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The Dreams (And Nightmares) Of A Gamer…

I've blogged about having video game themed dreams before, but I don't know that I have ever had as many in one night as I had last night. I don't recall eating anything spicy later in the evening, which is a surefire way for me to induce a wild night of subconscious visions. If anything, I think the dreams were the work of a movie I watched earlier in the evening - Red Lights.

Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away.

The movie had a couple of big names you might recognize - Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver. It was kind of a deep and thought provoking movie, and in one scene Robert De Niro's character talks about dreams, and how we often dream several times every night and we don't even know it. I'm not here to talk about the movie though, only that I think it's what caused me to dream or at least dream often and remember them.

The first dream is one that I'm sure many of you have probably had before. You dream you wake up late for work or school. Well, last night or early this morning I dreamed I stayed up way later than I normally do and woke up late. Now, I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can pretty much come and go as I please without checking in or out with anybody. I normally get to work early...because that's what I do...I get there between 7:00 and 7:30. I don't think my boss would really say anything if I rolled in at 8:00 or 8:30 but any later than that and he would probably wonder where I was. Well, in my dream I woke up at 10:00 AM. Nobody had called looking for me or to make sure I was alive. I was so mad at myself for sleeping late and wondered how I would explain it away. I couldn't exactly say I stayed up too late playing video games. It's funny because the dream caused me to actually wake up and I was laying there for a few minutes trying to drag my butt out of bed, when I finally realized it was Sunday and I wasn't late for work. I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to bed...just in time for the next dream to start.

The second one wasn't a dream as much as it was me remembering a recent video game event. I mean, I was asleep, because as the scene played out in my mind I was there watching it in person. I can't say too much because I know there are many people who are playing the game and haven't finished it yet. But the game was Halo 4 and the scene was perhaps the most memorable event of the game - almost dreamlike itself. The vivid details and Master Chief rendered in all of his majestic glory. The dream lasted as long as the scene from the game and when it ended, the dream was over. But the dreaming wasn't.

The next dream was really kind of weird. It was set in the game of Minecraft and I was like this omnipotent construction site foreman, capable of floating around the map as I evaluated the progress of various construction projects. I am tackling this rather lofty project of building a castle much like you would find in the Lord of the Rings movies. It's nestled away in the tops of some rather large and craggy mountain peaks with a river, some of it man made and some of it formed naturally, that runs around it. A project of this magnitude has a never ending list of tasks that must be accomplished. The guard towers need excavated and fortified; the field of wheat needs tilled and planted; tunnels connecting the various locations need dug out; a bridge spanning two particular mountain peaks needs built; the river bed needs dredged to make it deeper...and all of that is necessary before construction on the actual castle can begin. So, in the dream I was floating around as if I were assigning tasks to unseen workers or perhaps I was just taking mental notes of what needed to be done. The dream seemed to go on forever before the sun set behind the horizon and the creepers emerged from their hiding places...I entered my personal quarters, climbed into my little red bed, content I could do no more until the following day...

But the following day never came...just more dreams.

This was another short dream, much like the Halo one. As some of you know I am in the early stages of job hunting and of course the thought of working in the video game industry for a big name developer sounds dreamy, right (see what I did there)? Well, that's exactly what happened in this dream. If you know I'm job hunting, you also probably know that I am a huge Valve fanboy and would love nothing more than to be Gabe Newell's personal assistant. Well, that's kind of the nature of this dream. I don't know how Gabe discovered me...maybe I was stalking him or hanging outside the gates to his mansion with a cardboard sign that read "Will Work For Team Fortress 2 Hats"...all I know is he sent me an email, said he was going to take a chance with me, and we'd figure out a job for me after I got to the Valve headquarters and he showed me around. Trust me, this was one of those dreams that you know is a dream while it's happening. I didn't mind though...I enjoyed every minute of it.

