Initially released in 2017, Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) intentionally deceives, pretending to be an unremarkable Bishōjo or Japanese dating simulator, but as players progress through the story, they encounter a series of violent glitches that reveal the game’s true identity as a surreal horror experience taking place within the player’s computer. To stop the violence, players must delete certain files that the game installs on their computer during installation.
In this article, I argue that DDLC makes the player’s relationship with technology weird and highlights the casual cruelty with which many treat others online. Uniting player testimonies with aesthetic analysis, I explore the ways that the game offers a complicated (and incomplete) playable critique of sexualized and racialized violence online.
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