Come to think of it, sleep management in video games comes in many forms. Letting your hero sleep can heal his/her wounds, save your progress, or simply make the protagonist dream of distant lands.
I think of The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, the Grand Theft Auto franchise, the Fallout franchise, Rune Factory, Kingdom Come Deliverance, or the recent Cyberpunk 2077; these are just a few of the many games where sleep is an essential, or almost essential, part of the game.
So through this article, I will present some examples of sleep management in video games.
Sleep to Save Your Progress
Sometimes it's as simple as that. We played this epic fantasy role-playing game, facing winds and tides, slicing through dragons and goblins, but at the end of the day, our valiant knight must rest (since it's 11:48pm and I have work tomorrow).
How do I save my game so I don't lose all my progress for the evening? Simply direct the unwavering knight to his bed flanked by two large gargoyle heads and topped by a skull-shaped chandelier.
Sleep management here is essential, since no sleep, no progress saved!
Erase Your Malus While You Sleep
Another fairly common way to implement good sleep management in video games is to force your fighter to nap. Nothing like a little nap to get our battered warrior back on his feet. Especially when he’s been a victim of a combined spell of poison, frost, semi-paralysis, corrosion, and fire (yeah, it was a bad day for the magician Gandolfo).
Upon waking up (equivalent to a loading time of about 10 seconds), our magician with the dark eyes and abundant eyebrows, gets up in great shape, health points at maximum! ZAP! magic!
Well, in some games, sleep doesn't correct everything. I'm thinking of the survival game Green Hell that I tested a few months ago where sleeping allows the surviving hero to regain strength but doesn't change his deficient diet. Don't get me wrong! I've been alone in the jungle for days (virtually) and I'm wondering: is this fruit edible? Can this sticky stuff be eaten? Is the water in that pond over there drinkable?
Note to self: Never drink the stagnant water from a pond in the heart of the Amazon jungle.
Pure Sleep Management
Oh, right now I'm thinking of my wife and her many game sessions of The Sims 4!
This is a real sleep management game (in fact, everything in this game is management).
I'll give you the general idea: five people (Sims) who are under the same roof, doing different things simultaneously during the day. One Sims went to work as a spy, the other went for a run after burning his grilled cheese, the third almost drowned in his expensive in-ground pool, the fourth leaves a bag of garbage on the kitchen floor (but WHY are you doing that?!) and the fifth resident of our household tries to seduce this charming client of the village discotheque.
All these beautiful people will have to come home and this colorful quintet will have to go to bed when the player decides to. In this case, it's still not so bad with adult characters, but you should see my wife go with her Sims family of 4 toddlers and a single mom...
There is also a more down-to-earth effect of sleep management in a video game: dreaming! I am thinking of Cadence of Hyrule where sleeping plunges us into a strange dream and Animal Crossing New Horizons where sleep has its uses.
In the latter, we decide when we want to go to bed and as soon as our little islander is asleep, a mysterious character named Serena comes to talk to us in our dream, in the middle of the clouds.
Against a backdrop of relaxing music, worthy of the best spa relaxation center in your area, she tells us that she runs the dream library of the game. But more importantly, she has the power to take us on a tour on a friend's island through our (rather cool) character's dream.
Does lying down in the Animus, that strange virtual reality machine in the Assassin's Creed series, count as sleep management? Hum... And what about the NES classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street" starring the famous Hollywood character, Freddy Krueger? There was some sleep management in there!
Remember that there is a "sleep gauge" indicating how close our character is to falling asleep. If our hero falls asleep, he is in the "Dream World" where the player is more vulnerable to Freddy's attacks.
These are just a few examples where sleep management is applied to video games.
Without a doubt, you have many other cases where sleep management in a video game is an integral part of its playability. Moreover, I have noticed since the beginning of my collaboration with Polysleep, that sleep, dreaming and rest are recurring themes in the videogame universe.
Remember Jin Sakai in his natural mountainside spa in Ghost of Tsushima!
It's exciting and amazing to see how game developers can exploit this thematic in so many ways.