How is it played?
The player approaches a Pip. He is given the option to Engage With them. Perhaps this threatens his own Trump level. Now a new map opens, something like a chess board, and on it are certain pieces of psychological import: a father sprite; a mother sprite; a police officer sprite; whatever: the pieces are like symbols in a dream. To build the game rules, let me consider the logic of dreams.
A clown appears as a sprite but his face in the dialogue box appears as the face of one's father. This could be interpreted:
- to suggest one's father is like a clown,
- to suggest a clown should be one's father figure,
The Pieces represent aspects of one's ego. If they are healthy, their form is not very distorted. If they are unhealthy, their form is distorted. Perhaps the player must destroy unhealthy ego forms. Perhaps not.
A certain part of the ego will identify with The Corporation. A certain part of the ego will not. If you see a sprite of Program Superior sitting in someone's house, this suggests the player is Used. If you see a sprite of Program Superior in a cage, this suggests the player is not Used.
The Dream Board ought to be only one screen large. It is separated into four quadrants that are distinguishable by color or floor tile. Within each quadrant is a room or item symbolizing or reproducing a gameworld structure: e.g., a cage or arcade machine or office chair. Within each quadrant, also, are one or more NPC sprites. Each NPC has a face (in dialogue) which may be distorted or erased or otherwise incompatible with the sprite; and each NPC has one or more lines of dialogue.
If the Pip sprite appears on the Dream Board, one assumes that that Dream Entity is his Ego Identifier. Now we look at the Setting of—the gameworld structure nearest—the Dream Entity. If he appears in a home, we assume he is Peaceful. If he appears near a gun or a giant drill, we might assume he appears Violent. But we also look at the Mood—the underlying tiles—on which the Dream Entity appears. Again, let's assume we have a Pip-as-Ego-Identifier in a Peaceful setting, but the Mood tiles are flames. This suggests that the Pip is personally contented but is distrustful of his greater environment, i.e., the Corporation.
There can only be three outcomes to each Dream Analysis: failure (which leaves the Pip Neurotic), Hero Victory (which leaves the Pip Clear), and Corporate Victory (which leaves the Pip Used). So there can only be two ways to solve each puzzle. To Clear the Pip, the player must confront opposites upon the Dream Board. To make the Pip Used, the player must destroy the Ego Identifier with a Corporate Identifier.
What can the player do on the Dream Board? He can walk around and speak to Dream Entities. He can merge or fragment Dream Entities. ((CAN A LAMP BE A DREAM ENTITY, TOO? YES!)) Fragmenting a Dream Entity [which perhaps can only be done after a battle] separates its dialogue from its sprite and its face, and the dialogue and face image then appear in some abstract manner as objects on the Dream Board.
So let's say: the player first must find an Ego Identifier, which will be some aspect of the real-world Pip re-used on the Dream Board—his sprite or his face image or his dialogue. Possibly, all three of these Identifiers are hidden within the Dream Board: they must be found, Fragmented from their Dream Manifestation and Merged in a central location by placing items on special tiles. By this process, the player reconstitutes the Pip Ego. Now what??