✧♡(◕‿◕✿) Join The Doki Doki Literature Club! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Welcome to the club where we talk about the game Doki Doki Literature Club and our experiences with it!

Before you continue on, if you have not played Doki Doki Literature Club, and know nothing about it, and I mean nothing at all, I would recommend you go ahead and [give it a try ](https://ddlc.moe/) before going any further in this thread! It's full of surprises and I surely don't want to ruin anything for anyone who wants to enjoy this fantastic experience. It's a unique experience that I believe is best played before reading ANYTHING about it. I'm serious, don't even look anything up on youtube, twitter or even google images.

You can download the game below and pay what you want.
( ━☞´◔‿ゝ◔`)━☞. https://ddlc.moe/

### ♡ Spoilers ahead! ✿✿You have been warned (◕‿↼ ✿ )♡

I'll start with the obvious stuff first. At first glance, DDLC appears to be a relaxing Visual Novel about making new friends, trying new things and hanging out with the four cute anime high school girls that grace the game's cover art. You will be spending all your time with these characters, sharing poetry, and hanging out after school. You will develop friendships as you spend quality time with each of them doing club related activities. Which girl will be your favorite? Who will you be spending the most time with? What kind of fun activities will you all get into? Will you eventually fall in love with one of them? You may just fall in love with all of them, or maybe you will realize you don't love any of them at all. Maybe you will hate yourself afterwards, and maybe you will learn that this game might not be for you after all. Maybe this game will make you rethink everything you thought about visual novels built on developing relationships with cute, cartoon anime highschoolers.

I went into this game blindly, not knowing a single thing about its story. I had heard of the game several times and as soon as I forgot about it, I would see or hear the name again. It was as if the game was following me. Perhaps the game was even haunting me.

Doki Doki, doki doki, doki doki, doki doki... ლ ಠ益ಠ)ლ

Since I couldn't get away from it, I finally caved. I decided to expand my horizons and play a visual novel for the very first time. I had just finished Tim Rogers' ultimate review of Tokimeki Memorial. I had nothing to lose, and I was ready to chill hard with some cute anime girls. So what if I am a fully grown, bearded, cisgender adult man whos prefered pronouns are he/him/his? I was confident that I could handle spending time with some anime girls and if things got too weird for me, I could just stop playing.

As soon as I booted the app, I felt like I got hit by a Sanrio truck. The music was adorable. The characters were adorable. If I looked at myself in the mirror at that moment, my reflection would have done the cute anime peace sign pose, with a perfectly timed wink as garnish. I was ready to do literature stuff with my new, soon-to-be best friends. I hit New Game, called my character Mario and started the opening scene. I wondered how platonic I could possibly be in this game. I thought about the judgement I would receive if someone were to catch me chillin with the kawaii characters. I thought about what Chris Hansen would look like playing this game. It all started so innocently.

Sayori, my in-game bestie dragged me into the literature club where I was encouraged to write my first poem to share the next day. I played the interesting poetry mini-game, and found myself back at the club where the girls shared their own poems with me. "They are amazing writers," I thought to myself. I couldn't wait to see why everyone was talking about this game! Sooner than I expected, with masterful subtlety, Doki Doki's facade began to deteriorate. The exact moment I knew something was not quite right was on the third in-game day. Sayori shared her poem with Mario. Sayori called it "Bottles." The poem seemed innocent enough. It was complex, full of emotion and revealed much about her character. While a majority of the poem was relatively pleasant, it was sandwiched between two lines that did not sit well with me.

Sayori started her poem with the line, "I pop off my scalp like the lid of a cookie jar," and ended by writing "They were supposed to be for my friends, my friends who aren't smiling.
They're all shouting, pleading. Something.
But all I hear is echo, echo, echo, echo, echo
Inside my head."

(;; ͡° ʖ ͡°)

The shift of the game's tone went from slow and deliberate to erratic, uncomfortable and eventually aggressive. I finally learned that this was not a virtual novel about building relationships after all, this was psychological horror. Not long after Sayori shared her poem with me, I found her dead, hanging from a noose in her own bedroom a day after I consoled her and told her I loved her. The cute Sanrio truck that had barreled into me suddenly went into reverse, parked its rear wheel drive tires right over my chest, and spun them in place right over my heart. Doki Doki, Doki Doki, Doki Doki. The game's enchanting and delightful exterior popped off it's scalp like a lid of a cookie jar revealing a demented, and manic persona. I wanted to run but it was too late. By this point, I had already felt responsible for my actions and at my most vulnerable state yet, the game hit the gas even harder. The Sanrio truck grew arms and legs, then powerbombed me from the top rung of a ladder and through a folding table with stuffed Hello Kittys, Badzt Marus and Gudetamas. The Rock, dressed as Kuromi bursted in, flung his branded elbow pad into a portal to hell that had just opened up and performed a people's elbow right on my solar plexus. I was cursed to continue playing until the end, and I did it all to myself.

