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All Just A Dream / Video Games

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Stories that were merely dreams in video games.

  • Acceleration of Suguri has the "Pudding Deity" storyline, which is a dream of Saki's, revolving around a war over the "ultimate weapon": Pudding.
  • The Japanese version of Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere (of the Ace Combat series) featured a branching storyline with five separate endings; unlocking all five would show a short cutscene where it's revealed the player character is an AI that has been put through a series of simulations by a questionably-sane professor as preparation for carrying out his plan to avenge his late wife.
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  • Occasionally, this is the case in the 1999 PlayStation game The Adventures of Alundra or just Alundra among fans. The twist, however, is that the dream is not the protagonist's. Instead, he enters other people's dreams and slay whatever monsters may be invading their dreams, trying to kill them. Most of the unnecessarily complicated dungeons are actually dreams.
  • American McGee's Alice, being the Darker and Edgier unofficial sequel to Alice in Wonderland that it is, presents its twisted version of Wonderland as a view of Alice's traumatized psyche, into which Alice has retreated after her parents' death in a house fire. The game then centers around Alice trying to overcome her guilt and leave Wonderland safe and sane.
  • Batman Arkham VR opens with a flashback to Bruce witnessing the death of his parents. Additionally, the whole game is strongly implied to be this, more specifically a nightmare about the Joker's blood infection as it's an interquel between Arkham City and Arkham Knight. There are hints throughout including a coded message that once decoded is telling Bruce to wake up, all the alarms sound like the alarm clock heard at the start of the game, the song "Rock-A-Bye, Baby" being a Recurring Riff, and the game features the deaths of Nightwing and Robin (the former even kicking off the plot) despite them being alive in Knight.
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  • In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend, Platinum's Gag Reel has her teaming up with Rachel, Noel, Carl, and Arakune, aided by the Puppeteer Mask (Relius) in their fight against the evil Boing Queen (Litchi). Of course, at the end, we learn that it was all just a dream.
  • The events of Bloodborne are repeatedly implied to be all just a dream. Kinda. In the opening cutscene, your character recieves a blood transfusion and is reassured that they may consider everything they experience from now on a mere bad dream. Upon (seemingly?) waking up, you exit the clinic and enter the city of Yharnam, which is currently caught up in the logic-defying night of the hunt. When you're killed, you enter The Hunter's Dream and, later on in the game, you also enter The Nightmare Frontier as well as The Nightmare of Mensis and, in the DLC, you also access The Hunter's Nightmare. Finally, at the end of the game, your Mentor offers to wake you up, freeing you from the dream. The twist here being that Bloodborne borrows heavily from H.P.Lovecraft's works, and the dreams and nightmares you walk through are implied to be alternate dimensions, no less real than the waking world.
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  • Val's ending in Blue Revolver reveals that the entirety of the game's events was all one big dream. She wakes up, her eyes wide open from shock, and decides she's going to call in sick. Then the credits roll.
  • This trope gets parodied bigtime in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm. At one point, the entire game is revealed to be the coma dream of a random kid NPC. The heroes all fade away and the credits roll, except the credits are blatantly fake and silly as hell, and afterward the story just carries on like nothing happened. This is far from the weirdest thing that happens in that game.
  • Chrono Trigger plays with this. After a boss battle, a time warp fills the room, sucking in all the characters. The screen turns black, and we're treated to a modified version of the game's opening, suggesting that the portion of the game you had just been playing through was a dream. It then turns out that's what was just a dream, and Chrono wakes up in 65,000,000 BC.
    • Chrono Cross starts with this, seemingly beginning In Medias Res with Serge, Kid and a third party member launching an attack on the Dragon Tower to confront someone, with no context given. Just before the end, there's a flash of Serge killing Kid, and Serge wakes up in his bed, safely at home. Much later, that scene plays out, with a lot more context given, including the flash of Serge killing Kid before it happens, with Serge reacting to it (holding his head in pain) and implying that it's a future vision or vision from an alternate dimension. And then it plays out exactly as shown (with some extra context that changes the scene's meaning entirely), making this also a case of Dreaming of Things to Come.
