Does Dreeps meet the requirements to call itself a game? Let's talk about that.

Is Dreeps Really a Game or Just a Fancy Screensaver?

Does Dreeps meet the requirements to call itself a game? Let's talk about that.
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Hey, you there. Yes, you, busy person who loves games but has no time to invest in playing one. What if I told you that there is a game out there that even you have time for? The game I’m talking about is Dreeps, an alarm playing game.

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Dreeps was originally released in January of 2015 as an exclusive on the iOS App Store — which is likely why you haven’t heard of it if you’re one of my fellow Android users.

So what exactly is Dreeps and what makes it so special?

For starters, it belongs to a special genre of games known as Zero Player input Games; a ZPG if you will. All you have to do as the player is to set an alarm. That’s it. That is literally all you have to do to play this game….which technically is playing itself.

Anyway, while you sleep so does our player, the little robot boy.

Dreeps robot boy sleeping

When the alarm goes off, robot boy wakes up and begins his adventures. Starting out he’ll be weak and will only be able to venture short distances as he gains levels and more health.  

Dreeps robot boy adventuring

You can watch him as he progresses on his adventures throughout the day, like an active wallpaper on your phone. In what is basically a dynamic screensaver, you can follow his story — even though there are no words or dialog boxes to read. 

So the question is, is Dreeps really a game at all?

If I had to explain Dreeps to someone, I’d tell them to think of like a very fancy giga pet had a baby with the alarm app on your phone. Dreeps is a fancy alarm with no story of its own — just a robot boy wandering the world, meeting new people, and living a life that only he knows. But do I think that there is something there, something with paying $2.99 on the app store?

Yes, yes I do.

As a creative person, I think that there is enough going on in Dreeps that it can be an enjoyable experience. It wouldn’t be so hard to come up with a story for the robot boy that’s unique to you — you know, like that whole roleplaying immersion thing that we all do with RPGs. I also think that it could be the mini escape that you can come back to during the day, without the commitment of having to physically interact with the game in order to drive the story.

If Dreeps sounds like something you’d be interested in playing, but you don’t have an iOS device, there may be hope yet! It was announced earlier last month that Dreeps will be coming to the Japanese 3DS eShop sometime this Winter, so you still have a chance to check it out if you own a 3DS.

What do you think? Is Dreeps truly a game? Would you be interested in giving it a shot? Let me know in the comments!

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Justin Michael
From Atari 2600 to TTRPG and beyond I game, therefore I am. Can generally be found DMing D&D on the weekend, homebrewing beer, or tripping over stuff in my house while playing VR. Hopeful for something *Ready Player One* meets *S.A.O Nerve Gear* before I kick the bucket.