Game Transfer Phenomena

Game Transfer Phenomena

Authored by Pin Ng PhD

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Michael Por, MD

What is Game Transfer Phenomena?

Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP), also commonly referred to as the “Tetris Effect,” is a perception that occurs after extended video game play that causes distortions in the gamer’s reality, including auditory delusions, intentional thoughts that are focused on gaming, and unintentional disillusions and behaviors. There is little research surrounding Game Transfer Phenomena as it is relatively new since the technology age began. As the need for and consumption of personal technology has increased over the last few decades, so have the people affected by GTP

Studies that have been done have shown that gamers experiencing Game Transfer Phenomena is common, and the gamers have experienced altered perceptions after excessive game play. Very little research is available about GTP, but those who have experienced it have reported many different symptoms and disillusions related to screen time and game play.1

Historically, humans have tried enhancing their experiences using technology. Video games are another tool to aid in that enhancement. Video games require attention to specific details while responding to excessive stimuli. This is most common with augmented/hybrid reality games, where the player enters a virtual world or game as a virtual representation. Gamers become easily absorbed in the game, putting their thoughts, feelings, and any other physical things on pause.

Because modern games are technologically advanced, they offer a higher-level realism which may cause differentiating between game and reality more difficult for those who experience Game Transfer Phenomena. Emotional immersion is significant during game play as it creates a more enhanced experience for the gamer.

What does Game Transfer Phenomena feel like?

Playing certain games has shown to improve mental acuity, as the part of the brain that is playing the games is also connected to intelligence and cognitive flexibility. This could conclude that Game Transfer Phenomena could have positive aspects. However, violent or fighting games may have the opposite effect causing the gamer to act more aggressively or become more irritable outside of the game.2


It has also been known to cause “sea legs,” a physical effect that occurs after sitting for extended periods of time staring at a screen or concentrating on gaming. Standing up quickly or looking at something other than the video game on the screen can create an unstable or unbalanced physical effect for the gamer.


Game Transfer can manifest as seeing or hearing game elements while not gaming. Game Transfer can also include game elements appearing in altered states of consciousness, dreaming, day dreaming, or zoning out.


Game Transfer Phenomena can include experiences such as:


  • Intrusive experiences – sensory alterations, causing the inability to function in one’s surroundings. This can manifest as seeing a similar element from the game in reality and strategizing how to approach or defeat it.


  • Automatic responses – based on video game content, the player will respond to real life situations based on the video game elements, including physical reflexes and misinterpreting real life elements. This can manifest as finger or thumb movements, body spasms, and hearing game elements such as music or sound effects and not being able to discern them from reality.


Intentional Game Transfer exists when a gamer voluntary plays excessively and intentionally incorporates gaming elements into real life situations. This can include using gaming language, imitating characters or game play, using video games to interact with others, and intentional daydreaming.


Game Transfer Phenomena can occur when the gamer is no longer engaged in game play. This can include activities designed to distract or zone out like sleeping or watching television. These occurrences are not exclusive to GTP. Game Transfer Phenomena can also cause fatigue, anxiety, and stress.

Who is at risk of Game Transfer Phenomena

Young players, children and adolescents are more at risk for Game Transfer Phenomena because excessive game play can be used as a form as escapism. However, there is no definitive research that can pinpoint an exact group who is more vulnerable to Game Transfer Phenomena.


Those who are at risk or are already suffering from video game addiction potentially have higher chances of experiencing Game Transfer Phenomena. This is because excessive game play can trigger involuntary, or sometimes intentional, video game images or sounds to exist outside of regular game play.


The concern for children or adolescent gamers who may be at risk for Game Transfer Phenomena is that they may not be able to discern between reality and game play when they experience GTP symptoms, such as sounds or images in reality that actually belong in the game. This can affect children and adolescents and cause greater struggles developmentally. It is important if you notice your child may be experiencing Game Transfer Phenomena or is showing signs of video game addiction to seek help from a certified professional.

Is Game Transfer Phenomena a sign of gaming addiction?

Game Transfer Phenomena can be experienced by anyone at anytime for any length of time and can occur in a variety of video game genres. Although long sessions of game play are not necessary for experiencing Game Transfer Phenomena, excessive game play can often trigger it.


Game Transfer Phenomena can become problematic when it interferes with regular life activities. The consequences will depend on the individual circumstances surrounding the gamer and what types of experiences they have after game play. In a recent study, a gamer admitted to experiencing Game Transfer Phenomena in the form of game images while not playing and those images occurring while driving. The challenge occurs when GTP interferes in real life and becomes a safety concern. It is up to the gamer to stay in control and continue to perform as usual.


In the same study, most gamers reported having game images and sounds occurring while not engaged in game play; most were able to differentiate between real images and sounds and those they were experiencing. Some gamers did admit to interacting and responding to the sounds and images while knowing they were not real.


Video game addiction is not a recognized mental illness. However, it can be harmful to those suffering from it. Game Transfer Phenomena can easily become a symptom or indicator of video game addiction, due to its apparent links to game play of any length from casual to excessive.


Can Game Transfer Phenomena be a sign or symptom of video addiction? In cases where video game addiction is not a concern or game play is casual, then it is unlikely that it is a sign of addiction. However, increased excessive game play opens the gamer up to more opportunities to experience GTP, either involuntarily or intentionally, and that can be a definitive indicator of video game addiction. More research still needs to be done on the links between video game addiction and Game Transfer Phenomena. More research will allow for a better understanding of the phenomena and offer opportunity for treatments when necessary.

