My Dreams Didn’t Help Me Beat Year Walk

the year walkA while back, I watched a documentary that asked the question, “Why do we dream?” Essentially, the guys who made it were trying to figure out what the evolutionary benefit of dreaming was, and they attempted to figure this out through a process that vaguely resembled science.

They settled upon a thesis: Our dreams present challenges for us that our brains try to solve in order to be better prepared for situations that happen in real life. For example, some ancient human living in a cave might dream about being attacked by a tiger, which will prepare that person for a hypothetical tiger attack. If an attack happens in real life, the subconscious will kick in and say, “Hey, I trained you for this! Let’s do this thing!”

Or, you might dream about going into school completely naked. When you actually go to school in the morning, you’ll double check your clothing situation before heading out the door. Whew!

These people ran an experiment to prove this thesis: They forced some guy to play a skiing simulator game, challenging him to beat the high score. He played this thing for something like 8 hours, and while he could make it close, he couldn’t score the perfect run. So they made him go to sleep. He spent the night dreaming about this stupid skiing game, and when he woke up in the morning, he was getting higher scores.

The people making the documentary — despite the fact that this was an incredibly insufficient sample size and the fact that there are a dozen other explanations for the improved game scores — felt this was evidence for their claim.

year walkSo I tested this theory with Year Walk. Now, I’ve already read through the Year Walk Companion app, and I’ve taken a full page of notes on the game, but I ended up stuck at a particularly challenging puzzle. So I made sure to explore the game world for quite a bit of time right before bed, hoping my dreams would lead me to some understanding of these baffling puzzles.

If I had dreams about solving Year Walk, I certainly don’t remember them. And when I woke up in the morning, I was just as stuck as I was the night before.

My hypothesis is that this documentary was bunk, though I’m not going to try to claim my methods as actual valid science.