An online game may pose a danger to children, a coroner has warned.
Local authorities across the country have received a warning over the interactive game Doki Doki Literature Club from Manchester’s coroner office, after an investigation into the death of a 15-year-old boy found evidence he had been playing it.
The Sunderland Echo reports that the coroner’s warning said: ‘I believe the information is so concerning that this warrants my writing at this stage to make the local authorities aware of the issue so appropriate information can be disseminated.
‘This has arisen due to the fact I am conducting the inquest into the death of a 15-year-old-boy who died earlier this year. Evidence obtained suggested he had used an online game called Doki Doki.’
The game is available on Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux and can be bought from the easily downloadable digital store Steam.
Dubbed a ‘visual novel’, it appears at first to be a lighthearted dating simulator involving students in a literature club but is in fact a psychological horror and features suicide as a plot device.
The game’s horror aspects have led to it being dubbed the ‘most messed up horror game’ of 2017 by reviewers.
Doki Doki Literature Club does open with a disclaimer stating that it is not suitable for ‘children or the easily disturbed’ and on Steam carries the warning ‘content in this product may not be appropriate for all ages, or may not be appropriate for viewing at work’.
However it features anime style female characters which could appeal to youngsters as it gives the impression that the game is lighthearted and fun.
Hetton Primary School in Sunderland have issued a warning to parents on Facebook about Doki Doki Literature Club.
Headteacher Nicola Hill said: ‘I wanted to warn parents, especially those who might have older children, about this game.
‘The internet is a great thing, but it is also a minefield.’
Doki Doki Literature Club consists of player reading the game’s story, making decisions after being prompted and also features a poetry writing mechanic.
First released in September 2017, the game was created by developer Dan Salvato and had been downloaded two million times by January of this year.
The Samaritans are at hand if you need help. You don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans. Whatever you’re going through, call them free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.