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October 21, 2017 8:56 AM   Subscribe

It's October, month of horror! Unrelatedly, Doki Doki Literature Club! (steam) is a cute (and free) Visual Novel, roughly 2-4 hours long, where you can join a Literature Club, write poetry and make new friends! Some tips: it's much better played blind, it has a somewhat slow start, and it's not over until you've seen the credits. Oh, and it's definitely not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.
posted by Memo (15 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
I tried this but apparently I can't tolerate even 30 seconds of underage girl creeping via crawling text where every letter makes a cute jaunty noise as it appears to get to the twist or what have you.
posted by selfnoise at 9:01 AM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


And if you like that one, and even if you don't, there's also Brianna Lei's Butterfly Soup: gay Asian girls play baseball and fall in love.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:34 AM on October 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think it's kind of unfortunate that this Doki Doki gets marketed (however nudge-nudge-ily) as a horror game, because the horror sections proper are comparatively weak and the other things the game has to say (including refutations of "blatant teenage sexualization and male gaze") are more innovative and compelling than them. The question is, I guess, whether people are too focused on the "psychological horror" tag to notice the other stuff, or whether they get hooked in by that tag and then everything else comes as a pleasant surprise. But I think I've noticed more of the former happening.
posted by one for the books at 11:10 AM on October 21, 2017


I really enjoyed this game. The first arc especially was very true to my experience of mental illness in high school. I wish there was more interrogation of the focus on the male protag though, it wouls have made a stronger game.
posted by Braeburn at 11:26 AM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I watched someone stream this late at night and had a hard time sleeping afterward.
posted by dhens at 11:32 AM on October 21, 2017


So, when exactly does the the horror start? I can tell already that each of these girls is more than they appear; I assume the school festival will be the first turning-point?
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 11:45 AM on October 21, 2017


I forgot to mention it but if the game crashes or has problems running you may want to check out the folder where it's installed and the error files inside.

I assume the school festival will be the first turning-point?
Yup.

The question is, I guess, whether people are too focused on the "psychological horror" tag to notice the other stuff, or whether they get hooked in by that tag and then everything else comes as a pleasant surprise.

I think it's just hard to talk about those themes without completely spoiling the game, while the whole nudge-nudge "it's actually a horror game" is already spoiled by the fact the game is never advertised without the content warnings.
posted by Memo at 12:28 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not finished with it yet, but making my way. Semi-spoiler and meta heads up: Keep an eye on the file system of the game itself, and there is more to the title than just playing it. There are ARG elements as well.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 12:59 PM on October 21, 2017


Just finished! I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed you couldn't romance Monika. When you think about it, her story is terribly tragic.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 1:12 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to say I hate it when a game plays coy with what it's about. Maybe I'll like it or maybe I won't, but the surface layer here is unappealing, because it looks just like another of those male-gazey visual novel things. And I don't trust anyone's word enough that they can say "Play it, just trust me," I've usually been burned by those kinds of things.

That is just my two cents.
posted by JHarris at 5:08 PM on October 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


JHarris, it's a very well-executed bit of mindscrew horror using metatextuality and breaking of the fourth wall. There is some tediousness at that start where it's very much a classic dating sim, but that only lasts about an hour, and if you're paying attention you can use that time to catch on roughly to what's about to happen.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 6:40 PM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Played through this last night and yes, as someone not used to visual novels, the initial slow burn was a bit tough to get through. Really worth it even if I wish there had been a bit more exploration into some of the serious issues with the girls before diving into the meta-narrative. The game had a few cards to play and I feel like it got excited and put them all on the table in relatively rapid succession rather than giving each time to breathe a bit more.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was glad I went in cold. The warnings are no joke and I am going to be extremely careful with my recommendations of this game.

Also also, I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to poetry and what is deemed "good" (seen quite a few bits of criticism about that aspect of the writing) but I really rather enjoyed the poetry in the game and how good it was at undermining and then underpinning the mood of the whole piece.

For the price of admission, it's really worth the few hours it takes to get through.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:32 AM on October 22, 2017


I'm just going to say I hate it when a game plays coy with what it's about.

So I think what's going on here is that Doki Doki Literature Club is a visual novel about visual novels (and to a lesser extent about games in general). It's like how one of Katawa Shoujo's big points is that reducing people to fetishistic labels--the shy one, the energetic one--is not only insulting but is also potentially really harmful to all parties. But KS has to use those archetypes to draw people in at the start, so it can be sure that it'll be able to talk about shy girls to people who decided to romance the shy girl, etc. Similarly, DDLC dresses itself up, and sells itself, as a standard visual novel in order to appeal to people who play standard dating-sim visual novels--and perhaps on a second level, it dresses itself up as a horror game to appeal to people who play horror games. Because those are the people it wants to talk to.

I agree, however, that if a potential player is not a habitual player of standard dating-sim visual novels, less deception is needed in the advertisement.
posted by one for the books at 12:48 PM on October 22, 2017


Well, that was a mindfuck.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:18 PM on October 22, 2017




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