I’m not a fan of nightmares, but “Little Nightmares” is something I’m happy to experience!
The horror puzzle platform game developed by Swedish developers Tarsier Studios received high praise when it was released a couple of weeks ago.
In his article in Die Zeit Achim Fehrenbach goes into research on dreams and Game Transfer Phenomena.
The experiences we get from playing video games are pervasive, and game contents can appear in dreams and even when we are awake as spontaneous thoughts and sensory phenomena such as visual, auditory and tactile sensations.
Research of my colleague Jayne Gackenbach has found that frequent gamers tend to have more bizarre dreams and that playing video games have a sort of “protective mechanism against nightmares,” since gamers are used to be confronted with dangerous and bizarre situations when they play.
Whitney Reynolds writes this in her review about the game in Polygon:
“As I drifted off after an evening of playing the spooky puzzle-platformer, my mind filled with images of unnaturally long arms reaching for tiny hooded figures and I woke with my heart racing.”
I have also played it a bit, but after my first session the game contents have not popped up in my dreams or during daytime.
Part of the bizarreness of ”Little Nightmares” is that you play this tiny, cute and seemingly vulnerable character with thin legs and small feet, almost fully hidden inside a yellow raincoat, in a gigantic and disproportionate world.
Playing in a giant environment reminds me of one gamer’s experience in my research. The gamer reported feeling small after having played “Castle Crashers” where the environment is also gigantic. I wonder if something similar happens to the players of “Little Nightmares.”
The game is filled with darkness, shiny figures, sounds of heart palpitations when you are starving, etc. The guy with the extremely long arms is great! Every time something caught you, you expect to be eaten or smashed, but so far the game does not show such violent content. I’m happy the game does not show my failure in a crude way, but curiously I’m missing the extra depiction of failure every time I got caught by a “monster.” This paradox is without a doubt a topic to discuss on another occasion.
Have “Little Nightmares” had any effect on you?
Have you perceived or had the sensation that things around you change of size or perhaps you have felt smaller? Have you had some visual experience involving the yellow coat or perhaps some other experience?
For my German speaking readers, follow this link for the full article in Die Zeit.
The book Boundaries of Self and Reality Online: Implications of Digitally Constructed Realities edited by Jayne Gackenbach & Johnathan Bown, includes a chapter by me and Mark D. Griffiths. “Beyond the Boundaries of the Game: The Interplay Between In-Game Phenomena, Structural Characteristics of Video Games, and Game Transfer Phenomena”.
This chapter is a first attempt to map in-game phenomena and structural characteristics of video games, with transfers of game experiences manifesting in a number of modalities: altered perceptions, automatic mental processes, and behaviours with the purpose of stimulating future empirical work for hypothesis testing. This chapter also examines which phenomena, inherent to the video game world and elements in the gameplay, appear to contribute to the transfer of game experiences.
We have identified four core factors relevant for GTP to occur: (1) sensory perceptual stimulation, (2) high cognitive load, (3) dissociative states, and (4) high emotional engagement.
I want to thank my dear colleague Jayne Gackenbach for the invitation to collaborate in this book. It is a particular pleasure for me to appear in a book together with John Suler, one of my favourite scholars when I started investigating the psychosocial effects of Internet and addiction in 1998 for my undergraduate thesis for becoming a psychologist.
John Suler’s initiative with his website on the psychology of the Cyberspace together with Sherry Turkle and her book “The life on the screen”, Kimberly Young with her centre Net Addiction and her book “Caught in the Net”, and Mark D. Griffiths’ research were crucial for me choosing Cyberpsychology as my main area of research.
I remember my times in “the Palace” (a visual, spatial and auditory chat environment that was quite advance for 1995) where Suler conducted his social research on the psychology of the cyberspace.
Wow! This really brings back memories about the ambience in there. I can almost remember the sounds!
“We live in hallucinatory times. The distinction between imagination and perception, on which understandings of reality are based, seem to be collapsing everywhere in our hyper-mediated environment. What is the relationship between visual images, mental representations, and perception? Can the conjunction of hallucination and cinema help us explore these realms? Hallucinations are considered to be illusions – dysfunctional, pathological – in a way that experiences of projected images are not. Yet for some time now, cultural theorists have forwarded concepts such as phantasmagoria, simulacra and the hyper-real that complicate the reality of illusions and the illusion of reality. Media theorists claim that cinema is an illusion-forming medium while others have explored the proximity of dreams, visions and cinema.
This conference will convene in the productive space of the overlaps between cinematic image-rendering and hallucinations. Aside from depictions of one in the other, how do hallucinations and cinema relate? What do we get when we cross one with the other? Or are they already crossed? The panel will explore the role of other kinds of illusion-forming media, such as plants and dreams, in the making, writing and production of films; the movie theater as a synaesthetic space; the possibility that images – hallucinatory or otherwise – affect the body in ways that might be considered curative or, the opposite, in ways that produce psychosis”. (Text extracted from the call to the conference).
Where: Rm. B500, Wollman Hall, 65 W 11 St., The New School, New York City, USA.
