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NiGHTS into Dreams..., or Nights into Dreams, is an action video game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega originally for the Sega Saturn in 1996. The game follows the story of Elliot Edwards and Claris Sinclair, two teenagers from the city of Twin Seeds who are sent to the world of dreams Nightopia, where they are aided by a being called NiGHTS.

In 2008, the game was ported to PlayStation 2 in Japan and in 2012, it was ported to the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.



When humans go to sleep, they are transported to the Night Dimension, a magical dimension divided into two types of locations, the world of dreams, known as Nightopia and the world of the nightmares, know as Nightmare.

Wizeman the Wicked is the God and creator of Nightmare and all of its habitants, the Nightmarens. Wizeman created them with the purpose to destroy Nightopia and steal a type of dream energy from humans called "Ideya" when they are sleeping. Once Wizeman steals enough Ideyas, he will be able to invade and take over the real world.[1]

Wizeman created two Nightmarens to be his most powerful creations called NiGHTS and Reala with the purpose to be his second-in-command over the other Nightmarens.[2] But to Wizeman's surprise, while Reala stayed very loyal to him, NiGHTS was very mischievous and disliked being ordered around, leading them to start a rebellion against Wizeman.[1][2] As a punishment, NiGHTS was imprisoned inside an Ideya Palace in Nightopia.[2]

The three main protagonists of the game: NiGHTS, Elliot Edwards and Claris Sinclair.

In the Waking World, a boy called Elliot Edwards and a girl called Claris Sinclair had a rough day. Elliot was playing basketball with his friends and showing off his good moves when a crowd of High School students rush into their game, challenge and defeat Elliot at his favorite hobby, then bully and laugh at him, making Elliot feels really embarassed in front of his friends. [1]Claris auditioned for the headlining musical for the Twin Seeds centennial commemoration celebrations to prove her family of artists that she inherited their talent, however, she heard a voice inside saying that the judges are gonna laugh at her, making her afraid of the judges.[1] During their sleep, a Nightopian appears in their dreams and begs them to save the world of dreams from Wizeman with the help of NiGHTS.[1] A request which they accept.[1] Elliot and Claris eventually learn that they have a rare red colored Ideya known as "The Red Ideya of Courage", which is the most powerful Ideya, and due to its power, only the most powerful Nightmarens can steal it.[1][3]

Elliot and Claris find NiGHTS in their dream worlds, imprisoned inside an Ideya Palace. Before having any chance to interact with them, Elliot and Claris are attacked by Nightmarens, who take all of their Ideyas but the red Ideya of courage, for being too powerful for them. Thanks to the red Ideyas power, the visitors are capable of freeing NiGHTS from their prison for a limited time by dualizing (merging) with them. Once they are free, NiGHTS helps the visitors recover their stolen Ideyas and fights against Wizeman's minions, but their freedom is only temporary. If time runs out, NiGHTS will be pulled back to the Ideya Palace, leaving the child to find their way back and try again.

Once NiGHTS and the visitors defeat all of Wizeman's strongest Nightmarens, Wizeman himself will imprison NiGHTS on the top of the Twin Seeds tower and will send Elliot and Claris flying off onto a broken floating piece of asphalt, making it impossible for them to release NiGHTS. But for Wizeman's surprise, Elliot and Claris courage grows so strong, that they jump from the asphalt and start flying by themselves. Once the two visitors recover their stolen Ideyas one last time, they reach NiGHTS and release them from their prison. As the trio is reunited, NiGHTS, Elliot and Claris, merge together into two NiGHTS and fight against Wizeman. After defeating their creator, NiGHTS mysteriously disappears.


