It all started when I was playing 007 on the Nintendo 64 with my friends… it was a slow, growing feeling of nausea and I couldn’t understand where it was coming from. Before long I had to stop playing, I couldn’t even watch them play as I went into the bathroom to wash my face and gather my thoughts. What had I eaten?
This became a constant question whenever I would get sick while playing games; I always thought it was my diet and not the games themselves. See, after years of playing, getting sick, and avoiding the type of games that made me sick (FPS) I learned that I had a condition called Simulator Sickness.
Similar to motion sickness, this illness comes about due to the brain thinking that the individual is poisoned. Yes you read that correctly, see your eyes see all of that realistic 3D movement, but the rest of your senses are telling the brain that you are actually sitting still in a chair so the eyes are not operating normally. This leads the brain to assume that you are hallucinating and it reacts in the way that it should to make you get rid of the poison… by throwing it up.
For those of you who are lucky to be able to play First Person perspective games without being sick, let me tell you it is a very uncomfortable feeling. The thing that sucks the most about it is that you never know when it is coming and it happens very slowly to the point where you only notice it when you are about to feel sick.
Cures for The Video Gamer
While many sources will tell you that there is no cure, the following list of things has aided me in getting past mine. If you know me personally (or see my Facebook) you will know that I am a huge Mass Effect guy, I throw down on First Person Shooters and I play hours into these games.
Had I not found ways around my simulator sickness to play these games I would not be able to enjoy them on the level that I do.
Here’s what to do if you suffer from this awful disease:
- Always play games with a lot of light on. I seem to get sickest when the room is dark. I have read where playing with the light off helps other people so don’t take this as a cure-all, find which one works for you.
- Eat ginger when you’re sick or drink ginger tea.
- Take timed breaks… we don’t get the luxury of 8hrs straight of play time.
- Quit playing for an hour or 2 when it starts; turn on some lights and try again when you feel better.
- Absolutely no caffeine, you don’t want your body on super alert status when it starts to react.
- Anti-nausea drugs like Dramamine have been known to help.
Have many of you suffered from this sickness in the past? Feel free to share your thoughts and remedies if you have them in the comments.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.