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A Gamer's Dream

Dreamed around 2002/03/05 by Mark Nelson

This dream is full of elements borrowed from games I've played and films I've seen. In fact it was like a collage. The footnotes list the images I recognized as borrowed.


I was in a convoy of cars and large trucks going down into a quarry1 towards a factory at the bottom. But when I reached the bottom of the slope, I found myself in a large canyon2 and turning left into it.

Suddenly I was flying along it in a small plane3. People were everywhere in the canyon cheering for me. I flew over a group of them on a catwalk bridging the canyon4. After I cleared the catwalk I followed the canyon as it curved to the right, until I found myself without a plane on the ground near a giant starfish--10' tall and 50' wide (3 meters by 15 m). I was being pulled toward its mouth.

Then I found my self back in time, at the point where I first got the plane. I flew the same route as before--over the catwalk, to the right, and back on the ground by the giant starfish... except this time, I asked it "Are you going to eat me?"

I heard no voice, but its answer entered my mind: "I won't..." But I didn't trust it.

Cross-section sketch by Mark Nelson of a factory explored in a dream. It's part firestation, part fortress, with a moat, underground tunnels, fire poles and ladders.
Again I found myself in a new scene, inside that factory in the quarry. It was full of people, and a few of them were my family. The room we were in had three large rectangular holes in the middle5 I went to the next room, and lying on a table/platform was a girl who seemed like Lara Croft6.

Suddenly I time-jumped back to the first room again, but now it was empty. Lara wasn't in the second room, either. But the room changed! Now my family was in the room but there was a 'need' to evacuate. On the left was a control panel for what looked like a retractable bridge with a basket, over a large hole in the floor. I'm not sure how, but I operated the mechanism and got across the hole with everyone else. When I looked back, I saw we had crossed on a fire truck. Now, at the bottom of the hole, about 25' (7-8 m) beneath us, was a river of lava! It was melting the truck and pulling the boom away from us7. But now we were in the bays of a large fire station with MANY trucks8. A mini-Skedar, an attacker in the Nintendo game 'Perfect Dark'.

We got lost for a little bit, and I found myself on the far left side of the bays, opposite where we came in, near a S.C.B.A. airtank filling station (for the breathing masks firemen use). I found my way back to the right side where the others were, and got them to go up an access ramp into a large air vent9 about seven feet wide and tall (2 m). There we found a room with poles going to the ceiling from the floor. But around a corner farther inside the vent, running toward us, are three or four figures about ten inches tall (25 cm). They're mini-Skedar10 (see picture, right).

I tell everyone "Climb the poles!" They all do, except my little sister, who can't. Just as a Skedar jumps at her, I reach down and pick her up, saving her (just in time, again!)

Then, for the last seconds of my dream, I think "What I can do now to get out of here?"


  1. Quarry: from a show on Discovery Kids Channel
  2. Canyon: from a map in a game called Powerslide
  3. Small plane: from the Disney movie Atlantis, at the bottom of the volcano
  4. Catwalk: from a Nintendo 64 game called San Francisco RUSH: 2049
  5. Room with holes: from a game called Descent
  6. Lara Croft: from the game Tomb Raider, of course
  7. Lava, melting firetruck and the made it just in time idea: from the movie Volcano
  8. Fire station: I've worked at a fire station and one of my parents is a firefighter.
  9. Attack in the air vents: from a game called Half-Life--headcrabs attack the player from dark vents
  10. Skedar: bad aliens from the Nintendo 64 game Perfect Dark. Most Skedar are 5 feet tall, but these mini-Skedar are in the game too.


--Mark Nelson


I'm not sure what this dream means either. I'm not sure it's about meaning. It may be about practice--or exercise. Seems like your unconscious shares your interest in games, but it plays for real! Dreams like this build your alertness, focus, and decisiveness. Like pumping iron, but the muscles you're building are behavioral.

This isn't a new idea; many researchers have argued that not all dreams are symbolic: some give your emotions or nervous system a workout, any old way they can. I'd guess emotions aren't the point here--your tone is matter-of-fact, not nightmarish. Assess problems and act fast! Skills needed by cops, emergency room workers, soldiers... and firefighters.

So I'm guessing such skills matter to you in both work and play, and that dreams like this are simply what they seem: decision-practice. Survival practice! And dream-experiments with pianists and basketball players suggest that dream-practice counts as much as the real thing. Except it hurts less when you fall in the lava.

--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: games - sports - play - movies - TV - flying - time travel - aliens - monsters - mazes - fire - volcanoes - self-defense - siblings - rescues! - kids' dreams - Two more dreams out to tone you up, not teach you: Adrenaline Hall and Mouse Workout - two very different gaming dreams: New Level! and I Turned Off Jesus

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