  • The High School A.U. quests School Search and Signature Gathering from Crash Fever turn out to be a dream the Adapter had. A mildly perverted one, may we add.
  • A subversion happens near the end of A Dance with Rogues, when the Princess is killed by Hyath. She wakes up in a castle, with her father surprisingly being alive and everyone telling her all the horrors she's experienced in the last year were all fever dreams due to her being comatose with the Red Fever and barely alive. But later it turns out this was all just a ploy by Arto Benthur, who made a deal with Hyath and the Old Man in order to force her into marriage. Her "father" is an imposter who's there to make her believe everyone's lies and coax her into marrying Arto, thus legitimizing Arto and the Dhorn Empire's control of Betancuria.
  • Dinosaur Forest reveals the adventures of the Space Opera protagonist had been a hallucination from a prison inmate undergoing severe mental health treatments.
  • In the Konami arcade game Devastators, the entire events of the game were actually parts of a movie somebody was watching.
  • Disgaea 4's Fuka Kazamatsuri insists for the entire game that everything that happens is just part of a dream she's having, despite enormous and constantly increasing evidence that she's wrong.
  • The ending of Disney's Magical Quest reveals that Mickey Mouse has been dreaming the entire adventure all along. Oddly enough one of the bosses in the sequel is a painting of Emperor Pete, the final boss from the first game, with music and all.
  • The opening to Dragon Quest VI starts off as this... until you learn that what happened in the Hero's dream actually happened, and the world the Hero awakens in is actually a Dream Land.
  • The ending to Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter for the DS. In it, all of the adorable Raposa in the village are killed, G-Rated style (they fade away). One of the characters, named Mike, fades away last. The voice of Mike's sister Heather is heard asking the Creator, the god-like figure in the game to bring her brother back, which at first seems heartwarming. Then, her message changes and she was really trying to say, "God, just bring back my little brother to me." God? Like the god that people in real life pray to? That doesn't sound right at all does it? It is now revealed that Mike and Heather are actually humans, and the whole story with the village of Raposa was all just a dream that Mike was having. It wasn't a regular dream either. It turns out that Mike and his family were in a car crash, which killed his parents and injured his sister. As Mike awakes from his coma, he is tearfully hugged by Heather, who has bandages over half her face. This is parallel to the Heather in his dream who had a half-shadowy face. Mari and Jowee, two other Raposa who were actually more important to the game's story, are shown to have been two plush toys that Mike won at a fair before the crash. note 
  • Dreaming Mary is set in Mary's Dream Land, with all the characters fully aware that it's a dream and welcoming her to it.
  • Dreaming Sarah has this in the title, so the ending comes as The Un-Twist. Throughout the game, there are hints that Sarah might be, in fact, dead. The game ends with her awakening.
  • Conversed in Escape From St. Mary's. Two teachers disagree on whether it's an acceptable ending for a story, and the two turn to blows.
  • The premise of Ether One is that the player is a "restorer" working for the "Ether One" company who uses advanced technology to project into the mind of a dementia patient in the hopes of restoring her fragmented memories. That premise, including the "Ether One" facility seen at the beginning of the game and the technology used and, by extension, the whole journey through the patient's mind is actually the dream of the actual dementia patient (who is a 'he'; the patient in the dreamed-up premise is the patient's late wife) in an attempt by his confused mind to make sense of the conventional therapy that he is undergoing.
  • Taken very, very seriously and sadly in Final Fantasy X, where Tidus, his father Jecht and their home Zanarkand are all the dream of a place that Spira, the country the game is set in, destroyed millennia ago. More interestingly, the dream is being dreamed by dead people. Also (according to FFX-2 which retcons some things) it turns out that by the end of the game, Jecht and Tidus's actions have made them real.
  • The main gameplay of Five Nights at Freddy's 4 is strongly implied to be a nightmare the child protagonist is having, with the distorted and monstrous animatronics even bearing the "Nightmare" moniker (Nightmare Freddy, Nightmare Foxy, Nightmare etc). There's also some overlap with Adventures in Comaland, since the ending reveals the child suffered a serious head injury thanks to a Deadly Prank (and pills, flowers, and an IV drip can occasionally be seen near the bed).
