Gaming is one of the most popular pastimes in younger generations. This virtual experiences take you away for a bit, giving you a break from the mundane and the stresses of everyday life. What happens when you start bringing your gaming experiences to the “real world”, though?
Recent studies find that some gamers have experienced hallucination-like effects long after they stopped playing. These often come in the form of simple thoughts and behaviors, but there is a small percentage that find a much more “immersive” experience.
After psychology researchers surveyed over 1,200 people, it turned out about 12% reported hearing sounds after playing video games. This study can be found on the last issue of International Journal of Cyber Behaviour, Psychology and Learning.
These gamers would often think these noises were real, which could prove to be a bit scary depending on the games you play. Some reported hearing cars, lasers, bullets, swords, screams, beeping, breathing and even explosions. Some gamers reported hearing voices saying things like “death” and “go, go, go!”.
“Objects and events simulated in the game have become what I like to call ‘evocative objects’ that trigger responses that have been conditioned, such as emotions, sensations, perceptions and involuntary body movements.” -Angelica Ortiz de Gortari, Nottingham Trent University in England
Gamers who experience this need not worry, though. It turns out this is a very common phenomena and has been labeled as “game transfer phenomena”. One of the earlierst cases was recorded in 1993, when a woman apparently was “haunted” by the music from Super Mario Brothers. Apparently some users have also seen health bars above people’s heads, which I must admit is a pretty odd one.
While this could prove to be annoying and scary, it seems to be a direct consequence of playing games excessively. Most cases are short-lasting and will go away on their own. Not to mention, people who experience this are a minority. In short: don’t worry, you are not going crazy.
It would be interesting to hear some of your stories regarding this matter, though. Have any of you experienced game sounds or visuals in the “real world”? I once saw the wall patterns moving down after a long session of Guitar Hero, but that lasted only a minute or two.