RPS Countdown: To Sleep, Perchance to Game…

It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve decided it’s time to cravenly submit to the dominant form of critical discourse in the early twenty-first century. That is, list features. However, as is our wont, we will subvert the form as best we can. Which isn’t very best at all, but we’re trying, no, really, we’re trying. (“very best at all”? – Ed)

Anyway – for our first countdown we decided… well, everyone talks about occasionally dreaming of a game. But what happens in those dreams? There’s the question. So we sent a mail around at RPS, and ended up with a selection of dreams. Not as many as we’d have thought, but it seems that people tend to forget dreams when they wake up. No, really. Anyway, enough were gathered to make a list of sorts and hopefully prompt people to tell us about their own game-dreams in the comments thread. We promise the forthcoming Toilets In Games Countdown UltroMegaFeature will be incredible. Probably. Anyway, to start it off, let’s have a picture of splendid dream-based (yet non-featured) videogame Psychonauts to liven up this texty entry…

No-one dreams about me. I'm very sad.

And on with the count-down.

11) “Bollocks. I had an Ultima Online one and can’t remember it.” [Meer]

10) “A few nights ago I was snowboarding in a dream. Except it wasn’t real snowboarding, it was videogame snowboarding. I set off down this pretty much vertical slope, which was packed full with snow drifts, in a mass of enormously impressive particle effects. Problem being, of course, I couldn’t see anything, and was turning blind and it wasn’t handling at all. I ended up comparing it unfavorably to console games SSX and Amped and wished people didn’t release such second rate stuff on the PC.” [Gillen]

9) “I’ve had multiple World of Warcraft wish fulfillment dreams (ultra-dagger drops off boggo vulture, someone gives me 2000g for an epic flying mount…), which I’m suitably ashamed of.” [Meer]

8) “I had a Puzzle Quest dream recently. Nothing else. Just A Puzzle Quest Screen floating before me, and I was playing it. It was kind of in a semi-lucid state, so could move stuff around. Clearly, I woke up in a cold sweat.” [Gillen]

7) “I had a dream about Bioshock a couple of nights ago. It was me and a girl in a bathysphere going down, except the bathysphere was cylindrical like a torpedo and it just kept sinking further and further. And further. Until eventually it starting hitting things beneath us and bouncing about and I started fervently believing I was going to die.” [Quinns]

6) “Last week I was dreaming the 3D rotational map from Eve Online. I discovered a new region, with stations I’d not visited before. I moved the corporation there and we lived happily ever after.” [Rossignol]

5) “Okay, this isn’t about any specific game, but I was stuck in some kind of roleplaying game situation. Fantasy kingdom sort of thing, but very cutsie. I had to do some simple task, but to do that I realise I needed a certain tool. To get the tool, I had to do a quest for someone else, which required another too and… well, it went on for a bit, until I actually thought “I’m sick to fucking death of faux-Miyamoto Zelda-esque quest structuring bullshit” and woke up in protest.” [Gillen]

4) “There was the Bioshock one i had in Vancouver. Wandering around a flooded ballroom with a decapitated corpse sat at a piano. Splicers dropped through the ceiling and I woke up terrified. It was part of a longer dream but that’s the only scene I can recall. Oh – the song from Fallout 3I Don’t Want To Set The World on Fire by The Inkspots – was playing in the background, and suitably haunting.” [ Meer]

3) “The details are vague, but I was inside Crysis. Not playing it externally, but seemingly playing it by actually being there. And it was lots of fun, seemed really good, right up until we were (I didn’t seem to be alone – perhaps it offered co-op?) attacking the giant alien things, and I remember thinking, “This is boring now.” Dream, or PROPHECY? We shall see.” [Walker]

2) “Argh. There was the Silent Hill inspired dream. It started normally. I was told to babysit my 2-year-old niece in my sister’s big house. Except as I chased my niece around she was always just disappearing around the next corner, her back always to me. I chased her up to the attic where I had to crawl through a tiny hole, then followed as she disappeared around a spiraling corridor with grey walls. I remember the grey walls. In the centre of the spiral my niece had stopped running, and was turned around to face me as I rounded the final corner. And as she stared at me, I saw that she didn’t have her skin on.” [Quinns]

1) “As an obsessed Quake dude I would dream about Quake sessions where the avatars had the real, human heads of their players. I would also dream up real heads for players who were important in my online games, but I had never met, and only had a game/IRC impression of. I sometimes wonder if their dream heads were anything like their real heads.” [Rossignol]

Have you had any freaky-headed Quake-dude dreams recently, readers?


