My Video Gaming Nightmare Before Christmas

Spoiler Warning: If you want to play Doki Doki Literature Club then do not read this article.

Over four hours of gameplay and a bit of mental scarring later, I finally finished the game Doki Doki Literature Club. The game follows a teenage boy, and his friend Sayori, who is part of a Literature Club with three other girls, Yuri, Monika, and Natsuki.

Doki Doki can be downloaded off of a gaming platform called Steam. Steam is safe hardware to install and is used by many different people around the world. Other games that can be downloaded on Steam are: Five Nights at Freddies, Portal 1 & 2, Counter-Strike, and Garry’s Mod.

The game was released this past September and is begging to go viral with its intricate plot twists and in depth character backgrounds. All four characters have different histories and they come together to share their poetry with each other in the Literature Club. Each each girl has different writing styles and handwriting. The player is allowed to choose words, which are made into poems and then shared with the four girls (respectively) who will each have their own reactions depending on what words the player chose.

The Anime-esque game gives cute vibes with amazing graphics. The start of the game opens like it’s a dating simulator between the protagonist (the player) and the four girls from the literature club, but the game is classified as a psychological horror game for a reason.

Beyond the trailer for the game and the description, there are no signs that the game is disturbing at all, except for a warning on the trailer: This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed. With a surgeon’s precision, small hints are dropped that are enough to keep the player on the edge of their seat. Katelyn O’Callaghan, a freshman and self-declared “non-gamer”, still loves the game.

“I played the game with a friend one night over Facetime,” O’Callaghan said. “The game plays with breaking the fourth wall, which involves talking to the player directly. It also has a lot of jumpscares and different turns with each path the player takes… Honestly, it was terrifying.”

Since it is a visual novel, the player is allowed to make choices for themselves, which allows the fate of the characters to rest in their own hands. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into the ending, but I will say that to reach the end of the game the player must go digging in the files of the game itself. Few games these days require intelligence since someone can just look up how to get to the good ending, and very little games actually require the player to be tech savvy.

“My friend had to look up how to get into the character files because we honestly had no clue how to,” O’Callahan added. “It helps that the game tells you how to get into them once or twice but we usually skipped over it thinking that I would never need it.”

Definitely don’t play the game if you are sensitive to graphic images (even if they are cartoon), or if you suffer from depression and/or anxiety. Doki Doki Literature Club ties romance, death, and high school relationships all into one horrifying package that leaves the player wanting a sequel.