There’s something about GTA. After playing it for hours, I found myself walking the streets of Manhattan and contemplating a car-jacking. Don’t tell Jack Thompson, but I know I’m not the only one. My pal and I spent hours taking turns giving the Liberty City Police the run-around. When we returned to the real world and spotted an expensive car, we only had to look at each other to know we were thinking the same thing.
GTA isn’t the only series with this effect on my mind. I’ve walked around malls with Tony Hawk whispering in my ear, “You could use that as a ramp and then grind the fountain. Look over there! I bet you could jump that.”
Sometimes the most mentally invasive games are nothing like the real world, just mere abstractions. You’re probably familiar with Tetrisitis, the lingering thoughts of fitting shapes together after a long Tetris session. Meteos afflicted me in a similar way. Once I was on stage in the middle of a scene, looking out over a crowd of people in different-colored shirts and images of sliding puzzle tiles arose. I shouldn’t have been thinking of a videogame at the time, but the thoughts arrived of their own accord.
This is different from how some people purposefully (and sometimes embarrassingly) assist a videogame’s entrance into the real world by dressing as Devil May Cry’s Dante on weekends or singing the Pokemon theme for the viewers of YouTube. Certain games have this effect more than others. And that’s what I’d like to explore next time, but until then, a little group therapy. Let’s share. Has a game changed how you look at the world? Was it only temporary?