Study Of 'Game Transfer Phenomena' Examines Why Some Get Tetris-on-the-Brain

If you've ever closed your eyes and seen tetrominoes falling into place, or Angry Birds slamming into stone walls, you're experiencing "game transfer phenomena," and it involves more than mentally playing a game long after it's finished.

The first ever academic paper on this condition is due to be published in the International Journal of Cyber behaviour, Psychology and Learning, say the authors behind the study, Angelica B. Ortiz de Gortari of Nottingham Trent University and Karin Aronsson of Stockholm University. Game transfer phenomena happen "when video game elements are associated with real life elements, triggering subsequent thoughts, sensations and/or player actions.''

Jesse Singal, writing for The Boston Globe's op-ed page, notes the paper's findings and his own experience with game transfer phenomena, most recently in Portal 2. "When I stopped playing - especially at night - the symptoms kicked in. Sleep was almost impossible. I could still feel and see myself moving around the game's corridors and rooms, especially when I closed my eyes." Singal said he felt as if his brain was still trying to solve the game's puzzles.

The paper is based on gamers' interpretations of their own experiences, and its authors say the issue needs a more rigorous examination. Some may be more susceptible to game transfer phenomena than others. "None of this is a reason to stop playing video games or yank your kids away from them," Singal writes.

"But it is yet another reminder that our immersion in technology is far outpacing our ability to find out what it might be doing to us," he concludes.

Gamer Brain [The Boston Globe]


    Meteos does this to me. And sorry, but 'our immersion technology'? I don't get immersed in Tetris, or Meteos. I don't believe I'm on the spaceship or in a Russian alleyway.

    +1 Meteos. I kept wanting to line peoples noses up with their eyes and watch the row rocket up off their face...

    I had this after playing TetriNET!
    I honestly thought something was wrong, that's why I stopped playing.

    This is nothing new. I could only solve levels from 'Hordes of the Deep Realm' after dreaming about them, so we're talking about like, 1982?

    It's not specific to computers, either. People have known for a long time that the best way to solve a problem on which you're stuck is to do something else.

    Yeah experienced that before. Also had the same phenomena from playing sports, reading books, watching movies or tv shows. I'm pretty sure its called "winding down from the day phenomena."

    I've had this with 5 games
    Halo combat evolved was the first. Then KOTOR, Mass Effect 2, Portal and Minecraft. It was different from game to game but the RPGs were all about the characters and decisions. The others were more being 'in the world'

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