I convinced myself that there had to be a happy ending in this. I figured all I had to do was lead Mario through the gates of hell, find the light at the end of the tunnel and escape with my sanity intact. I clicked and clicked, delving into deeper and darker depths instead. The game’s main antagonist was torturing itself in manic, bloody desperation to expose how much it loved Mario, eventually confessing the futility of being able to love me, the user. The anime girls could not love me and they would never be able to. The game didn’t just break the 4th wall, it engulfed it under a shadow of pain and hysteria. At one point, I literally had to enter the game’s files in my application folder, search for the character file of the primary antagonist, and delete it. The game did not have a happy resolution. It remained cryptic and desperate all the way until the final line of text. I could not be the hero I thought I could be because the game did not allow me. In a seemingly conscious manner, it “deleted” itself. I reloaded the game only to see a letter written by the primary antagonist. Attempting to click any further prompted me to delete the game and reinstall it if I wanted to play again.

The psychological twists and turns in Doki Doki Literature club were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in a game. The game had stolen my heart twice. The first time, with its charm, and the second time with a feverish cry for help. I wanted to give the game my undivided attention and the attention was supposed to be for my friends, my friends who aren't smiling.They're all shouting, pleading. Something. I will always remember the image of Sayori hanging from the ceiling, Mario’s best friend that I could not save. The game left me awestruck, with my head popped open like a cookie jar, rifling through fragmented ideas of self conjured by the Doki Doki of my heart and I finished the game left alone by my friends that could never be.

It‘s been a few years since I’ve played, but DDLC is super fun! It‘s funny because I don’t think I‘ve actually played a VN that was played straight before playing DDLC. What’s fascinating to me is that between having been a game-toucher and being an adjacent anime fan for 25 years, is how I knew all the tropes. It‘s part of the broader culture and thus DDLC’s content and send ups still landed strongly with me.

My favorite part of the game is ||the 4th wall break where you can choose to edit the character's governing files in a specific folder on your computer is fantastic. I laughed like a maniac at it.||

**Just Monika...** but I actually went on the date with Natsuki.

Great post! I have many thoughts about this game. Here's some:

  • - I love the little events that happen on the “second run” like the music being off, the screen tilting, weird text etc. Many of them are even random! Some people get bored at that part before it goes completely crazy but they kept me on edge.
  • - There's some memorable poems. I'll always remember the line from Sayori's last poem
    "But a poem is never actually finished. It just stops moving."
  • - Monika is the best
  • - Actually she has a [twitter](https://twitter.com/lilmonix3), making her the worst
  • - This is a really fun game to watch playthroughs of. There are multiple paths to take, the foreshadowing will make sense to you and the game will actually know if you're using recording software.
  • - The game's files contain various clues that point to something bigger going on or possible teases for their next game. It's nowhere in sight yet but fun to look into.
  • Since this was your first VN, I'll recommend the obligatory 3 popular franchises: Ace Attorney, Zero Escape and Danganronpa.

    DDLC is one of the most impactful fiction experiences i‘ve had. i just think so many aspects of the game are exactly spot on, like that feeling you get where you’re just on the same wavelength as the writer of a novel/film/whatever. there are so many layers in that the opening act works as a dating sim, to an uncomfortable degree, then it asks: what if a woman in this situation, you know, being hardwired to love the protagonist, but also, due to being given depression by monika, found herself unable to accept being loved by you, had any agency whatsoever? or maybe the most basic form of agency: the ability to decide whether to live or die? and she kills herself.

    i think the second act of the game really drills down on that "hardwired" aspect, in showing monika editing the game's files to make the characters less likable. it's like the game screaming at us "THIS IS ALL THE PRODUCT OF CODE." you don't get that harem situation, one guy, with an array of women laid out for his choosing, unless it's a simulation lol

    act 3 is so good. you gotta ask yourself: do you empathize with monika, or do you hate her for killing the other characters? i think she is, of course, right: we all kill game characters all the time and don't feel bad about it. why should she? the last time i played through the game, i didn't delete her file. just left her in the room and would go back in and check on her occasionally

    this scene and her facial expression are just so completely perfect


    yeah it rules

    edit: would like to hear @jojoestar's take since they have a lot of experience with VNs


    Oh man did you notice Sayorivs bloody hands while she hung? That extra little detail gave me chills. She mustve scrapped with Monika or something?

