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Video Game / Dreaming Mary

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Dreaming Mary is a sidescrolling adventure game made by Accha (a first-time game maker) with RPG Maker VX Ace Lite in April 2014. RPG Maker describes it thusly:

"Mary is a girl who loves to dream. In fact, she loves to dream so much she can spend an entire day dreaming. One day, when she falls asleep, she finds herself in a nostalgic place very different from her other dreams. Everyone there knows her and treats her like an old friend, and they invite her to play with them or help them. When she finishes all of their tasks, she is invited deeper into the dream.

Will you lead her to fall into her dreams? Or will you bring her back to the waking world?"

The game, despite its decidedly fluffy and cute visuals and music, does feature disturbing content later on, including implications of sexual abuse. Player discretion is advised. New players are also advised to refrain from reading this game's list of tropes until they've completed the game in full if they don't want to be spoiled.

See also Painted Heart, a later game by Accha.

Warning: due to the nature of this game, all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

Dreaming Mary contains examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Getting all four endings unlocks the bonus content.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Boaris to Mary. Initially, he seems harmless and is perpetually smiling, but the background music of his garden as well as his slightly creepy dialogue speak otherwise. If you refuse to give him your lily petal in exchange for his seed, he gets pissed off and sports a super creepy Nightmare Face.
    Boaris: Just a little longer, Mary, and we can do some more pleasurable things together.
  • Abusive Parents: Mari's father is implied to be one, considering he locks his daughter in her room. It's also implied by Boaris's dialogue that Mari's father may also be sexually abusing her.
  • Adults Are Useless: Mari's maid, governess, and uncle knew about the sexual abuse, but they did nothing about it, as their dream counterparts, Bunnilda, Foxanne, and Penn Guindel, give Mary seeds in exchange for lily petals. It's heavily implied they were killed by Mari's father to prevent them from snitching, as shown by the glitching images that show up when Bunnilda, Foxanne, and Penn Guindel disappear (Bunnilda's falls off a high place, Foxanne's shows a corpse with eyes gouged out, and Penn Guindel's was decapacitated); tellingly, the same doesn't happen to Boaris.
  • All Just a Dream: The premise of the game: Mary is exploring her dream world. If you get the right ending, she'll return to the real world. Or does she?
  • Big Bad: Mari's father, appearing in the forms of Boaris and the Chaser/Bad Dad/Yeti, is trying to keep Mari trapped in the dream world for the purpose of what is heavily hinted to be child molestation.
  • Child by Rape: Referenced in the Sleeping Beauty storybook; it's the version where the king rapes the princess in her sleep and she gives birth to twins. Of course, since the dream world is a cute, cuddly re-imagining of Mari's real life, it's up to the player to interpret how "true" the story is.
  • Controllable Helplessness:
    • If you succeed at escaping back to the real world, but forgot to take the Gold Leaf Key with you, Mari will not be able to proceed any further. You can walk around and look at her real-life stuff, but the only way to end the game at that point is to give up and return to Mary's dreams, knowing that her father will be back to potentially abuse her even more.
    • Similarly, if you missed the three keys hidden in the stuffed rabbit, penguin doll, and fox pelt, Mary will not be able to get past the locked tree door. That means that there's nothing you can do when the sketchy shadow shows up...
  • Crapsaccharine World: Mary's dream world appears to be cheerful and completely innocent. Then some unsettling things begin creeping out from behind its bubblegum pink façade when it comes time to collect the seeds...
  • Death by Falling Over: It's implied this is how Bunnilda died in the real world, as her glitch depicts a young woman falling from a high place.
  • Dark Is Evil: Both the Dark World behind the painting is a dark place that resembles a house that's severely decayed, while the Chaser/Bad Dad/Yeti enemy is an ominous moving shadow (with a terrifying Nightmare Face should Mary get caught by him). The Ominous Visual Glitches found in the places of Bunnilda, Foxanne, and Penn Guindel show creepy black images of what look like human corpses that died in various ways, such as decapitation, eye-gouging, and falling from a great height.
  • Dark World: The dream world hidden behind the painting in Mari's room is, in stark contrast to the innocent and cheerful dream world prior, a dark, dreary, and horrifying place that resembles a decaying house. Four stuffed dolls resembling Bunnilda, Foxanne, Penn Guindel, and Boaris can be found all torn apart. It's also where Mary (and the player) encounters the Chaser/Bad Dad/Yeti, with the endings depending on how many keys she got on herself.
