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6 Games You Couldn’t Stop Playing Even After You Stopped Playing Them

6 Games You Couldn’t Stop Playing Even After You Stopped Playing Them

Have you ever experienced the sensation of playing a game even after you’ve put down the pad? When you’re cooking a meal or taking a shower or slowly drifting to sleep and suddenly, without your brain’s permission, you find yourself playing the game within your mind or on the periphery of your vision? It’s called The Tetris Effect, and here are six games that cause it more than any other.

1. Tetris
The game from which the phenomena took its name. People played Tetris so much back in the Nineties that it scrawled itself into their very synapses. After hours of play gamers would find themselves sorting blocks as they fell asleep, or subconsciously fitting together shapes like boxes on a supermarket shelf. Nintendo was very aware of Tetris’s hallucinogenic powers, releasing a TV as in the early 1990s that showed players imagining Tetris blocks in real life.

2. Guitar Hero
Playing it even after you’ve put down the controller isn’t the only weird, hallucinogenic effect that Guitar Hero has on its players. Most of you will have experienced it – after several hours of strumming look away from the screen and the whole wall will appear as if it is slowly shifting upwards. Don’t worry, your tea hasn’t been spiked, it’s a visual illusion caused by the scrolling bar on screen. As if that wasn’t bad enough, many players also see that very same scrolling bar and all its coloured buttons upon closing their eyes after several hours of play. You just can’t stop the rock.


3. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater got into the mind and stayed there. Players wouldn’t necessarily see the game in their mind’s eye as much as they would actually start to think they had become some kind of pro skater themselves. We remember walking through real cities looking at rails, ramps and jumps thinking about how we could do some sweet tricks and grinds from one to the next. Luckily we remembered that we couldn’t actually skate before we attempted to put this into practice.


4. Portal 2
“Now you’re thinking with portals”. It takes on a whole more sinister tone when you finish playing Portal 2 and you literally cannot stop thinking with portals. It started with looking at white surfaces and immediately thinking, “we could fire a portal there,” but it soon escalated. Soon we were thinking about shortcuts and tricks we could perform with a couple of portals; of all the ways we could make our lives easier (remote on the other couch? We could just use two portals and reach our arm through. Done. Need a wee? One portal in the toilet, the other…wait, never mind). It was when we started thinking about the really mind-bending stuff that we had to stop…like, what would happen if you fired two portals intersecting at right angles?


5. Grand Theft Auto
We’re going to skim over this for fear of making an argument for the negative effects of videogames, but who hasn’t finished a nine-hour GTA session only to go out onto the roads, see a nice bike and think, “I could have that”…?


6. Any game with a quicksave
Manual saving has largely become a thing of the past – most games now come with an autosave feature that keeps us from fiddling about in menus. But many games in the past – particularly PC games in which quicksaving was done with a press of F5 – saw players repeatedly saving their progress for fear of losing any progression made. This had quite the psychological effect. We remember, after many, many hours spent playing Tomb Raider 2 on PC, we were once heading into a school exam. “Oh, better save here just in case something goes wrong,” we thought, before immediately realising how ridiculous a thought that was.

So, what games have got into your minds and stayed there?




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  • stephen

    fall out new vegas, im playing this at the minute, up to 3:30 am last night playin it :-}

  • Garan

    Prince of Persia had me trying to rewind stuff,until I realised I wasn’t playing it.

  • Hey, come on! I can’t believe the Wipeout games aren’t in there. I’ve spent many an hour wizzing around the track in my sleep. I can’t be the only one in the world.

  • Matt in Korea

    Dead Rising 2

    Left my flat for the 1st time in 2 days having spent about 16 hours plating DR2, got to the elevator and couldn’t help feeling I’d left something behind. Keys, phone, travelcard, money I had them all, it was only whilst going down in the elevator I realised I’d forgotten to make a spiked bat. That was worrying, as was the oncoming trip to a shopping centre (Biggest in Korea) I couldn’t help but look out for combos, ‘Oh, there’s a fire extinguisher, oh a jewellers they’d have gems, wheelchairs, sweet!’ Needless to say every time I passed a toilet sign I thought ‘Hmmm should I save?’
    ’twas a weird day.