  • Played with in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn by way of an herbal drug that enables takers to share dreams. The tree which produces this herb is sick... because its' dreams are being haunted by the spirits of a destroyed swamp. Our heroes trip their way into the dream of the swamp and lay the spirits to rest... and when they wake up, one of the spirits has left a corpse beside them, with an artifact they can take.
  • The "Lets H.A.N.G." and "Table for Six" events in Granblue Fantasy both end on this, with the last chapter turning out to be some sort of shared dream between Lowain and friends, who are all revealed to have fallen asleep.
  • All three games in The Great Giana Sisters series shows Giana having some sort of control over her dreams, or at least incredibly vivid ones, since they tend to end with her waking up out of bed. (It's never made clear if it's simple harmless dreaming or if she has a dream-based power.) Either way, her sister Maria often gets caught up in them too.
  • The chapter Sleepless Night from Heavy Rain turns out to be a Dream Within a Dream when Madison wakes up after having her throat slashed.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, the whole game is a dream of the Wind Fish. In this case, it is actually learned about the halfway-point of the game, rather than right at the end, and the bosses of the last few dungeons constantly remind the player of it. This adds more emotion, as Link knows that the island and its inhabitants will disappear once the Wind Fish wakes up. And it gets REALLY weird if the player beats the game without ever dying; if that's pulled off, after the credits Marin is seen in the form of a seagull, reflecting a wish she had told Link about earlier. Word of God confirmed that the events of the game DID actually happen. The events were a dream, but the real world and the dream world were colliding at the time. Therefore, the events of the game erase themselves once Link saves the day and the events become a dream but said events but have happened otherwise existence would have collapsed. So in other words, this is a rare example in which the events were a dream, yet the dream itself was real.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass looks like it pulls this in the ending cutscene, only to have Link pull out one of the artifacts he found, and then see one of the characters he met. Judging from the dialogue near the end of the game, as well as The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks featuring descendants of characters that appear in the predecessor, it's more likely an alternate universe.
  • Looney Tunes games:
    • Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf starts with Ralph Wolf ending his shift, going back home, and watching television, only to be forcibly and suddenly taken by Daffy Duck and turned into a contestant of a game show. 14 stolen sheep and one space trip later, Ralph comes back home with his own sheep... which suddenly turns into Sam Sheepdog. When he's just about to punch Ralph, the latter suddenly wakes up in front of his TV, and realizes it was ALL just a dream, and it's time to go back to work. His expression while he's walking towards the punch clock says everything.
    • Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble actually begins with Bugs sleeping in his bed and starting to drift off into a Dream Sequence. In his dream, he has to outsmart familiar foes such as Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Toro the Bull, Gossamer, Yosemite Sam (as a Vizier, Black Knight and even a Mad Scientist), and Marvin the Martian. After dealing with his final foe, the game ends with Bugs slowly waking up... only to find that the giant carrot experiment he first saw in his dream was real, laying in front of his bed.
  • Subverted in The Matrix: Path of Neo a minor character 'Key girl', who saw the Matrix's programming hallway thought it was all a dream...until Neo took her back.
  • A downplayed example from Miitopia: during a level, there’s a chance one of the travelers will see the others turned to stone or having shrunk down in size, which shocks them, only to wake up from a nap revealing it was just a nightmare they had.
  • Mission Critical does a very interesting version of this trope. The events that took place during the vast majority of the game were all a dream, but also really happened. Near the end, you discover that time travel into the past is impossible, but that information can be sent back. As a result, you trigger a dream in your past self that outlines everything that has happened in the game, giving you the chance to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Exploited as a game mechanic in Neverending Nightmares, where bedrooms act as checkpoints (though this overlaps with Dream Within a Dream). As plot is progressed, this trope is played straight as none of the Multiple Endings imply that it was nothing more than a nightmare.
  • In Nightmare, the player character is repeatedly having nightmares and wakes up in the hotel repeatedly. One of the endings reveals that the entire game is a Coma Dream, created by his guilt over the recent car accident and having mercy killed the woman.
