Bullet Time Isn't Just A Fictional Badass Move. It's A Real Thing

For Neo, moving faster than bullets was a matter of realising the Matrix's rules could be bent. For most of our video game heroes, bullet time is a popular mechanic that has appeared on titles like Max Payne, Red Dead Redemption, Vanquish and more.

It's not possible to slow down time and perform amazing feats — not yet, anyway. Still, most of us have probably experienced that feeling of time slowing down. We know it as the result of a severe adrenaline rush. It's the closest we have to approaching bullet time in real life, and arguably what bullet time is based on. And there's a reason it happens.

Our adrenaline starts pumping when we're in danger, or when we're scared. What follows is that more information is committed to memory by the brain (the amygdala to be specific), making our recollections seem richer and denser than it actually was.

It's an illusion that tricks your brain into thinking that the more memory it has of an event, the longer it took to pan out. Time slows down for you, only it doesn't in reality.

When we get older, time seems to fly. This is based on a similar phenomenon to the one drawn above. We store more memories from childhood because every experience is fresh, and there's more information to soak up. Experiences we have when we're older are at risk of being lost in the fray, because we've racked up so many similar-looking ones already. This is why childhood seems to take forever and adulthood seems to zip by.

Giving us false memories, deceiving us into thinking time moves slower (or faster!) than it actually does: the brain is pretty crazy amazing, eh?


Comments

    quality news post, 9/10 would read again

    Now would be a good time to start linking Symphony Of Science's Ode to the Brain.

    Read the words,"Red Dead Redemption" and immediately wished I could erase my memories of the story playthrough.
    I would love to experience that for the first time again.

    LSD is a hell of a drug

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      The link to video games was tenuous, but I still found it a short and interesting read.

      You are pathetic, Ben. Really fucking pathetic.

        white knights assemble!

      "At Kotaku Australia, we’re carefully trying to build a reputation for creating the strongest, most engaging content surrounding games and gaming culture."

      Please enlighten me on where it says that all the articles on published on Kotaku have to be about gaming news?

      Errrrr.... sweet sexism, Ben. FYI the female writers here write fantastic detailed articles, its Bashcraft and Kerpunkett that write the doozies.

    Actually, the amygdala (part of the limbic system) attaches emotional significance to events, not commits them to memory. The hippocampus (also apart of the limbic system) is what stores new memories into the frontal loab region of the cerebral cortex.

    FANTASTIC game!!!
    One of my favorites! Already playing for 3 week and don’t wanna stop) By the way I Downloaded it free full version here http://bit.ly/maxpayne3new

      You should try out the previous two games by Remedy. 200% better storyline/characters/experience... and plugging a random link where people can pirate a game isn't what I'd recommend.

    This is interesting - I was informed that the bullet-time or time-standing-still effect experienced by people upon suddenly being faced with their own mortality was due to the natural release of DMT in the brain which has somewhat significant time-distorting properties as a hallucinogen.

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