  1. Kelduum says:

    You guys are clearly mental.

    However, after playing Portal for the last 6 hours solid, I may find myself joining you soon…

  2. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I do remember a particularly unexpected game crash in Alien vs Predator so Twilight Zoneish that it gave me the chills and had me reluctant to go to sleep, but dreams… Can’t really remember the latest.

  3. Winterborn says:

    When I used to play WoW I often dreamed I had an extra 60. It happened so often I’d get confused when I woke up and think ‘awesome, I should go play my 60 rogue’ and be really disappointed when I remembered that I had none.

    Had a few of the loot dreams also. Very sad.

  4. Alex says:

    Eons ago, back when I had a WoW account, I dreamt I was fighting with my girlfriend.

    She shrieked and harped and was actually making some really good points, so I iceblocked…..

  5. Bobsy says:

    Despite my best efforts, I have never had a dream about a game. Evor.

  6. Alexander says:

    Oh I remember having had many a dream about videogames..

    The question of course is whether you are psychofied associate to and remember the dream as being inspired by videogames, or when reality and delusion are so tightly woven together one does not even remember the dream as being inspired by a videogame.

  7. Alexander says:

    that is associating / remembering of course.. darn, early morning.

  8. Iain says:

    I dream about games all the time. Baldur’s Gate, Half-Life 2, World of Warcraft, Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, UFO: Enemy Unknown, Star Wars: Supremacy, Haegemonia: Legions of Iron… you name it, I’ve probably dreamt it.

    Typically the dreams aren’t “themed” as a game as such, they’re actually rendered in the graphics engine of the game. And things get kind of surreal when you sense you’re actually moving the avatar (your in-dream consciousness) in your dream using brain-based mouse-clicks and keyboard-presses… but the weirdest thing is when a dream shifts from one game to another and suddenly a dream that was in 1280×1024 anti-alias-o-vision (KotoR, say) switches to 320×240 VGA-o-rama (UFO), and you think – “I really need a better graphics card…”

  9. JVGP100 (Katsumoto) says:

    I literally dreamt of nothing other than Warcraft for about 10 months. It was fairly disturbing, but then as soon as I woke up i’d go and log into ironforge, so it was more like an extension of what I was doing in real life anyway. Ah, university! I miss those days!

    Once when I was about 15, I had a really messed up dream. I was in Duke Nukem Forever, and one of those naked women covered in the green stuff turned out to be the alien queen. And yes, I had sex with her.

  10. Robert Seddon says:

    There’s also the ‘finding hidden level/Easter Egg/miscellaneous imagined secret’ genre; bonus points if you have to confirm it’s imaginary having woken up. A friend of mine once spent ages toying with a jukebox-type program on the C64, convinced that she’d once found a game of some sort hidden therein, before giving up with the thought that there was that time she’d fallen asleep in front of the computer…

  11. GibletHead2000 says:

    I once dreamt I built a plane in ATITD, about four nights straight. Damn MMOs.

  12. dartt says:

    When TF2 was released a few weeks ago I played it all day and then couldn’t get it out of my head when I was trying to sleep. I’d keep waking up thinking someone was sending me a message on Steam and when I dozed back off again I’d get stuck in a constant loop of respawning and charging to my death.

  13. icabod says:

    A long while ago I had a dream set in-and-around the Hells Kitchen sections of Deus Ex. I don’t recall what happened in the dream, only the setting. I don’t think I was doing anything particularly Deus Ex-y, just hanging around the Ton Hotel.
    I guess I played that part of the game a little too much, eh?

  14. fattakin says:

    After LAN parties i have trouble getting to sleep obviously – my mind replays the best maps / runs my team have made. Lying with eyes closed, replaying map after map, corridors and MP40’s for hours. Sometimes i’ll have brainwave and find perfect spots for deploying MG-42’s and the next time i play i’ll check them out and find it was a great idea after all.

  15. LowLife says:

    I had 100th of Civilizationish dreams. After playing CiV 1, 2, 3, 4 or Alpha Centauri for 15 hours straight my dreams are often some kind of turn based. Everything is on a grid, you have to develop some stuff. Thats always really wired.

