The Dream Diary Jam Look-Over – Finale

After two weeks, this site reaches the end of its Dream Diary Jam coverage. To people that don’t know what it is that’s suddenly decided to start reading these at this point, the Dream Diary Jam was a game jam dedicated to making fangames of Yume Nikki. Maybe play that, if you haven’t already.

If you haven’t already, check out the previous parts to check out other people’s work (123). If you’re all caught up, let’s head on.

Food Diary

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You know who Guy Fieri is, right? The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives man that preaches of a holy place called Flavor Town? Do you ever think if Flavor Town is real? Well, it’s certainly a place of dreams in _brushie’s Food Diary.

You play as the legendary hero, Guy Fieri, exploring a small fantasy land to reach Flavor Town. There’s no need to finagle with menus ever, as you can switch through the game’s few Effects with E and Q. There are a few collectible items that helps move the game along to the end, which is different depending on whether or not you’ve collected everything.

There’s no saving, but with how short the game is, it’s a non-issue. I think the control scheme’s a bit odd for this sort of game, but overall the pursuit of flavor is a good experience. Everything looks nice and the game plays smoothly, which is honestly surprising because I expected this game to just be a Guy Fieri themed shitpost. Well, it still kinda is, but it’s a great shitpost.

Mado Paf!

Mado Paf! by davidgd72k 7_13_2017 12_12_53 PM

Mado Paf! is by davidgd72k and it’s a Yume Nikki themed version of this game. You play as Madotsuki, running back and forth to launch her knife to break up nondescript cubes and spheres with eyeballs on them. These break into smaller versions when they collide into Madotsuki’s knife or the trail it leaves behind. The first level tasks you with breaking all the objects on screen. Then the next level is just an infinite level where you have to get as many points as you can before running out of lives. While I don’t think it’s too interesting, it’s the dev’s first game and it was a pretty okay attempt!

Awaits;10H

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Awaits;10H is a game by K437 and it’s intended to be a prequel to a game they’ve already been making, Hikensha. A boy named Yarishi seems to be moving into a new home, with some strange things happening around it. But of course, you’ll be spending most of the game in his dreams.

While there are the usual Effects, the main goal is to collect a seed in each main area. Said seeds are just sort of scattered around, though one is placed more thoughtfully in a teleport maze. There are also some optional side areas to go to that offers small, interesting events.

As the creator puts it, the game’s just meant to act as an introduction. While I think the main areas are par for the course, the side ones are interesting and they help contextualize some stuff on the main character, so it effectively works as a prequel!

<Closure>

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<Closure> is by Spired, a traditional game where you play as a boy named Markus. His apartment is strangely technological, controlling things in his room through a panel. However, unlocking his door is fruitless, so all he can do is sleep and look out toward the city (which is how he saves).

The game as it is so far is kinda simple and there isn’t too much available. I honestly don’t have too much to say about it so far. I do like the event to get the Implosion Effect though, it’s kinda cool.

Also I found a glitch that created two different Markuses walking around and I love it.

Dream Journey

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Dream Journey is by Clockwork Prince, which for some reason can’t be downloaded from the game’s page without a password. You play as a person traveling on a subway, accessing the dream world through taking naps. The character is pretty ambiguous, as I’m pretty sure “MC” is a placeholder name. There’s also a Boy and a Girl Effect in the game and given their ambiguous default appearance, they may as well be neither.

Like a lot of traditional experiences, I don’t have a lot to say about it, other than the fact that it’s done well. Like other games from this jam, it’s unfinished, as evident by traffic cones blocking off different areas. I do like how the game looks (especially the star field area) so it’d be neat to see more of this in the future.

Miskatonic Diaries

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Miskatonic Diaries (or, garbagegirls looking at the game’s files) is by moga, a game made in RPG Maker MV.

There is no title screen, the game just dropping you right in when the game starts. You see the game is framed by a fish-eye lens monitor, creating a sense that you’re observing the main character rather than controlling her. She heads to sleep and explores her dream world for items to add to a collection, a radius of light brightening the tiles around her in a gloomy looking world.

