[RELEASED] Don't Wake Me Up - A game about love in video games - 01/02/24

I know I’ll be in the minority, but I had mixed feelings about the game. The writing is definitely funny and all, but the idea and the ending… I either don’t understand it, or I understand it but don’t agree.
I probably won’t be able to explain it well, but I felt like the game didn’t differentiate well between objectification/sexualization, and an adult positive approach to sexuality. And likewise between attraction/love and trying to help someone (almost a messiah complex). However related the concepts are, there is no equation between them and I felt like the game manipulated me a bit within them to fulfill its agenda.
But maybe I’m just resentful that I didn’t get my desired happy ending in someone’s fictional arms but rather felt mocked (the sex scene on Orion’s ship), shamed and lectured.

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Haven’t fully pulled the true route so grain of salt but

I think it pulls off those themes well enough. The big thing with Len is that he never really learned that difference because of Grace wanting the perfect Twilight boyfriend. To him, there is no healthy sex because all the stuff tied to sexuality for him was just to get Grace and those like her off. To him, attraction and charity is just a way to make the player feel good. ( and in fact, even if you screw up the true route as in my last run, you can at least show him the latter, even if it is not quite enough to save you) So, you have to walk a very fine line to show that separation for him. I will admit, a scene or two of good sexuality might be warranted, but I think the game is fine without it.

1 Like

I really enjoyed this game! It was really meaty, with a light frothy start that became bleak as it continued. I found myself becoming really fond of my ragtag band of adventurers and when…things…kicked off I felt genuinely sad. I’d love to play again after a little break to explore different paths! I got the deactivation ending which uhh, was not a happy one but it felt appropriate, and by the end Asterius really felt bleak and dystopian, and unsettling too which was a brilliant turnaround from the comedic character earlier on.

It put me in mind both of games I played as a teenager and of some of the parody that was around at that time, but it had a lot of substance beyond that too while feeling very affectionate about it. I have a lot of thoughts about romantic wish-fulfilment in games and how departing from player expectations can be really effective, but I’m currently stuck on a train full of drunk football fans so can’t put them together fully, but just to say that I enjoyed it a lot, loved reading about the process by which it was made, and found it gave me a lot of interesting food for thought. Thank you for returning to it after several years and for finishing it for publication!

6 Likes

I think I got the same ending. I actually cried a little bit when it felt like we were breaking up bc I wanted to learn the truth. By the end, I honestly had wished I’d stayed. :frowning:

2 Likes

Finished the game twice, got the bad ending and not as bad endings, which felt like the appropriate endings of the story given the way it was going.

I wish I was better at putting to words the various feelings I have in my head. I appreciate the goal of the story but something along the way, maybe about the character, the tone, or the execution of it makes the unconscious part of me want to reject some part of it and that made it fall flat for me. I feel almost bad for trying to put into words the sense of rejection I feel because this story feels like a very personal message from the author. It’s like… the game is set from the start to moralize you and if you align with the path that does treat Asterius/Len like objects, the comeuppance feels thematically appropriate but if you go through the game as treating Asterius and Len with courtesy and respect and an overall mature approach to the idea of a relationship on the game’s terms, the last chapter feels like a sequence of slaps that you must take not because of your choices, but because of the developer’s choices and because Len’s trauma is unfathomable.

I think I’ll just leave it at I don’t think I was the target audience for this story, and that’s fine! It’s still a good story.

5 Likes