NiGHTS into Dreams

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NiGHTS title.png
NiGHTS into Dreams
Publisher: Sega
System(s): Sega Saturn, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 (PSN), Xbox Live Arcade, Steam
ROM size:
Sega Saturn
Sound driver:
Sega Saturn
SCSP/CD-DA (19 tracks)
Peripherals supported:
Sega Saturn
3D Control Pad
Genre: Action

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Saturn
1996-07-05 ¥5,800 GS-9046
Sega Saturn
JP (3D Pad)
1996-07-05 ¥7,800 GS-9095
Sega Saturn
JP (Satakore)
1997-06-20 ¥2,800 GS-9148
Sega Saturn
1996-08-31 $49.99[1] 81020
Sega Saturn
US (3D Pad)
1996-12-12 $69.99 81048
Sega Saturn
1996-09-19 Media:CVG UK 179.pdf[2] £39.99 Media:CVG UK 193.pdf[3] MK81020-50
Sega Saturn
EU (3D Pad)
1996-09-05 Media:CVG UK 179.pdf[4] £? MK81048-50
Sega Saturn
1996-10 $69,99 193226
Sega Saturn
199x ₩?  ?

Sony PlayStation 2
¥3,800 (3,990) SLPM-66926
Sony PlayStation 2
JP (Nightopia Dream Pack)
¥4,800 (5,040) HSN-0013

Sony PlayStation 3
JP (Download)
¥952 (1,000) NPJB-00226
Sony PlayStation 3
US (Download)
$9.99 ?
Sony PlayStation 3
EU (Download)
£? €? ?

Xbox 360
JP (Download)
800pts ¥? ?
Xbox 360
US (Download)
800pts $? ?
Xbox 360
EU (Download)
800pts £? €? ?
Xbox 360
AU (Download)
?pts $? ?

$9.99 ?
£? €9.99 ?

NiGHTS into Dreams is a video game developed by Sonic Team, and was originally released for the Sega Saturn in mid-1996. It was the first game to be produced by Sonic Team not feature Sonic the Hedgehog, and debuted with the 3D Control Pad, Sega's answer to the Nintendo 64's innovative controller.

NiGHTS is seen by many to be one of the strongest original titles for the system, with cutting edge visuals and surprisingly complex gameplay. In the western world, NiGHTS was used as a marketing ploy to allow the Saturn to compete against Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, and other 3D titles for the Sony PlayStation in the 1996 winter holiday season. Today it is seen as a cult classic and one of the flagship products of Sega during the Saturn era.


Players take the role of either Claris or Elliot, two children living in the city of Twin Seeds. In their dreams, they enter the world of Nightopia, where all human dreams are played out. An evil creature known as Wizeman is gathering power to take control of Nightopia. The children team up with NiGHTS, a rogue Nightmaren (nightmare-dweller) trying to stop Wizeman.


Claris' first stage, Spring Valley.

There are eight "dreams" (or levels) in NiGHTS, four for Claris, and four for Elliot, all split into two halves. The first half acts as a traditional level, while the second half (nightmare) acts as a boss. Both halves must be completed to access the next dream.

For the most part, NiGHTS into Dreams is a "2.5D" video game, where the world is rendered as 3D textured polygons, but gameplay is played on a two dimensional field. The basic goal of the game is to reclaim the four stolen "Ideyas" from the four Ideya Captures spread across the level, and return them to the Ideya Palace. Ideya Captures are destroyed by collecting with them, however 20 Blue Chips dotted across the level need to be collected first.

Players usually have to take control of the jester, NiGHTS to achieve this goal. NiGHTS traverses across the 2.5 plane through the skies, performing arial acrobatics, defeating enemies and ranking up points. However at the start of the level, NiGHTS is held captive within the Ideya Palace, and players need to control the children, Claris or Elliot. The children are not restricted to the 2.5D plane, and can in fact traverse across the map as if the game were a 3D platformer, scaling mountains and wandering across valleys. The children are, however, restricted to the map's boundaries, and will be pursued by the infamous "Alarm Egg" - a floating egg with a clock face on one side. Getting caught by the Alarm Egg is the only way the game can end within a regular level - enemies will slow the children down, but not cause any damage.