This is where things started to get dark and nightmarish. I recently started playing Telltale Games - The Walking Dead. I don't want to say too much because I would like to blog about it more in the future...but let's just say the primary focus of the game, besides surviving the zombie apocalypse, seems to be the difficult choices you have to make that seem to be life and death decisions - somebody will live and somebody will die. The result makes for some very tense and stressful game play. In this particular dream, I was in the Walking Dead...not the comic book or TV adaptation. It was definitely the video game version. Some of the characters like Lee and Clementine were there (I've never read the comics, so I don't know if they're in them) and I had to make some fairly difficult decisions for the safety of the group and for my own wellbeing. I am surprised how emotionally draining the game can be, and this dream was no better. I got myself in a bad spot, and with my chances of survival quickly running out of options, I woke up. And was glad I did. I'd like to think I'm ready for the zombie apocalypse, but having lived through the initial outbreak in a dream, I definitely have some edits to make to my zombie survival plan (which has also inspired another potential blog idea).

Ah, the next one was funny, although it didn't seem like it at the time. Have you ever had a dream where it seems so real while it is happening, but when you wake up and think about it, it is absolutely ridiculous? Well, that was this dream. I played Team Fortress 2 for quite a while last night, and there were a couple of chaps who had me really fired up over their lame style of game play. Well, in my dream...I was with a team of people on a real no kidding version of 2Fort. We must've been playing something like paintball or were using some other non-lethal form of weaponry, because we weren't dying or really worried about shooting the other players. The opposing team was camping our spawn and none of my teammates were able to push free. Well, I remember telling a "heavy" armed with chain gun to spin that bad boy up because I was about to throw some jarate on the opposing team.

Okay, all stop.

Most of you probably don't play Team Fortress 2, so you have no idea what jarate is. Well, I'll tell you, or at least...show you.

Now, in my dream...this was serious business...only, when I threw the jarate and it got several of the bad guys all wet, next thing I know is this giant of a man walks over and he is mad as all get out. He has the jarate dripping off of his face and I can tell he's getting ready to pummel me...I proclaim my status as a peaceful and fun loving medic...which does little to squash his ire. Just when things are about to get physical...the alarm sounds that red just picked up blue's intel...and everybody scrambles to protect their side's interests. Later on, when I woke up and recalled throwing a jar of pee on the opposing team to gain a tactical advantage, I laughed at myself for ever thinking it "felt" real. How does our mind trick us into thinking something so ridiculous feels real? I'll never know...

The final dream of the night was part inspired from a movie and from a game. Earlier in the day, or maybe it was the previous day...the family and I watched the Expendables 2 (great movie by the way). One of the characters is armed with a Barrett sniper rifle, and the movie is fairly accurate with just how powerful the weapon truly is. Shortly thereafter I watched my son play some Black Ops II. I don't know the name of the map, but there is a severely damaged rocket in the center of it.  The map seemed pretty cool. He was totally dominating the round (was the top scorer for his team for the five rounds I watched him play) and it was on this rocket map where he pulled off an unbelievable across the map headshot...with his pistol. I know, I know...that's why so many people hate Black Ops...but it wasn't like that. This sniper was shooting at him and you could hear the rounds plinking next to him. He was strafing left and right while firing the pistol. He would get a hit marker here and there but the pesky sniper was determined to take him out. Well, he emptied a magazine or two and had gotten probably three hit markers and finally on the next hit, it flashed up that he got the kill...a headshot. In my dream, I found myself in a similar predicament...same map...but I was running up the dirt mounds around the rocket...getting shot at by this sniper. I didn't have a pistol though. I had a Barrett. And I didn't need two magazines to take out the sniper. I only needed one well-placed headshot. I ran around the map for a little while longer, but it was almost like I was a character in the Expendables 2. While all this was going on, I knew it was a dream and somewhere in my subconscious state, I had this idea for a side scrolling first person shooter...which doesn't sound plausible when you think about it...but it made sense in my dream. I woke up to jot the idea down in my phone, and who knows...maybe one day I'll blog about it so it will make more sense for you all.

It was then I noticed the alarm clock said 10:00 AM and for a split second I thought I was late for work again, but then I remembered...I didn't work today. Nothing like staying up playing video games, even if it does mean you're going to have some crazy and bizarre dreams. Who knows, maybe when I wake up tomorrow to start a new work week, I'll have an email from Gabe Newell asking me if I want to come work for Valve. Until then, I guess I'll just keep dreaming.

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before." Edgar Allan Poe

 

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