There is currently no shortage of games. Imagine a game, any game—a small game, a weird game, a psychedelic game, whatever—and there are probably twelve versions of it online. This is great. The more the merrier. But as one processes the daily deluge of wonderful little oddities, it’s hard not to wonder what on earth was going through developers’ minds as they made these games.
One Dreamer, which is currently raising funds on Kickstarter, is a game that offers a glimpse into the fevered mind of a fictional game developer named Frank. Said developer divides his time between two levels of consciousness: reality, where he solves puzzles like an amateur sleuth; and a dream state wherein he ventures through an unpredictable environment. “Franks actions and decisions during both states will affect the story’s conclusion,” writes One Dreamer’s creator, Gareth Ffoulkes. (Let us not speculate as to how Ffoulkes came to have this idea for a meta-game. Doing so would set off an infinite regress.)
All games are the product of their creators’ lived experiences. (This, incidentally, is why diversity in the videogame world is so desperately important.) It is, however imperative that videogame journalists not address this dynamic by projecting motivations onto creators. Not all games are the product of Freudian issues or Nyquil, even if it feels like that some day. One Dreamer will therefore offer up the rare opportunity to go into a developer’s mind and see what makes him tick. Short of brain scans, it might currently be the best chance we’ve got.