Thoughts on D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die

If someone came up to me and ask me what D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is about, I would say it’s about letting go of the past, eating and relationships. These are the three themes I noticed quite frequently in the game and the three main ingredients that keep a person functional in the society. This game is about a broken man named David Young who is on a metaphorical journey from death to life.

d4d

I must admit, I was a bit confused to what was going on in the game.  All I knew was the protagonist lost his wife.  So I played the game several times. Then I concluded the game is very dreamlike purposely.  One moment, we see Young falling into the bathroom, and then we see him reading a magazine on the bed casually, drinking coffee, crushing fortune cookies, changing music records, turning on the T.V, changing clothes, pushing little squirrel off the window etc.  Everything seems calm and normal.  Until Amanda, his cat, enters the scene.  Then I realized, Mister Young is not okay.  We are witnessing a man who is undergoing some severe trauma in the head!

amanda

And so,  Forrest Kaysen, an important supporting role in the game, is there to guide Young back to life, the reality–the present moment.  If you haven’t  noticed, once Young solved a particular mystery of his past, the memento loses its special power. This is a way for the game to tell the player–mystery solved–now you can move forward into the present moment.  Have you folks  ever experienced that?   When you are bothered by the past, but there is nothing you can do to change it, but live in regret? Leave it in the past, my friends, leave it in the past. 

hLooking closely at Kaysen, he is like a philosopher and sometimes like a twisted version of Little Peggy.  Speaking with him, opens up a dialogue about eating.  It is important to nourish the body with food.  How can any person function without food?  Obviously, the game attempts to point out that people who are consumed by the past do not feed their bodies.  Why would they? They are dead inside.  So it’s no surprise to me, when Kaysen confronted Young for not finishing his meal.  Kaysen knew that Young has been drinking excessively to drown his misery, but he also wanted acknowledgement for his cooking ability.  It’s a hilarious cut scene which I could personally relate to.  I too, have a small stomach, and have a hard time finishing my meal.  So I’ll tell you a little personal story.  I once dated a Japanese man. He asked me what he should cook for dinner and I said, “I don’t like eating.” I said it because I wasn’t hungry at the time and food was never on my priority list of things to think about on a daily basis.  He got very upset. To him,  I was disrespecting life and his food.  He said we need to eat to be alive, which is true.  I should have chosen my words wisely or not say anything at all. This part of the game really highlighted the differences between Japanese and American culture on food and human interaction in a twisted way.

I know I mentioned a lot about the plot because the plot and the colorful characters are definitely stronger than the gameplay, but the gameplay is not monotonously minimal  like other cinematic games.  The stunts with Amanda and the courier are quite funny.  But my all time favorite side game is taking Philip Cheney’s quizzes. His dialogue is interesting and his villain-like approach to the quizzes made me laugh hard.  I am not surprised he is the fourth “D.”

cheneey

And yes, the game ends with a cliffhanger and is too short, but I didn’t mind it at all.  The game is jam packed with timeless human drama that made me think even after I am done playing it. It made me think about human relationships as being the most important aspect of human civilization.  We are like civilized social animals, resembling cats. According to a scrapbook article I found in the game,  cats sacrifice the lone life to move in large group.  Doing so will make them achieve social status.  Hmm…we are like cats!

Lastly, the game made me think about relationship between lovers as the strongest bond between humans. Some of us argued that we don’t need it, but I think we do.  Life seems more enjoyable despite the arguments that come with a relationship.  Losing a relationship will drive us crazy as we see it with the Marshal who chases after the courier to avenge his wife’s death.  He too, like the protagonist, is living in the past. But perhaps, Little Peggy is right: Things in the past need to stay in the past or else a person cannot move on and live a happy life.  The only thing we can do is acknowledge our mistakes and practice for tomorrow as Young once said. Overall, the game gave me a good feeling.  Most of the time,  I was laughing with the game despite its dark plot.

I am still curious–who killed Little Peggy? I’m hoping for season 2. Let me know what your thoughts are on D4 if you have played it, and thank you for reading! Until next time, take care!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Video Games: An Entertainment Medium

I think awhile back when I started posting on this blog in July of  2016, I was still gathering my thoughts about video games and what it meant to me.  Because I was raised by compassionate parents,  I was always conscious about the things I was exposed to.  I knew I would never harm a single animal or person in real life, and yet I enjoy violent games.  This prompted me to write about Dark Souls and its philosophy on what it meant to be human.  My ideas might be a bit archaic but the dark side of life is not so far.  If I’m not careful, I can lose my humanity too.  So that is why I prefer games that have human qualities which teach me something positive about life.

My belief that video games are beyond a pastime activity has been confirmed while  reading IGN interview with Swery, the creator of Deadly Premonition and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die.

[Video Games] are something greater than simply a means of generating money, or pieces of mere entertainment to be consumed. [Video Games]  are considered even a little bit as art or something eternal.

Like Swery, I believe some things in life is beyond human comprehension.  Video games are in fact just merely reflecting our human thoughts just like any other entertainment medium.   And yet video games, are often frowned upon as a waste of time by non-gamers.  They don’t understand that not all games are created equal as to not all books are educational.

I know that there is a lot of talk about video games becoming a mass consumption and the game industry is catering to a wider audience.  I have mixed feelings about this.  Seldomly, do I find modern games having the same aesthetic as classic or retro games. Some modern games are becoming longer and unimaginative.  Two bad combination for me.  I wonder is it even possible for developers to create games that appeal to the mass while continuing to take risk to innovate games?

I think you know by now why one of the best developers to me is FromSoftware.  They don’t chase after what is popular.  They create genuine games that are timeless to me.  So that’s why I’m always on the hunt for great games. They really are my treasures.