Freeing NiGHTS is as simple as entering the palace (usually placed a short distance in front of the starting point), but is not strictly necessary to rescue Ideyas from Ideya Captures. In the 3D children mode, many of the items usually found in the skies lie on the ground (including Blue Chips), and Ideya Captures are within jumping distance. This style of gameplay was adapted for the Sonic into Dreams minigame of Christmas NiGHTS.

Like Sonic the Hedgehog the game is played almost entirely with one button (A, B or C) and the D-Pad (or analogue stick), allowing the children to jump or NiGHTS to speed up and spin. Spinning however, drains power from the meter in the bottom left of the HUD, and is replenished by flying through large yellow/orange rings. The L and R buttons allow NiGHTS to perform acrobatics, though are only useful if the player flies through a "Power Loop". NiGHTS can defeat enemies by performing a "paraloop", otherwise known as moving in a clockwise or anticlockwise circle. This can also reveal bonuses and collect multiple items at once (including sometimes those in the background).

Each of the four Ideyas is located on separate looped 2.5D "courses" (or "mares") for NiGHTS, each of which passes through the Ideya Palace. Players will travel around in circles until the Ideya Capture is destroyed, but items will re-spawn if the far away from the camera. NiGHTS' play is timed, and once the time runs out, you will lose any collected blue chips and become the children once more. The scoring system of NiGHTS is rather complex - scores are multiplied considerably by forming chains (links) of rings, and the value of items on the current course will increase further if the Ideya Capture is destroyed (the blue chips turning gold within this time).

To confound things further, NiGHTS has a surprisingly complex "A-Life" system, in which friendly Nightopians littered across the stage, can have their moods changed, be bred (not just with other Nightopians, but with enemies (Nightmaren), creating genetically modified "Mepians"), and be killed with very little effect on gameplay. If the player manages to not kill any Nightopians, an extra point award will be available on the fourth and final path for NiGHTS. The mood of the Nightopians can affect the level's music, though the change will only be heard if the player re-enters the stage.

Collecting all four Ideyas and taking them to the Ideya Palace will take NiGHTS to a boss, which needs to be destroyed within a certain timeframe. Here, it is impossible to play as the children, though getting hit will cause you to lose valuable seconds. Bosses vary depending on the stage, though usually involve bouncing off a weak spot or paralooping.


Enemies, or "Nightmaren" serve little purpose in NiGHTS into Dreams other than to get in the way and slow your progress. Most can be knocked out of the way with a spin, and destroyed completely with a paraloop.

Kircle.jpg Kircle
Hollow.jpg Hollow
Verol.jpg Verol
Party.jpg Party
Crewlepole.jpg Crewle Pole
Mamu.jpg Mamu
Shleep.jpg Shleep
Cuttle.jpg Cuttle
Gao.jpg Gao
Snip.jpg Snip



NiGHTS gameplay.png Spring Valley ~the IDEAL~
Notavailable.svg Mystic Forest ~the POSSIBILITY~
Notavailable.svg Soft Museum ~the CONFUSION~


Notavailable.svg Splash Garden ~the AFFECTION~
Notavailable.svg Frozen Bell ~the CONSCIOUSNESS~
Notavailable.svg Stick Canyon ~the REVIVAL~


Notavailable.svg Twin Seeds ~the GROWTH~
Twin Seeds occurs over the fictional city, and is identical for both Claris and Elliot. It is also the only stage where you do not play as NiGHTS - the children fly around instead.



NiGHTS into Dreams represents both the end of an era at Sonic Team and the start of a new one, being the last Sega project to feature Yuji Naka as the lead programmer and the first to feature Takashi Iizuka as lead designer (replacing Hirokazu Yasuhara, now stationed in North America). The absense of Yasuhara means that the three original founding members of Sonic Team were reduced to two, and with both Naka and Naoto Ohshima rising up the ranks in the years which followed, NiGHTS marks the start of a new generation of Sonic Team developers.