  • Disguised Horror Story: The bulk of the game consists of Mary wandering her fluffy pink dream world and playing with her animal friends. When you start taking seeds from said friends, everything starts going to hell.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At one point, Boaris offers you his seed in exchange for a lily petal. Lily petals symbolize purity, as told by the radio. Boaris even says "I know you deserve my seed." Eugh.
  • Downer Ending: Of the four endings, only the Good Ending has Mari successfully escaping her room, and even that one openly questions whether or not she's actually escaped or simply dreamed about it.
  • Dream Apocalypse: Mary's animal friends are replaced by what can be best described as creepy, flickering black-and-white glitches after she gets their seeds.
  • Dream Land: The game takes place in an innocent, cheerful, and pink-colored dream world populated by Mary and her talking animal friends. Later on, it's revealed that the dream world Mary lives in turns out to be created by Mari, a tormented young girl who dreams to escape her father's sexual abuse.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: A book in the library tells the tale of Sleeping Beauty. More specifically, the version where the princess gets raped in her sleep by the king. Now, why would this delightful version of that tale exist in a seemingly bright and innocent child's dream...?
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: Mainly Sleeping Beauty, naturally, complete with an excerpt from the actual story in Penn Guindel's library. There's even a spinning wheel on the wall of the alternate bedroom.
  • False Friend: Bunnilda and Foxanne, as symbolized by how only the stuffed penguin given to her by her uncle can be found in Mari's room in the real world. The penguin is also the only one whose face doesn't turn evil upon losing his game and taking one of Mary's petals.
  • The Flapper: Foxanne's design and personality is reminiscent of this.
  • Gilded Cage: In real life, Mary lives in a mansion, where she usually only gets to be in her room or in her garden.
  • Heroic Mime: Mary. Mari talks to herself in the real world, however.
  • Inverted Portrait:
    • Mary herself on the title screen.
    • Most endings have the end credits with Mary being pictured in this fashion behind them, surrounded by images of her 'friends' as she descends into darkness. An unusual example in that the player has to move her down the portrait with the arrow keys to make the credits scroll and end the game.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune:
    • Get caught by the father's shadow in the hallway and you get to hear 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'. Sweet Dreams!
    • 'Sleeping Mary', which plays during the credits of the Black and Red ending.
  • Joke Ending: If you enter SUPERMARY when you are prompted to enter a code, Mary goes up to the shadow monster representing her abusive father, who has been a haunting presence throughout the game, and destroys him using a Hadouken. The narrator admits that this was only put in as a joke.
  • Jump Scare: All over the place in the nightmare version of Mari's room.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: One of the Radio Nightnight broadcasts explains how Mari and her father live in a mansion, with only their maid, Mari's tutor, and her traveling uncle's occasional visits for company.
  • Missing Mom: Mari's mother. She apparently fell into a coma after delving too deeply into her dreams, and passed away.
  • Multiple Endings: Seven of them.
    • Ending 1: Normal Ending. Lose all of your lily petals, then enter Boaris's door. Cuts straight to the credits, which depict Mary's silhouette falling past all of her friends, and ends with the words "The End of a Dream... Good night Mary." as she falls past Boaris. A voice will then ask if you accept this fate or if you want to try again.
    • Ending 2: True Ending. Have three petals when you enter Boaris's door. After Mary enters the door, a voice says "Good girl. Sweet girl. You're mine." as hands appear in the doorway. The credits are the same as above, but between the two sentences are the words "The beginning of a nightmare."
    • Ending 3: SWEET DREAMS Bad Ending. Get caught by the monster in the fake house. The monster will show his face to the screen. The nursery rhyme "Mary Had A Little Lamb" will start playing, and the ending will finally reveal itself: Mary in disgusted tears, with her three plushie friends and Boaris hanged to death. One noose and the words SWEET DREAMS remain.
    • Ending 4: Elegy of the Dream Ending. Reach the door with three locks without having the three rusty keys. The monster catches Mary. The ending credits are tinted with red and absent of anyone and the poem "Sleeping Mary" is recited while Mary descends through them. At the end are the words "The End of a Dream... The beginning of a nightmare. Sweet dreams, Mary." A voice will then tell you not to give up and not to forget the key this time.
