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Video Game / Lumen

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Like so many other nights that she does not recall, a little girl wakes up in her dreams. She finds herself in a world of nightmare and a mysterious voice tells her to get up and to start walking. A camera is lying at her feet. Lumen is a platform-puzzle video game where the player assumes control of a girl trapped in a world of nightmare as she tries to make her escape. With the sole help of her camera, she will have to dodge traps, run away from her enemies and use her photographs to change the world that surrounds her.
Game Summary

Lumen was the first game developed by Thousand Cranes Studio, formed by six students of Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. It is a dark fantasy Action-Adventure which takes place in a Dream Land where all that protects the Player Character is a Magical Camera. Its flashes show the truth or create new realities, while the photos can be used to manipulate the environment. It was completed and made available for free on its own site (now dead) and various Indie Game hub websites in 2013.

Late at night, a young girl, Lumen, wakes up from her bed at the urging of a disembodied voice. Though it is her bed she steps out of, it is not her room she finds herself in, but a lone building with outgrowth floating in the sky. Nearby, Lumen spots a camera, which the voice urges her to pick up as it is impossible to proceed without. As Lumen slowly but surely makes her way across, the voice guides her steadily if cryptically, its most worrying words concerning how Lumen has done this all before... and failed.


Lumen provides examples of:

  • Amnesia Loop: Hinted at mostly in the first part of the game, when the voice keeps saying stuff like "you've been here before" and "maybe this time". The ambiguous ending more or less confirms this, with the voice using Lumen's forgotten previous encounter to trick her into freeing him another time. The "more or less" part comes from the fact that the voice also says he can't believe "someone has finally made it", insinuating there are potential victims besides Lumen, but that might refer to previous dream-instances of Lumen.
  • Call-Back: Overlaps with Foreshadowing for the painting of the teddy bear. Flash it and the teddy bear's head snaps off and green spider-like legs reach up from its body. The teddy bear in the painting is identical to the teddy bear whose head you earlier knocked off to take out the warden, not to mention the teddy bear that is your own in the real world. The monster then coming out of its body seems to warn for the ending in which Lumen gets possessed. The painting is, after all, located right next to the door to the voice's holding arena.
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  • Creepy Cemetery: It's a small area, but the only defined one aside from the library. It gets its creepiness from featuring a grave dedicated to Lumen herself. When she's not dead yet. At least, not this time.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: There are three in the library, of a clown, a doctor, and a teddy bear. They are normal enough, creepy only insofar as that they're pretty closeup and of things that are prone to invoke a phobia, but get a flash on there and the paintings change to straight-up Monster Clown, Mad Doctor, and Killer Teddy Bear.
  • Demonic Possession: One of the endings leads to this. If you free the voice, he will attack Lumen and take over her body to escape the Dream Land. It is left ambiguous whether Lumen is gone or if she's now stuck in the Dream Land in his place.
  • Dream Land: This is the setting of the game.
  • Floating Platforms: There are many outside the library and a few inside. Some need to be made solid by giving them a flash and some of them are TemporaryPlatforms, some crumbling and some timed.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: There's only one choice in the game and it occurs just before the end. The options are to help the voice or to leave him to his fate. In no particular order, one's a Downer Ending with hints of an Ambiguous Ending and the other is an 100% Ambiguous Ending.
  • Magical Camera: Lumen's camera has two functions. By means of its flashes, the environment can temporarily changed. Certain platforms, for instance, are only tangible after a flash. The paintings in the library are also sensitive to flashes, showing a hidden self for just a moment. The other function are the photos themselves, which can be shaken or tilted to make the same forces play on the object the photo was taken of.
  • Magical Library: The second half of the game takes place in one.
  • Meaningful Name: "Lumen" is Latin for "light". It's the main character's name as proven by the gravestone.
  • Our Demons Are Different: All the demons are "worm-like", at least when it comes to their armor and skin. The librarians stand out most of all.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: A consequence of being awoken in the middle of the night, even in another world. A perk is that the PJs are decorated with blueish stars that become red when a hostile entity is nearby.
  • Prematurely Marked Grave: Played with. There's a grave for Lumen in the cemetery, but whether it's for "her" or for all the other times she died trying to reach the voice is unclear.
  • Undignified Death: The warden gets this. He's too big to take on directly, but he's conveniently keeping guard next to a giant teddybear. What do you do? Take a photo of the teddy bear's head, shake the picture to loosen it from the body, and then tilt the picture to drop it on the warden.


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