Game mechanics that help us cope

Hey Everyone,

I had a surreal experience last night where a game mechanic actually helped me process and reconcile a traumatic event. I was in a pretty severe car wreck yesterday after moving to new new state only 4 days ago. I rear-ended someone, their truck is fine and my car is likely beyond repair. Thankfully everyone walked away with absolutely no injuries.

After the dust settled and I fell asleep, I had an extremely vivid dream. In this dream I was reliving the accident. I felt the impact from the collision and my neck tense up as though it were happening again. When the car com to rest in my dream everything paused and i saw a videogame like prompt in my peripheral vision reminiscent of what one would see in games of the Forza series.

The text said, “press the back button to rewind.” Time stepped back a few seconds to a moment prior to the point of no return. I was able to avoid the crash and then woke up immediately after. The Forza time mechanic appeared in my dream,demonstrating that things could have gone differently. The true reality is of course that life does not have a rewind button but having that dream gave me some comfort in because it demonstrated that this crash was a learning experience.

Can anyone else think of experiences similar to this? Have game mechanics, appeared in dreams, or even other waking experiences that you can think of?


Hmm…not really in a dream but after playing games like Telltale’s Walking Dead and Mass Effect, I tend to think of conversations (especially ones with supervisors or higher ups at work) as dialog trees where there is a “paragon” option that would make you sound good, a neutral option that neither hurts nor helps, and a “renegade” option that would sound bad and hurt your chances of promotion.

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I used to have really horrible nightmares in school as a side effect of the stress. It usually involved dogs or other creatures chasing me through narrow hallways and stairs. I would usually wake up in a start just as I felt the teeth close on my leg or foot.

Several years later after finishing training, the nightmares finally started to die down. I’m sure there were various reasons for that, but I distinctly remember a fragment of one dream where I was able to fight back against the pursuers. I was able to move to an “inventory” screen where I was able to pick a weapon on a cursor and equip it onto a paperdoll style equip screen. I fought off the monsters in that dream.

Even to this day, I get the recurring dream of being chased. But sometimes I remember to equip a weapon, and I can avoid the nightmare ending at least some of the time. Thank god for RPGs.