There is little else slipperier than the veil between consciousness and unconsciousness. Sure, we may experience them as two starkly different realities: one where you go to work everyday and eat a ham sandwich for lunch, the other where mutant crab-people want to feast on your delicious soul (true story). Yet despite these seemingly fixed polarities, our conscious and unconscious flirt with each other all day, influencing one another in unpredictable ways. Really, when you get down to it, there’s just information. And your brain’s limited capacity to process it all with your awareness.
And what I mean by all this is: our lives could very well be a sim running on some dude’s iPhone that explores the relationship between waking and dreaming. Maybe not probable, but definitely possible—in a thought-experiment kind of way.
In the 2D side-scroller Wake the Dreamer, you are responsible for the conscious and unconscious life of a single character. Developer Ali Sakhapour equates the real-time gameplay to Tamagotchi, since your character grows and prospers along side you from day to day. During waking hours, your character must navigate mundanities like living in a crappy apartment, working at a boring job, and exploring a city that could go on without you. But when unconsciousness seeps in, either at night or during naps, the world turns into a fantastical realm of peculiarities. As the trailer teases, Wake the Dreamer seems to be as much about number-crunching at your day job as it is about black-hole-like ruptures sucking you into the abyss.
Just like real-life brains, the choices your character makes in one mode has consequences on the other. So, who knows, maybe the mutant crab-people would just leave me alone if I just made better romantic decisions or something.
Sakhapour also says that the game was inspired by his very real fears of being a young adult after graduation. He hopes that, in a way, Wake the Dreamer will be an experience of empowerment for people who are told big dreams are just dreams.
You can go support the project through their freshly launched Kickstarter campaign.