Dark Seed is an adventure game developed by Cyberdreams, Inc and published by GAGA Communications, Inc in 1992. The game heavily uses artwork by H.R. Giger, famously known for his design of the Alien from the Alien Franchise. The game features the normal world and a dark world counterpart. It was one of the first adventure games to use high-resolution graphics (640 pixels wide) to the demand of H.R. Giger.
In the game, players control Mike Dawson (named after the game's lead designer), an ad company manager who hates his job and pursues his goal in life to become a writer. Mike Dawson purchases a solitary mansion in a small town called Woodland Hills. Although the low cost and hush-hush transactions when purchasing the house do raise Mike's suspicion, the solitary environment and sheer beauty of the house crush common sense and he decides to buy the house. Upon reaching the house, Mike suddenly feels tired and finds a bed, proceeding to fall asleep, only to find himself in a nightmare, unable to wake up.
The nightmare seems to create a version of his life and has turned it into a world of terror. An unknown source has implanted a seed of darkness in Mike's mind, and he only has three days to find a way to stop it.
The game was released for the Amiga, Amiga CD32, PC (Dos), Macintosh, Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Both the console versions, the Sega Saturn and PlayStation ports, were only released in Japan, with the Saturn version being compatible with the Sega Saturn Mouse. There was also a version developed for the Sega Mega-CD and was even promoted for American release, but publisher Vic Tokai never released it. An unlicensed version was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in Chinese.
Unlike most adventure games at the time, which give the player time to explore the environment, almost every action in Dark Seed has to fall within precise time limits, or the game will end up being in an unwinnable state. Due to the game frequently crashing, the player would often have to start over to win without resorting to a walk through for the game.
Soon after the game was released, there was an urban legend that spread around that because of the intense pressure of designing Dark Seed, the game's lead designer, Mike Dawson, had a mental breakdown. In actuality, Mike Dawson left the games industry after completing Dark Seed and moved into writing for television until the late 1990's before writing two books on programming (Beginning C Game Programming and Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner) and teaching game design and programming classes at Stanford University and UCLA.