Most notably, NiGHTS is not a Sonic the Hedgehog game (despite being made by "Sonic Team"), instead being a radically different project inspired by the works of Carl Jung, and primarily his anima and animus concepts. It is said that Takashi Iizuka invested a significant amount of time researching dreams and the theories that surround them, observing the works of Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Holtz, meaning NiGHTS' themes offer a much deeper meaning than at first glance.

The visual style NiGHTS into Dreams borrowed from Cirque du Soleil, witnessed by Yuji Naka and others while playing at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It's oddly typed name was originally put in place to differentiate the NiGHTS character from the word "nights", with the lower-case "i" coming from the gem on the character's chest.

Voice samples were recorded in-house by various developers, usually in the middle of the night as Sonic Team's studios were not sound-proofed.

As one of the top Sega employees in his field, Yuji Naka's engine for NiGHTS is often considered to be one of the most ambitious programming projects on the Saturn, at one point being recycled for Sonic X-treme (much to his distaste). Much of the game was built with unique input methods in mind (such as odd flight sticks), inevitably evolving into Saturn's the 3D Control Pad. At one point in development, the team was visited by Steven Spielberg, who played the game on an experimental controller, later dubbed internally as the "Spielberg Controller". Unique controllers would be explored again in the development of Air NiGHTS, a cancelled Sega Dreamcast sequel.

Naka has stated that he created a PC version of NiGHTS shortly after the Saturn version, and assumed it had been released. PC users did not receive this game until 2012 when a version was released for Steam.

Yuji Naka has stated that NiGHTS was not intended to receive a sequel, being a stand-alone game similar to Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. After NiGHTS, Yuji Naka would assume management roles as producer and head of Sonic Team, before leaving to found Prope in 2006, only for NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams to be released one year later.


Christmas NiGHTS

In December 1996, a special one-level Christmas version, Christmas NiGHTS was developed, being released as a stand-alone product in Japan. Elsewhere it was bundled as a free promotional item.


NiGHTS went through a long period of being referenced to in Sonic Team games, but not given an official sequel. There are cameos in all Sonic Team games in the Sega Dreamcast era, and a bonus NiGHTS game was included in the Nintendo GameCube version of Phantasy Star Online and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg that can be downloaded to the Game Boy Advance. There is also a NiGHTS-themed pinball level in Sonic Pinball Party.


NiGHTS saw a fully fledged sequel in 2007 with the release of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, though remains controversial among fans for its changes in design and presentation. Since then, NiGHTS has gone on to assume roles in other games, such as Sega Superstars, Sega Superstars Tennis, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

Sega AGES Re-Release

In 2008 the game was re-released as a budget game for the PlayStation 2 in Japan. This conversion was handled by Sega Studios China, and features enhanced graphics (and 16:9 widescreen support), content from Christmas NiGHTS and a number of minor tweaks to gameplay. It also features image galleries, a movie viewer mode and different seasonal outfits.

Sega Heritage Digital Re-Release

The PlayStation 2 version was not released outside of Japan, but was used as a base for a set of "HD" conversions for the Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and Steam services. These versions are almost identical to the 2008 PlayStation 2 adaption, though lack some content (most notably the Sonic into Dreams minigame from Christmas NiGHTS) and reportedly lack true 360-degree analogue controls. The game is rendered at widescreen 720p, though the textures, models and technical features such as draw distance remain similar to their PlayStation 2 counterparts.

Sega Saturn Save Data

The Sega Saturn version game makes use of the Saturn's internal battery back-up as well as the Saturn Backup Memory to save progress. In addition, it saves data for the A-Life system separately due to its large file size.

