What is Dreams, exactly? That’s a question I’ve been asked a lot this week. In the broadest sense, Dreams is a toolkit for creating all sorts of video games, from puzzle platformers to bullet hell shooters, action RPGs, and anything else you can put your mind to. But it’s also so much more than that. It’s a place where you’re given the ability to create whatever you can imagine, even if it’s not technically a video game. It could be a short story, a musical, a highly detailed plate of food, or characters for other people to use in their own projects.
It’s also a place where you can ignore the creation side completely and fall down a rabbit hole of playing other people’s work. It’s like YouTube for video games, where a single hour can take you on a journey through so many disparate and imaginative experiences. There are the usual imitators with myriad recreations of levels from the likes of Sonic The Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, and so on. But even some of these are inspired. One imagines what Silent Hills could have been if Konami didn’t pull the plug, adding some LA Noire-esque interrogations to the mix, while another stars Persona 5’s Morgana in a 3D platformer about stealing pizza.
The majority are original creations, however, and their sheer diversity really stands out. There’s a game called Southpaw Cooking that “simulates” cooking with your left hand because your right is too busy holding a phone to your ear. Others are more elaborate, like Project Ikelos, a Souls-like action game, or Ruckus: Just Another Natural Disaster, which lets you destroy a city as a laser-beam-shooting Kaiju. Then there’s also something called Duet, a short music video featuring a ukulele-playing green guy and a pink dinosaur with a kazoo. Others, like The Collector, are simply showcases for impressive and highly detailed character art.