I’m not a fan of nightmares, but “Little Nightmares” is something I’m happy to experience!
The horror puzzle platform game developed by Swedish developers Tarsier Studios received high praise when it was released a couple of weeks ago.
In his article in Die Zeit Achim Fehrenbach goes into research on dreams and Game Transfer Phenomena.
The experiences we get from playing video games are pervasive, and game contents can appear in dreams and even when we are awake as spontaneous thoughts and sensory phenomena such as visual, auditory and tactile sensations.
Research of my colleague Jayne Gackenbach has found that frequent gamers tend to have more bizarre dreams and that playing video games have a sort of “protective mechanism against nightmares,” since gamers are used to be confronted with dangerous and bizarre situations when they play.
Whitney Reynolds writes this in her review about the game in Polygon:
“As I drifted off after an evening of playing the spooky puzzle-platformer, my mind filled with images of unnaturally long arms reaching for tiny hooded figures and I woke with my heart racing.”
I have also played it a bit, but after my first session the game contents have not popped up in my dreams or during daytime.
Part of the bizarreness of ”Little Nightmares” is that you play this tiny, cute and seemingly vulnerable character with thin legs and small feet, almost fully hidden inside a yellow raincoat, in a gigantic and disproportionate world.
Playing in a giant environment reminds me of one gamer’s experience in my research. The gamer reported feeling small after having played “Castle Crashers” where the environment is also gigantic. I wonder if something similar happens to the players of “Little Nightmares.”
The game is filled with darkness, shiny figures, sounds of heart palpitations when you are starving, etc. The guy with the extremely long arms is great! Every time something caught you, you expect to be eaten or smashed, but so far the game does not show such violent content. I’m happy the game does not show my failure in a crude way, but curiously I’m missing the extra depiction of failure every time I got caught by a “monster.” This paradox is without a doubt a topic to discuss on another occasion.
Have “Little Nightmares” had any effect on you?
Have you perceived or had the sensation that things around you change of size or perhaps you have felt smaller? Have you had some visual experience involving the yellow coat or perhaps some other experience?
For my German speaking readers, follow this link for the full article in Die Zeit.