When: Thursday, March 30, 1:00 PM – 7:30 PM EDT
Participants: Richard Doyle, Tarek Elhaik, Abou Farman, Yulan Grant, Ute Holl, Chrissie Iles, Nicolas Langlitz, Angelica Ortiz de Gortari, Anand Pandian, Jenny Perlin, Genevieve Yue. Check here for more information about the participants.
Please RSVP your attendance here.
Washington Post is running a series of stories on growing up in “The screen age”. In the most recent story “The next level” they go into the case of “Byrne”, his struggles with gaming addition and the impact on his family. Byrne has also experienced Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP).
“After Byrne’s prolonged periods of play, his parents noticed that his temperament was unusually volatile. The muscles in his back and neck felt tense and tight. His eyes would sometimes twitch. Lines of dialogue from the games would pop into his mind unbidden. At school, the class dismissal bell occasionally sounded just like the two-tone chime that signaled a new friend joining a game online — a sort of auditory hallucination that researchers refer to as Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP), in which the boundaries between reality and the game begin to blur.
Nicholas Kardaras, a New York psychotherapist and author who specializes in addiction, still remembers the very first gamer he treated who suffered from GTP: a teenage boy in a Metallica T-shirt who appeared frightened and confused as he sat in Kardaras’s office…”
I’m a bit unsure if Byrne was hearing, seeing or thinking about the dialogues from the game. I have found all these manifestations in my research on GTP.
Hearing voices from the game inside the head, as a sort of inner speech because of internalizing auditory images of speech without pronouncing a sound has been reported with video games that have repetitive dialogues and commands. “Go, Go”, “Welcome back”, “over time, over time”. Probably dialogues from online conversations can also manifest in similar ways.
Gamers have also repeatedly heard music or sound in the head as involuntary auditory imagery, very similar as when a melody that you like (or hate) gets stuck in your head! Additionally, gamers have heard sounds coming from objects associated with the game, as a more genuine form of “auditory hallucination”.
In terms of visual experiences, spontaneous visualizations of images from the game are one of the most common GTP experiences. Gamers have even seen menus that pop up in the corner of their eyes and menus or tags above people’s head.
At times Byrne thought that the dismissal bell at school sounded like a signal from the game. Misinterpretations of real life stimuli (e.g. objects, sounds) that resemble something from the game has been broadly reported. Gamers have interpreted birds as fighting jets, or interpreted doors being shut as spiders crawling.
The links between GTP and gaming addiction has not been clearly established yet, but in one of our latest studies 7% of those that have experienced GTP very frequently and in various forms were significantly more likely to consider having problematic gaming or gaming addiction. They played sessions of 6 hours or longer and 58% of those have experienced distress or/and dysfunction due to GTP.
Read the full story about Byrne here.
Quel effet psychologique des jeux vidéo et de la réalité virtuelle?
“Quand je jouais beaucoup à World of Warcraft… je commençais à voir des barres de vie au-dessus de la tête des gens” Charlie, 17
Collaborez sur un projet de post-doctorat visant à mieux comprendre le « Game Transfer Phenomena » (GTP) ! Le GTP est une manifestation similaire aux hallucinations, pensées spontanées et comportements involontaires qui surviennent après avoir joué à des jeux vidéo.
Une approche novatrice en recherche, qui peut inclure l’utilisation de casques réalité virtuelle !
But: Comprendre les mécanismes cognitifs et perceptuels sous-jacent au GTP
- Deux seules places disponibles !
Si vous souhaitez participer à ce projet : Dr. Angelica Ortiz de Gortari email@example.com
Moving from UK… I will miss many things from Nottingham, the city of Robin Hood! A colourful multicultural, breathing and living city! A city that I witnessed getting developed during the last couple of years.
I’m happy and proud when I look back at my time in Nottingham. During the last six years I gave the best of me and put Nottingham Trent University on the headlines all around the world with my research on Game Transfer Phenomena conducted as my PhD.
Seeing the possibilities rather than the limitations… My partner Anders made me realise this is how I navigate through life, during our final dinner in Nottingham… I’m grateful for the opportunities to grow professionally and mature personally.
During the last years my life has revolved around the work I highlight below, mostly done as part of my doctoral research next to my PhD supervisor Professor Mark Griffiths at Nottingham Trent University.
I hope to visit my friends and colleagues in Nottingham at some point in the future… For now, it is time to move on and keep building the dreams on a new path.
University of Liège in Belgium here I come!
I´m looking forward to start a new phase in my research into GTP with my Marie Curie COFUND postdoc fellowship, co-funded by the University of Liège and the European Union.
Main published articles:
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B. (2016). The Game Transfer Phenomena framework: Investigating altered perceptions, automatic mental processes and behaviors induced by virtual immersion. Proceedings of the 21st Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine. Cypsy21. In press.
Ortiz de Gortari A. B., Oldfield B & Griffiths M. D (2016). An empirical examination of factors associated with Game Transfer Phenomena severity. Computers in Human Behavior, 64, 274-284
Ortiz de Gortari A. B., & Griffiths M. D. (2016). Prevalence and Characteristics of Game Transfer Phenomena: A Descriptive Survey Study. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 32(6), 470-480.
