Well given my criminal record of no counts of murder, no charges of breaking and entering, no charges of assault and battery and no chickens kicked, I think I can say that I've somehow managed to make it through this purportedly harsh transition period somewhat unscathed. Of course, as a psych major, I've been incredibly interested in this sort of thing from a research standpoint (so interested that I wrote my senior thesis on this topic AND somehow managed to convince the UMass Social Psych department to buy an Xbox 360 AND and HDTV for my experiments). But I can now say, without the shadow of a doubt, that in my own personal experience, yes playing video games altered my perceptions.
Now let me clarify that statement. In case you didn't pick up on the blatant sarcasm, I obviously don't mean that I plan on going on some kind of murderous rampage because the little master chief on my shoulder told me to murder and tea-bag everyone around me. No, I've been more affected by games like Assassin's Creed or Mirror's Edge. Yup that's right, video games have made me liken myself to a renaissance assassin or skinny asian free-runner. More importantly though, I tend to think I am some kind of parkour badass. In what I can only imagine is the best example of fantasy intruding on reality, I will look at a building and immediately think of what Ezio Auditore would be able to do on that particular surface.
Perhaps this is a credit to Ubisoft and their ability to make incredibly immersive games, but there have been more than one occasion where I have looked at a building and immediately thought "Oh I know how I can get on the top of that building. I can just climb up the outside here, then jump to that hold, scurry up that dome..." and by the time I'm halfway done with that thought, I find that I'm already trying to wipe the sweat from my hands and making sure I have the right pair of shoes on for climbing (a function for which converse low tops really don't cut it, stylish though they may be). It is usually at this point that I stop myself and wonder what the hell I'm thinking (this is what some would call "maturity") and go on my way.
Interestingly enough, one of the main mechanics of the game for the main character Desmond is called the "bleeding effect". Without going into TOO much detail, suffice it to say the skills he leans while playing a video game (which is actually just a machine designed to help him relive the genetic memories of his assassin ancestry, locked away in his genes as a sort of imprint passed from generation to generation...it's highly technical...don't worry about it) ultimately begin to translate into the real world. Picture Neo learning Kung Fu in the Matrix AND THEN being able to do ALL the same things in the real world (rather than spend all his time sitting there and whining like a sad sack of shit). Maybe that's some kind of subtle commentary on what's happening with me. Perhaps they've realized that their games are so immersive that, through playing their games, we too can begin to see the way an assassin sees. After three games and countless hours of gameplay, I too can see buildings the way Ezio would see them. The routes, the weaknesses, the numerous paths to the top.
Or the alternate (and more likely) scenario, I'm actually related to a long line of middle eastern and Italian assassins who have been maintaining peace and balance in the world, ensuring that the Templars don't take over the world and bend it to their evil ways.
Yeah...I think that sounds about right.