In Elliot's story, Elliot wakes up and meets up with his friends for another basketball game. When they arrive at the court, the high school bullies from before have already claimed it. Elliot's friends suggest coming back later but after battling through the darkest of his nightmares, Elliot finds the courage to stand up to the older bullies. The game is almost over and Elliot's team is down to one but he doesn't lose hope. Instead, he finds the strength within to power through the older kids' tricks and makes his way up the court, leaving the bullies speechless. Seconds before Elliot reaches the hoop for a throw, the main bully decides to step in and wall him off. Reminiscing about his dreams of flight, Elliot feels himself jumping over the bully and making himself a slam dunk, impressing everyone and winning the game.

In Claris' story, Claris wakes up and goes to the audition. She spies from the curtains the judges who are all disappointed with all of the candidates so far. When it's Claris's turn, she finds the courage within herself to sing, impressing all of the judges with her beautiful voice.

Secret Ending

In the secret ending, an extra cutscene plays after the Wizeman's boss battle, showing Elliot and Claris being transported back to Spring Valley, the first level of the game. In Elliot's story, Elliot looks around and sights Claris fainted. Once he reaches her, Elliot carries Claris on his arms and leaves her under a tree. Shortly after, Elliot starts fading away because he is waking up. As soon as Claris wakes up, Elliot turns his back to her and disappears. In Claris' story, the cutscene starts with her waking up and Elliot disappearing right in front of her. Claris looks around and notices Nightopians coming to her. Claris smiles and starts playing with the Nightopians for a while before waking up.

The normal ending cutscenes will then replay, showing Elliot defeating the older kids in a basketball game and Claris impressing the judges with her voice at the auditions. Then, an extra cutscene will play, showing what happened after these scenes. In Claris' case, as Claris won the audition, she went to sing at the Twin Seeds centennial commemoration celebrations. Meanwhile, in Elliot's story, Elliot is walking downtown where the 100th anniversary of Twin Seeds was being held. Elliot watches the parade for a moment before walking up to the famous Twin Seeds tower. The sun bounces off a sign for a musical being help and the glare catches Elliot's eye and for a moment he could have sworn he saw NiGHTS' face. He takes it as a sign and decides to take a peek at the Musical taking place inside. Immediately, Elliot recognizes their star singer, Claris Sinclair, from his dreams. Her eyes meet his and the game ends with Elliot and Claris being inexplicably transported back to Spring Valley.

After the credits, Elliot and Claris are shown at their respective homes, where they are about to sleep. At their window, it is possible to see a familiar purple figure posing on the spire of the city's famous building.


The game has a total of seven levels, which are dream worlds created by the depths of Elliot and Claris' minds.[1] Elliot and Claris have three unique levels each and the same final level (Twin Seeds). At the beginning of the game, the only levels available are Spring Valley for Claris and Splash Garden for Elliot. The other levels are unlocked by beating their respective previous levels.[4] The last level, the Twin Seeds city, will only be unlocked if the player has C+ grades on all of the previous levels.

The game explaining how to play.

At the start of the levels, Elliot and Claris find NiGHTS imprisoned inside an Ideya Palace and are attacked by Nightmarens, who steal all of their Ideyas but the red one, and lock them inside a mechanical jellyfish-like machine called the Ideya Capture.

The goal in every level is to make the visitors dualize with NiGHTS, then recover the four stolen ideyas in a limited time, one by one. Each level has four laps, each lap has an ideya to recover. To recover the Ideyas, NiGHTS must collect 20 blue orbs called the blue chips, then go inside the Ideya Capture. This will destroy the machine and the Ideya will be recovered. Then, NiGHTS will need to bring the Ideya back to the Ideya Palace and store it there, so they can go to the next lap. Once all four ideyas are recovered, Wizeman will send a boss to fight NiGHTS.

NiGHTS fighting against Gillwing, one of the first bosses in the game.

Before merging with NiGHTS though, the player can control the visitors, explore the levels with them and discover secrets, but only for a limited time, as if they don't dualize with NiGHTS quickly, an egg-shaped alarm clock will appear and try to make Elliot and Claris wake up, resulting in a game over.

