Bullet Time Isn't Just A Fictional Badass Move. It's A Real Thing.

Illustration for article titled Bullet Time Isnt Just A Fictional Badass Move. Its A Real Thing.

For Neo, moving faster than bullets was a matter of realizing the Matrix's rules could be bent. For most of our video game heroes, bullet time is a popular mechanic that has appeared on titles like Max Payne, Red Dead Redemption, Vanquish and more.


It's not possible to slow down time and perform amazing feats—not yet, anyway. Still, most of us have probably experienced that feeling of time slowing down. We know it as the result of a severe adrenaline rush. It's the closest we have to approaching bullet time in real life, and arguably what bullet time is based on. And there's a reason it happens.

Our adrenaline starts pumping when we're in danger, or when we're scared. What follows is that more information is committed to memory by the brain (the amygdala to be specific) in an effort to help us keep safe. This memory overload makes our recollections seem richer and denser than they actually were.


It's an illusion that tricks your brain into thinking that the more memory it has of an event, the longer it took to pan out. Time slows down for you, only it doesn't in reality.

When we get older, time seems to fly. This is based on a similar phenomenon to the one drawn above. We store more memories from childhood because every experience is fresh, and there's more information to soak up. Experiences we have when we're older are at risk of being lost in the fray, because we've racked up so many similar-looking ones already. This is why childhood seems to take forever and adulthood seems to zip by.

Giving us false memories, deceiving us into thinking time moves slower (or faster!) than it actually does: the brain is pretty crazy amazing, eh?

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I'm no neurologist so what I'm about to say probably makes no sense, so educate me if I'm dead wrong here.

But if we find a way to make our neurons to fire faster, so that our brains process more information in less time, wouldn't that make us perceive time as slowing down?

(Like how if you take a camera and record something at 120 the frames per second but playing it back at 60 frames per second, then everything would see to slow down by half?)