I noticed a thing recently when I was playing Beat Saber (the VR game I’ve been blatting on and on about), and in order to describe it I have to show you what the game looks like, so here is a GIF of actress Brie Larson playing it on The Tonight Show for some reason:

You see how the blocks are coming at her, and that there is space between the procession of blocks as they advance: first it’s this one, then it’s that one, and so on. (There’s also space between them horizontally, but I’m referring to the speed at which they travel.)

In more difficult modes the speed is greatly increased and therefore the blocks are pretty much flying at you, bam bam bambambam.

When I first started looking at the harder modes I couldn’t even see that space between the blocks; they appeared to be coming at me so quickly my brain could not catch up. The blocks were moving in a kind of blur that didn’t visually resolve in time for me to make any kind of decision — like trying to follow a directional sign as you go roaring by at 200 MPH.

But now that I’ve been playing for a while, I can see that distance plain and clear. It’s not a matter of having memorized the patterns of a particular song, either, it’s just straight-up a perception shift. Even when I’m playing unfamiliar songs those blocks now appear to have more distance. The better I get at the game, the more time I seem to have to recognize and react.

It’s as though the blocks are now moving more slowly than they did before, which of course isn’t true in the sense that however Beat Saber’s digital element movement is quantified (I assume it involves the kind of math that also has, like, letters), it remains the same during each same-mode play-through. The thing that changed was me.

Okay, sorry, I do realize this is sounding like I’m gearing up for an absolutely idiotic wrap-up, like if we would only search the Beat Saber distance of our hearts, blah blah blah fishcakes.

I just thought it was interesting, and yes, fine, maybe a little inspiring. A thing I saw one way that seemed impossible, and then the way I saw the thing changed, and therefore so too did its impossibility.


7 Responses to “Slow down. Zoom in. ENHANCE!”

  1. Michael on April 15th, 2021 11:10 am

    “Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth… There is no spoon… Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.” Spoon Boy to Neo, The Matrix

  2. Kate on April 15th, 2021 3:37 pm

    So…like…do you or don’t you feel like an Avenger when you play it? Cuz that’s really the review I need to make me just bite the bullet and buy it.

  3. Hillary on April 16th, 2021 7:18 am

    I think it would be so satisfying to swat all those blocks! I couldn’t visualize it before, but now that I’ve seen it, wow, I want to try it. :)

  4. Gloria on April 16th, 2021 7:38 am

    Thanks for that timely message! I’m facing something triggering today and its hard. I can’t change the situation but I could look at changing my perspective. Have a great day!

  5. Pat Birnie on April 16th, 2021 9:44 am

    Excellent message & proof of neuroplasticity! Our brains can grow and adapt and accomplish new things. Still – I’ll likely never play a video game….although I do love the inspiration. (and I get a little thrill every time I see a new post from you;)!

  6. Shawna on April 19th, 2021 2:00 pm

    1) This feels a bit like learning to merge into multi-lane highway traffic: at first all you can see is the cars, but once you’ve been doing it for awhile you see the spaces you can fit into.
    2) Thanks for the throwback “blah, blah, blah fishcakes”! It’s been YEARS since I’ve seen that phrase and it made me all nostalgic!

  7. Nine on April 23rd, 2021 9:27 am

    Being an old skool gamer (Atari 2600 Crue [with the umlauts] represent), I am both intrigued and terrified by VR. It looks awesome, but there are 3 things even just from your example that are problematic for me in particular: 1) Facebook (just no) 2) coordination and control of my actual body parts in actual 3D space (hahahahahaha) 3) Jimmy Fallon (I hate him and can’t get over it, it’s been like 17+ years of consistent hate at this point.).

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