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In Dreams, I Walking Simulator With You: Oneiric Gardens

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There’s a video store just across the goopy lava, which doesn’t seem to burn as much as it sucks, so perhaps it’s tomato soup with charcoal croutons, perhaps it’s the freeze-frazzled gazpacho of recent cultural remembrance, lapping at the shores of a Skullbuster VHS rental outlet. Oneiric Gardens is a free game (donations welcomed through itch.io) that is made up of a “series of chambers drawing from half-remembered spaces, feelings”. WASD will allow you to navigate the strange and occasionally sinister spaces, holding ‘E’ when prompted will open doors or use objects and scenery, and the only other instruction is “try to grind into as many things as possible”.

The variety is what makes this not only worth the download but worth the time it takes to explore from beginning to end. It feels like a compilation of ideas that would have been at home on a coverdisc in days gone by, a hypnagogic hallucination derived from a sense of pace and weight reminiscent of nineties FPS games, and with sounds from the digital scrapbook. Some of those sounds were produced by Porpentine, formerly of this Parish.

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Adam Smith

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