207: Wired Differently

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Being a longtime motion sickness victim, I've never tried to find an explanation as to why some games make me sick, attributing this condition to a weakness of my vestibular apparatus. However, normally I adapt fairly quickly to a particular game (with a few exceptions), it seems the more distracted I am (i.e. having fun) and the stronger the desire to adapt -- the faster it happens.

The experience differs from game to game and it's not always the FPS' that make me really queasy. My first short session of GoW was somewhat unpleasant (I even remember thinking "Pah, so what's supposed to be fun about this game?"), but the next day I felt the sickness subside and was able to actually enjoy the game for what it is. One of the games I couldn't adapt to at all was the original Hitman (and believe me, I TRIED) -- the migraines that game gave me were skull-splitting. The last FPS that gave me periodic sickness was Painkiller and even in that game it depended on the level I was going through.
On the other hand driving games never make me sick for some reason.


On the other hand, I don't get why all the new patients all around the internet are suddenly complaining that game developers should make their games taking VSS people into consideration. Why? Gaming is a choice, if it makes you uncomfortable or sick, don't do it.

So you're a journalist, eh? Yes, I can definitely see you being employed by Fox News or some other annoying, tight-arsed, reactionary misinformation bureau. I hate to be personal, but your attitude, sir, chaffs my buttocks!

You say "...all the new patients all around the internet are suddenly complaining...", but this topic is the first time I've ever seen such a discussion on a gaming-related forum, and it's a discussion of a well-written article even! Would you kindly cite your sources on this, please?

Anyway, imagine there are three awesome action games: A, B and C. I enjoy A and B but C, although a great game in all respects, makes me puke my guts out. After such an unpleasant experience you can't really expect me to think happy thoughts about C or it's developers and I'm sure as hell going to be wary of buying C2: The Sequel even if it's crowned The Best Game on Planet Earth!
The games that don't make me vomit get my cash, it's all that simple!

I say old chap:
Asking high motion levels or scenes to be removed from games is a bit much to ask. It strikes me as early identity politics. Change these games because they are not perfect for me. I after all enjoy quick moving combat games or trying to stay in control and fight back in any dog-fight-esque simulator. I can see others expressing the same views.

Playbahnosh has some good and frank points which he makes. Any other hobby could be taken up, perhaps playing chess slowly?

Isn't it great that it's professional game developers, and not random people on internet forums, who decide if they want to implement an optional engine tweak (selectable through a menu) just so that people with motion sickness can ENJOY their games?!

Are you OK, people? I think you might want to see a doctor, because from where I'm sitting it seems that you're hallucinating about some enraged mob demanding for a ban on all FPS' and vehicle simulators.

I had a buddy who suffered badly from this. He was a big guy, 7 ft tall, almost 300 pounds, ex military, brought to his knees by FPS games. He would get nauseous looking at fps games, become sick to his stomach and dizzy. Perhaps for this reason he stuck to side scrollers, fighting games and RPG's. Still, last time I talked to him was when the Ps2 was a relatively new system and the first Xbox was still viable. With the current crop of 3D dependent games in all genres I wonder if he can play games at all anymore.

Seeing his reaction to first person shooters and him explaining it to me, I thought it was a really interesting and perhaps rare condition. The statistic that you presented about pilots experiencing this phenomena during simulations is a real eye opener.

To the fellow that guessed about this being more common in Asians, I can tell you my friend who suffered badly from this was African American with no Asian heritage.

To the fellow that said his gaming journalist friends don't suffer from this condition, I would say is it not logical that someone experiencing this phenomena would be more inclined than the average person to choose a career path that does not involve FPS games?

To the people who report issues with some games and none with others, it is possible that camera mechanics between games and 3d engines are responsible for the variance in your experience of these symptoms, but as the overly opinionated game journalist stated, it may also be that your refresh rates, lighting in the room (bulbs flicker), or resolution settings may play a part in your symptom severity. Many persons who do not usually suffer motion sickness when playing games, do become nauseous and experience headaches when the lighting in the room flashes at a pulse opposite to that of the refresh rate of their monitors as Nvidia found out when testing their new LCD shutter 3d glasses.

I myself don't suffer from this problem (yay) but I empathize with those of you that do. GL!

Wired Differently

Plenty of developers talk about promoting more visceral reactions in their audience, but they probably didn't have headaches and nausea in mind. Nova Barlow explains the plight of gamers who suffer from Virtual Simulator Sickness.

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Everyone gets this... When they first start gaming. It's a novice problem and you simply have to suck it up and push through the barrier.

When I first started 3d gaming with wolfenstein 3d and doom I used to get terrible vss, but you just keep at it and your mind adapts. Now I play mostly fps and it almost feels more natural than real life to me.

The situation you're in at the moment is like learning to run a marathon... You've just started and everyone else seems to be handling it fine but you're knackered after the first 200 yards. What's going on there? Well obviously there is something wrong with the marathon that is making some people struggle! Oh noes!
Or perhaps you're just not fit for the marathon yet.... You see where I'm going with that.

Suck it up and stop whining.

hmmm. Very interesting indeed. Those 3D sequences in MMOs like the Malygos fight and pretty much all of Vashjir from WoW always made me sick. Anywhere from mildly queasy to head spinning nausea. Racing games also give me this, as did the Auto Assualt MMO. Or the driving sections in RAGE. Those tend to be fairly short though, so I could deal with that. I couldn't play more than five minutes without getting sick. I often get sick if I try to read in a moving vehicle as well. Oddly, I don't have any problem with most FPS games. So long as I have a steady surface under my character, I'm okay. So long as the floor doesn't fall away, and I'm not whipping around rapidly (making fast repeated turns make me nauseous. Which is probably why I can't do racing games.

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