We’ve all experienced it. Commonly called the Tetris Effect (wiki link), it’s when you
devote sufficient time and attention [to a video game that it begins] to dominate [your] thoughts, mental images, and dreams.
My wife had an amusing episode of this a couple of years back. We were both playing PopCap’s Zuma (a game where you need to match colored spheres rolling along a pre-determined track), and that night she dreamed that she was playing, and a banana had appeared between the spheres. This soon became a frustrating dream because the launcher in the center wouldn’t serve up a banana to get rid of the one that had appeared. It’s much funnier if you’ve played Zuma.
Much more recently, I had a fever-induced set of dreams that were fueled by playing WAY too much Mario (I was playing Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros at the time), but the dreams were so trippy and haphazardly colorful, I hesitate to describe them much beyond that.
In any case, Games Radar have a list of seven games that affect your non-gamer-haze life. I’ve played some of these, and for obvious reasons, I’m disappointed that Zuma didn’t make the list. I’ve experienced the effects, for example, of The Sims in my life:
The Sims forces you to apply cold gaming logic to your jam-packed,
far-too-busy life. This can manifest itself in a couple ways, the most
obvious of which is the hallucinated grid you place on your own home.
God help you if you move into new digs and have to arrange furniture –
you’ll be positioning and repositioning couches, desks, beds, mirrors,
anything that isn’t nailed down until sun comes up. It has to perfectly
comply with arbitrary feng shui that dictated your Sim’s virtual home.
I’ve also had way too much experience with the Silent Hill one as well:
We’ve known people to surreptitiously shut and lock any door they pass
through (because monsters can’t open doors, duh), or become agitated
and uneasy around loud radio static. People even leave the lights on
and jump at the creaks and bumps that shudder through the walls at
night; basically anything you’d attribute to an effective horror movie
you can say the same about Silent Hill games. They really do affect you
I’m really keen to experience the Guitar Hero one, myself.
So, dear readers…have any of you experienced the Tetris effect in games other than Tetris? How was it? What did you imagine?