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YvoCaro Plays: Gaming Sickness

Welcome to another YvoCaro Plays!

As always, these blurbs are mainly about the video games I’m currently playing. Unedited thoughts spring up in my mind, mostly game-related, sometimes not. Or a random train of thoughts starting with the game and ending somewhere completely different!

If you like these bits of gaming thoughts, you can find the previous ones here.

Nausea, Headache and Sweating

Have you ever experienced this? A slowly creeping up feeling of nausea, getting to be a bit dizzy, and a headache coming? Even breaking out in a sweat? Normally, most people associate this with travelling or sitting on a wild ride at an amusement park. But you can also experience this while playing video games.

Just this week, I was playing Alekon on the Switch. A first-person game where, as long as it involved taking pictures and slowly walking from one Fiction to the next, I was alright. But when I had to jump from stone to stone to go up inside a circular tower, I was in trouble. Trying to find my path and not succeeding, I was quickly so nauseous that I had to stop playing. It didn’t even subside, took me half an hour lying on my bed in a dark room to make me feel slightly better. I think this was the worst case that I had of motion sickness while gaming.

Fresh Start Cleaning Simulator
First-person view in Fresh Start Cleaning Simulator.

I knew that Paula has a serious case of the same; she just can’t even look at a YouTube video of a first-person game being played. But I thought I was okay with them as long as I didn’t overdo the playtime. But looking back, it happened before, while playing the Fresh Start Cleaning Simulator Review and years ago in Minecraft. Especially first-person games have that effect on me, and it seems to be getting worse the older I get.

Gaming Sickness

As I usually don’t get sick on a plane, car or train, I looked it up. Popsi.com has researched this, and here’s what the cause is:

The most popular theory points to sensory conflict as the culprit—this is when your brain receives information that doesn’t match its expectations for how the world should work, causing it to get disoriented.

For example, when you walk down the street, your eyes see buildings go by and the movement of the people around you. Meanwhile, your inner ear—the organ in charge of your balance and sense of motion—corroborates this information by telling your brain that yes, you’re indeed moving. There’s no conflict. Everything is peachy.

Video games can mess up this sensory balance and affect certain people in different ways. If you’re prone to motion sickness while gaming—especially when playing titles from first-person series such as Call of DutyDishonored, and Borderlands—there may be a disconnect between what your eyes see and what your inner ear detects. On one hand, you see realistic movement on the screen designed to make you feel immersed in the game. On the other, your inner ear tells your brain there’s no movement at all—that you’re just sitting on your couch or your very expensive gaming chair. Those mixed messages make the brain freak out and generate a stress response, and that’s when gaming sickness occurs.

No Cure….Avoid First-Person Games

The article does list some possible solutions, but with a small chance of success. Like keeping the gaming times short, letting nausea subside, and then trying again. This in an attempt to get used to it. Make sure you are in a well-lit room and avoid big screens that envelop you. They dominate your entire field of vision, and that’s not helping. Ginger in any form is said to be beneficial to help with your nausea; try to use the acupressure wristbands that you maybe use for other motion sickness forms.

It seems there’s no real remedy, though; you can only try to alleviate your complaints. But who wants to feel awful when gaming? I’d even go so far as to say that by now; just remembering how I felt makes me feel queasy again. I think I’ll just have to choose different games to play. What a pity! Especially since many simulator games that I like are indeed, first-person games.

Maybe we should start a petition, Paula and I, to ask developers to include third person in their games! Do you have the same problem?

2 comments

  1. I have been part of a class that is doing research, and one of the other groups in this class has been researching VR sickness. I think some of their thoughts would apply to this issue. When they publish (I’m pretty sure they will publish) I’ll send the article on to you.

    Interestingly, I have mild problems with motion sickness, but so far no issues with it in video games. However, I rarely play first-person these days, so that could be part of it.

    1. How cool that they are doing a research on VR sickness. Yes please, send the report on. It would seem it affects everyone in a different way. As I’m sure there are many gamers who aren’t bothered at all by gaming sickness at all. Lucky them!

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