Doki Doki Literature Club !: what is the secret of its success?

Doki Doki Literature Club !: what is the secret of its success?

Doki Doki Literature Club !

Doki Doki Literature Club! tells of a Japanese literary club directed by Monika, a brilliant student and a great lover of poetry. The members of the club are all attractive girls with whom the player, the only male in the group, will have to try to have a relationship, making the most suitable choices to impress the chosen one. Will we try to go out with the sunny Sayori, with the shy and mysterious Yuri, with the sweet Natsuki or with Monika herself? Why does there seem to be something dark behind the apparent tranquility and joviality of the club? Did a simple dating simulator really manage to become a cult video game?

Warning: in the rest of the article we will make direct references to the plot of Doki Doki Literature Club! If you haven't played it and want to do it without knowing anything in advance, avoid reading further. Unfortunately to explain what, in our opinion, is the secret of Doki Doki Literature Club's success! it is really impossible not to take it straight from a narrative point of view, also because it is a game based entirely on its story.

Strong sensations

Monika, what are you hiding? One of the strongest feelings she gave us and left the game at the time of the Doki Doki Literature Club review! it is a profound restlessness, so strong and disturbing that it re-emerges from our subconscious every time we think back to that strange experience. Having to point out with a cold mind one of the reasons for the success of the Team Saved dating simulator, it is inevitable to think that that feeling, still so vivid, although ineffable, is its true secret.

Two substantial elements contributed to it: first, the excellent writing, in particular in the construction of the brutal twists, which ended up involving not only the characters of the story, but the player himself; plus the fact that you didn't have to spend anything to play. This led us to approach the game without being informed too much, as is the case with commercial products. There was nothing to pay so we expected very little. We confess that, despite having no prejudice, the few comments we read about Doki Doki Literature Club! they seemed too exaggerated in praise and derived from the sympathy effect that a free game can arouse.

When expectations are very low it is much easier to be surprised, especially if you end up in front ofa> one of the best visual novels ever.

Divine nature

Given these simple premises, what a Doki Doki Literature Club! has become a cult title is not that surprising. Indeed, in retrospect it is not surprising at all. After all, the whole experience is built around the idea of ​​creating a deep bond between the game and the player, with the figure of Monika who presents herself as a kind of divinity, merciless as well as fascinating, to be adored regardless of her destructive ferocity , so much so that at some point we fear, but at the same time hopefully, that it will really manage to overcome the limits of the game and invade the operating system.

Basically humans have always knelt before power as such, regardless of whether it is benevolent or malevolent. Monika is a demiurge, at least in her world. It is she who decides the fate of everything and everyone, including the player, creating an appearance that she herself destroys, in the grip of her obsession. This GLaDOS embodied in a waifu has as its only limit the installation folder, within which she is almost omnipotent. To defeat it you have to literally cancel it, but at the price of breaking the game itself. Without Monika there is no story, only disorientation, because it is her figure that represents the center of everything.

Only Monika

The dark side of Monika A strong character like Monika is not it can only create attraction, because it is impossible not to recognize its supremacy over all the others, including the protagonist. If we want it is also very easy to transform her into an object of veneration, because she is built as such. Basically it is a crazy artificial intelligence, but it has the advantage of having a human body and knowing how to assume the appearance of a well-recognizable stereotype of Japanese animation, elements that protect it from the detachment that one feels instinctively for the aforementioned GlaDOS ( the crazy AI of the Portal series, which Team Saved was inspired by to outline Monika) or by Shodan, just to mention another famous AI with a few lines of code out of place. It's a runaway program, but it doesn't really feel like it, at least until it reveals itself as such.

It is actually also difficult to say who Monika really is, because her divine identity is left very vague. Is it really just a file? Or is her nature impossible to grasp?

But let's ask ourselves another question: what does she become after she is revealed? Why does the community born around the game continue to venerate her above all in her most deceptive form, namely the human one? Here we can only return to that sense of uneasiness we talked about at the beginning of the article: seeing her smiling together with the other girls in some fan art, knowing what she is hiding, renews the feeling of horror and repulsion, which however also presupposes a great complicity , as if Monika knew by now that we know and winked at us on the other side of the screen, because somehow we chose to stay with her.

The literary club is populated by beautiful girls It really is like joining an exclusive club, where there is a before and after the enjoyment of the game. It is therefore no wonder that the Doki Doki Literature Club community! be very attentive to spoilers and talk about what happens in the gameplay only in virtual places that are assumed to be frequented by those who have already finished it.

Telling too much of the story would not only ruin the experience for novices, but would make it difficult for them to join the club, because they would leave prepared and, deprived of the shock effect, may not bond with Monika as she wants a enjoyed experience ideally. In this sense Doki Doki Literature Club! it offers itself as a kind of initiation rite for a cult that promises no heaven or hell, but "Just Monika" ... and that is enough to make it palatable and incredibly pervasive, for better or for worse.

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