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?