Postmodern Arcade Dream Games -or- The Who's Pinball Wizard

Play, Games and Dream Vision -or- Homo Ludens in Postmodernism  

Anyone observing children can quickly see that one of their most important motivations is the desire to play. "Homo Ludens" (Man the Player) by Johann Huizinga stands as theoretical, conceptual, and historical monument of the pervasive aspects of play found in everyday life and culture. Play psychologically drives most of our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and dreams. Play like dreaming has been built into our genetic evolution, while what we call games are for the most part cultural productions. Play and games have been universal cultural phenomena. Today we live in an age where the distinctions between reality, play fantasy and dream have become blurred, this psychological age has been called "postmodernism".

As a child and adolescent, I often played at arcades, where I enjoyed playing "pinball". For those who like popular music The Who's "Pinball Wizard" (watch music video) fits the sentiment of playing pinball. Below is a dream that speaks about being at the arcade. 

Here is a dream; 

Vivian, 21 

I dreamed I'm in a strange town with some familiar persons (don't exactly remember who are they) with me. We keep on hiding from house to house (the place is so dark) because zombies are chasing us until we gone out of the house and then all of the zombies follow us until we reached a building with arcade machines. It suddenly came to my mind that we have to decode something in the arcade machine to stop the zombies from chasing us, and we did, I actually did. Then we just stayed in the arcade building and played like nothing has happened. 

Zombieland -or- Playing, Defamiliarization and the Arcade Influencing Machine 

You find yourself with familiar people, yet in a strange town, one that is clearly infested with zombie's. Via the artistic concept of "defamiliarization", (what you call "strange") in the theatre of your "mind's eye", you can let your arcade zombie fantasy go wild. Said differently, the arcade machine interfaces with your mind's eye to allow you to imagine a zombie phantasmagoria

Once your "dreaming mind" realizes in the dream, that the arcade machine is an "influencing machine", you have gained control over your mind's eye. By programming the narrative "codes"  of your imagination, your dreaming mind takes control over its own "virtual" zombie productions. Then things go back to normal, as if "nothing had happened". It's like the "holodecks"  (simulated reality of the dream) of Star Trek fame (or the training programs of "The Matrix"), all you have do, is code in "end ‘zombie' program". 

From a popular film perspective, the Hollywood dream factory film "Zombieland" perfectly fits the description of your willing "suspension of disbelief" arcade machine fantasy and dream. In some ways your dream is similar to "Queen of My Postmodern Domain", where the cognitive difference between the dreaming world and the waking world are clearly demarcated and understood. However, for many who live in the Western postmodern world of the culture industry's "influencing machine", the psychological boundary between waking and dreaming have become blurred and the horror film like infused thoughts about life has lead to a nightmaric variety of mental health problems and pervasive Angst.  



All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.