LSD: Dream EmulatorADDPMP737
An exploration game developed and published by Japanese film production and distribution company Asmik Ace Entertainment for the PlayStation. LSD: Dream Emulator was conceived by Japanese artist Osamu Sato, who rejected the idea of games, and wanted to use the PlayStation as a medium for creating contemporary art. Sato also composed the game’s soundtrack using samples to create around 500 musical patterns.
LSD’s concept is based on a dream diary kept by Hiroko Nishikawa, a game designer at Asmik Ace Entertainment, who had been writing in the diary for over a decade. It received a limited release in Japan in October 1998, alongside a soundtrack and a book composed of excerpts from the dream diary.
This exploration game has been described as a “playable dream” in which the player explores surrealistic environments without any overarching goals. Gameplay takes place in a first-person perspective in a 3D environment with the player’s control limited to moving frontward and backward, turning, strafing, running, and looking behind. The game is played in levels or “dreams” lasting up to ten minutes. The player begins each dream in a random area in which they can begin exploring. By walking into any object or walking through certain tunnels, the player will be transported to another setting. LSD has a set of several static and defined environments to explore including a Japanese village, a field, a city, houses, and a factory, among others. While the environments are static, the default textures are sometimes swapped and they may also be populated with random objects, animals, and characters roaming about to add variety. Each dream ends after ten minutes in which the character wakes up, or ends early if the player interacts with certain objects or dies.
LSD sold few copies and quickly fell into obscurity after release in 1998. However, in subsequent years, it has experienced a resurgence in popularity due to its eccentricity, being cited as one of the most experimental video games of all time on blogs. In the late 2000s, so many people contacted Sony about LSD that they re-released it on the Japanese PlayStation Network in August 2010, generating even more interest, critics praising its whimsical qualities.