    • Ending 5: Elegy of the Dream Ending (alternate). Open the door with the three locks without having the Gold Leaf Key. Mari wakes up into the real world but, because her door is locked, all she can do is go back to sleep. Credits are the same as Ending 4's.
    • Ending 6: Good Ending. Same as Ending 5, but make sure you have the Gold Leaf key with you. Mari unlocks her door and leaves, ending up in a field of white lilies. However, the ending credits question if she's really awake or if this is just another dream layer.
    • Ending 7: Bonus Ending. Use the cheat code "SUPERMARY" at the broken fishbowl to do an all-too-familiar magic spell on the monster. You can find the cheat code in one of Gwendel's letters in the real world, while Bunnhilda and Foxanne's plushies give foreshadowing as to how Mary performs the spell. Mary will successfully kill the monster with a Hadouken and level up to 99. No, really, this is literally what the game says. There is no credits scene for this, and the game will ask if you want to return to the main menu. Continually saying no despite the game's protestations that "You beat the game at least five times, come on", and you'll be told a little bit about the making of the game. Refuse to go back to the title screen after that, and the game will begin to give you the Ending 3 Game Over, with the screen darkening and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" beginning to play, before telling you that it's kidding and then kicking you back to the main menu.
  • Nice Guy: Penn Guindel, who treats Mary with kindness and respect even if she fails his test and he takes a lily petal from her. Notably, he is the only one of the trio who does not display a Nightmare Face before taking the petal. It's quite possible that he's a dream representation of Mari's uncle Gwendel who gave her a stuffed penguin.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • Bunnilda and Foxanne each give you one of these before taking your lily petals if you fail their tests. Boaris also gives you a Nightmare Face if you refuse to give him your lily petal.
    • One appears in a Jump Scare in the nightmare version of Mary's room.
  • Permanently Missable Content: If you don't find the secret room before you go outside, you'll be unable to find it later (if you try to search for it afterward, you'll only get a message that it's been covered up with cement) and become locked out of certain endings on that playthrough.
  • Punny Name: All of Mary's Funny Animal companions. Particularly Penn Guindel, aka the penguin doll.
  • Rainbow Speak: Characters' names are shown in colour when they're first introduced. Words shown in red means the speaker is trying to deceive you somehow. When they get really angry, all their dialogue is shown in red.
  • Real Is Brown: Mary's true self, Mari, is a young brunette-haired girl who dresses entirely in brown. Fittingly, Mari looks extremely sad, tired, and depressed due to being sexually abused by her father, and created Mary to escape her trauma.
  • Reality Warper: Mary/Mari and her mother are implied to be this by the radio. Confirmed in the Good Ending, where Mari (not Mary) opens the bedroom door her father locked with the gold leaf key from her dreams.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Seen on Boaris when Mary won't give him a petal, as well as Bunnilda and Foxanne if Mary fails their games.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Bunnilda the maid, and, to an extent, the rest of Mary's animal friends as well.
  • Sequel Hook: After returning to the real world, if you check the bookcase you'll find a letter that's hinted to be from the next game's protagonist.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spell My Name With An S: In-universe: The radio in Mary's room states that Mary's name in the real world is Mari.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The very first radio broadcast is filled with this. Too bad a player usually won't hear more than 10 seconds of it.
  • Trickster Game: The game's instructions puts the player on a very linear path- meet the characters, play their games, collect seeds, and finally visit Boaris. The player is told to do things like not go into certain areas and to ignore things one of the characters says. Breaking these rules results in a very different and more horrifying game, where the player learns more about Mary's plight and may eventually set her free.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In the Good Ending, there's the implication that Mari was still dreaming and only imagined bringing the Gold Leaf Key into the real world and escaping.


Video Example(s):


Dreaming Mary

If you enter SUPERMARY when you are prompted to enter a code, Mary goes up to the shadow monster representing her abusive father, who has been a haunting presence throughout the game, and destroys him using a Hadouken. The narrator admits that this was only put in as a joke.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / JokeEnding

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