When Your Mario Kart Obsession Seeps Into Your Daily Commute

By now, you've heard about the new study from Nottingham Trent University that found that playing lots of video games can result in "Game Transfer Phenomena": the real world and the video-game world start to blend together, and gamers begin to see conversation menus during real-life interactions and going for button-prompts to perform real-world actions.

Luke wrote it up this week, and while some of the findings are a bit laughable, I think we've all been there, at least a bit. I know that when I was playing an insane amount of Grand Theft Auto IV, I would venture out for snacks (aka Snacktaku research) and find myself having visceral flashbacks to the heightened world of Liberty City.

Sally Adee has put up a cool blog post at The Last Word on Nothing called "Consensual Hallucination", in which she recounts a similar thing. In it, she talks about how her Mario Kart playing bled over into her daily commute:

Between 2009 and 2010 I spent a disastrous amount of time playing Mario Kart Wii. I'd come home at night, grab dinner and then sit obsessively for several hours clutching a little white plastic steering wheel. I'm not proud of this, but it's necessary back story to explain why, one weekend as I was driving to New Jersey and some Jersey driver was swerving and lane-straddling in front of me on the George Washington Bridge, I instinctively reached down on the steering wheel for the button that, in Mario Kart, would send a red shell flying out in front of me to flip this asshole's car off the road.

She continues with the thought that actually, blending the real world and the digital one might not be a bad thing:

Imagine if you were driving like a jerk, and someone could throw Mario Kart objects at you. Not to wreck your car, obviously, because no one actually wants you to die. But you know those "How's my driving" stickers? Nice idea but the latency on those makes them unsatisfying. Imagine the real time effect of having a whole bunch of drivers behind you pelting you with red shells and banana peels? You might start to comprehend after a while that you're driving like a muppet.

Ha! Shooting digital turtle shells into bad drivers is one type of automotive gamification I can get behind.

Consensual Hallucination [The Last Word On Nothing]


    This is hardly news as Tetris/Bejewled fans will attest. Wanting to rearrange real life objects so they line up nicely in color or shape is an experience we've been having for years.

    My friend and I used to sit up playing Saints Row till all hours, as a result of this, cars stopped being Fords, Toyotas and whatnot. Instead we saw them as Voxels, Jackrabbits and Komodos.

    I know whenever I'm running late or stuck in traffic I always pray for a Star.

    I think every tram in Melbourne needs to be equipped with stacks of these to be launched at hoons that illegally pass trams when passengers are entering and exiting.

    Wow this is fantastic, so I'm not insane. I'm glad I'm not alone.

    I remember as a kid playing Pokemon Red for 8-9 hours straight, and then continuing to hear gameboy style music for an hour afterwards.

    Ive played 12 hours of F1 2011 in two days, when driving in rl now im looking for the KERS boost button on my car's steering wheel when i come out of corners o.0

    I don't know if this is a bad thing or a good thing but I have never experienced anything close to this. If I ever start to halucinate about games I'm going straight to the doctor.

    When I'm out I purposely list in my head:

    Primary Objective:
    Secondary Objectives:

    and when I'm finished

    "Objectives Complete"

    This is interesting that it affected other people as well. When I was about 9, Banjo Kazooie came out for the N64. I played that game for hours a day since it was amazing and found myself seeing the conversation boxes with people making noises that weren't english.
    After about a week of this I kept playing and started to see Banjo running in front me as I walked. This finally prompted me to stop but it lasted for another day or two. I thought I was just crazy!

    People need to get out of their god damn basements more. This is just sad.

    Never had this happen in my conscious life, but I do dream in game mechanics occasionally when I've been compulsively playing for a while. Most notably Pokemon Red back in primary school.

      Haven't experienced this in real life but I've had the dreams. Worst one was when I got really into Freelancer and I dreamed I was stuck in an endless trade land; it was terrible. I still get the occasional minecraft dream too.

    Yeah, this has happened to me a few times - when I played a lot of GTA, if my mates and I out on the town and saw a really nice bike or car, we'd nudge each other and say "triangle"... also the THPS games made me see grind lines everywhere.

    The closest I've gotten to something like this is when I was walking through the park near my house. I remember thinking of the bushes "woah, that looks so much like Crysis".

    Thanks to codemasters whenever I approach a glass door I always check with my hand to make sure it's actually open, too many bad experiences with invisible walls in their games...

    After I played through Portal 2 (in one sitting at a LAN), when I went outside I was "thinking with portals"....thinking 'I could put a portal on that wall, or that patch of floor...not that wall...'

    Hehe, augmented reality will fill the shoes set by all those imaginary game HUDs...

    i have noticed after hours of driving in GT ill find myself itching to flatten it around corners... probably not the best idea though

    I'll repost in this one as neither article actually links to anything other than the news headlines that are reading the title of the research and taking it out of context

    Linky: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-09-21-game-transfer-phenomena-authors-defence

    To quote the author "if any of your gamers want to read my paper and actually see what it says then they're quite welcome to do so. But don't base everything you believe in 200 words in the Metro"

    I tend to strafe and "halo" jump around corridors. I also feel disorientated without a crosshair.

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