Games that change how you perceive everyday objects


Ever get so into a game that its design and systems infiltrate your consciousness, and make you see the world differently? Those little cognitive tics where, for a split second, encountering a real-world object, setting, or situation triggers that impulse reaction based on video game context?

Most recently, my stealth/pacifist run of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has me hyper-aware of room layouts, and the positions of large objects like vending machines and cabinets. If I see a large grated air duct on a wall, there’s a brief moment where I think, “Better climb inside, see where it goes.”

For weeks after playing The Witness, I couldn’t come across a square or hexagonal grid anywhere in public without feeling that tingle of puzzle solving in my brain, thinking that if I found the pattern in the linework, I’d unlock some hidden door.

And just the other day, I got really excited when I happened across a wild goose. I knew that I had left a mental note to keep an eye out for them, for some reason that seemed important. Wait. Right. I just needed a goose skin to craft that bag upgrade in Horizon Zero Dawn…

What games make you see the world in a different way until you remember, oh yeah, you’re in the real world?


I mean right now, Prey. “Did I have two coffee cups on my desk earlier…?”


Never noticed how many cctv cameras I encountered day to day until I started playing R6:Siege


I was just about to say that R6:Siege has trained me to look for security cameras and it kinda annoys me that I can’t shoot them out. I guess I could, but not for long.


The environmental puzzles in The Witness really make sure I’m searching every nook and cranny, even on my commute in the morning.


Puzzle & Dragons had me pretending to flip around groups of people based on shirt colour. The Witness’ panel graphs got stuck in my head too.


A lot of playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is nervously staring out a second story window watching for people to show up. Often, they show up in cars, announced by the crescendoing rumble of their engines. When one show up, shit’s about to go down.

I happen to currently live on the second floor of a townhouse with a neighborhood road just a right below my window. I now freak out every time a car drives by.


Strongest has, and probably will remain the way MGS:V changed how I view all shipping crates.

Driving by some on the highway, and just think, “shit, I want to extract that.”


My alert sound for Slack notifications is juuuuuuuuust enough like the “shrine nearby” alert in Breath of the Wild that for awhile there, whenever I heard it, I felt the urge to look around for that familiar orange glow.


Will Wright once talked about how he hoped that Sim City would get kids thinking about their cities and how they were zoned and organized and man, mission accomplished.


Duuuuuuuuuuude, I can’t walk into a grocery store without my brain going into breach and clear mode.