Can Video Games Cause You To Hear Sounds After The Game is Off?

I was up late one night trying to get the perfect route in Star Fox 64. I turned off my n64 and retired to my bed. It was then I heard the screams and cries of animals far off in the distance. The sounds of a shot down frog here, the tart responses of a falcon over there; the sounds were more real than my hate for Andross. When I ran to the phone to call for psychiatric help, all I received was this response “DO A BARREL ROLL!”. 

What I was experiencing, in this made up story that would never happen to anyone, is a newly named phenomena called Game Transfer Phenomena. A team coming out Nottingham Trent University is trying to figure out the phenomena of gamers experiencing phantom sounds and noises after turning off their favorite games. These sounds can be anything from music to the sounds of explosions and cries (2SPOOPI3ME) The research suggests that many gamers experience lingering noises and sounds overlaying real life from their games after particularly engrossing play sessions. Having gathered evidence from over 1000 testimonials of gamers who have claimed to witness this phenomena, they claim that nearly 13% of gamers experience this phenomena. Obviously collecting testimonials for forums and from such a low number is only anecdotal, but it is an interesting finding. Earlier in the year we blogged a study that was looking into a similar phenomena that dealt with hallucinations, so there seems to be some backing to the findings. Similar research was apparently done in the mid 90s with the very addictive handheld title “Tetris”.

THERE IS NO NES, ONLY TETRIS.

So should we start expecting to heard phantom banjo strings after playing an engrossing game of Banjo Kazooie? Probably not. It’s really not that unnatural for the brain to replay or responded in different ways after having done any task for an extensive amount of time. If Game Transfer Phenomena is anything, it seems to be the brain dealing with the event from earlier. But what do I know about the brain? Nothing.

What does this have to do with sociology you might ask? Well, not much. But it is interesting that video games may be effecting in ways we never knew they could; biologically and psychologically. Certainly video games are effecting us as a population more than ever.

The Guardian has a better take on this subject, so take a look at their article for real justice to the research. Let us know if you’ve ever heard, seen, or even tasted anything gaming related that shouldn’t have been there. WE WON’T REFER YOU TO A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, I SWEAR.

Polygon’s “No Skin Thick Enough:The daily harassment of women in the game industry”

No Skin Thick Enough

Today Polygon posted this piece on their site. It’s an piece about the myths and realities of harassment against women in the video game industry by Brianna Wu. It features the real life experiences of several women in the gaming industry that have faced harassment and threats from gamers and consumers. I’m not going to try and make any witty comments on this one, you should just read the article. Warning: There is some pretty graphic language in the piece.

These are some pretty harrowing experiences that are laid out in this piece. Being a public figure, especially a female public figure, in the gaming industry is still one that carries a lot of hurdles and hardships. The gaming community is slowing shifting and becoming more and more accepting, but we still have a long way ahead of us. We got some real dicks still out there, and we probably always will, but it is how we as a community respond to these types of actions that make us the community we are. Gamers have to hold up those who are being oppressed in our community, and until we do we’re all failing as a community.

 

Book Review: “Console Wars” by Blake J. Harris

We’re back in July with a new type of post! A book review! Wow! Due to my slovenly nature and general  disdain for sitting around and reading, I’ve never had the chance to share my thoughts and opinions on a relevant book here on the blog. THAT CHANGES TODAY, JACK!

Why am I doing this? Because I think my opinion matters? Nope. Because I am some sort of scholar? NOT BLOODY LIKELY. The reason I’m presenting this book review is because I think this type of historical narrative is interesting and worth reading for video game and sociology fans. Although Console Wars isn’t a straight historical account or, by any means, a history book, it tells the real life story of the momentous war between Sega and Nintendo. This company war was a pivotal moment in video game history that changed the industry quite a bit. Through understanding video game history perhaps we can better understand where we’re going.

TLDR: VIDEO GAME HISTORY IS IMPORTANT.

“Console Wars” is the latest book by acclaimed author Blake J. Harris, who is best know for the book and film “Moneyball”.  Here’s a small synopsis of the book for those who are unaware:

In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about videogames and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo.

 

My thoughts: . Essentially Harris is telling the story of two businesses competing for the video game market. Sounds boring, right? Fortunately, Harris has the exceptional ability of making the mundane palatable. By focusing on specific individuals (primarily Tom Kalinske) Harris makes the narrative less about the historic business tactics that occurred and more about the personal struggle to adjust to mounting demands of working in multinational companies and keeping ahead in a sky rocketing industry. In doing so, the history is broken down in such a way that it feels compelling and almost episodic; you feel for the characters in a way that a traditional historical account wouldn’t be able to convey. These are interesting characters to say the least; they’re trailblazers and huge figures in the video game history  whom many know little to nothing about. Like Moneyball, the book is more about the people than it is products. Likewise, the war between Sega and Nintendo is compelling enough to push the book forward

Half way through the book one would assume that Sega is the David of the story, going against the villain Nintendo. However, the book is never unfair to Nintendo or overly sympathetic to Sega. Obviously, Nintendo and Sega are no longer the same companies they were during the 90s, so it’s important to remember them for the companies they once were; Nintendo really did rule the industry with a power glove. Likewise, Sega is depicted as a company at war with itself, which in many led to its inevitable loss of power in the industry. These are interesting insights about these two companies that people may not know. By the end of the book, you may have a different perspective about these two companies.

Sociological Content wise it’s interesting, but shouldn’t be taken for more than a narrative. Console Wars is in no way a research worthy historical account, but it provides very interesting insight into the culture of the video game industry and the community. The story is an account of the 90s and it in many ways reflects the mindsets and beliefs held by the majority in those years. Video games were a different beast in those days and the book gives readers a unique look back that gamers today may have forgotten or not known about.. 

In all, I’d recommend the book to any gamer looking to learn a little more about the history of video games. I considered myself pretty knowledgeable, especially when it came to the console war between Sega and Nintendo, but the book really takes the reader behind the scenes of these two massive companies in a way that other account do not. It’s honestly a compelling book, even if you’re not directly interested in it for the video game knowledge. It is a lengthy read, but it’s quite worth the read.

“DA DUH DUN!”

Of course, you can also wait for the upcoming film adaptation produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. I’m sure it won’t completely translate to film, but if Moneyball is any indication of how Harris translates his books to film it should at least be worth the watch.  That’s it. Book review over. Please give me a passing grade, teach!  Maybe I’ll do more book reviews when I read more books.

Other resources!

Buy Console Wars on Amazon!

Back In My Play Podcast Interview with Blake J. Harris