Gaming in the Real World – Battling Your Dreams

Never too much of a good thing, huh? Here’s some advice on dealing with an odd side effect of your happy little hobby.

Do video game characters dream about us?!

I’m sure many of us have had that experience where we play a particular game so much (whether for so many hours in a single day or for so many days in a row or some combination of the two) that when we finally shuffle off to lay our head on our pillow that behind our eyelids plays scenes from the game. If you’re one who finds yourself attracted to the aural aspects of a game, perhaps the game’s BGM plays continuously in your head or you find yourself humming it to sleep. So when a game’s got you by the (subconscious) balls, here are a few ideas on how to handle it.

  1. Quit playing before bed. Now I know I’ve given somewhat opposite advice previously, but different situations require different actions. There’s nothing better for your mind than to put some mental distance between whatever’s invading your dreams and when you put yourself down to bed. It’s the same principle as when you watch a scary movie before getting some shut eye. For some people it’ll only cause nightmares (unless you’re like me and can’t stand to watch anything labeled ‘horror’, no matter what time of day you watch it weak).

  2. Quit playing the same game for hours on end. It seems pretty obvious, but if spending too much time on one thing brings a recurrence of it while you sleep, maybe you should find multiple games of interest. One hour here, two hours there. If you’re able to spread your time out over many different experiences, then you’ll be less likely to have one in particular stick with you. Now that’s not to say that the one you play just before bedtime won’t still be on your mind like a sort of mental parasite that feeds on your digitally imagined dreams (whether pixelated or artful CGI), but find a way to couple this step with #1 and you may have a winning combo.

  3. Quit sleeping. I have known a few gamers in my time who’ve dealt with insomnia, maybe it’s something you could consider taking up? Well, if your schedule doesn’t allow you to play video games at times of the day that aren’t night, then why not just give up sleep? It’s the next plausible solution, really: if you can’t keep the games from your sleep, then keep your sleep from the games . . . yeah . . . that makes sense, right?

  4. Quit playing video games (or at least slow down). I hate it every time I have to offer this piece of advice, but if dreaming about video games bothers you, perhaps this isn’t the hobby for you. Even if it’s Zelda chasing you down with the Master Sword or the Bubble Dragons doing their best to eat your fruit-filled body for extra points before you blink out of existence, when you find these made up characters infiltrating your subconscious, is it really such a bad thing?

    Unfortunately, if you’re the type of person that takes to video games so well that you’re playing for hours at a time, then you’re bound to deal with this dream issue. Unfortunately, being this type of person can also make it difficult to lessen your involvement in it and become more of a casual player. If you’re into video games, you’re into video games and they’re bound to take over your life in a way that only an unsupportive partner/family member can snap you out of. Good? Bad? That’s up to you (and a therapist) to decide.


  5. Quit your bitchin’. Man up and just deal with your nightmares (of course using Doki Doki Panic as your inspiration to defeating them could be a good idea . . . ooh, a dream of a game that’s a dream itself!). ‘Nuff said.

About Kyh

Kyh is a freelance writer with a love for video games and taking silly pictures of herself. Aside from her writing for the Punk Effect, she also does reviews and walkthroughs for Jay is Games.