    @SuperEffective#18475 monika explains it in act 3, if you hang out with her long enough. she says sayori tried to hang herself but “did it wrong” in that it didn't break her neck, so she just slowly suffocated, and the scratches on her hands were from her desperately trying to get out of the noose…



    haha ok that makes sense, I definitely deleted her pretty quickly after she mentioned it was possible.
    I did just discover her twitter too, which was another neat surprise. I wonder what the next game from that studio is going to be. I've definitely only started to scratch the surface with all of the secrets.


    it's probably this tbh

    I gotta say, I have had a reply draft for this thread and been meaning to chime in but didn‘t find the time. Since @tapevulture#18610 tagged me and all I’ll try to at least give the short version of what I meant to say!

    My take on this game is: Doki Doki is alright. It's an effective, focused and well executed short story that makes the most of its length. But I'm less enthusiastic about it than some of you because, in the context of VN's at large, it works with tropes and ways to surprise that are more common than you may think. There is even a specific word for the character archetype Monika represents (yandere, or balanced and generally caring girl who is secretly a sociopath) and games dwelling on that are anything but rare.

    Doki Doki adds enough of its own to the tropes, mainly the way it breaks the 4th wall and the meta-narrative devices, tweaking with the games files etc. but even that is also not really new in the context of videogames, and indie/doujin horror games in particular.

    Nothing of this is bad, but since it's a short game it bets a lot of its appeal on the surprise/shock factor of the twist, and for me didn't strike as hard for these reasons.

    If you liked Doki Doki be sure to check:

  • - Umineko no naku koro ni for a particularly great and well written mastermind archetype similar to Monika and extremely interesting metanarrative plot devices.
  • - Higurashi no naku koro ni for some memorable yanderes.
  • - Ever-17 and Zero Escape for well executed and surprising 4th wall and meta devices as well.
  • - Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative for drastic/interesting changes of tone and even genre within the context of the story.
  • I hadn't played any VNs beforehand (at least I thought I hadn't… after the fact I am learning that 999 and Phoenix Wright probably count!) and knew nothing about it going in, so what may be a well-worn trope for genre fans was quite a surprise of the “wow, this is not the game I thought it was going to be” variety for me.

    I particularly enjoyed the 4th wall breaking. I have spent my life fiddling with computers (a childhood of tinkering and messing around with demonstration units of C64s at the store led to an inevitable adulthood career in software & technology), so I had a blast with the whole bit around editing the game files. I recall at the time stopping for a moment and wondering how many people would actually be able to work that out, and if not do they walk away disappointed in a "bad" ending?


    @JoJoestar#18803 in the context of VN’s at large, it works with tropes and ways to surprise that are more common than you may think

    this is what I was imagining. surely if you're used to this kind of thing it wouldn't hit as hard. probably feels like same old same old

    the overtly subversive, or whatever, narrative tactics the game employs are understandably what dominates the discussion around it, and they're part of what makes the game fun, but i think they're also less interesting than the subtext in the game on gender and virtual people and worlds. i groaned when i went to the wikipedia page after finishing the game and saw that it proudly proclaims in the opening paragraph that it "breaks the fourth wall." yeah you think this is just a dating sim but...it's not! oh and by the way.....................................it breaks the fourth wall. still not interested????

    it's weird, if you get on the DDLC subreddit it's filled with people submitting NSFW fanart of the big boob anime ladies in the game. i'm kind of bummed that for so many people, that plus the fourth wall stuff were like the main takeaways

    so it goes i think with any work you fall in love with. everyone's just not getting it!! you can find archived streams of dan salvato playing the game and doing live commentary and i kind of got the same vibe from him that i got from the subreddit. i'm probably reading into the game too much honestly

    at the same time, one of the things that makes it interesting is that it's a game about sexualized high school girls, by someone who has stated that they understand why that's problematic, but then DDLC is lovingly meticulous about depicting the characters exactly as they would otherwise be in this type of harem anime fantasy world. there is a continuum of meaning expressed by the game, its creators, and its fans, and part of enjoying for me is trying to pick apart what the intent was, what meaning was maybe inadvertently communicated, and how the fanbase contributes to/represents that meaning. hard to know where the artist ends and where the art begins with this one. when we covered DDLC on my podcast i tried to get dan salvato to come on so i could ask him but he did not respond :(