ALBUQUERQUE — Anyone who plays this game is a creator.
The recently released "Dreams" by developer Media Molecule for the PlayStation 4 is a sandbox game with a simple and clear motive.
The game is committed to making everyone, from the average player to the hardcore gamer, an artist and goes against the common thought that only talented people should create art.
It starts out with what we would call a tutorial, but in a way, it's a pep talk meant to pump you up. The process was straightforward for being limited to a PS4 controller. The great thing about this game is that it's all true — the game's tools are easy to pick up yet still exceptionally professional.
"Dreams" provides you with many different tools. Premade characters and platforming elements are some of the main tools you will come across. You can place, rotate, resize and customize these items. You can also make anything from scratch, such as sound effects, object animations and background music.
Ever wanted to make your own video game music score or animated movie? This game gives you the opportunity to do that.
To give players a sense of what is possible in "Dreams," the developers include a campaign of sorts. It's called "Art's Story," where we learn about a character named Art. He is a troubled bass player who has had a falling out with his band and his girlfriend.
The story switches between Art's imagination and real life. His imagination is filled with painful memories of his past, and his real life is a journey back to his friends and his band. "Art's Story" is dark and adult-themed. Art is a sullen, self-destructive character — he has many dark thoughts and sees himself as lesser compared to his friends.
Since "Art's Story" is a showcase, the gameplay and mood change often. It may be a little disjointed, but it's also a way to learn what you can do with the different mechanics of the game. It can be frustrating at times as the real-life parts of the story are more engaging, while the "dream" feels like a less charming version of "Little Big Planet" with frilly animal characters in them.
"Dreams" has a beautiful art style, appearing to be painted on a canvas.
If you zoom in close enough to characters and background elements, you can sometimes make out stylized brushstrokes. They shift and change depending on how you're looking at them.
The "Art's Story" campaign is a small part of what the game offers. Players can post their "dreams" online which are games that they have created.
Other video game re-creations, as well as simple games like air hockey, are popular right now. There aren't only games, though — sometimes people upload backgrounds, music, genre templates and more. You can import other players' creations into personal gameplay. A lot of games posted on "Dreams" are unfinished, but you can visit them at any time and see how the creator has progressed.
It's slightly upsetting to walk away from a dream unsatisfied. In fact, the better the dream looks, the more incomplete it is. In a way, it's too soon to judge what's out there in the Dreamverse as the game was just released. It can take years to build a game, so some of the "dreams" you find online now might take years to be fully fleshed out. Everyone is still feeling out what's possible, and that's the fun part.
Months from now, I think "Dreams" will grow a huge community filled with engaging and creative people who now have the opportunity to make their aspirations a reality.
Caitlin Scott is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Caitlin69123118