Lost in a Dream

Queering Time and Space in Yume Nikki

  • Elliot Bear Yu University of California, Los Angeles


This article investigates the opportunities for queer play in Yume Nikki (KIKIYAMA, 2004) by examining the spatial and temporal dimensions of the game’s “Dream World” alongside its narrative. Using surreal visuals and counterintuitive layouts, Yume Nikki’s game maps evoke queer experiences of space, movement, and wandering. In addition, the game encourages wandering through the absence of temporally ordered events and the game’s general lack of interest in timekeeping. The game’s construction promotes a play style that highlights aspects of queer experiences including disorientation and failure. The player’s aimless roaming through time and space are not a failure to master the game, but another way Yume Nikki celebrates queerness and rejects the values of mainstream success, fun, and play.

February 26, 2023