When I first saw NiGHTS into Dreams, it was in a Toys R Us, available to play as a demo. I remember marveling at the Sega Saturn, thinking what an incredible thing it was. Little did I realize, that it was how I was going to meet my wife.
I never did get a Saturn when I was still young. I logged a fair amount of time playing that demo in a toystore, and something incredible about that game stuck with me. The colors lodged in my brain (now I realize that’s because they were mentally abrasive, but that’s okay, I like that about it). The smooth flight through bizarre worlds wouldn’t leave my fingertips (and I never got that feeling from any other game, especially not the sequel). The worlds it showed me inspired vivid and beautiful dreams (which as a kid that had nightmares far more often that dreams, that was a welcome bonus). Even though I only played a bit, NiGHTS had truly touched me. And then I forgot about it.
I don’t know what brought me back. Something tapped on the edge of my consciousness. One day, I was hit with an incredible desire to play Panzer Dragoon (another title I had played extensively on store displays – not sure who was deciding what games would be available, but I suppose without a real Sonic game for Saturn the options were far more open). I hunted around, and found a local gaming shop (I was in Texas at the time) with what I needed, and picked up a Saturn, Panzer Dragoon Zwei (the incredibly superior sequel to the first one) and NiGHTS.
In all my excitement to actually sit down with NiGHTS, it was a long time before I got into PDZ. NiGHTS took me on a real roller coaster. The gameplay felt as good as I remembered. The worlds were as fascinating (if a bit more polygonal). The colors were less so vivid and more so nearly painful, but that was okay too. I was so excited to talk to other about the game, I went online, and was lucky to find a great community. As it was, it eventually blew up, but there I met my wife.
Wait a second, I started writing this to review the game… lets see about getting back on track. I play it every year around Xmas, as Christmas NiGHTS is a fun little side story that this time of year always brings to mind. So, I played it just the other day. That’s why I decided to write this. But you know what, lets be honest – you don’t need me to review this game. It’s been out for ages. There’s a ton of reviews out there, I’m sure. I could review it, yeah, but for me, this game isn’t just a disc that I pop into a player or load up on a console. It’s a thing that changed my life for the better, an experience that impacts how I view the world. So rather than continue to nostalgia all over the place, I’ll give you my bottom line review:
NiGHTS into Dreams (Sega Saturn, Steam, PSN)
Play it when: You want to see the world differently – colors a little brighter, things a little happier, your dreams a little stranger. A vivid and cheerful experience available in more than just a dream.