NiGHTS into Dreams Save Data
Name Comment File Size
NIGHTS___## Score data 30
NIGHTS___## A-life 197

Production credits

Saturn version

Executive Producer: Hayao Nakayama
Project Manager: Youji Ishii
Producer: Yuji Naka
Director: Naoto Ohshima
Lead Game Designer: Takashi Iizuka
Senior Game Designers: Takeshi Niimura, Yuji Saito
Lead Programmer: Yuji Naka
Senior Programmers: Takahiro Hamano, Takuya Matsumoto
A-Life Programmer: Tetsu Katano
Programmers: Akio Setsumasa, Yasuhiro Takahashi, Yasuhiro Watanabe, Atsutomo Nakagawa
NiGHTS Designer: Naoto Ohshima
Character Designer: Kazuyuki Hoshino
World Artists: Takumi Miyake, Shigeru Okada, You Nishiyama, Shinichi Higashi, Ryo Kudo
A-Life Character Designers: Toshiko Okano, Hideaki Moriya, Tohru Watanuki
Artists: Tomonori Dobashi, Namie Manabe, Hiroki Okabata
CG Movie Director: Norihiro Nishiyama
CG Movie Artists: Norihiro Nishiyama, Masahiro Kumono, Hiroshi Nakatani, Motomu Hayashi, Mika Okada, Yumiko Miyabe, Miho Takayanagi, Saori Wada, Nobuhiko Honda
Chief Sound Director: Yukifumi Makino
Compose & Arrange: Naofumi Hataya, Tomoko Sasaki, Fumie Kumatani
Lyrics: Tomoko Sasaki
Translation: Wornell Jones
Sound Effects: Tatsuya Kouzaki, Saori Kobayashi, Fumie Kumatani
Sound Programmer: Atsumu Miyazawa
Recording Director: Tatsutoshi Narita
Recording Engineer: Naoyuki Machida


Vocal: Curtis. King, Jr., Dana Culitri, Cameron Earl Strother, Jasmine Ann Allen
Drums: Tadashi Matsumoto
Keyboard: Tadashi Ohtsubo
Bass: Kouhei Okamura
Guitar: Akira Sasaki, Tomoya Koga
Sax,Flute: Junichi Yoshida
Synthesizer Operation: Masafumi Nakao

Arrangers: Hayato Matsuo (Orchestra Arrange), Akira Sasaki ("Dreams Dreams")
Executive Management: Shoichiro Irimajiri, Tom Kalinske, Shinobu Toyoda, Malcolm Miller
Executive Coordination: Daizaburo Sakurai, Makoto Oshitani, Jin Shimazaki, Kouichi Nagata, Noriyoshi Ohba, Kou Tanaka
Promotion Management: Ren Mori, Hideki Okamura, Hirokazu Kanno, Takayuki Kawagoe
Public Relations: Hiroto Kikuchi, Tadashi Takezaki, Masatoshi Kawaguchi, Yasushi Nagumo
Visual Material Editors: Ikuo Ishizaka, Hidehiro Kumagai, Masato Yoshioka
Peripheral Support: Osamu Kaji, Kenji Tosaki, Atsunori Himoto, Akitoshi Oikawa, Hiroshi Kitagawa, Toshinori Date
Market Research: Seigo Tabira, Tsuyoshi Sawada, Miho Okamura
Manual: Hiroyuki Mitsui, Youichi Takahashi, Toshiki Yamaguchi, Chieko Nakamura
Internet Support: Mutsuhiro Fujii
Overseas Coordination: Ryoichi Hasegawa
Special Thanks: Masanobu Tsukamoto, Akira Nishikawa, Akira Funada, Chika Ikegame, Miki Morimoto, Yosuke Okunari, Manabu Kusunoki, Yoshiaki Kashima, Yayoi Wachi, Kentaro Koyama, Sanae Tatsuo, Tohru Mita, Shigenori Araki, Yoshio Inoue, Yuji Sawairi, Haruki Nakayama, Emi Sasaki, Nobuhiko Shimizu
Produced by SEGA