In each lap of the level, the player has a total of 120 seconds to recover the lap's Ideya. If the time runs out, NiGHTS will unfuse with the visitors and will be locked inside the Ideya Palace again. The egg-shaped alarm clock will also appear and will try to make Elliot and Claris wake up.

If the time runs out before NiGHTS recovers the Ideya, an invisible force field will appear around the Ideya Palace and it won't let the visitors merge with NiGHTS again until they recover the lap's Ideya by themselves.

During the boss battles, the player will also have 120 seconds to defeat the boss. If the time runs out, it is gonna be game over and the player will need to start the level again.


NiGHTS using the Drill Dash then the paraloop.

NiGHTS has two main attacks, one is the Drill Dash, where they spin and fly faster, destroying any enemy in their way and the other is the Paraloop, where they make a circle in the air which creates a void capable of absorbing everything that was inside the circle. NiGHTS can also grab the enemies and either drill dash or paraloop them. These moves are called touch-dash and touch-loop respectively.

NiGHTS also has the ability to shapeshift, which is used in certain sections of the levels. For example, in Splash Garden, NiGHTS will turn into a mermaid during a water cave section and in Frozen Bell, they will turn into a bobsled during a snow mountain section.

Nightopians A-Life

See main article: Nightopians Aside from the immediate game mission, the game also contains an artificial life ("A-Life") system, a precursor to the Chao featured in Sonic Team's later Sonic Adventure titles.[5]

A Nightopian.

The system involves entities called Nightopians (also known as "pians"), fairy-like creatures who can be found throughout the levels. The game keeps track of the moods of the Nightopians (harming them will displease them, for example), and the game features an evolving music engine, allowing tempo, pitch, and melody to alter depending on the state of Nightopians within the level.

It is also possible to merge Nightopians with the Nightmaren enemies, creating a hybrid being called a Mepian. It is even possible through extensive controlled breeding that a King Pian can be made.

Items and Collectables

Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams

See Main Article: Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams

The Japanese box art for Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams.

In December 1996, Sega released a special Christmas themed "demo" of the game titled Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams.

The game follows the story of NiGHTS, Elliot and Claris trying to find the missing star from the Twin Seeds' Christmas tree.

The game's single level is a Christmas version of the first NiGHTS into Dreams level, Spring Valley. While the level remains unchanged when playing as Claris, the path is altered when playing as Elliot.

This game was later bundled with the NiGHTS into Dreams HD remasters, where it appears as an unlockable.

Clock Features

See Main Article: Clock Features

Elliot wears a summer outfit when playing Splash Garden from July 21st to August 31st in the HD remasters.

The HD remasters released for the Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC have special features and easter eggs, such as special costumes and unique backgrounds, that will only appear when playing the game during specific dates.

Christmas NiGHTS also had similar features and they are all available in the HD remasters, as Christmas NiGHTS comes along these versions.

It should be noted that these features are only available after beating the game (including clearing both Elliot and Claris version of Christmas Spring Valley) and they are not present in the Sega Saturn version of NiGHTS into Dreams.


NiGHTS's very first sketch.

During the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in 1992, Yuji Naka had to constantly travel between Japan and America because the game was being developed by Sonic Team in Japan and Sega Technical Institute in San Francisco. This gave him the idea of creating a game centered around flight.[6] The development of the game only started after the release of Sonic & Knuckles in late 1994 though. Yuji Naka was the game's lead programmer, while Naoto Ohshima and Takashi Iizuka were the director and lead designer, respectively. Naoto Ohshima was also one of the two character designers, along with Kazuyuki Hoshino.[7]

The development team wanted to make the game world distinguishable and contradictory to the Sonic the Hedgehog's. Some of the early ideas included making a game with military themes before they ultimately choose to create a game settled in the dream world.[8][9] NiGHTS was also designed to be a humanoid being to not drawn comparations to Sonic's animal design.[6]

Carl Jung's dream archetypes were an inspiration for the game.

