Everyone should have a favourite freeware Japanese horror game. For me, Yume Nikki takes top spot. It’s an uncomfortable journey through weird dreamspaces, occasionally too vague and empty to maintain its grip on my nerve-clusters, but never far removed from the next jarring moment of dread. The first two entries in the Strange Men series, from designer Uri, don’t have quite the same unnerving charms as Yume Nikki but they’re certainly worth a look. Now, translator vgperson has released an English version of The Boogie Man, the third game in the series.
I haven’t played this yet but if it’s anything like the previous two games – The Crooked Man and The Sandman – it’ll involve hauntings and a somewhat melancholy mystery. Uri makes the games in Wolf RPG Editor and you’ll also find a translation of Mermaid Swamp, my personal favourite of her creations, at vgperson’s site. Think David Cronenberg’s Splash.
As for The Boogie Man:
“Keith Baring is a cold, devoted detective whose boss decides he needs to take some time off. While on a tour of an old castle with his wife Helena, she makes a startling confession to him. Keith goes to bed bewildered – but things only become stranger as the Boogie Man’s game begins…”
vgperson’s site is full of information about Japanese horror games, including several translations and notes on those translations were applicable. She worked closely with Uri on The Boogie Man, providing translations for voice actors during development – that’s allowed her to provide plenty of insights into the development process as well as the plot. I haven’t looked at the translator’s notes yet because I’m avoiding spoilers but the translation notes for the previous games were a good read.
It’s a good week for horror. I already had Albino Lullaby and SOMA fighting for my time, and now I can add The Boogie Man to the list.