Recent experiments show video games have a range of positive cognitive effects, such as improvement in attention, spatial cognition and mental rotation, and also overcoming of cognitive disabilities such as fear of flying. Further, game environments are now being used to generate scientific discoveries, and bring about novel phenomenological effects, such as out-of-body experiences. These advances provide interesting interaction design possibilities for video games. However, since the cognitive mechanisms underlying these experimental effects are unknown, it is difficult to systematically derive novel systems and interaction designs based on these results. We review the emerging cognitive mechanism known as common coding, and outline how this mechanism could provide an integrated account of the cognitive effects of video games. We then illustrate, using two ongoing projects, how novel video game interaction designs could be derived by extending common coding theory.