Happy sunshine land
Critics have often cast "Happy Sunshine Land" away as being nothing more than a nonsensical story devoid of any real interactivity or purpose. The truth is that if one is a little more patient and decides to explore the game in depth they will discover that Happy Sunshine Land is an allegorical tale that shows the player how one's world-view may be suddenly changed by a single event whilst growing up and how deeply this may affect someone by inducing feelings of helplessness when their world comes crashing down around them. The author's attention to detail and overall ability to write Dink addons has often been questioned by many after playing "Happy Sunshine Land" but hopefully the following paragraphs will help them understand that they are simply misinformed and unable to see the anguish and torture that the Dmod author has gone through to produce such a fine work of art.
Upon starting the game we are treated to a title screen with three buttons giving us a choice of starting the game, continuing the game, and quitting completely. The choice of the author to include the "continue" button when in fact there is no possibility of saving the game and continuing is a subtle message to the player that once someone has made an important decision they must follow through with it and that it is unlikely you will get a second chance to try again; there is no chance of a mulligan as there is in many sports such as golf. The background artwork is a childlike landscape that appears to be hand-drawn. The sun in the top left corner and the grass and sky taking up about 50% of the screen each attempts to fool the player into believing that they are in for a simplistic adventure devoid of any real challenges or hardships when in fact this could not be farther from the truth. The choice of the quit or start buttons means that one has the choice of either shirking off responsibility and forfeiting their chance of adventure or otherwise they must dive in head first and click the start button. The use of the exclamation mark on the title screen suggests that the world of "Happy Sunshine Land" is in fact a magical and exciting place. This helps assist in luring the potential player into exploring the world of "Happy Sunshine Land".
Immediately after clicking the start button the player is thrust into a world very similar to what is shown on the title screen. The difference is that the grass take up closer to two-thirds of available viewing space and we are of course given control of the player character, Dink, who is shown facing upwards staring wistfully at the sky. Also of note is the female non-player character wandering around. Most first-time players in the world of "Happy Sunshine Land" will often attempt to walk towards the sky as a sort of reality test. Their hopes are quickly dashed once they realise that they are unable to walk into the teal sky and must observe the laws of physics that mirror those in their own world. The jagged spikes of the bright green grass hints to the player that there may be some sort of hardship ahead, although for the most part this subtle warning is ignored and they will simply start talking to the female non-player character instead.
After pressing the space bar we learn that Mrs. Mason, the female non-player character is in fact very well on this "happy and sunny day" and that Dink is on his way to a tea party. From this interaction we can glean that both characters have a very positive outlook towards their world and wish to contribute positively towards each other's well-being. The player will likely conclude that Happy Sunshine Land is a completely wonderful place without hatred or any of the other pestilences that plague their own world. Although one may want to talk more with Mrs. Mason and further explore the strained and hidden Oedipal urges that Dink has towards Mrs. Mason they must instead move to the next screen and not consider the evils existing only a little below the surface that may taint Happy Sunshine Land.
On the next screen we see a knight non-player character idly strolling around. When we talk to Mr. POlice Officer (sic) we learn that he is on his morning patrol. At this point the player may become a little confused; why would a world like Happy Sunshine Land need a police force if the world is so incredibly happy all of the time? This apparent anomaly has been included by the author in order to present the player with the possibility that all is not as it seems, and that below the surface of Happy Sunshine Land there exists a horrible world of evil. Also of note is the excessive use of commas in the dialogue and the changing of the text's colour. The commas may appear to be merely sloppy spelling and grammar but they indicate the officer's anxiety and hesitance with the changing text colour suggesting a change in voice modulation such as pitch, tone, or volume. The officer knows what awaits Dink at his "tea party" but instead decides to turn a blind eye and choose negligence over possible confrontation.
When the screen changes after walking past the policeman we notice a bug, a typical enemy, crawling around. In most places that are not Happy Sunshine Land this sort of creature would typically be trying to kill you, but instead he is just a friendly pet bug as indicated by his lack of any damage when walking through him. We learn that Mr. Pillbug is temporarily visiting Happy Sunshine Land and will soon return to his owner. Note that the author's handle is also "Pillbug" and therefore it is obvious to infer that the character of Mr. Pillbug is additionally the voice of the game's author and not simply a standard non-player character. The fact that he is temporarily visiting suggests that the author of the game is often experiencing great anguish and pain in his daily life and that by exploring his own personal "Happy Sunshine Land" he may experience true happiness for a short while before he must return to his "owner" which in this case consists of the shackles of modern society. These brief experiences of true happiness are suggested by the line "Well, while I'm still here have a nice day!" which makes one realise that Mr. Pillbug's stay in Happy Sunshine Land is not as long as he would like it to be. The apparently shallowness of the interaction between Dink and Mr. Pillbug shows that the author is often too scared to show that he feels limited by the bonds of modern life and would prefer a more permanent escape. Note that in most Dmods, pillbugs are a staple enemy and are frequently killed by Dink for fun. This shows that the author often experiences being beaten up in his real life by various antagonists and that his escapes to Happy Sunshine Land offer him a temporary reprieve. Note that no non-player characters seem to react after being punched by Dink. This suggests that Dink has been constructed as a childlike character who is too weak to do any real physical damage to another in this magical world of Happy Sunshine Land.
On the subsequent screen we see a table and a man sitting at the table. The music has changed from being a slow and nostalgic piece to being some sort of satanic, guitar-driven composition which completely changes the mood of the game. Dink starts walking towards the table for the tea party, but even when faced with the horrible truth, the truth that there is no tea party and that he is going to die, he refuses to believe it and still is incredibly friendly towards the bringer of his impending doom. This demon at the table suggests that the end of Dink's tale is a biblical story of how one loses their innocence when faced with an event that changes one's world view. The demon laughs at Dink's naivete and casts a variety of spells that kill him outright and send the player back to the title screen. Dink is alone when he dies. Mrs. Mason, Mr. Pillbug and the policeman are nowhere to be seen despite their apparently helpful and positive nature. The player is left with a sense of anger, futility, and defeat which often culminates in a negative reaction. This is intentional and is designed to show the player that not every story turns out with a happy ending. Alternately one may view the final encounter as a sort of conspiracy theory in which the nameless demon is in fact the owner of Mr. Pillbug, while Mrs. Mason is his succubus wife. All are knowingly leading Dink to his doom with the only winning move being not to play. The return to the title screen after Dink's death is a nod towards this, as the ultimate message from "Happy Sunshine Land" is that every action is futile and that external influences are far greater than your own personal abilities at influencing yourself. This nihilistic outlook hides behind the façade of fluorescent green grass and a teal sky and signifies the author's true outlook on life and ultimately how he perceives himself.
Overall "Happy Sunshine Land" is a Bildungsroman of epic proportions in which a naive young man visits a tea party and dies. Although many have been critical of its brevity, this is yet another technique that the author has used to portray how quickly destruction may occur and attempts to teach the player a lesson about why it is important to be vigilant and perceptive of one's environment. Many have mocked this game for being shallow and poorly made but this should not be attempted as you are simply contributing to the negativity that the author has experienced in his life and it may drive him further into his depression and self-hatred. There is a sequel in the making meaning that we will hopefully have yet another chance to explore the murky depths of the author's mind and how he deals with his own personal demons in his day-to-day life.