This is a very interesting letter I just got from a long time gamer explicating how he sees the connections between his gaming and dreams. I was impressed by his insight and especially the point about if too like the real world it gets harder – i’d really like to hear from gamer readers if their experiences echo this young man’s:
I’ve been able to control my dreams at a very young age (around 8 years old) and I was never able to explain people how it worked. My brother had very bad nightmares (he his younger than me) and he was the only one in my family (except from me) to be able to control his dreams. I’ve often wondered why the two of us were different than the others but I had never thought of what you are suggesting: we are both the only gamers in the family.
The two of us were exposed to videogames around 3 years before developing the ability to control our dreams.
As mentioned in this article, the only way that we were able to modify the dream world was by controlling our dream avatar. I tried for the past 25 years to control the dream environment without using my avatar without success. The only thing that I’ve been able to achieve was to summon any kind of objects in my hands. I guess that the fact that most of them were weapons can be explained by the influence of video games.
Another interesting part of the article mentions the ability to withstand higher levels of aggression and fear. Unlike the potential war veterans that could join your study in the future, I had to opportunity to control my dreams prior to some events that could have been traumatizing. As a student, I was working in a grocery store and we got robbed a few times. Twice I had a gun pointed at my head at very close range. Many of the employees were in a state of shock after the incidents (even if they were less involved than I was) but I wasn’t. Maybe all that exposure to video games and being able to control my dreams and confront nightmares actually helped me to get through a very difficult situation without trauma.
All of this makes me think of something else. What if we were able to create video games where we do stuff that doesn’t necessarily involve fighting nightmares. It could be very interesting if we could gain control over our dreams to increase our awareness to other things, or to enhance the way that we learn new abilities.
One problem that I have with that is that the more realistic the dream is, the hardest it is for me to gain control over the dream. If I dream about myself sitting in a classroom doing some mathematics, I’m going to struggle much more to gain control over what is happening than if I’m just fighting monsters.
Thanks a lot for giving me more answers about what is happening and more importantly on how it is happening.