  • The Park is an odd variation on this: given that the game is actually a tie-in with The Secret World, all the supernatural elements of the game are real - it's the scenes set in the "real" world that turn out to be hallucinations. Plus, Lorraine establishes that "in my heart and mind, I always return to Atlantic Island Park," meaning that the entire game is just another nightmare of what happened that day.
  • Prey (2017) turns out to have the entire game be nothing but a simulation to test a Typhon that has been infused with Morgan Yu's memories. The Typhon have already invaded earth and the simulation for this Typhon-Human hybrid was meant to test if Typhon with mirror neurons would be able to empathize with humans and potentially lead to a chance of co-existence between the Typhon and humans.
  • In Puzzle Adventure Blockle, amnesiac goddess Arika turns out to be a normal girl who dreamed up the game's setting to escape stress that she's dealing with in the real world. The villain's Evil Plan is to take over her physical body and doom her world to a Dream Apocalypse.
  • In Rhythm Heaven Megamix, there are two stages with this revelation at the end: "Blue Bear" and "Left-Hand Remix." The former is Beary's bad dream about Bearbara breaking up with him, and the latter is a strange dream full of non sequiturs from Bearbara that, while there's nothing obviously sad about it, has her crying in her sleep while Beary is stuffing himself with donuts.
  • A common fan interpretation of Rule of Rose; the events were real, but messed up by the protagonist's subconsciousness: Jennifer was a young child, not a 19-year-old teenager during the actual events, the events did not take place on a giant airship and the imps were just creepy dolls and doodles and/or other children wearing masks, not inhuman monsters. Unfortunately the Stray Dog was real.
  • Even Samurai Warriors 2 does this. At the beginning of Nagamasa Azai's last stage in his story mode, the Battle of Kanegasaki, the story up to that point is revealed to be a dream he was having right before the battle. The entire thing being brought on due to how torn he was between helping his friends, the Asakura, and potentially betraying Oichi's love by attacking her brother, Nobunaga. Most of 'final chapters' of story mode are events that never happened due to the historical character dying, captured, or otherwise defeated. Or are nostalgic "best times" events that happen earlier in the chronology. This same game also features a sequence in Magoichi Sakai''s story mode in which he 'dreams' (or Fuma's ninja trickery) of bandits and chaos overwhelming the country after Nabounaga Oda's death.
  • In the Freedom Ending of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, after Kagutsuchi is defeated and the energy of creation is released, the hero wakes up in his own bed. Although considering the letter from the teacher regretting what she did and thanking him, and the message, presumably from Lucifer, warning that in time, there'll be another adversary and to stay strong when it happens, it might also be Or Was It a Dream?.
  • In one of the endings of Silent Hill: Homecoming, Alex is revealed to be a mental patient and the whole game was just a delusion, similar the Bad+ ending (Dying Dream) in Silent Hill. This also holds true for Shattered Memories, where the plot is just a fantasy conjured up by Harry's daughter, and Harry died in a car accident 18 years earlier.
  • Happens in SNK Gals Fighters, specifically in Mai Shiranui's ending. Winning the tournament and the K' Talisman, means somehow that she can now marry Andy, who appears just in time... to "reveal" that he has been secretly a woman all of these years. Shocked, Mai awakes to reality. This is a nod to her ending in Real Bout 2, except that she and Andy were about to get married when she finds out that he was a bald man who's wearing a long blond wig. And she wakes up and she realizes that it was a crazy dream.
  • In Song Of The Deep, the first time the player runs out of health and respawns at a save point, the game explains that it was just a vision of "what could have happened" and didn't actually happen.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab, the entire story is found to be just a dream of SpongeBob's, then just a dream of Patrick's, and then just a dream of Plankton's, and it goes on and on after that. Until it turns out it was just Gary who was dreaming up the entire game.
  • One of the possible endings of The Stanley Parable. Except it's not. The surreal looping hallways and the inexplicable reality warping powers are actually symptoms of Stanley going insane. When Stanley tries to wish himself awake from the dream, it fails, and he dies from the shock of the realization.
  • Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People sort of pulls this in the final episode. Having slain Trogdor, whose very existence was causing the entire Homestar Runner world to fuse with the Videlectrix video game world, Strong Bad wakes up outside the Trogdor! arcade cabinet with everyone standing by him. He starts telling them about this wild dream he had pointing out how everyone standing there was part of it — until he notices that Trogdor is standing right there. Trogdor immediately proceeds to run amok while the credits roll.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Super Mario Bros. 2, upon completing the game, the characters celebrate, and then it's shown Mario has been dreaming the entire game. Seems hokey today, but at the time (1988) having ANY sort of twist ending in a game was pretty revolutionary. According to the game's manual, the oneiric events take place in Subcon, a Dream Land that actually exists, and is visited by most people in dreams. This is further shown in the Japan only sequel for Satellaview where the cast revisits Subcon to once again protect it from Wart.
    • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team begins with the Mario Bros., Peach, Toadsworth and the other Toads taking a Zeepelin to Pi'illo Island when they are suddenly attacked by Antasma. Upon being defeated by Mario, Antasma breaks the vessel and causes it to crash into the island. The scene cuts to Luigi having a Catapult Nightmare in a perfectly intact Zeepelin that has made a regular landing at Pi'illo Blimport.
  • Tekken:
    • In Tekken 6, Ling Xiaoyu's ending looks like a Squee! moment for Xiaoyu and Jin shippers, with Xiaoyu going as far as to hug him... cut to Xiaoyu in bed in her underwear hugging Panda, who knocks her awake.
    • In Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Lars's ending shows the Mishimas and the Kazamas all ready to eat. When the food is done, everyone eats it way too fast for Lars to keep up and get a bite. Then Lars notices the leftover konbu strip, but just as he's about to eat it, Heihachi comes in and eats it in one slurp. Then Lars wakes up in a chopper, presumably on its way to a mission. The icing on the cake is the soldiers looking at each other as if to say "What the fuck?", when Lars asks them if they have something to eat.
  • Touhou:
    • Hong Meiling's storyline in Hisoutensoku starts normally... and then characters start acting out of character (Reimu apparently oozes evil) and the background goes progressively from Scenery Porn to colorful doodles. After the final showdown with a giant catfish, it cuts to Sakuya and Patchouli finding her sleeping in the library.
    • The fan-made game Concealed the Conclusion implies that everything in all the games is a coma dream Reimu and Marisa shared. It works surprisingly well, given the general tone of the games, even if CtC itself is very, very dark. The Extra and Phantasm stages confirm that at least something of Gensoukyou survives after they wake up.
  • Twisted Metal:
    • Black seems like an Alternate Continuity to the main Twisted Metal'' series. In fact, various in-game hints reveal that the whole game occurs inside Sweet Tooth's head.
    • Roadkill's ending in Twisted Metal: Head On adds more Mind Screw. It's suggested that the regular Twisted Metal continuity takes place inside the head of Sweet Tooth's alternate personality, Marcus Kane.
    • In Twisted Metal 2, Marcus Kane (driver of Roadkill) can see through the Fourth Wall and is convinced the world is fake. His wish is to get out, and when Calypso grants it, he wakes up in a hospital bed, surrounded by the other characters - the game was a dream he had in a coma. But then Calypso's eyes appear, hinting that the Twisted Metal world is real and he's sent Kane into a dream.
  • Subverted in Visions & Voices; no one (except maybe Marlowe) can remember or understand what happened, but it really did happen.
  • One of the Multiple Endings to Wario Land II has Wario, about to reclaim his treasure, falling into a pit trap before waking up back in his bed from the beginning of the game. The ending credits feature the invasion of the castle from the beginning happening for real.
  • In A Witch's Tale, the entire first playthrough is this, brought on by Queen Alice to test Liddell. The New Game+ is the real adventure, and contains story elements not seen in the first one—though it turns out this is a dream too, but on Liddell's side of reality.
  • Because XCOM 2 takes place in a continuity where XCOM lost and the aliens won, it is heavily implied that the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown were actually a simulation in the Commander's mind being used by ADVENT to train their own forces. The disconnect between reality and simulation in the first game occurs during the Base Defense mission in Enemy Within: instead of fading in to the tactical map and the actual mission, the Commander was captured by alien forces and the base was overrun. The first part of Enemy Unknown definitely occurred, but everything after the Base Defense mission was not realnote .


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