It’s rather amusing that a digital media designed to take you out of reality often goes out its own reality to further the plot or introduce a fantastic and often unusual environment. Truth be told is it happens far more than you think and sometimes entire games are dedicated to dreams themselves. So to celebrate our new name “The DreamCage” I have taken sometime to filter out the various shrapnel metals, sand and debris to see what golden nuggets are left over. These nuggets however cannot be mere jump scares or bizarre metaphors, they need to add something to the story. To that end I’ll announce the SPOILER ALERT. You have been warned
5 - Bastion - The Stranger’s DLC
One of the first games I ever reviewed still impresses me to this day. Bastion is one of those unique narrative genres which still makes me smile when playing it. However, many of the people who flash finished the game upon its initial release may not know that there is a “DLC”. I use quotation marks as the beautiful people of SuperGiant Games released it as an update rather than an additional purchase. It not only gave you MORE gameplay in an already beautiful game it revealed more lore surrounding the calamity and better understanding of the famous narrator. Anything which adds more to a very well received and unique title like Bastion brings me immense joy.
4 - Dragon Age: Origins - The Fade
Heroes and Inquisitors alike will remember The Fade is another realm of reality where demons of various virtues (Or lack thereof) frolic free and attempt to enter into the physical world through the mind of mages. Often demons will continue the environment around them in attempts manipulate, scare, trick or even sexually bribe their hapless naive victims. What makes this unique is that the Dragon Age lore states everyone enters this place when they dream, that dreaming is dropping into another reality where physical existence doesn’t matter and thus can be manipulated by those of strong will. It’s not a complicated concept on its own but it is a backstory for a lot of quests throughout the Dragon Age series and provides great plot development for almost every mage. Abominations must be purged after all… Whatever they look like.
3 - The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Lee in the RV
This game is possibly one of my favourites so when I saw another chance to plug it I had to do so. After the horrific choice of shooting Lee or letting him rot/turn chained to a radiator you are forced to relive a scene from the 1st Season as Clem tries to remember what is important to her. The game playfully reminds you of your choices made, reminders you why Clem mentions Lee so often and why you loved the game in the first place. It’s a short-lived moment but it tugs on the heart strings in an already emotionally charged game. It also gently taps our should to remind us how fragile and frankly human Clem really is. In a game which continuously forces you to move forward like Dory on speed it’s a clever way to introduce a slight bit of whimsy in an otherwise horrific reality.
2 - Mass Effect 3 - THAT Child
Mass Effect had a long running battle with hallucinations following Shepperd’s rather stupid caress of a giant alien spire. While it turned out to be a universe saving decision it had a long lasting effect, as the series progresses you have less outright hallucinations but instead it focuses on that one child you can never reach. While technically a real-life computer program entity known as the Catalyst this 10 year old kept us guessing until the climatic finish to the a phenomenal franchise. The way this child seems to interact with your character is through the reoccurring dream sequence where every dream bring you slightly closer to the child. It’s an interesting diversion to the galactic politics and kicking space ass without completely derailing the storyline in another direction. While it’s easy to dismiss this child due to the horrific pre-patch 3 choice finales I still think the dream itself added yet another strong sub-plot to the magnificent space opera that is Mass Effect.
1 – Fallout 3 - Tranquillity Lane
This one was a bit of Nightmare Fuel for me. I spent a good portion of time playing Fallout 3 following it’s release. While hunting for your Father through the nuclear wasteland you will eventually happened to come by Tranquillity Lane. Sadly for me this happened late at night while I was barely functioning as a human being leading me to become paranoid and a little bit frightened. This digital/dream world setup by Vault-Tec was a method of surviving the nuclear apocalypse OR further sadistic experiments by the notorious Vault-Tec company. It takes place in a black and white Smallville like cul-de-sac where everything seems slightly… off. Throughout this brief episode, you must either torture random people for the entertainment of a tiny female child psychopath or f*ck the system and break the world wide open causing Betty to talk like a 90 year old German scientist. While this is technically called a virtual reality the whole scene, process and gameplay works like a dream sequence and is far too entertaining not to include. Additionally, it’s my Top 5 and I can do what I want. I AM DRUNK WITH POWER (Which is ironic if you’ve visited Tranquillity Lane…)
And that’s my decision for the day. You could question my supreme logic but I am now controlling your world through a cleverly placed microchip inserted into your brain stem after eating your very first bowl of frosted shreddies. If you cannot find it then don’t worry, you can only find it if I ALLOW you to find it. That or this orange juice I am drinking has fermented into alcohol… I can’t be sure.
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Images - Steam/Wikia