The other day I was watching my girlfriend play a few old 8-bit Nintendo games. One of which was Barbie. I remembered seeing my sister play that game when I was younger. The main thing I remember about the game was that I found it to be way too hard to be a "little girls game". Another thing I remembered was the strange setting of the game.
Barbie was a platform game, meaning you walked from side to side while jumping and avoiding obstacles and enemies. Each level was a "dream", and Barbie must collect "Zs" to avoid her dream from ending. If it does, she sits up in bed and has the option of waking up or going back to sleep.
These concepts of the Barbie NES game are nearly identical to ones I am using in my new interactive fiction, Interactive Dreaming. In the case of my game, five levels of "anxiety" are used instead of "Zs". Once your anxiety is filled, you are also then sitting up in your own bed and contemplating the same choice. However, a couple of differences with my game is that you may not always return to the same "stage" as Barbie did, and there's also another factor which may cause your dream to fade; lucidity.
Still, I was amused at the similarities. I've tried thinking of other games that follow a similar model, but I can't really think of any. If anyone reading this thinks of one, let me know. Nightmare on Elm Street (also for NES) came to mind as well, but the point of that games was actually to not fall asleep.
Right now in the development process of Interactive Dreaming, I'm almost through the prototype and planning stage. I've shifted more towards actually producing content for the game (although some of the images used are place-holders for now) while polishing the general design framework of it, including the conversation system. Although I intend for the first installment of this game to be rather short, it will probably end up being a non-competition release unless the timing is right. This way, I will take plenty of time to polish and test things.