PlayStation 2, PSN, XBLA and PC versions

Original version Created By: Sonic Team
Creative Producer: Yosuke Okunari
Producers: Makoto Uchida, Jian Chen
Directors: Akira Ogata, Kazuya Takahashi, ShuQiao Li
Lead Programmers: Akira Ogata, Ming Lu
Programmers: Chao Lian, Jie Geng, Jun Sun, YuZhong Zhou, Ying Feng, ShengHui Su, Yang Feng, Min Zheng, MinJun Xu
Lead Artists: SiMin Yang, HaoChong Shi
Artists: YongQing Yu, Jun Zhang, JiaNi Liang, HuaJun Liu, ZhiXin Ye, WenJie Wu, Jie Fang, ZhiJin Wu, ZhiCheng Deng, Shuo Li, Wei Chen
Sound: YiNing Xu
Lead Tester: Taishan Gu
Support: Ling Chen
Technical Advisers: Tomoaki Takayanagi, Katsunori Kosuge
Technical Support: Takashi Shoji, Akihiro Etori, Atsushi Hirano
Supervisors: Takashi Iizuka, Kazuyuki Hoshino, Naofumi Hataya, Tetsu Katano
Marketing Support: Toshiro Nakayama
Promotion: Mitsuru Takahashi, Daisuke Sekine, Takayoshi Ouchi, Nobuaki Okamoto, Akiko Matsuo, Sachi Matsushima, Ikuo Ishizaka
Publicity: Yasushi Nagumo, Mamoru Kodama, Kenichi Hashimoto, Kensuke Nakamura, Katsumi Baba, Hiromi Seida, Reiko Chiba, Masaya Santo
Web Design: Mutsuhiro Fujii, Akiko Horie
Sales: Akira Nomoto, Toru Yasuda, Tomoaki Ishidao, Takeshi Shimizu, Naoko Ooka, Yoshihito Endo, Teruyuki Awaji, Yasunobu Masahiro, Katsushi Yasuda, Toshiyuki Tanaka, Nobuhiro Tanaka, Haruo Imatsu, Katsutoshi Memezawa, Yoshiaki Yamazaki, Akihide Ichimura, Tomohiko Hayashi, Tetsuo Sasaki, Hiroshi Iizuka, Hiroki Ohta, Koichi Iino, Shinya Oosaki, Seiji Aoyagi, Yoshihiro Enomoto, Teruyuki Kaida, Mitsuaki Sugibayashi, Takayuki Murata
Production Control: Tomoki Kaji, Hitoshi Todo
Software Package & Software Manual Production: Yoshihiro Sakuta, Hiroki Osawa, Sonoko Kai
Software Test: Junichi Shimizu, Akira Nishikawa, Akira Terasawa, Sunao Murayama, Yuki Takahashi, Takashi Shimogaito
Special Thanks: Yuji Naka, Masahiro Kumono, Hideaki Moriya, Takao Miyoshi, Tomohide Shoji, Akiko Kuroda, Ryoichi Hasegawa, Seiji Hayashi, Seijiro Sannabe, Kagasei Shimomura
Lead Producer: Hiroyuki Miyazaki
Executive Producers: Hajime Satomi, Hisao Oguchi
Presented by: Sega


Promotional material

Physical scans

Saturn version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
100 №19
100 №178, p54-59Media:CVG UK 178.pdf
80 №36, p70-71
100 1996-09-20
85 №395, p31
98 Vol 4, №9, p22/50/51/52/53
86 №41, p40-41Media:GameInformer US 041.pdf
98 №97, p86-87
100 2004-06-06
85 №46, p40-43
96 2003-11
100 №9, p91Media:GMR US 09.pdf
96 №47, p56-63Media:MeanMachinesSega47UK.pdf
94 №67, p74-77
92 №83, p42-45
96 №10, p72/73Media:SSM_UK_10.pdf
97 №1996-11, p229Media:SSM_JP_19960712_1996-11.pdf
92 №, p9Media:SnGwSISDRZK Book JP.pdf
91 2005/1/11
Sega Saturn
Based on
25 reviews

