LSD: Dream Emulator

From Osamu Sato Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
LSD: Dream Emulator
Original name LSD
Release date 22 October 1998
Format Game
Lost? No

LSD: Dream Emulator is an exploration video game developed by Outside Directors Company and published by Asmik Ace Entertainment for the Playstation. The concept for the game was based on OSD employee Hiroko Nishikawa's dream diary, which she kept for over a decade. The diary was released as a book called Lovely Sweet Dream to go along with the game.[1]


The game released in Japan on 22 October 1998, alongside the music CD LSD and Remixes, the previously mentioned book, and a bonus one-song music CD titled Lucy in the Sky with Dynamites bundled with limited copies.

On August 11, 2010, the game was re-released on the Japanese PlayStation Store under the PS1 Classics section, for ¥617 (equivalent to $5 at the time). This version received a D (17+) rating from CERO (the Japanese equivalent of the ESRB or PEGI).[2]

LSD: Dream Emulator has gained a cult following because of its surreal contents and its scarcity, commonly placed in the top 5 on lists of the rarest/most expensive PlayStation games. Copies on eBay range in price from $700-$1,500.

Limited/Normal edition discrepancy

Numerous marketing materials advertise the game to have two versions: a limited version including the bonus CD and a normal version which does not have the bonus CD; however all ~200 copies documented since the early 2000's have been the limited edition. This paradoxically implies that the "normal" release had less copies produced than the limited edition and may not even exist.

A PlayStation archival website makes the distinction between the limited edition (SLPS-01556) and normal edition (supposedly with the ID number SLPS-01642), which only raises more questions as the ID given to the normal version would mean Sony catalogued it after the limited version.


The game takes place in a first-person perspective in a 3D surreal environment. The player's "goal" is to explore said environments. The controls are tank controls; the player can move forwards or backwards, turn, strafe, run, look up and behind.

The game is played in short sequences or "dreams". The initial location of each dream is randomized. The player can access other environments by bumping into objects or going through tunnels, a mechanic named "linking". Bumping into certain special objects, like animal and people, will result in a "stranger" dream.

The environments are usually the same, like a Japanese village or a house, but they may be populated by random objects and the default textures swapped with other textures.

Each dream can be about 10 minutes long, then the player will "wake up". However, if the player falls off a pit or a hole, the dream will be cut short.

After a dream, another "day" passes in-game, and the dream is marked in a graph. The graph rates the dreams in relation to it being an Upper, Downer, Static, or Dynamic dream. The more the player plays the game, the textures of the environments change more often. Also, there's the possibility of encountering the Spy, who removes the ability to recall a dream in Flashback.

After a certain number of days, the Flashback option will appear. It allows the player to play an abbreviated version of the last dream they played.

Sometimes, a video or dream journal excerpt may take the place of a regular dream.


The idea of the linking mechanic was derived from Sato's experiences playing racing games. He found them boring as a non-skilled player and envisioned an idea of a game where you were rewarded for smashing the car into a wall and taken somewhere else, believing that to be more entertaining for people bad at those types of games. While trying to work out how to make this mechanic make sense, he had the thought that nothing like that happens in real life, but it could happen in dreams, inspiring the game's setting.[3]

The game's website went live in late 1996. On January 18, 1997, OSD posted an announcement that development had begun.


Many, many, completely false rumors have been written about LSD: Dream Emulator. The bulk of them come from the game's peak in popularity during the early 2010's, when no context surrounding it was readily accessible in the west. Such rumors include the game being:

  • Developed by a woman.
  • Developed by someone who committed suicide.
  • Developed by a husband and wife.
  • Procedurally generated.


  • According to OSD, the title refers not to the drug named LSD, rather standing for "Link Speed Dream".[4] This would make the game's full title "Link Speed Dream: Dream Emulator".
  • On some emulators, the game's water may rapidly flash different colors. This is not the intended look and does not appear on original hardware.


Games by Outside Directors Company
PC Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-NouChu-TengRolypolys no Nanakorobi YaokiRolypolys no Sekai Daibōken
Console LSD: Dream EmulatorTokyo Wakusei PlanetokioRhythm 'n' Face
Mobile ●▲■Pocket Montage
LSD: Dream Emulator Entities
Bright Moon Apartment Bird CagesBookDoublefaceDying WomanFutonGiant AstronautGiant BabySky PaintingPterodactyl (Bright Moon Apartment)Teddy Bear (Bright Moon Apartment)Television
Temple Dancing ElephantsFlying ElephantPterodactyl (Temple)
Kyoto Buddha StatueDrumFlying WomanGeisha (Kyoto)Giant Baby (Kyoto)Giant MinotaurGondolaKitsune FoxMinotaurMini MaikoOld WomanPeacockRickshaw MinotaurShrine BellTenguUnderwater Buddha
The Natural World Abyss DemonFather and DaughterFingerpostFishFloating CastleFloating Sail BoatFlower-Shaped CrystalGiant FishGiant TreeHorseHot Air BalloonLionMapMirageSharkSpace ShuttleTortoiseUFOsWindowWrecked Ship
HAPPY TOWN Bunny and Teddy BearFerris WheelFloating LipsFlowers (HAPPY TOWN)King and QueenMushroomsOpera SingerSliding PenguinsSoldiersSpinning ArrowSpinning Question MarkTrumpetersTrainWaddling PenguinWhale
Violence District CanCarCorpseDumpsterGhostGhost SailorGhost WomanGunmanHanging WomanHeadless WomanHopscotch GirlMurdererPlaneStarship
Moonlight Tower Winged Minotaur
Temple Dojo Balancing ChildBlack WolfChildren Tossing a BallGeisha (Temple Dojo)Throne
Flesh Tunnels BabySumo Wrestler
Clockwork Machines Orrery
Long Hallway N/A
Sun Faces Heave N/A
Black Space Hoop and Stick Girl
Monument Park Zeppelin
LSD: Dream Emulator Fields
Bright Moon Apartment Long Hallway
Temple Flesh Tunnels
Kyoto Moonlight TowerTemple DojoMonument Park
The Natural World Black Space
HAPPY TOWN Sun Faces Heave
Violence District Clockwork Machines