Yume Nikki is a surrealist adventure game from Japanese indie developer Kikiyama. Created in 2004 by way of RPG Maker, it's since garnered somewhat of a cult following. It's also out now on Steam for the first time.
Last year, Giada Zavarise discussed the horrifying legacy of Yume Nikki, the homebrew game that became a phenomenon. Within, Zavarise considers the many fan theories which have surfaced over the years how they strive to explain what the game is actually about.
For example, the fact that the game unfolds within the protagonist's dreams indicates everything on screen reflects reality—so reckons a sizeable chunk of the game's players. Here's an extract from Zavarise's piece:
Some people theorize Madotsuki has been bullied. Others think she is the bully—or worse, a psychopath. Some people theorize that she’s an abuse survivor. It’s a voyeuristic exercise in psychoanalysis, a vivisection of a girl’s fantasies in a desperate attempt to understand why she is so broken. Because she must be broken. Because there must be an explanation for all of this—for the gaping mouths, the monochrome cripples, for the spaceship crashing on Mars and for the girls with a bird’s face.
The Yume Nikki fandom has never received any explanations from the game's creator Kikiyama though, who may as well be a non-person, a mysterious figure who always refused to reveal any details about themselves or the meaning of their game. Without any canonical answers, the fandom has been left free to theorize.
And here's Yume Nikki's Steam release trailer (via Gematsu):
Yume Nikki is free and out now on Steam. There, you'll notice a link to this countdown timer, which is tied "to the next Yume Nikki project". We'll report back with more on that when the clock expires in two weeks' time.