When You Play Tetris Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Brain

Play a game long enough and eventually, you'll find yourself seeing it everywhere, or seeing changes in your body. This is particularly true for games involving patterns, like Tetris, where colored objects fit together like a puzzle. This phenomenon even has a name: the "Tetris effect," coined by Wired in 1994, happens when a player starts fitting together shapes in the real world or "seeing" colored pieces falling into place. 

City Paper writes some players experience the Tetris effect when running daily chores. Some people look at a grocery shelf with cereal boxes, or see buildings and stack them together in their heads. People also dream about Tetris.

Pattern games, even the stressful ones, have a long-lasting effect beyond putting together shapes,which can soothe anxiety. According to TechRadar, Tetris brings the player into a flow state where you're only thinking of solving the puzzle. This creates a sense of clarity, where you can easily pass the time, and encourages relaxation. Researchers tested this phenomenon by telling college students they were about to take a survey on their attractiveness. Before the survey, the students were told to play Tetris, and after the game, they reported lower levels of negative emotions.

Shake those trees

A similar phenomenon happens with video games, not just pattern ones. Scientists named this condition Game Transfer Phenomena, or GTP, where players' visual and mental processes mirror the games. Wired reports players experience a sort of disconnect with the real world, where their instinct is to hit a joystick or click a button when doing something in the real world. It can also be someone addicted to Animal Crossing, who suddenly happens upon a tree, and starts shaking it.

There's no question video games are addicting, Psychology Today says the World Health Organization officially recognizes it as a disorder. At the same time, though, video games can be good for you, and phenomena like the Tetris effect can change how we approach anxiety treatments. Studies are still being done to fully understand the impact video games have on your brain. In the meantime, don't worry when you start picking flowers in a park for potions, or stacking buildings in your head. You're not alone.