Xinyi Xu “Everyday the Same Dream”

Every Day the Same Dream is a game designed by Italian creator Paolo Pedercini. In the game, the player simulates a white-collar worker who repeats his life every day: get up, kiss the wife, take the elevator, drive to work and go to his own cubicle and then a new day comes. When the player chooses not to follow the step, new things happens but nevertheless when a new day comes everything is the same. However, When the player finishes all five events: Committing suicide, talking to the homeless man, catching the Leaf, petting a cow and going to work undressed, here comes the ending: the man goes pass all cubicles where there are no people, and then he sees himself jumping from the platform.

The part that first makes me feel really immersed is the music. It has a rhythm that fits with the game play and is full of repetition which works well with the game theme. When I do the research, I learnt that it is written by electronic musician Jesse Stiles and has also got a lot of good comments from the internet. Another reason for some people to immersed into the game may be that they feel really connected to the avatar. I see some reviews from the internet saying that they feel like they live the same life just as the avatar does.

What also makes the game really stands out is its extreme simplicity. The world is black and white. The delineation of the figures is simple. It is easy to control since you only need to press arrow or space. It is just a 2D game without any fancy technologies. There is no leveling or combat system: you don’t see a clear “enemy” and the start of a new day is not a new level but just a repetition.

The purpose of the designer is to guide the players to really focus on the message this game is trying to convey. In the words of its creator, it’s a game about “alienation and refusal of labour”. The game may want to remind us to jump out of our daily routine and be brave t explore something new. Or it simply just serves as a mirror for us to look at ourselves. When one day ends, and the next day starts, it is neither the end of game nor the next level. It just repeats the same scene. Such cyclic nature is an illustration of procedural rhetoric and is the message from the game designer. The impulse for the players to break out the given route also reflects our inner desire to break out monotonous adult like and go a less travelled pathway.

By doing so, this game becomes a really good example of “game as art”. It also shows how game is a better medium to deliver message that other medium such as article, video… The reason is that instead of passively absorbing the idea of the creator, people can figure those message out by playing games themselves.

However, such way of presentation also leads to criticism. Some people are even skeptical of if this is really a game because there is so limited actual game play. Game as art is not for everybody. Not everyone is looking to get some message from the game, some may just want to have fun while this game is quite depressing.

Besides that, the attitude on the ending is varied as well. There are comments saying the ending is very confusing. It was so artsy intentionally but failed to deliver the message. For me, I found the ending quite intriguing and liked it. I think the way to make it vague can provoke more thoughts from gamers. I even saw a comment on Youtube saying that the man in the game is a ghost, which is why even he jump from the building but wake up again. In the end, he remembered he jumped from the building a long time ago when he was alive. It suggests people to do things differently now instead of regretting when the life is gone.

I also feel that this game has some gender implications. The avatar is a white heterosexual male. Everyone except the wife and the elevator lady is also male. I know if the designer diversifies those workers in the cubicle, the game will lose its simplicity it is striving for. Still, We can see from this game that how the gaming industry is still male dominated. It can even speak more since it is unintentional and the goal is not to please males.

Reference Articles:

  1. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/26714/Analysis_Every_Days_Not_The_Same_Art_Game.php
  2. http://experimentalgameplay.com/blog/2009/12/every-day-the-same-dream/
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20120418234756/http://www.gamezebo.com/games/everyday-same-dream/review
  4. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/26653/Best_Of_Indie_Games_It_Came_in_a_Dream.php
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