Can I Use Video Games As Memory Palaces?

Dear Memorizers,Video games as memory palaces

Here’s another great question from last week that continues last week’s theme of making our Memory Palaces simpler vs. more complex:

Hey could I use a place off a video game as a memory palace such as breeze home off of skyrim??

I have no idea what these games are, but the quick and dirty answer is: Yes. Of course. Why not?

The more detailed answer is to remember a principle we’ve talked about before with is that familiarity = speed. If you are so familiar with that location in the video game that you can create a journey through it and don’t have to spend a millisecond thinking of what comes next, then you can use it.

I’m being a bit dramatic with the “millisecond” thing, so don’t take that as law. The same guidelines for preparation and predetermination that apply to real locations apply to imagined spaces as well, so you’ll want to make a dedicated list of the different stations in the videogame area that you’ll be using.

Platform Games Work Best

I don’t know the game that you are referring to, but if I were going to use a videogame – something I’ll experiment with throughout the week – I would use Donkey Kong. (Am I revealing my age here?)

The reason I would use Donkey Kong as a Memory Palace is because it is a single screen that can be easily divided into quadrants without thinking about it. My journey would start at the bottom left of the screen. That would be station number one.

Looking at the screen, I see a number of platforms. Without Googling to see just how many platforms there are on level one, I’ll just decide that there are five and Donkey Kong stands at the very left of the top platform.

I assign the rule that each platform gets three stations (left, center, right) and another rule that I move across each platform in a zipper formation (left to right, right to left, left to right, etc).

This gives me 15 Memory Palace stations total.

I could see this method being very effective and will report back to you on the results later.

In the meantime, you might want to set yourselves up with something similar if you’ve ever spent time playing videogames and can come up with your own example and find a way of constructing a journey through it. If you do, please let me know which game you used and a little bit of the journey you created. You can simply reply to this email with your description.

On the matter of using “virtual spaces” for Memory Palace memorization, this topic was hot over at Mnemotechnics the other day. Josh Cohen posted some links leading to the floorplans of popular TV shows as well as a Wiki article about “artificial memory palaces.” Check out his post here.

Until next time, make sure to teach someone what you have learned about memorization. It’s the best way to deepen your own understanding and to help make the world a better – and more memorable – place. The more we remember, the more we can remember, and the more we learn, the more we can learn.

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