The Tetris Effect

My friend Todd is a photographer in Brisbane. He has a photoblog. It’s cool. It features mostly weddings but his regular “Fridays on Foot” posts are crackers.

Here’s one that has had a little bit of clever post production done.

The coolest thing about his post was the link to the Tetris Effect on Wikipedia.

People who play Tetris for a prolonged amount of time may then find themselves thinking about ways different shapes in the real world can fit together, such as the boxes on a supermarket shelf or the buildings on a street.[1] In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of habit. They might also see images of falling Tetris shapes at the edges of their visual fields or when they close their eyes. In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of hallucination. They might also dream about falling Tetris shapes when drifting off to sleep. In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of hypnagogic imagery.

Izaac and I have discussed our Tetris effect problem. I had no idea it was widespread enough to earn its own article.

Stickgold et al. (2000) have proposed that Tetris imagery is a separate form of memory, likely related to procedural memory. This is from their research in which they showed that people with anterograde amnesia, unable to form new declarative memories, reported dreaming of falling shapes after playing Tetris during the day, despite not being able to remember playing the game at all.[2] A recent Oxford study (2009) suggests Tetris-like video games may help prevent the development of traumatic memories. If the video game treatment is played soon after the traumatic event, the preoccupation with Tetris shapes is enough to prevent the mental recitation of traumatic images, thereby decreasing the accuracy, intensity, and frequency of traumatic reminders. “We suggest it specifically interferes with the way sensory memories are laid down in the period after trauma and thus reduces the number of flashbacks that are experienced afterwards.”, summarizes Dr. Emily Holmes, who led the study.

I had read about (and posted) that study about Tetris and trauma. But this has opened up a whole new world of normalness to me.

Do you suffer from the Tetris Effect?

I also used to suffer from the GoldenEye effect – I’d be popping bad guys in my dreams after extended sessions on the Nintendo64.


Interesting fact – while importing my blog into WordPress (I’m still toying with making the move but am thinking it needs to be done properly to a wordpress.org site rather than a wordpress.com blog) I noticed that today I hit 300 posts, and 2000 comments. My comment to post ratio is still reasonably good – but most of them are from posts a while ago. That seems worthy of some sort of celebration. I think I’ll go home and play some Bomberman on the N64 which arrived in the mail today from eBay.

Fully sick

Is there anything worse than being at work sick?
Yes, there is, being at work sick on a deadline for your most important project of the year.
At least I have Ben, James and Paul’s emails to keep me company. Today we’re talking about the falling Aussie dollar and how it has ruined Paul’s Christmas because importing his presents is now prohibitively expensive. Good times.
Yesterday we talked about Ben’s inability to write analogies. Paul and James mostly talk about computer games. Which only mildly interests me because they’re not talking about the Nintendo 64 – which is the only console I’m currently playing. Just to keep you in the loop – I only have three 00 Agent levels to go. 1337 – is that how you write “leet” – I’m sure James will correct me. 
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