The game gets a lot of use out of visual effects to go along with its aesthetics. Aside from the monitor UI and the light radius around the main character, there are animated parallax backgrounds, creating rooms with flickering light or making what looks like a giant organ come alive. I follow the artist on tumblr and they dabble with screwy visual effects, usually glitch art, so I expected the art of the game to be befitting of their work and they really delivered.

I don’t really consider Yume Nikki to be a horror game, but a lot of people do and plenty of fangames end up going down that route. Out of all the games I’ve played in the Dream Diary Jam, the general aesthetics of Miskatonic Diaries has me consider this to be the game closest to Yume Nikki‘s perceived ideal. Like everything else, this is a demo, but it’s an interesting demo and I consider it a must play!

Halcyon

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Halcyon is a traditional game made in VX Ace by Pionpi. You play as a girl named Fio, exploring her dreams as she sees herself. The game’s got some nice background parallaxes, though like a lot of the overly traditional fangames, I don’t have a lot more to say. Still, good job for what’s there!

Ruler’s Reign

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Ruler’s Reign is an unusual game by Stellalune. While the other games in the jam were made in well established engines, Ruler’s Reign runs on the Godot Game Engine, which I’ve never heard of until now. Apparently it’s free and open-sourced, so maybe it’s something to check out if you’re interested in playing around with different tools.

Ruler’s Reign further establishes its identity with its aesthetics. There are no sprites, there are no drawn graphics. Rather, the game uses photos and old art, stuck together like you’re playing around in a collage. Your main character, for instance, is from a lithographic fashion plate made in 1881, her starting bedroom a depiction of Queen Mary’s bedroom in some book. Stellalune was kind enough to add a text document with links to their art sources and it’s pretty interesting stuff to look up. The gameplay is sort of standard Yume Nikki stuff on a different playing field, but the game’s presentation ultimately gives it a unique identity that makes playing it worthwhile.

Hentekorin

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And so to end off the Dream Diary Jam coverage, we look at Zemmi’s Hentekorin. Looking at the game, you can tell that there are unique qualities before you even play it. It’s a game in Unity and while it embraces the top-down exploration aspect of Yume Nikki, it takes place in 3D space; though, the characters and some of the objects are 2D, flipping around like Paper Mario characters. While conceptually it’s based off of Yume Nikki, it’s evocative of other weird 3D exploration games, like the works of Cicada Marionette.

You start out as an old man that looks like a piece of collage art, who dreams by sitting down in a chair. Within the dream world, he takes the form of a young boy – and there are more forms to acquire. It’s more involved than the usual Effect gathering process, as instead of being set out in the world, you have to activate a shrine of some sort by fulfilling a goal. For instance, one form – gained by sacrificing some of the local NPCs to the shrine – was some red fish that gave you the ability to jump, which is pretty valuable in a 3D space.

Speaking of which, the game being in 3D kinda creates a more impactful environment, if that makes sense. There’s a greater sense of depth in the world that you can’t get with a 2D game. Like, you can feel when you are high up and get a sense of how far you’d drop down, which is something that requires perspective trickery in a 2D game.

Also, this game has the greatest method of “waking up,” which is turning into a fucking house. It has this sense of zaniness to it; in fact, the game sort of had this wacky weirdness that I rarely saw in other games I’ve played for the past two weeks. Sometimes dreams can just be silly, you know? This tone, the mish-mash of graphics and the 3D space culminates in a great experience that I recommend that you try out.

I really hope that this game gets worked on more in the future. Heck, more surreal 3D exploration games would be great in general. I guess when it comes to Yume Nikki games, the only other known 3D one was Yume Nikki 3D, so you know, it’d be fascinating to see more.


And so, that’s all the games produced by the Dream Diary Jam. Congratulations to everybody that chose to participate, regardless of how complete your final entry was. It’s tough to make a game and it’s tough to muster the effort to do so, so be proud of your work! I hope that you all keep working on your games or use what you’ve learned to make new ones!

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