Wait, you mean I can’t just hold the Y button to run anymore?
Have you ever experienced the DDR effect? It happens when you’ve played a video game for so long in one session (in this case, DDR – Dance Dance Revolution), and you start hallucinating parts of the game in real life. For DDR, people see arrows just scrolling up their vision. The same thing happens with Tetris (falling blocks) and pretty much any other rhythm or puzzle game out there.
I’ve personally had several good bouts of the DDR effect, and it always made me wonder: what other weird things do we do after playing video games for a long period of time? If I’m literally seeing arrows scroll in front of my eyes, then what other effects are video game marathons having on my brain?
Japanese survey organization MyNavi recently put out the results of a survey that answered just that. They asked over 400 Japanese men and women if they’d ever felt like they were still inside a video game in real life after playing intensely for a long session, and to describe what they felt. Here are the top eight results:
#8. Game music
“The game’s music sticks in my head. Even when I stop playing I can’t get the background music to go away.” (Man, 21 years old)
This is an extremely common one. Sure, music in general is catchy no matter the medium, but when you’ve been hearing the same tune over and over and over again as only a video game can provide, there’s no escape once it’s drilled itself deep into your brain.
Doubtful? If you’ve played the original Pokémon games, then I ask you, imagine the title screen music. The overworld music. The Pokémon center music. The battle music.
Did you remember them all perfectly? That’s the power of video game music.
#7. Glutes of a god
“I want to run around. I feel like I still have the unlimited stamina of my character in the game.” (Woman, 22)
Alas, if only running in real life were as easy as holding down a button.
This is one of the weird things on the list that probably comes to an end the fastest. It only takes a few seconds of trying to run like Mario before you remember that you have lungs and they hate you.
#6. Gotta fight ’em all
“When there are a lot of people around, I start to want to fight them. I feel like I have to take them down.” (Woman, 20)
This one feels like it’s particular to hack-and-slash games where you need to defeat large groups of enemies with single, massive attacks like in Hyrule Warriors or Dynasty Warriors.
I mean, just look at all of those people walking around! Completely defenseless! Think of all the easy experience….
#5. Real life is not a race
“I feel like I’m playing Mario Kart while I’m driving and suddenly start to worry that a car ahead of me will release a banana peel. “ (Woman, 22)
I’ve never played enough Mario Kart for this to happen to me, but I can imagine it’s quite unnerving. Imagine you’re just about to pull into your employee parking lot… when a coworker hits you with a spiked blue shell to pull in ahead of you.
#4. Jump power
“I feel like I can jump from building top to building top as I watch them go by from inside the car. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m watching the continuation of the game.” (Man, 19)
“I feel like I can jump higher when the wind blows. My experience in the game turns into a real-life delusion.” (Woman, 20)
I think imagining someone jumping from building top to building top while inside a car is pretty common, though a long bout of platforming games can certainly enhance the experience.
As far as your own jump power increasing as a result of jumping on Goombas for a few too many hours straight, we recommend not testing it out.
#3. Fighting solves all problems
“I start to think of people I don’t like as enemy characters and I wish I could take them down.” (Man, 19)
“When I reach the bottom of a staircase I feel like an enemy is waiting for me. I can’t shake the feeling and prepare for battle.” (Man, 20)
I would also add to this that opening pretty much any door turns into an expected enemy ambush after a long RPG session.
#2. Money management
“After playing too much I go out and I still feel like I have unlimited money.” (Man, 20)
“I feel like I have to earn money like in the game.” (Man, 20)
Um, I don’t really know how to break it to you, but unfortunately we do have to earn money like in video games.
Sure, we can’t get it through killing monsters and selling old weapons (well, not all of us anyway), but typically through class specializations. I recommend leveling up your diplomacy skill for maximum profit.
“Animals start to looks like Pokémon, since so many of them are based off real animals.” (Woman, 21)
“I accidentally find myself searching for Pokémon, especially in bushes.” (Woman, 22)
Oh yes, I think we’ve all been there for that one. After a good, three-day-long marathon with the latest Pokémon release, I’ve personally walked around outside and imagined seeing Pokéballs with potions and TMs inside hidden everywhere.
Along with this one, I would also add “having sudden and random pangs of intense sadness that Pokémon are not real” to the list.
▼ Pokémon GO comes close, but until I can actually hug that
Squirtle and cry water-type tears of joy, we’re not there yet.
Have video games ever influenced how you experience reality? Let us know in the comments, and maybe it would be a good idea for us to take Japanese teachers’ advice and go fishing twice a month instead of playing games.