The only place for dreaminess in fighter combat is Maverick and Goose.
The main character is the NEMO artificial intelligence, the very first AI to ever be installed in military hardware without instantly turning evil – which should have been your first sign it wasn't real. So far, so fun, until the final ending reveals that the entire game was a simulation. And when even your PlayStation takes the piss by telling you that the game was really just a game of a game, you're officially being bullied by your own hobbies.
This isn't just a cute twist, this is a psychological bombshell - you have to complete the full game five times to get the NEMO reveal. Who'd have thought a program named after a cartoon character that dreams would be a simulation? At that point finding out the whole thing was only a simulation of a simulation (or simulation squared) of fighter combat would be the exact opposite of being unplugged from the Matrix: you've learned that your entire world was a lie, and now you're even worse at everything than before.
6. Tekken 6: Ling Xiaoyu
Fighting game endings are always tricky, as it's hard to repeat "one guy beat another guy" without it getting boring, but Xiaoyu's endings are a catalog of insanity. From double-crossing amusement parks to temporal paradoxes they do their absolute best to undermine the serious Tekken storyline, but
a) anyone using Xiaoyu isn't serious about anything
b) "serious Tekken storyline" – are you kidding?
Still, her Tekken 6 ending makes Paul's hairstyle look professional.
Above: The subtitles read “Stop...” and “I can’t…” in text, and “I’m having a wet dream on a panda” in subtext
That is full on "straddling in short shorts so tight they count as an extra epidermis" while having a wet dream about wrapping herself around her fantasy man. Giant pandas might still refuse to have sex in captivity, but it's not for Xiaoyu's want of trying.
7. Bart's Nightmare
Even more so than Super Mario Bros 2, there was no part of Bart’s Nightmare which didn't feel like a dream: the story started with Bart falling asleep, the gameplay was more disjointed than an exploded snail, the minigames felt like they’d been programmed in different time periods, never mind time zones, and you got the feeling that everyone involved really knew about being asleep. Upon waking, said staff then had to bash out a game in forty-five minutes on the day of the deadline.
Above: The game’s about as much fun as this screenshot would suggest
We honestly cannot picture Sculptured Software’s studio as anything other than a vast pile of hammocks suspended over bean-bags with a single Sinclair ZX keyboard in a corner, being used as a pillow. Saying electricity was wasted on this trash is like mentioning the war to a German.
8. Final Fantasy X
Ten was where Square realized that the whole "tiny group vs vast evil empire" thing might be getting a tiny bit tired, and unfortunately the developer’s reaction was to fall asleep entirely and dream of a half-fish pretty-boy. Then claim that was the story.
Main character Tidus wasn't in a dream, he was a dream - which is more a typo than a story element - and even the most kickass characters were dead figments of their own imagination. Yes, Tidus was the son of a dream of a dead man who'd been turned into a monster in the minds of a dead civilization, which is easily the most convolutedly multilayered dream on this list.
In other stories ghosts hang around to impart advice, provide cryptic clues, or gradually realize their own true nature back when M. Night Shyamalan could make good movies. In this game the ghost's first action is to kill a dinosaur single-handedly, and his penultimate is to kill the closest thing his world has to a god, which was badass. Unfortunately his actually-ultimate action was to fade away and leave you stuck with Tidus, which was a dick move.
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