Games that warp your sense of reality after long periods of play

Some games tend to be so absorbing that it’s hard to put them down and just carry on your daily routine as if nothing happened. Every once in a while you’ll find that even the quirkiest elements of a game have permeated your mind and warped your perception of reality somewhat. It’s usually after playing a game with lots of repetitive elements that you realize your mind is still stuck thinking in game-logic and you’re subconsciously applying gameplay elements in real life.

Here are five games (some old, some new) I’ve played which demonstrate this phenomena.



TetrisThe first example is one that has probably plagued many gamers. It’s not really exclusive to Tetris, but rather inherent to most puzzle games. Especially the ones that keep you glued to your chair for far too long and have you concentrate on a flurry of ever faster spawning geometrical shapes. Sufferers of Tetritis report hallucinations of descending little blocks when feeling tired or distracted and often start analyzing various Tetris situations without conscious intent. Other symptoms include seeing household objects as Tetris blocks and a tendency to pack them together just right to optimize your living space. Once Tetritis gets in your system it takes a while for it to vanish. Tetris withdrawal is obviously the one surefire solution, but in the mean time you could take advantage of the temporary obsession to do some cleaning around the house or some other means of putting that overactive sense of spatial awareness to use.

The symptoms: visual hallucinations, hyperactive spatial awareness



Random Crackdown image

Anyone who played Crackdown will probably agree that the game makes you feel powerful when playing. After collecting a bunch of delicious green orbs, the on-screen character has no difficulty jumping up buildings in a single leap and is soon climbing skyscrapers as if it were nothing. When interrupting long playtimes, you may start to view their own surroundings in an entirely different fashion. Just like in the game you’ll start scanning the place for ledges to hold on to, windows to grab or any other object that sticks out and may just facilitate your climb. Most likely you’ll soon snap out of this mindset, but it’s still tempting to map out a route through the city that involves leaping up rooftops, using local monuments as footholds etc. If anything it beats the often tardy public transportation and I’d wager the game has sparked an interest in Parkour for some gamers.

Crackdown also awakens any trace of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder you have. The reason for this is because there are 800 of the aforementioned orbs spread across the vast game world. Add to that an achievement for collecting all of those, and you’ll soon be having auditory hallucinations of the sound that plays when you’re in the proximity of one of the precious orbs. If you want to be extra cruel, you can download this very sound and torment someone you know who’s currently plowing through the game and orb hunting.

The symptoms: overestimating your jumping abilities, auditory hallucinations


Mario Kart

Mario KartMario Kart has always been known for it’s wacky antics, but a lesser known fact is that it can trigger some equally insane behavior after intensive durations of play. Apparently it’s not safe to go biking after some intense time trial practise. A friend of mine (anecdotal evidence for the win) tells me he got so used to the powerslide motions that he had a strange craving to apply them on the road while biking to school. The inclusion of snaking in Mario Kart DS sure hasn’t helped. Police reports indicate that there has been a 2500 percent increase in cases of "drunk biking." Approximately 90% of the people that were pulled over were later found to have no alcohol whatsoever in their blood. These statistics may or may not be true. Regardless, earlier video evidence has proven that exporting Mario Kart elements to the real world is a recipe for fun. For an added Mario Kart mindf*ck, try playing any version of the Rainbow Road track for more than three hours straight. Gamernode is not liable for any damages which might arise.

The symptoms: attempting powerslides and snaking manoeuvres on bikes, lying about statistics


The Darkness

The Darkness

Starbreeze’s latest storydriven horror offering won’t make you afraid of the dark, as the name might imply. If anything you’ll grow to love the darkness a bit too much. Throughout the game you’re wary of every light source as it steadily drains your shady powers. You’re constantly on the lookout for light bulbs and lantern posts, and when you switch off the game that feeling tends to stick. As a result you may get some weird looks from your friends and family as they see you suspiciously eying every LED and halogen lamp. Luckily this phenomenon fades quickly as the game itself doesn’t last all that long. A good night’s sleep will rid you of your photofobia, but if you catch yourself conversing with your two demonic counterparts and engaging long rants about the New York subway system it may be wise to call a doctor just in case.

The symptoms: photofobia, mild cases of schizophrenia in some


Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero image

Frantically strum and follow the on-screen notes in this rockstar simulator for hours on end and you’ll come to find out how Guitar Hero tends to mess with your unwitting mind. After long periods of time it’s not uncommon to pause and stare at the wall only to see that wall scrolling upwards. It’s the same kind of optical illusion you get after staring into a spinning spiral for about 30 seconds. In Guitar Hero’s case the effect is a bit more subtle, but lasts longer as you’ve been staring at the screen for a much more prolonged period of time. It’s quite harmless on its own, but it still catches you off guard the first time.

The franchise has another peculiar mental effect: it doesn’t matter what song comes on the radio, you’ll always end up tapping your foot and mentally moving your fingers fingers picturing how the song would play in Guitar Hero. Inexperienced Guitar Heroers may also experience some stiff wrists and sore forearms the first few times they play the game.

The symptoms: stiff wrists for new players, warped eyesight


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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