Saturn, US
NiGHTS Saturn US Box Back.jpgNights sat us cover.jpg
Nights Saturn US Disc.jpg
Nightsintodreams sat us manual.pdf
Saturn, US (3D Control Pad)
3DAnalogGamePad NiGHTS US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngSaturn 80117 box-2.jpg
Nights Saturn US Disc.jpg
NiGHTS Saturn US Box Back CD.jpgNiGHTS Saturn US Box Front CD.jpg
Jewel Case
Saturn, EU
NiGHTS Saturn EU Box Older.jpg
Saturn, EU (newer)
Nights sat eu disc.jpg
Saturn, EU (3D Control Pad)
3DControlPad EU Box Back NiGHTS.jpgNospine-small.pngSaturn MK-80314 box-2.jpg
NiGHTsIntoDreams saturn eu backcover.jpgNightsBoxEU.jpg
Jewel Case
Saturn, JP
NiGHTS Saturn JP Box Back.jpgNights box jp.jpg
NiGHTSintoDreams Saturn JP Spinecard.jpg
Nights sat jp disc.jpg
NiGHTS Into Dreams Sega Saturn Japan Manual.pdf
NiGHTSintoDreams Saturn JP Box Inlay.jpg
Saturn, JP (3D Control Pad)
NiGHTS Into Dreams Sega Saturn JP Control Box Back.jpgNiGHTS Into Dreams Sega Saturn JP Control Box Front.jpg
Saturn, JP (Satakore)
NiGHTSintoDreams Saturn JP Box Back Satakore.jpgNights Saturn JP Box Front Satakore.jpg
NiGHTSintoDreams Saturn JP Spinecard Satakore.jpg
NiGHTSintoDreams Saturn JP Disc Satakore.jpg
NiGHTSintoDreams Saturn JP Box Inlay Satakore.jpg
Saturn, BR
Nights Sat BR backcover.jpgNospine.pngNights Sat BR cover.jpg
Saturn, KR
NiGHTS Saturn KR Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngNiGHTS Saturn KR Box Front.jpg
Saturn, KR (3D Control Pad)
3DControlPad Saturn KR Box Front NiGHTS.jpg

PlayStation 2 version

PlayStation 2, JP
NiGHTS PS2 JP Box.jpg
Nights ps2 jp disc.jpg
PlayStation 2, JP (Nightopia Dream Pack)
NiGHTS PS2 JP DreamPack back.jpgNospine-small.pngNiGHTS PS2 JP DreamPack front.jpg

External links


  1. Press release: 1996-08-12: $10 million "NiGHTS" launch is largest ever for Sega Saturn
  2. File:CVG UK 179.pdf, page 53
  3. File:CVG UK 193.pdf, page 57
  4. File:CVG UK 179.pdf, page 9
Games in the NiGHTS into Dreams Series
Sega Saturn NiGHTS into Dreams (1996) | Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams (1996)
LCD NiGHTS into Dreams (1997)
Sega Dreamcast Air NiGHTS (Canceled)
Wii NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams (2007)
Sony PlayStation 2 NiGHTS into Dreams (2008)
PCPlayStation 3 PlayStation NetworkXbox Live Arcade NiGHTS into Dreams (2012)
Sampler Discs
Sega Saturn NiGHTS into Dreams Sampler (1996)
NiGHTS into Dreams related media
Albums NiGHTS Theme Song: Dreams Dreams (1996) | NiGHTS Original Soundtrack (1996) | A NiGHTS Remix: Another Dreams (1997) | NiGHTS: Hoshi Furu Yoru no Monogatari Original Soundtrack (2008) | NiGHTS into Dreams: Perfect Album (2008) | NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams Game Soundtrack (2008)
Books NiGHTS Nice Night Tours (1996) | NiGHTS Kouryaku Guide (1996) | NiGHTS Koushiki Guide Book (1996) | NiGHTS Hisshou Kouryaku Hou‏‎ (1996) | NiGHTS: Tsubasa ga Nakute mo Sora wa Toberu (1996) | Prima's Secrets of the Games: NiGHTS into Dreams: The Official Strategy Guide (1996) | NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams Official Strategy Guide (2007) | NiGHTS: Hoshi Furu Yoru no Monogatari Dream Flight Guide (2007)
Film Sega Official Video Library Vol. 6: NiGHTS into Dreams (1996) | NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams: Behind the Scenes DVD (2007)