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Lucid Night

by Dee Cooke profile


Web Site

(based on 8 ratings)
5 reviews

About the Story

You've always been a lucid dreamer, but these days your dreams never last very long. If only you could get some rest...

Lucid Night was created for PunyJam #3 in February 2023.

Game Details


4th Place - PunyJam #3

51st Place, Best in Show - The IF Short Games Showcase 2023


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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
I keep having that dream..., March 16, 2023
by Rovarsson (Belgium)

Lucid Night uses the frame of an interrupted night’s sleep filled with lucid dreams to present the player with a collection of small puzzles which take place in the dream world.

The puzzles are easy, heavily clued and tiny. Each does give the player that bit of satisfaction of finding the solution, and of looking around to see what your dreaming brain has come up with this time.

A laid-back bit of easy fun. Some distraction while you wait for the potatoes to boil.

It might be, were it not for the glimpses of the protagonist’s life we catch. There are vague references throughout the game to previous, more powerful lucid dreams, and to the character’s waking life that imbue it with a sense of mystery, even an unsettling feeling of unseen threat.

I enjoyed the writing, smoothly transitioning the PC from waking to dreaming without drawing too much explicit attention to it. The PC is used to dreaming, so the lucid sequences come as no surprise.
There is a nifty implementation feature in this game, of the “blink and you miss it” variety.

The puzzles were very common sense, especially for a dream-setting. I had expected some more moon-logic and surrealism to pop up as the game progressed.

A good game. The untold backstory of the PC keeps lingering in my mind.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
PunyJam #3: Lucid Night, March 4, 2023
by kaemi
Related reviews: PunyJam #3

Dreams are an activity undertaken when exhaustion overcomes your consciousness, so why shouldn’t we begrudge dreams, forced weary on a warped road of fuzzy touchless wonder? This ceaseless antagonist, stealing from us blessed benevolent oblivion, harrying our retreat from sensory deluge with its tapering ghosts! “As you cautiously look around, your clearest and most pressing sense is that you feel out of breath and exhilarated - and you’re not supposed to feel like that, you’re supposed to be resting, you promised you’d rest - but here you are anyway.” What’s the point of sleep, if it’s so exhausting?

Lucid Night drags us sleep deprived from vaguery to vaguery, wracked upon the loop as “The fog lifts from your mind and you look around the room with new clarity, seeing that the smooth white surfaces are simply… incomplete. You are dreaming: in your lucid world once again. / This isn’t as much of a joyful realisation as it once was. In recent times, you haven’t been able to control the world here like you once did; in many ways, it controls you now.” The ludic vibrancy of dreams’ kaleidoscope has been drained into scratchier, less suggestive forms, a morass of pointlessly shifting details of the dreamspace, undetermined flux that warps shapes suggested by the familiar into juxtapositions seamless in the fuzz: “Perhaps the word ‘door’ isn’t quite right. It’s a large opening in the wall, completely open to the void outside. You haven’t been sucked out or found yourself unable to breathe, but that isn’t surprising, as it’s your lucid world and your psyche doesn’t have much time for inconvenient realism, even if your dreams aren’t as boundless as they once were.” Every object, even so simple as a door, isn’t even able to render that solidity upon inspection; look anywhere too close, out peeks the void. Half remembered items magpied from waking life are littered densely sans rhyme or reason, so close they congeal, waves of sludge that close in around you, spaces so much less boundless than they appear, so much less alive, less troubling, less personal: “You instinctively gasp, but quickly remember that nothing can hurt you here. Unless you want it to.” The 3AM bittersigh of why can’t I have a nightmare, that at least would feel like something.

This brittle certainty of terse mere appearance eschews the more enchanted associations of dreams to emphasize how tiredness, tiredness, tiredness until you’re tired of tiredness. To that end, usually the game remains pretty blithe about the symbolism of dreams, refusing to render any compelling connection between the spaces you sort of inhabit, then dryly noting that refusal with a shrug: “You’re not sure why your psyche thinks you need to replicate the dull experience of a doctor’s waiting room, but there you are.” There you are indeed, the game eying you suspiciously, as if you might start to guess. You’re trying to diagnose too, I take it? Well, there’s no great secret to it; when the game does hazard a guess, its literality drains all the color out of the word guess: “You are in a hollow at the top of a gum tree. Just realising that the tree is a gum tree makes you wish you had a pack of gum, or better yet some actual food, because all of a sudden you are incontrollably, ravenously hungry. It’s probably because you’ve been eating your ‘evening meal’ at about 3pm back in the waking world, because your husband read that insomnia can be caused by having too much food in your system.” There you are, mystery solved.

Our interactions are likewise deflated, each dreamspace falling apart as we attempt to inhabit it, puzzles that drowsily gesture at solutions, a series of commands that languish in their lack of agency and urgency, with each lurch towards progress slamming us against “Your bedroom is plain and stark white, the moonlight streaming through the blinds.” This gives the game a pervasive flippancy, even a grouchiness, that can make you recoil, like if you didn’t want me here why did you invite me over: “You know this dream - you’ve visited it so often.” Yes, and so it seems I am likewise obliged, if you don’t mind. Perhaps aware of all the grays matting indistinguishably, sometimes Lucid Night channels its flippancy into a cartoonish moue: “You start counting sheep. This always takes a long time to work, but sheep number 1,362 manages to drag you back into your non-waking world.”

But if, by the end of it, you feel a little wearied yourself, then the immersion has worked, and the knotty, headachey thinningness of a night tossing and turning and just barely dreaming has taken you with it into a communicative experience that does make “You feel like the real world is becoming more real.” Now how about some coffee?

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A symbolic contemplation of dreams and serenity, March 10, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This is an interesting short game written in PunyInform.

It follows a rhythmic pattern of sleeping, dreaming, breathing, and waking.

It feels like a purposely simple, stripped down game with simple aesthetics and a positive overall message. Puzzles are intentionally light and the focus is on atmosphere.

I found it to be polished and smooth, and the interactivity worked well for me. While intentionally crisp and precise, I did find it descriptive overall.

However, I didn’t feel an emotional connection to the overall story, even though I feel like I should have given it’s nice theme. I also didn’t feel like I’d revisit it in the future.

So, a good game, but for me doesn’t crack the top five of games written by this excellent and prolific author.

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Lucid Night on IFDB


The following polls include votes for Lucid Night:

Outstanding PunyInform Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best PunyInform game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members. Eligible...

Microparsers by Tabitha / alyshkalia
The discussion in this thread, from which I've borrowed the term "microparser" (thanks Pinkunz!), led me to want to collect small parser games. I'm thinking of ones that fit what's described in the thread--generally taking less than 30...

Outstanding Inform 6 Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best Inform 6 game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members. Eligible...

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