Too Old for Videogames?
November 17, 2004 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone else find that their head likes playing computer games, but their body doesn't? (MI)

When i was younger, I played games all the time, but stopped at about the age of 16. I was playing Quake, or somesuch, when my eyes got really sore, and I started to feel really queasy.

I gave up games shortly after that. But, I recently bought a new PC, and had a voucher for a (legitimate) free copy of Half Life 2, so I started playing that to see what I was missing. And sure enough, the old problem reared it's head again.

At about the age I started having these problems, I got glasses for the first time. Don't know if these things are connected. If anyone has any tips for overcoming this, I'd appreciated it.
posted by ascullion to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total)
Have you tried with the lights on/off? might be worth a shot.
posted by Flat Feet Pete at 9:10 AM on November 17, 2004

Response by poster: I have, but thanks. I 've also tried different types of monitor (normal and flatscreen), and playing with and without my glasses.
posted by ascullion at 9:12 AM on November 17, 2004

Yes. I've been eagerly awaiting HL2 but I started getting queasy just watching some in-game videos.

I find the queasiness tends to go away once there's more action happening. If the beginning of HL2 is mostly just "walk around and discover stuff" then it's going to be a rough first hour with the game.
posted by bondcliff at 9:19 AM on November 17, 2004

So its not just me. I had to give up System Shock 2 because I'd get really nauseous. I'm no stranger to FPS games, but playing SS2 turned my stomach after 15-20 minutes.
posted by neilkod at 9:48 AM on November 17, 2004

I used to play a ton of FPS games (from wolfenstein 3d through Quake 3). I had no problems at all while playing, though with a few games, I'd feel a little queasy when watching others play. I attributed it to just not being in control, so my mind got confused when someone went a direction that I wasn't expecting them to, apparently throwing me off balance.

Then about 4 years ago (I'm 31 now), I started to get really nauseous playing any sort of FPS game. It was really bad playing Return to Wolfenstein and the Star Wars Dark Knight II games.

I thought it was the LCD that I had just purchased, but switching back to the CRT that I used previously didn't seem to help. Seemed like some sort of age related thing that crept up on me.

I also tried different refresh rates, playing it in light or dark rooms, and none of that seemed to help.

In the past year, I've started to give things a try again and I haven't had any problems (played Doom 3 and am starting on HL2), no problems yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm still playing stuff on an LCD, but it's a different one than the one I originally had problems with (one on my laptop).

I've read that taking anti-motion sickness medicine (dramamine, that kind of thing), can help, but I never did try it. Hopefully that helps, I know what a major bummer this can be.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 10:05 AM on November 17, 2004

I have never researched this (as it doesn't affect me), so I don't know any potential cures, but a phrase you should be googling is "simulator sickness" (or "simulation sickness") which seems to be a fairly common ailment. There might be other names for it as well — I'm almost certain I read a thread about it on MeFi proper, but searches for "simulator" and "simulation" aren't turning anything up.
posted by rafter at 10:41 AM on November 17, 2004

There's been like two threads about this same subject but I'll leave it to a greater mind to dig them up.
posted by abcde at 10:52 AM on November 17, 2004

I tried Wolfenstein 3D back in the early 90's, and found I couldn't play for any longer than 10-15 minutes because of the headaches. I try a first person shooter about once a year, and they give me the same problem. The only exception is Metroid Prime, which I can play for about an hour before my eyes get tired. I haven't had problems with any other sort of game, except for the awe-inspiring Katamari Damacy. Fortunately, I can play that for nearly an hour before it starts affecting me.

I've had glasses since the 80's; I'm not sure if this is relevant to the problem.

I haven't really tried to deal with the problem. I've just resolved myself to not playing first person shooters. That suits me just fine, since I tend to prefer strategy games over action games.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 11:38 AM on November 17, 2004

I find for me, in HL2, the parts that make me queasiest aren't the "just walking around" bits, but the parts where there's a lot of jitter, like driving the hoverboat and crashing into things. I've also noticed that games with a third person perspective have much less effect, at least on me, because there is that central character to orient yourself around.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2004

Lower your mouse sensitivity, and avoid FPSes that have very close quarters. Lots of walls and quick turning == greater sense of motion == motion sickness. Perhaps try a more open fielded FPS, like Tribes 2 or Battlefield 1942.
posted by eurasian at 1:16 PM on November 17, 2004

I'd just like to point out that there are a ton of games out there that aren't first person shooters.

Previous discussion.
posted by arha at 1:50 PM on November 17, 2004

I had severe motion sickness once whilst playing Quake2 in deathmatch mode. It also brought on a massive migraine at the same time. I've suffered motion sickness in milder doses since then, but never had it as bad as that time. It also happens during 'net surfing. I'm lucky in that it happens only occasionally. I quit playing/surfing when it happens and I'm fine the next time around (usually the next day).

The suggestion of taking Dramamine (or something like it) sounds good.
posted by deborah at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2004

i think this is a symptom of gettin' old, my friend. i'm relegated to gameboy advance these days because anything bigger makes me feel like i'm gonna hurl. it all started with system shock 2. now it's just about anything.

probably one of them motion sickness patches would help. that seems kind of extreme though.
posted by glenwood at 1:52 PM on November 17, 2004

play standing up. i don't have this problem, but i have many a friend who does and who find it easier to play standing up.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:17 PM on November 17, 2004

I can play hours and hours of FPS games with intense motion (like UT2004) with only my eyes and fingers getting tired. But if I watch someone else play, I can usually only take a few minutes before I'm queasy. This is over more than ten years, both with contacts and glasses.

I assume the problem is like my carsickness problem when I'm not driving the car: My eyes detect motion, but I don't feel it, and I can't anticipate it because I'm not in control.

One thing that helps me is disabling "weapon bob", which prevents the gun you're holding from moving around when you walk. This may have the same effect that Big Fat Tycoon describes; there's a stationary object in the middle. If I don't turn this off, I do feel a little sick after a while.

I don't like the notion that this is age related. I'd rather rock out than play bocce ball.

posted by jmcmurry at 5:05 PM on November 17, 2004

I've had this happen to me, as well. In my case, in turned out that I was playing the game in a too-high resolution, and my poor little 'puter couldn't keep up.

Basically, if your video card isn't powerful enough to render everything as fast or faster than it needs to, you may suffer ill effects. The most common problem I encountered was a subtle twitchiness to the overall picture when looking around, which got worse with either quicker movement or more activity. Sometimes you can't even see the effects, but your brain can and you get sick.

Try lowering the resolution you're playing at and tweaking mouse sensitivity so that your movement isn't so spastic (if needed).
posted by jaded at 5:20 AM on November 18, 2004

« Older What are the best freeware PC tools for finding...   |   Need a replacement for Quickbooks Pro 2004's Timer... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.