Nightmare Temptation Academy

Entrant 2021

Lena NW & Costcodreamgurl


Nightmare Temptation Academy is a dating-simulation/choose your own adventure/roleplaying game and rap musical. The game is set in high school in an alternate universe at the end of the world. Visual tropes from anime, videogames and early 2000's digital culture are referenced and remixed to evoke nostalgia and further allegorize the uniquely Millennial adolescent experience of apathy, desensitization, and confusion caused by first-generation internet addiction and media oversaturation. A binary dialogue decision-making gameplay expresses the protagonist's struggles with intrusive thoughts and managing impulsivity. This character-driven gameplay also explores group dynamics, relationships, morality, sexuality, consent, and manipulation. The soundtrack is original, written and performed by the developer Lena NW.

The last five half-human half-animals alive (the dominant sentient species) all go to high school together. This nameless high school is ruled by a machine; the purpose of the machine is unknown, as its creators and relevance of the machine to a larger civilization have been obliterated long ago. In fact, this high school rests on the verge of total annihilation surrounded by the endless abyss of oblivion. The machine glitches as it deteriorates. Despite the complete futility of living on; the students are forced to continue attending high school because they are brainwashed and sedated by the machine. The students are unable to fully grasp their circumstances, having no context for where they are in time or space, so they continue to enact the trifling social interactions typical of high schoolers.

You (the player/protagonist) are a depressed, anxious, suicidal, alienated 14-year-old girl. You were spawned from a post-mordial goop; the spirits, the debris, the carcasses, the residue of all that once was. The ghostly spirits that reared you, raped you in the process of creating you. You live your life carrying the weight of the trauma that is your entire existence; intrusive thoughts and impulses are ghosts that possess you. Your behavior and the relationships you form with characters as the collective crisis point culminates is up to you (unless of course... you sell your soul).

Nightmare Temptation Academy received the "Night Games" award when it previewed at IndieCade 2019, and won the "Most Amazing" award at A MAZE. Festival 2020.

Warning: Occasional flashing/strobing images

Content Warning: graphic cartoon depictions of violence, sex, self-harm, mental illness, drug abuse, & animal cruelty, for mature audiences 18+.