I have just about finished attending two gaming conferences, Games for Health and Canadian Game Studies. There are more and more gaming and related conferences occurring beyond GDC in San Francisco. The questions that have come up for me that I hope get addressed include ones I was asked about at each conference and in a meeting with a couple of dream researcher colleagues:
1. What is the mechanism that seems to allow game like strategies to be introduced and adapted for the challenges thrown at the dreamer while in the dream? Well seems to me it’s practice so much so that well learned behaviors become automatic in appropriate situations whether awake or asleep. This is a no brainer from the perspective of the game effects literature but not quite so straightforward in dreams. While yes dreams are where new information gets knit into the fabric of your memory systems, and where emotions are sorted out and especially negative ones coped with, there is a ton of waking stimuli that the dreamer is exposed to every day. So why specific game information?
2. Then relatedly, what about games is salient enough to get integrated into dreams? Is there a difference between game types and dream incorporation? If so what does that mean? If not what does that mean? I’ve basically just looked at overall high end play versus low end but that won’t do any longer, our lab needs to consider a more refined approach.
3. What about sleep onset mentation? Might more direct incorporation occur there? It should, but does it?
4. How are games being used to not only protect against nightmares but to dull the stresses of daily life? Is such play therapeutic? Some evidence for casual game play seems to indicate that but what about for the more “hard core” games?