Treatment for Game Transfer Phenomena

Treatment for Game Transfer Phenomena is speculative, as it is not considered a mental health illness. Many gamers who have experienced Game transfer Phenomena have reported it lasting anywhere from a few moments to several hours after game play. Individuals who suffer from video game addiction may be more likely to experience this and should seek treatment from a certified professional for their video game addiction. It will be imperative to make your clinician aware of the auditory and sensory changes you experience due to GTP so that they can search for an underlying cause in addition to excessive video game playing.  12 step programs for Video Game Addiction are available and could help.


In addition to seeking treatment for video game addiction, there are several things you can do to manage your symptoms of Game Transfer Phenomena:


  • Limit game and screen time – while the amount of screen time and game time has not been directly linked to Game Transfer Phenomena, too much screen time can be harmful to your physical and emotional health.
  • Take frequent breaks – If you are playing video games for hours at a time, take breaks. Stand up, stretch, go for a walk, do something that engages a different part of your brain for a few minutes.
  • Engage in other activities, unrelated to gaming – Exercise, read a book, spend quality time with loved ones.
  • Seek treatment – if you are experiencing excessive effects from Game Transfer Phenomena or video game addiction, reach out to a certified professional for a diagnosis and treatment.


Game Transfer Phenomena is relatively recent in the age of technology. As we become more reliant on technology for communication, work, and entertainment, it becomes increasingly easier to have sensory or hallucinatory effects due to excessive video game play. Although there is no definitive cause for GTP, more research is becoming available and with the help of anecdotal evidence will allow for other treatments to become available.  Digital Detox could help in some cases.

Antonius van Rooij talks Videogame Addiction

Video Game Addiction Information

The Hong Kong Massacre Addiction


The Last Campfire Addiction


The Last of Us Part 2 Addiction


The Last of Us Part II Addiction


The Legend of Heroes: Hajimari no Kiseki Addiction


The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III Addiction


The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV Addiction


The Outer Worlds Addiction


The Pathless Addiction


The Persistence Addiction


The Red Lantern Addiction


The Walking Dead Onslaught Addiction


The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Addiction


The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners Addiction


The Walking Dead: Season Two Addiction


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Addiction


The Wonderful 101: Remastered Addiction


Theme Park Tycoon 2 Addiction


Those Who Remain Addiction


Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales Addiction


Through the Darkest of Times Addiction


Title Addiction


Tokyo Mirage Sessions Addiction


Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Addiction


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Addiction


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 Addiction


Torchlight III Addiction


Total War: THREE KINGDOMS Addiction


Total War: WARHAMMER II Addiction


Trackmania Addiction


Trackmania Nations Remake Addiction


Transformers: Battlegrounds Addiction


Trials of Mana Addiction


Tropico 6 Addiction


Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure Addiction


Twin Mirror Addiction


Two Point Hospital Addiction


Umihara Kawase BaZooKa!! Addiction


Umihara Kawase Fresh! Addiction


Umurangi Generation Addiction


Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late Addiction


Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] Addiction


undertale Addiction


Unturned Addiction


Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen Addiction


Valheim Addiction


Valorant Addiction


Vampire: The Masquerade Addiction


Vigor Addiction


Visage Addiction


Vitamin Connection Addiction


VRChat Addiction


War Thunder Addiction


Warcraft 3: Reforged Addiction


Warcraft III: Reforged Addiction


Warface Addiction


Warframe Addiction


warhammer 50k Addiction


Warhammer: Chaosbane Addiction


Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate Addiction


warrobots Addiction


WARSAW Addiction


Wasteland 3 Addiction


Watch Dogs: Legion Addiction


We Were Here Together Addiction


Welcome to Elk Addiction


Werewolf: The Apocalypse Addiction


Who’s Your Daddy? Addiction


Wildfire Addiction


Windbound Addiction


Wizadry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls Addiction


Work at a Pizza Place Addiction


World of Tanks Blitz Addiction


World of Warcraft Addiction


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Addiction


World of Warships Addiction


World’s End Club Addiction


Worms Rumble Addiction


Wraith: The Oblivion Addiction


WRC 9 Addiction


WWE 2K Battlegrounds Addiction


XCOM 2 Collection Addiction


XCOM: Chimera Squad Addiction


Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition Addiction


XIII Addiction


Yakuza 0 Addiction


Yakuza 5 Addiction


Yakuza 5 Remastered Addiction


Yakuza Kiwami Addiction


Yakuza Kiwami 2 Addiction


Yakuza: Like a Dragon Addiction


“Yoru, Tomosu” Addiction


Ys: Memories of Celceta Addiction


Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution Addiction


Zoids Wild: Blast Unleashed Addiction


Zombie Army 4: Dead War Addiction


For information on all treatment and rehab options


Worlds Best Rehab

Chairman & CEO at Remedy Wellbeing | Website | + posts

Alexander Bentley is the Chairman & CEO of Remedy Wellbeing™ as well as the creator & pioneer behind Tripnotherapy™, embracing ‘NextGen’ psychedelic bio-pharmaceuticals to treat burnout, addiction, depression, anxiety and psychological unease.

Under his leadership as CEO, Remedy Wellbeing™ received the accolade of Overall Winner: Worlds Best Rehab 2022 by Worlds Best Rehab Magazine. Because of his incredible work, the clinic is the world’s first $1 million-plus exclusive rehab center providing an escape for individuals and families requiring absolute discretion such as Celebrities, Sportspeople, Executives, Royalty, Entrepreneurs and those subject to intense media scrutiny.

At Worlds Best Rehab, we strive to provide the most up-to-date and accurate Addiction Recovery and Rehab information on the web so our readers can make informed decisions about their healthcare.
Our reviewers are credentialed subject matter experts specializing in addiction treatment and behavioral healthcare. We follow strict guidelines when fact-checking information and only use credible sources when citing statistics and medical information. Look for the medically reviewed badge Worlds Best Rehab on our articles for the most up-to-date and accurate information.
If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate or out-of-date, please let us know via our Contact Page