When Your Mario Kart Obsession Seeps Into Your Daily Commute

By now, you've heard about the new study from Nottingham Trent University that found that playing lots of video games can result in "Game Transfer Phenomena": the real world and the video-game world start to blend together, and gamers begin to see conversation menus during real-life interactions and going for button-prompts to perform real-world actions.

Luke wrote it up this week, and while some of the findings are a bit laughable, I think we've all been there, at least a bit. I know that when I was playing an insane amount of Grand Theft Auto IV, I would venture out for snacks (aka Snacktaku research) and find myself having visceral flashbacks to the heightened world of Liberty City.


Sally Adee has put up a cool blog post at The Last Word on Nothing called "Consensual Hallucination." in which she recounts a similar thing. In it, she talks about how her Mario Kart playing bled over into her daily commute:

Between 2009 and 2010 I spent a disastrous amount of time playing Mario Kart Wii. I'd come home at night, grab dinner and then sit obsessively for several hours clutching a little white plastic steering wheel. I'm not proud of this, but it's necessary back story to explain why, one weekend as I was driving to New Jersey and some Jersey driver was swerving and lane-straddling in front of me on the George Washington Bridge, I instinctively reached down on the steering wheel for the button that, in Mario Kart, would send a red shell flying out in front of me to flip this asshole's car off the road.

She continues with the thought that actually, blending the real wold and the digital one might not be a bad thing:

Imagine if you were driving like a jerk, and someone could throw Mario Kart objects at you. Not to wreck your car, obviously, because no one actually wants you to die. But you know those "How's my driving" stickers? Nice idea but the latency on those makes them unsatisfying. Imagine the real time effect of having a whole bunch of drivers behind you pelting you with red shells and banana peels? You might start to comprehend after a while that you're driving like a muppet.


Ha! I don't know about gas-club cards and AAA rewards, but shooting digital turtle shells into bad drivers is one type of automotive gamification I can get behind.

Consensual Hallucination [The Last Word On Nothing]

You can contact Kirk Hamilton, the author of this post, at kirk@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

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