How games can lend us their sense of movement

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Ramadan can be tough sometimes. No, I’m not talking about the praying, the fasting or the interrupted sleep. I’m talking about making the time to play games, and I know I speak for all of us when I mention a growing collection of games we haven’t even thought of loading up for the first time.

Sometimes we have no choice but let ourselves be consumed by an addiction to a particular game. Many moons ago (quite literally), the one game that consumed my time was Burnout 3, which I will try to mention in everything I write until EA let me play it on my current Xbox and the next one. I still remember staying up all night and morning during the Ramadan following its release, trying to capture as many first place gold medals in every single event they throw at you.

What’s weird is how the adrenaline starts to rush within you almost instantly – even when you think about the game well after playing it. I was a teenager at the time and couldn’t drive, but I can see now with many cranks filling up the roads how comically satisfying it is to race at breakneck speeds in the game. But then, the continuous swerving you have to endure translates into real life too. To avoid the human traffic of big crowds or even the rush at my local shopping centre, I like to imagine my body as one of Burnout’s stylish vehicles, avoiding the juggernauts travelling in groups at contrasting speeds. It’s as if every busy location replicates the traffic of Chicago’s downtown underpass, obtrusive pillars ready to smack you, just like they happily do in the game.

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