As the developers wanted to make the game reflect the experience of dreaming, they researched dreams and deep psyche.[6] They also studied the works and theories of psychoanalysts Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Holtz, including Carl Jung's theories of dream archetypes.[10] According to Yuji Naka, NiGHTS is meant to symbolize Carl Jung's "Shadow" archetype,[10] and Claris and Elliot represent the Animus and Anima.[10] There is also a deleted boss character known as "Selph", who would make an appearance as a secret boss in the game[10] and would represent Carl Jung's "Self" archetype.[11]

Yuji Naka originally wanted to make the game in 2D, because he though they couldn't make an appealing and expressive character with polygons,[12] but he eventually changed his mind after realizing 3D was the best way to bring a world of dreams to life and give it a proper sense of “reality”.[12] Also according to Takashi Iizuka, Elliot was originally going to be the only main character of the game[12] before they eventually create Claris to make the game more appealing for female players and to represent both men and women dreams.[12]

NiGHTS was also designed to be genderless, because they are a part of every human's subconscious[13] (although NiGHTS has been referred to as a "he" occasionally, but this is likely due localization and the age of the game).


The Sega Saturn version of NiGHTS into Dreams was introduced alongside an optional game controller, included with most copies of the game. This gamepad featured an analog stick, among the first on any game console (launching just after the release of the Nintendo 64, which featured an analog stick on its standard control peripheral). The stick, D-pad and shoulder triggers were located in an arrangement similar to that of Sega's later Dreamcast controller.


NiGHTS into Dreams was acclaimed mainly for its graphics and flight mechanics.[14] The video game magazine Computer and Video Games gave the game five stars, claiming that NiGHTS was a revolutionary experience with the best video game music of all time and calling NiGHTS the perfect evolution of Sonic.[14][15] Edge magazine gave the game an 8/10, praising its level design and graphics, but criticizing it for being to short compared to competitor Super Mario 64.[16][14] On GameRankings, NiGHTS into Dreams had an average score of 89% at based on an aggregate of nine reviews.[14]

Voice Cast

Other characters were voiced by various anonymous Sonic Team members.[10]



The following list is about the achievements that can be obtained in the HD remasters. It takes around 6-8 hours to unlock all of them. [19]

Badge Name Description Gamescore
The IDEAL Clear Spring Valley in either BRAND NEW DREAMS or SEGA SATURN DREAMS. 10
The AFFECTION Clear Splash Garden in either BRAND NEW DREAMS or SEGA SATURN DREAMS. 10
The REVIVAL Clear Stick Canyon in either BRAND NEW DREAMS or SEGA SATURN DREAMS. 30
The GROWTH Clear Twin Seeds in either BRAND NEW DREAMS or SEGA SATURN DREAMS. 40
Into dreams... Clear all stages with a score of Rank A. 50
DREAMY !!! Show your supreme skill by achieving the highest Acrobat Time rating, "DREAMY". 30
Paraloop Master Try to Paraloop all of Gillwing’s tail in one hit. [20] 100
Mystic Garage Try to guide the lost car in the Mystic Forest to the garage.[21] 10
Hello Mepian Make a Nightopian and a Nightmaren have a hybrid offspring.[22] 40
Merry Christmas! Clear Spring Valley (Christmas). 10


NiGHTS into Dreams in Durarara!!.

  • In the episode "Declaration of Dissolution" of the anime Durarara!!, there is a scene where Celty and Shinra appear playing video games, and it is possible to notice that NiGHTS into Dreams is among the games.
  • During an Interview, Yuji Naka revealed that Steven Spielberg, a famous movie director known for movies such as Jaws, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Schindler’s list, Jurassic Park and Ready Player One, and also one of the co-founders of the Dreamworks Studios, visited SEGA during the development of NiGHTS into Dreams, and he was the first person outside of the development team to play the game.[10] He was also the first person to play with the new controller, which since then, became known as the Spielberg Controller. [10]
    • Coincidently or not, Elliot shares his name with the human protagonist from E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.

