It’s no secret I have played video games my whole life. I played Doom and Quake back when I was in jr high and high school. No problems. In fact, I was pretty darn good at them. We had LAN parties that could go 24+ hours. No problems other than Mt. Dew overload and lack of sleep.
A few years back I was playing Borderlands with my hubby and brother and noticed every time I played I started getting super nauseous. Like, bad. It took me longer than it should have to make the connection with playing the game, but once I did I was determined to keep playing. I took so much Dramamine that when I wasn’t playing Borderlands I was pretty much asleep (and actually with the Dramamine, I was probably asleep while playing Borderlands. That stuff knocks me out). It was very upsetting to me since I play tons of games and I loved Borderlands… I wanted to play! Luckily, that was a unique case. Other than riding in the backseat of a car or riding amusement park rides. Those things also never used to make me sick but suddenly were taboo for my tummy.
Then along came Overwatch. Blizzards hot new FPS. And, it happened again. I started suspecting that it was FPS games and just decided to back off of them but play everything else. I would love to play Overwatch, but am happy to stick with Heroes of the Storm and World of Warcraft for my Blizzarding.
Planet Coaster is another game that I have to be careful with. As I mentioned above, I have to use Dramamine to go to an amusement park. Well, Planet Coaster has this awesome feature where you can “ride” the rides after they are built. So cool! And after doing this once, I promptly got sick. Yup… a virtual roller coaster made me need to throw up. Luckily I still play this game just fine as long as I don’t “ride” the rides.
So what brought this up right now? Well, yesterday was Star Wars Day (May The Fourth Be With You). So I thought I would celebrate by getting the Lego Star Wars games on Steam. I have played Lego games a lot before on the console (I love Lego Dimensions and Lego Indiana Jones). I have wanted to play the Star Wars games for a while and they were on sale for Star Wars Day… score! Or not… I happily installed the game and played for about an hour wondering why my stomach was upset. Finally it dawned on me. It was motion sickness/simulation sickness again! With friggin Lego Star Wars?! Yup. I had to turn the game off and go to bed early, and this morning I am still feeling it a little. Gonna put off my exercising until later today… when my head rights itself again.
However, that did create a theory I want to try- maybe my brain just can’t handle these games on the computer? Maybe I’m too close to it? Maybe I need a better monitor? Like I said, I play Lego Dimensions on the console just fine. I’m going to test that when I’m feeling better and sit on the futon across from my computer table and use my Xbox controller to try playing Lego Star Wars.
There hasn’t been a whole lot of research done on simulation sickness, but I am comforted to know that I am not the only one who experiences this. In fact, there are tons of articles online from people who either have the same things happen as me, or worse.
So what is wrong with the brain? What causes this?
Apparently it is the brain responding to the fact that there is all this moving around on the screen but your body is not actually moving. The brain thinks that you are hallucinating because of poisons and so it tries to vomit to get rid of the poison. Nice. Same (but opposite) thing with my riding in the back seat of a car… the body is moving but I’m not getting the same visual sensations as when I’m looking forward in the front seat. So… naturally I must be poisoned or something 😉
The sad thing is that people have actually argued with me over this. I have been in verbal fights because people think I am lying or something. Trust me, I love playing video games and would not lie about wanting to puke. If I don’t like a game, I say so. And there are plenty of games that I stink at but still play just because they are fun. I’m not competitive… I’m not using this as an excuse. If I were… then what is my motive behind Lego Star Wars?!
When I feel better I am going to try the whole sitting away from the screen thing to see if it helps. It would be pretty cool if all I have to do is change from PC to console gaming for these “trigger” games. But reading online, it sounds like other people have the same effect when playing on the console as they do the PC. Dramamine helps, but also puts me to sleep. And really, even with the Dramamine it just extends how long I can play before getting ill.
Have you ever had Simulation/Motion Sickness in video gaming?