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What Happens If X in the Backrooms? is a phrasal template used in a series of videos in which creators imagine things that would occur if certain events happened in The Backrooms, a place described in a popular online creepypasta. The format achieved virality on YouTube and TikTok in August 2023, spreading over the following months.
The Backrooms is a creepypasta and collaborative fiction phenomenon inspired by a comment on a picture of an "unsettling room" on 4chan's /x/ board made in 2019. Following its popularization in popular culture in the early 2020s, the Backrooms became a major inspiration for gaming, video and animation content online, including TikTok and YouTube Shorts.
Starting at least as early as July 2023, YouTube and TikTok channel XBackrooms started posting videos in which they speculated on what would happen should a certain event take place inside The Backrooms, using footage made by popular creators within the fandom.
On June 28th and July 3rd, 2023, XBackroom posted the two earliest videos within the format, titled "WHAT happens when you DIE in the BACKROOMS?" and "WHAT if you KILLED an ENTITY in THE BACKROOMS." The videos received over 4.4 million views on TikTok and 10 million views on YouTube and over 6.2 million views on TikTok and 1.9 million views on YouTube, respectively, in three months (shown below, left and right)
When you die in the backrooms, two of three things may happen. Firstly, you may restart from level zero, because death would mean an escape from the Backrooms, which is pretty much impossible. You would also forget everything you had learned previously.
Through July and August 2023, XBackroom posted multiple similar videos in which they provided answers to hypothetical situations happening in the Bacrkooms. For example, a video posted on July 9th garnered over 2.1 million views on YouTube in three months (shown below, left). On August 2nd, 2023, XBackroom posted a video that received over 2.7 million views on YouTube in two months (shown below, right).
The viral popularity of XBackroom videos inspired similar content from other creators, including YouTube channels The Backrooms Archive, Xwanderer and Inasity, all of whom posted multiple videos exploring hypothetical situations happening in the Backrooms. For example, on August 21st, Inasity posted a video titled "WHAT happens if a BABY enters The BACKROOMS? – Found Footage." The upload (shown below) garnered over 9.6 million views on YouTube in one month.
The format maintained virality on YouTube and TikTok through September 2023, with parodies also appearing on these platforms and on iFunny. In multiple examples, the videos answered questions left by viewers in the comments to previous videos.
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