Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way quickly: after an extremely small-scale study (sample size: 42 people) by Nottingham Trent University into Game Transfer Phenomena, a headline in the Metro newspaper declared ‘Gamers can’t tell real world from fantasy’. The study looked at moments when gamers start thinking about real-world situations in terms of game mechanics. One subject thought about using Half Life 2‘s gravity gun to get something from the fridge without getting up, and another thought briefly about using World of Warcraft‘s /who command to locate a relative they’d lost in a crowd.
As has already been mentioned on plenty of big games websites today, this does not mean you cannot tell the real world from a fiction. It is called having an imagination. Neither is it overly different from reactions that people have to film or TV. To be honest, the Metro’s slant isn’t annoying, it’s hilarious, as the comments made on forums across the internet have indicated.
I’m going to borrow from Rock Paper Shotgun again who, in a spirit of celebration, asked ‘Which Games Meddle with Life?’ to its readership. Take a look, it’s a fun read. I can certainly empathise with the Assassin’s Creed example, when players look at buildings and think how they could climb up them, looking for the best footholds. Only today I caught myself wondering what alchemical properties my dinner would have after mixing up some tasty potions in Oblivion. Just so you know, it scored a decent Restore Fatigue rating, but the curry wasn’t strong enough for a Fire Damage effect.