Doki Doki Literature Club
January 8, 2018 2:15 PM - Subscribe

DDLC is a perfectly normal visual novel dating sim about the high school literature club, where you write poems and meet four cute girls. Sayori, Natsuki, Yuri, and, of course, Monika. Content warnings.
posted by RobotHero to Narrative Games (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have a Spoiler filled thing to say about the moment where the story goes off the rails and then the moment that follows it where the story goes "Rails? Who needs rails. We never had them because we're not a train, we're a boat covered with razor blades." If you've played the game you likely know what I mean. The first moment was upsetting because it broke the convention of the typical VN structure, but the second moment was upsetting and thrilling because it begins the process of breaking the structure entirely.

In anticipation of that first moment (and I was expecting moments like that first one), I found myself jumping every time it seemed like something awful was about to happen. By the time the awful thing happened, I'd been lulled into a false sense of security and it ended up freaking me out still. Expertly done.

Really, the pace and plotting and foreshadowing (including the word choices during the poetry sections) was extremely well done. I found that two of the characters are still lingering in my head in a way that VN characters never have in the past. Good stuff, people.

(I hope that managed to be spoiler free in the specifics even if it is sort of a macro-spoiler)
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:27 PM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh I think this thread is specifically here for spoilers to be discussed, I think. So spoilers -

So the creepiest part of the game I think, is when Monika deletes everyone else so she can have you all to herself and traps you in this extra-dimensional space, and she first calls your character by the name you gave them, then says "but really, you do go by another name, right... [real name]." - where the game tries to guess your real name or at least an "official identity" from a variety of sources, it could be your computer login user first/last name, or steam first/last name or username, or your current streaming ID for Twitch / Youtube. I still can't get over how she called me by my actual name: I think that was also the culmination of the point where the characters are no longer talking to the protagonist you were controlling, but talking to you directly.

That point is the culmination of the gradual loss of control the player has in the game: being unable to reload to an earlier save point after the death(s) of characters, or inability to move the mouse to the choice you want: where Monika has completely taken control of not just the game, but now also knows information about you from OUTSIDE the game which you have not given her.

Monika also knows when you're recording her streaming the video, she'll make a comment to that effect as well.

And my favourite part is what I call the Monika monologues, where she rambles on for a long long time while you're trapped in the room with her, some of it is quite hilarious, especially where she tries to say that Yuri is the yandere one while she's the the only girl who turned out to be "normal" and how she keeps reminding you that you are trapped with her forever. Here's a pastebin of her monologue.
posted by xdvesper at 4:06 PM on January 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

After you delete Monika and the game restarts without her, what happens if you "delete" the other characters from the character folder?
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:13 PM on January 9, 2018

I have to report that I was disappointed by this game.

I am someone who is "easily disturbed". Horror movies have previously pounded the shit out of me. Until recently, it had been like fifteen years since I seriously tried to watch a horror movie. This might be a little embarrassing, but the American Ring and the Blair Witch Project scared the fuck out of me at the turn of the century, and I've stayed away from the genre since.

I'm also bipolar ii with tendencies towards suicidal ideation.

But I've recently become very, very interested in horror, and have been dipping my toes back in. I watched Audition and Les Yeux Sans Visage, the Hellraiser movies, the first couple of Phantasms, and right now I have The Descent playing (omg I'm claustrophobic). A very, very random playlist, I know. But I want to get to know horror. And the buzz around DDLC really pulled me in.

The content warnings made me pretty sure that there would be suicide in this game. The first few pages set up the narrator as a self-hating loser. I thought I had figured it out at this point. The thing that was so profoundly disturbing and dangerous about this game was that it would eventually suggest that the player should kill themselves. Heh. I suppose that thinking that going in, I was inevitably going to be disappointed that the game was not as deadly oppressively depressing as all the warnings had suggested.

Also, I used my real first name when starting, so I didn't get any of the weirdness of the game finding my "real" name. That would have been a mind-fuck, I suppose.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:23 PM on January 9, 2018

I am never, ever, going to play this game, but I'm intrigued by novel (heh) game mechanics, so I read the wikipedia article and know the spoilers. My question is about how the game progresses when it goes off the rails. Do you actually have to go into the folder structure of your computer to delete the character files, or is there a way to do it in the game window? When Monika essentially traps you, can you quit, or would you have to do a force close? The combination of the game rewriting itself and being able to find information off your computer is definitely freaky, in sort of a HAL 9000 way.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 7:26 AM on January 10, 2018

I didn't try to quit so I can't answer that, but I did go into the game folder to delete her file. She explains how to do it in character as she describes how she deleted the others.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:30 AM on January 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm glad that this was posted here because I would never have selected this as a game I'd like, but ended up really enjoying it. I think I must have a dark-ass sense of humour because I was finding the similarities to some of the bad relationships I've had to be pretty hilarious. And having to go out and delete a character file in order to continue was brilliant.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:14 AM on January 15, 2018

I just played it. Whew! I knew some of the big stuff ahead of time, but yeah, at the end, when Monika called me by my real name I screamed a little. Then roared with laughter when she went on to the tune of "I don't even know if you're a boy or a girl! But I don't care, etc." "Fuck you, game!" was how I expressed my admiration. Obviously it's the user name, right there in the path of where Steam files go, so I knew instantly how that worked, but still.
posted by tomboko at 9:33 PM on June 5, 2018

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