Yume Nikki is a 2004 RPG Maker 2003 game by Kikiyama. You play as Madotsuki, a shut-in, and explore her dreams. It's inspired many indie games, and created a whole genre of Yume Nikki-styled games. There's no dialogue, you simply walk around, interact with your surroundings, and pick up effects.
While grouped with other rpg maker horror games, Yume Nikki only has some horror elements.
If anyone has talked to me for more than a few minutes, you probably heard me mention Yume Nikki. It's probably one of the most important games for me, without it I wouldn't have tried to make my own games in RPG Maker, I wouldn't have found tons of other games I love, and it's also the reason why I met so many friends
I first discovered it through a video game easter egg video about the Uboa event in 2012. At the time, I couldn't play it due to exe installations being password locked by my dad. So I'd instead read about the game in its wiki, read fan theories, watch other videos about it, or play a fangame named Broken Bottles
Ever since finding it, I ended up encountering videos of other RPG Maker games, and I played and watched so many of them. It's opened me to a world where there are so many people who just want to make and play games for the art and storytelling. I've grown up on retro pixel rpgs (to be honest, these are still my favorites to play), so it's definitely a match in heaven for me xD
I have of course played Yume Nikki by now, thanks to the steam release making it so accessible. And I use the bike effect a lot less than I'd expect to. There's a lot of complaints about Madotsuki's walking speed, but the dream world is small and loops together well. It let me absorb the sights and take notes on how I wanted to design my own game
Though experiencing it for myself has made me question how much I believed in any of the theories. There's been plenty that I think have stretched it too far, even before I played on my own. I appreciate Yume Nikki more as a showcase for strange ideas and surreal art (not that I don't have headcanons of course!!). Rather than feeling terrified through most of the game, I was instilled with this peace, or deep loneliness with the urge to explore and find anything. I believe the ending is one of many eastereggs to find, rather than essential part of the "story". So I recommend people to not worry about getting it, and to simply take in the sights. But seeing the amount of interpretations is still a wonderful journey itself
And that's what I've been doing for years now. I still come back to this game, I still draw things about it, and I continue to blab about it to other people. Even with all the fangames, I don't think they capture the same atmosphere. Which isn't a bad thing at all, I think fangames bring in something new and have their own merits, but I think it's a testament to just how unique Kikiyama's style is!
Here's a few that I've touched :3
Fangames can be difficult to start up due to computer locales! So I recommend going to Yume Nikki Online Project if you want to find some fangames to play!!
It's a shame a lot of these fangames tend to be incomplete, but I still enjoy checking them regardless for the wonderful art and the creators' unique flair to the formula
My personal most played is definitely Yume 2kki! Mostly because the size is so friendly for gathering with friends to go on a long adventure together. There was a time when 3 of us, and another user were trying to reach Azure Garden. Unfortunately the user got caught by a chaser in the Eyeball Cherry world. You'll be missed o7