see, in Convenient you have to be ever-aware of the attendant just above you. He can hear noises, and knows if something has been changed in the basement. I started again. I broke the picture frame, and then laid back down. He came rushing into the basement and checked all over, and then left. I got back up. I grabbed the glass and checked the couch, it had been haphazardly sewed up on one side. I cut the cushion and found a key – weird but okay. I used the key to undo the chain on the radiator. I was free to move about.

Each action you take in the first half of Convenient needs to be considered and reversed. The attendant knows when something is amiss. If he hears you, you need to work backwards through what you’ve done previously to throw him off. You need to close the flaps of the couch cushion you cut, rechain yourself to the radiator, and get back on the mattress. Missing any of these things will cause him to kill you. The first half of Convenient encourages exploration, but punishes you for not exploring carefully. In horror games, we’re so used to flinging open cabinets and dropping items without a care in the world.

Convenient punishes you for playing it like a standard horror game. It says, “you will take care in how you interact with my world or you won’t win”. I love that. It makes you completely rethink how you interact with a horror game. “Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints”, the old urban exploration mantra kind of applies here. Once you painstakingly explore the basement and find your way out, instead of ending, the game flips you again. You’d think it’s time to face the station attendant. You’d think it’s time to play cat-and-mouse, or maybe find a weapon to shoot him. Convenient knows you’re thinking that, so it gives you a knife.

You find an altar, you find dismembered bodies. You find graffiti in blood that says it’s feeding time. Convenient paints you a standard horror picture of a crazed gas station attendant who chops up and eats people…or so you’d think. I’m going to spoil Convenient past this point, so just go play it and come back. It deserves your time.


So you’ve built up in your head that you’re dealing with a crazy person. Standard horror trope. He kidnaps, murders, and eats people. You have a knife, you see him approaching in the distance, and you’re ready for the final confrontation. As he passes underneath a streetlight a hulking, primordial beast explodes out of the underbrush and takes out the killer. What? Up to this point there is very little indication that an ancient forest deity of some sort is the actual antagonist of the game. You’re forced to re-frame how you think of the station attendant. The grafitti said “feeding time”. He was feeding it. He was appeasing this monster. Was he really the bad guy? Or was he forced into satiating this thing for the sake of the people in the town near the gas station?

This forced recontextualization is brilliant. From there, while your head is still spinning from the reveal, you need to get the hell away from the monster. You grab your keys that the station attendant dropped, and hop in your car. Convenient is over. A screen tells you this is the bad ending, and that you’ve found 0 of 4 secrets. There is much more to Convenient than you thought. I went back through a few times, getting all the endings, finding all the secrets, exploring this small world that the dev had built. I think you should do the same, and I can’t wait to see what they do next. You can pick up Convenient on Steam right Here.