Another Friday, another Dreamview Weekly Roundup. Yes, it turns out the whole ‘Dark Kevin’ thing from last week was just an awkward teenage phase (which is just as well, because the SEO on that is a hot nightmare).
Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief, then, as we return to normality: recommending five excellent experiences to be had in Dreams this weekend, and telling the usual amount of deeply unrelatable anecdotes about cheese. Feels Gouda to be back.
Entropy-Tamed’s unquenchable thirst for tears continues to wreak havoc upon the Dreamiverse, as Jankbot returns in an all-new form for 2021. Its creator has stripped back some of the complexity of Jankbot 2020, which offered all kinds of on-screen meters to help you judge how to fling the juddering hunk of junk as far as possible; in Jankbot 2021, you’ve nothing but two arms and a dream. QWOP-style hilarity ensues as you use the thumbstick and the triggers to manoeuvre your robot’s two cursed limbs, slamming them into the floor at various angles to gain momentum - before trying to extend it via a pitiful hover function and inevitably sliding off into the abyss instead of collecting the coins Jankbot so craves. If the howls of misery that are the player reviews on the main menu aren’t endorsement enough, perhaps you’ll be tempted by the thought of beating our personal high score: a whole one coin.
Artist extraordinaire shandyboy1975’s latest painting plays with depth and shade to pull you into the screen. Right up front is a silhouette of a spindly hiker, so sharp and black against the lush backdrop that it almost looks to be cut out of paper. It fits the almost storybook nature of the scene, a forest dappled with sunlight and trees riddled with ruffled mushrooms. The painting’s contrast really helps tell a tale, too, as the colours fade the further back into the scene your eyes travel - before suddenly alighting on an unexpected presence looming out of the mist. Happily, shandyboy’s confirmed that Giant’s Valley is concept art for a potential side-scrolling platformer, if they can find the collaborators. Dreamiverse: you know what to do.
Sometimes the simplest creations speak the loudest. For Pride month, markjkirkham tells his own story of self-acceptance through a wonderfully intimate animated journal entry. The presentation of the line drawings and handwriting font makes it feel as though we’re being given a little peek into a friend’s diary, as Mark recounts his experiences of growing up gay - from the uncertainty and difficulty of his youth, to the joy of coming out, becoming part of a coMmunity and meeting his now-husband David. Deeply personal, and genuinely uplifting.
When’s the last time you heard a dog do a flawless impression of Michael Caine? Exactly. That alone makes animated comedy short Parklife a must-watch - but you’ll stay for Dreeko’s typically excellent and unique character work, as the dog and its owner discuss the merits of fetch. The eyebrow and eyelid movements alone have us rolling in the aisles: the world-weary expressions on this poor pooch’s furry face are very funny, especially in contrast with the owner’s mild gurning. But the minute-and-a-half-long skit ends on a neat punchline, too - Dreeko’s natural sense for comic timing is a joy.
This arthouse epic is, in our humble opinion, one of the most special creations in Dreams to date. The Web is a psychedelic walk through a strange, interconnected space: part-human body, part-inexplicable dreamscape. Bizarre sights - corridors wallpapered by blank faces, underwater coal forests, heaving intestines, mercury-dipped hands reaching out - pass us by as we wander, entranced. The walls sound like they’re singing. Dear Esther by way of Psychonauts and that one sweaty dream you had after you ate all that 2am Gorgonzola (just us?), it’s an expression of connection in its rawest, most improvisational form - to the human body and mind, to nature and art - that any interactive art exhibition would be lucky to display. The best bit? Cat135 has called this a “lifetime project”, and has continued to update it over the course of the past two years. This is an artgame that is living its central thesis, shifting right alongside our bodies, our minds, and the world around us. A triumph.
Want an easy way to view all of these creations in one convenient collection? Check out the playable version of this week's Dreamview Weekly Roundup right here in Dreams!
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