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B (2015). What can Game Transfer Phenomena tell us about the impact of highly immersive gaming technologies? Proceedings of the Interactive Technologies and Games 2015 Conference Proceedings in IEEE xplore.
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., Pontes, H. A., & Griffiths, M. D. (2015). The Game Transfer Phenomena Scale: An instrument for investigating the non-volitional effects of video game playing.Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2015). Game Transfer Phenomena and its associated factors: An exploratory empirical online survey study. Computers in Human Behavior, 51, 195-202.
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B & Griffiths, M. D (2015). Living the game. IGI Global editorial monthly news. http://www.igi-global.com/newsroom/archive/living-game/2223
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). Auditory experiences in Game Transfer Phenomena: An empirical self-report study. International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning 4(1), 59-75.
Ortiz de Gortari, A., & Griffiths, M. (2014). Automatic Mental Processes, Automatic Actions and Behaviours in Game Transfer Phenomena: An Empirical Self-Report Study Using Online Forum Data. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-21.
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). Altered Visual Perception in Game Transfer Phenomena: An Empirical Self-Report Study. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 30(2), 95-105.
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2012). An Introduction to Game Transfer Phenomena in Video Game Playing. In J. I. Gackenbach (Ed.), Video Game Play and Consciousness. NY: Nova Publisher.
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., & Griffiths, M. D. (2012). The Relevance of Game Transfer Phenomena When Addressing Problematic Gaming. Paper presented at the 17th annual CyberPsychology & CyberTherapy Conference, Brussels, Belgium.
Ortiz de Gortari, A. B., Aronsson, K., & Griffiths, M. D. (2011). Game Transfer Phenomena in video game playing: A qualitative interview study. International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 1(3), 15-33.
Is technology haunting us? Or we are haunting it? Aleks Krotoski wonders.
Traditional definitions of what is alive seem limited! Toys dance, cry, smile; advanced technologies are “smart”, and trick us making us feel they are present and even alive. Traces from virtual immersion appear and people see and hear things that are not actually there.
Join my conversation with Joe Brown, Science’s Editor in Chief and Executive Editor of Wired, Leigh Haggerwood, expert on horror sound design, Tobias Revell, artist and designer who explores failed utopias and unexplained phenomena and professor Jeffrey Sconce, media and film cultural historian. -With the bonus of the participation of gamers telling us about their Game Transfer Phenomena experiences.
We try to unveil the mysteries of how technology make inanimate things come alive and how sometimes our relation with technology trigger our deepest fears and anxieties, in BBC Radio 4’s Digital Human episode: “Haunted” with a spooky tone for Halloween!
Follow this link to listening the broadcast.
Looking for Pokémon Go players for a new study!
Please help us by answering this survey focusing on Pokémon Go & Game Transfer Phenomena.
The aim is to investigate the impact of the Augmented Reality game
Pokémon GO on gamers´ well-being and Game Transfer Phenomena.
You should be at least 18 years old to participate in the study.
Participate in the Survey in English
Participa en el cuestionario en Español
Please share the link to the survey with your contacts.
Read more: Blogs related to Pokémon.
A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk at the DEVHR6 -Foro International del Juego.
I really appreciated this invitation, since I consider it indispensable to build communication bridges between the different spheres involved in video games and learn from our different perspectives.
Here you can watch my talk I specially prepared for the video game developers at the conference.Video courtesy of Cyad Tv of the division Design Sciences and Arts in the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UNAM) in Mexico City.
Further down you can also find the presentation itself and the videos I showed at the conference.
My talk at DEVHR6
Main videos used in my presentation with sub-titles in Spanish
Parody on GTP courtesy Ginx TV
Gamers’ thoughts and their GTP experiences
GTP in CSI: Cyber (Spanish)
GTP in CSI: Cyber (English)
I just found out about the article “Game Transfer Phenomena: The original AR” by Sophie Turner. It was published in the magazine Unwinnable that covers video game culture, art and more. This edition is on The Body Horror. It is a magazine I will follow! Thanks for this Sophie!
I like that title! “Game Transfer Phenomena: The original AR“. It resonates with thoughts from an old post of mine:
“There are still no holograms or touch interfaces that float in front our eyes, and the Google glasses are just a small step on the way. No artificial technology is needed, only the most powerful machinery never invented, the human mind! Suddenly the real scenery of some gamers appeared tinted by colours and textures, shadows, auras around objects, menus, power bars, and pixelations.”
Here is an extract from the article in Unwinnable about GTP:
“Ever been living your mundane, day-to-day life and reached for your nonexistent
Portal gun after noticing a blank white wall or had to fight the
urge to pick through some particularly useful looking foliage for a Stimpak?
Perhaps you’ve curled up in bed after a long Tetris session and continued
seeing the game behind your eyes, or have reached for the save button in a
perilous situation before being hit by the crushing reality of living in the real
world? If so, you’ve experienced Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP), and you’re
definitely not alone.
GTP is a term coined by psychologist and self-confessed gamer Angelica
B. Ortiz de Gortari, who began studying the phenomena after her own
experiences with them.”
Continue reading on page 106 in the magazine.