    Its like you programm something all weekend and suddenly you see sourcecode in your dreams and try to debug your dream problems.

  16. Pidesco says:

    Like lowlife, above, I have also had many Civilization dreams. Sometimes I’m playing the game, sometimes I’m in the game. These dreams, of course, usually happen when I’ve gone to bed at 4 AM on a work day due to the Civ addiction.

    Also, disappointingly enough, I’ve never had a FPS dream. I want to dream of SHODAN dammit!

  17. simonkaye says:

    I had a series of Thief dreams a few years ago. A sort of steam-punk version of my home town with gas lamps and stomping Metal Age robots for me to avoid. Absolutely horrifying. Also, if anyone at all remembers time-travel space-sim ‘Millennia: Altered Destinies’, that dominated my subconscious for a good six months in its time.

    Someone should totally do a retrospective on Millennia. If only there was a site that did that kind of thing.

  18. wrshamilton says:

    I don’t know if it counts, but I’ve never consumed hallucinogenic materials without experiencing an unending field of 8-bit tetrominoes.

  19. Mr Blackett says:

    I was hiding under a bush in Operation Flashpoint. Three Spetsnaz officers walked within feet of my position. My stomach turned and my heart raced. When the opportunity came I shot out their ankles with the reticule in the centre of my eyeballs. It didn’t seem quite so realistic after that.

  20. PlasmaWrath says:

    At a LAN recently, I’d been played FAR too much DDR, and had been playing a bit too much Team Fortress 2 before I got there, so I dreamed of the TF2 characters dancing DDR. Crazy? Yep, quite crazy.

  21. Alan Au says:

    Surely, everyone has had the Tetris dream at one time or another, right? Also, this has nothing to do with the Soviet plot to destroy America’s productivity through addictive videogames. Nope, nothing whatsoever. In fact, forget I mentioned it.

  22. Miles says:

    I once dreamed an AWESOME MMO version of Far Cry/Crysis. My team spent a long time setting up an elaborate ambush then waiting for it to get dark before executing it. We captured something or other and then the game crashed. Which, as it was one of those IN the game rather than PLAYING the game things, was fucking terrifying.

    Oh I had another one once where I’d just got Half-Life 2 but I had to uninstall some other game off my PC to fit it on. But to uninstall this other game I had to play a minigame where you fly a zepplin around a dessert killing Final Fantasy characthers with your laser cannon.

  23. crotchy says:

    How odd. Just last night I had a Castlevania dream, only Dracula appeared to have taken residence in what appeared to be a modified version of the local leisure centre I went to in my early teens. Those crazy vampires! I also remember some guff about moon keys that I’m sure Dracula ripped off of a Resident Evil game. Even in my dreams he is derivative.

  24. Rock, Paper, Shotgun » Blog Archive » And You May Have Missed… says:

    […] John Walker dresses up as a wizard, stands in Bath city centre and tries to give people quests. RPS Countdown: Perchance to Dream: A top 11 of recent dreams the RPS peeps have had. Psychologists, notepads ready. Project […]

  25. Amashire says:

    I’ve had several based on video games, but I’ll just take the two I remember the best.

    I was sitting on a chair outside, the world was great, and I was playing Tetris on my GBC.
    Then I woke up to the world where my GBC is gone.
    While I was playing, that was some of the happiest moments in my life.

    Other than that, I once had a RPG-ish dream (wich featured characters from both several FF-games as well as Tales of Symphonia and Golden Sun).
    I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember saying “Feck it, let Isaac rescue the world. Im off joining the bandits or something, that’s at least profitable.” when I realized that rescuing the world didn’t get me any potions.
    I wanted Mia to join me too… :(

  26. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I had a dream last night where the RPS hive mind decided that they’d replace all instances of humour in their posts with bile-filled invective. I think I woke up just as I was about to express my dismay.

    The whole thing was really rather peculiar; I think that’s the last time I’ll be browsing RPS late at night.

  27. Rock, Paper, Birthday: We Are One | Rock, Paper, Shotgun says:

    […] John Walker dresses up as a wizard, stands in Bath city centre and tries to give people quests. RPS Countdown: Perchance to Dream: A top 11 of recent dreams the RPS peeps have had. Psychologists, notepads ready. Project […]

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