Hypnagogue

By Mitch Alexander. (Twine; IFDB; play here)

You wake up. Something in your room is different. You could sleep, yes, or you could try and find out what it is.

At once a riff on the theme of ‘sleepless in your bedroom’ and an exploration of dream-spaces, Hypnagogue presumably derives its name from ‘hypnagogic’ – the fugue state between sleep and wakefulness. The spaces you explore and look in on are likewise the spaces between sleep and wakefulness, as you catch glimpses of people’s bedrooms. The author provides tantalising details of these spaces, but these are only ever glimpses. The author delights in giving strange bits of story, but the writing overall felt unfocused. Hypnagogue felt like it was trying to make a point, but I couldn’t figure out what it might be referring to. Maybe there is no real-life analogue and I’m overthinking it.

That said, Hypnagogue is generally a well-written expedition through some very strange spaces. This is a game in which the setting is more of a character than the PC: you are merely the means to explore it.

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