NiGHTS into Dreams in Amphibia (game inside the shelf, on the right side).

  • In the first episode of the third season of the show Amphibia, there is a scene where it is possible to see a shelf with a copy of NiGHTS into Dreams next to a Sega Saturn.
  • On October 2020, Sega gave free Steam copies of NiGHTS into Dreams for people who'd sign up on their 60th anniversary celebrations site.[23][24]
  • The game has a score board with names of characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. By hacking the game files, it's possible to find an unused score board with names of characters from the Virtua Fighter series. [25]
    • The name of the Sonic the Hedgehog character Fang the Sniper can also be found in the game files, on the scoreboard with names of Sonic characters.[25] Fang's name was replaced with Eggman's name in the final version of the game.[25]
  • The voice clips in the game were recorded during the night because Sonic Team had no sound proof studio.[10]
  • NiGHTS into Dreams was the best-selling Sega Saturn game in Japan.[14]
  • The track "Know thyself!", which was unused in all versions of the game, can be found in the PC port, but not in the PSN or XBOX Live Arcade releases.
  • The mysterious easter egg from the Puffy fight.

    A mysterious easter egg can be randomly found after defeating Puffy. There are two big green doors at the end of the hallway that may randomly open after the battle. If they do, it's gonna be revealed that there's a lamp-post like object inside of it. The object either falls out or it will just stand still. The reason why this happens or the meaning of it are unknown. [26](See Also: Unnamed Lamp-post Like Object).
    • The mysterious object's model.

      The object is revealed to have "face" in it, however it's hard to see it, as when the object is inside the closet, the object is with its possible face turned to inside the closet and when it falls, it will turn its face to a direction which the player's view can't reach.
  • In the Japan exclusive PlayStation 2 version of the game, the players can select the specific boss they want to fight after the levels, once they beat the game. However, in the HD remasters for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the players can only choose between fighting the level's respective bosses or fighting against a boss chosen by random.
  • The development team created a fictional language called "Dream Language" for the game, which is spoken by the Night Dimension residents.[10] Before his battle, Reala will say "Beadichinoa NiGHTS", which means "Come on NiGHTS!" and when NiGHTS un-fuses with either Elliot or Claris, they will say "Adeema", which means "Good-bye" in dream language. [10]
    • Many people believe that Reala actually says "There is no NiGHTS!" before his battle.
  • A snowman version of an unknown character.

    In the level Frozen Bell, the Nightopians may build a snowman version of an unknown never before seen character.
  • To celebrate the game's 15th anniversary, OverClocked ReMix (OC Remix), a community which makes video game music with composers from all over the world, made a fan album for NiGHTS into Dreams, called NiGHTS Lucid Dreaming. [27][28]
    • Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka themselves were gifted with a copy of the discs.
  • Photo of the event-exclusive PC release of NiGHTS into Dreams.

    In 2003, way before the Steam release of the game, NiGHTS into Dreams was ported to the PC, exclusively for a internet café event in Akihabara, which had the participation of Yuji Naka himself.[10][29]
  • Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda, revealed himself to be a fan of the NiGHTS series. In an interview back in the Dreamcast times, Yuji Naka once said that many fans including Miyamoto himself were curious to know if a new NiGHTS game was in development for the system. [30]
    • Additionally, there's also a famous Miyamoto quote known among the NiGHTS community, where he says "If there is a game I would have loved to work on, it would be Nights into Dreams...[31]
  • In the HD remasters of the game, the letter "B" in the ranking roulette is upside down.


External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 NiGHTS into Dreams Manual
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 NiGHTS profile from the English website
  3. Ideyas Description (NiGHTS into Dreams English website)
  4. NiGHTS into Dreams on Wikipedia
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 NiGHTS - Did you know Gaming
  9. Computer & Video Games (July 1996). pg. 24.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4
  18. Kazuyuki Hoshino revelead in this interview that he voiced Elliot
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2