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Plasme

Doki Doki Literature Club

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I looked everywhere on the forum to see if there was a topic on this game and was surprised not to see it. 

I'm really late to the party on this, but I think this game is amazing and really want to discuss it with some people. SSMB is great for discussion so thought it would be good to talk about it here! For anyone who hasn't played it, the game is free and is really good. Definitely play it if you haven't.

I'm going to put my thoughts in spoiler tags because they spoil virtually everything about the game.

Spoiler

I talked about this a bit in my status update, but I feel like the game hasn't been properly appreciated online for how clever it is. A lot of people like it because of its creepy horror and fourth wall breaking, which it does do well, but I see less people discuss its subversion of anime/game tropes, characterisation and foreshadowing. I think one thing which is universally agreed on is how Sayori's depression is handled.

I think Act One gets really unfairly maligned as a filler section which only exists to set up a front that the game is a generic dating sim. In many ways it does keep the pretence of having stock character archetypes, but it has absolutely loads of foreshadowing which I don't see often discussed. All of Monika's poems are about her realisation that she's in a game, and she never explains what they are about because of how she would ruin her disguise if she did. Sayori's poems become more and more revealing about her depression and Yuri's likewise hint at her self-harm. 

In Act Two, I really like the fact that a lot of the revelations about Yuri and Natsuki are ambiguous and it's never clear how real they actually are, because Monika has gone into overdrive on amplifying the characters' emotions. Also, it's not clear if Monika is always forcing the characters to say stuff when they speak in black text or if there's any root in truth in what they say. Case in point, when Natsuki says her dad beats her, is that Monika lying to make her look bad, or was that happening in Act One? There's clearly something wrong with her home situation in Act One (she's always nervous when talking about her dad), but whether she's not being fed or beaten is unclear). Yuri probably cuts herself in Act One because of the poem and the fact she always wears long sleeves, but again, it's unclear whether her cutting problems are as severe as we see in Act Two.

And one thing which is hardly ever discussed, because most people always skip over it, is Monika's dialogue when you are alone in the room with her. She comes across as really cruel and villainous throughout the game, but when she finally gets to talk to you, she's so normal and is even quite intelligent. She's a tragic character, so far as she is trapped in a game, and the fact she's actually quite down to earth when she finally gets a real person to talk to makes her more sad (at least for me). Mind you, I think it would be wrong to say Sayori, Natsuki and Yuri have absolutely no free will, they clearly have emotions and self-awareness, but it's unclear how much they are in control of their own decisions because the game is pre-determined. Mind you, even that's unclear, because when Sayori commits suicide, she goes so off script she breaks the game, implying the characters do have agency.

And lastly, I love the way it really goes after anime tropes, especially with Natsuki. The fact she's so small and childlike is reflective of that 'loli' trope in other games, but when you find out she's that way because she never gets to eat (I like to think Monika is actually telling the truth on this) it really makes you feel uncomfortable for liking her appearance. When Monika says "hey, some guys are into petite girls", it almost feels like the game is slapping you in the face for being into that kind of thing, and in a really good way!

I have way more to say, but these are just some starting points - food for thought!

 

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