Video Game + Treadmill = Nausea + breaking my neck
February 2, 2016 10:09 PM   Subscribe

It turns out that playing FPS and racing games while walking on a treadmill can lead to vertigo, nausea, and gracelessly falling on the floor. Can you suggest games which might minimize these issues?

Preferably nothing that requires a mouse and keyboard, as I lack the coordination to do that effectively while bobbing up and down. Using a gamepad was easy in and of itself. I think that if the game didn't switch perspective so rapidly I'd have fewer problems. I've got a PS3 and an old PC (core 2 duo vintage with a GeForce 9600). I tend to like the aforementioned racing and FPS games, but I'm willing to branch out if it can minimize the desire to hurl / potential for structural damage that seems implicit in them. I've tried Little Big Planet with limited success. Probably it was still a little too dizzying under the circumstances. I'm willing to accept that this is just a bad idea, too, given the number of small children counting on me to continue breathing. Thanks.
posted by roue to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is a terrible idea. Giving your inner ear a set of stimuli associated with movement and giving your eyes a set of stimuli associated with an entirely unrelated other set of movement is basically the best possible recipe for nausea.

If you must play games, something with a fixed frame of reference is your best best. Say, Tetris.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:17 PM on February 2, 2016 [10 favorites]

Solitaire or sodoku?
posted by pintapicasso at 10:37 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, fixed frame of reference seems like the way to go. Look into puzzle games; I'm not well-versed in the Playstation lineup, but games like Puzzle Quest, Hexic, Bejeweled, Gyromancer, etc seem like they would fit the bill well.
posted by Dilligas at 11:00 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Fighting games.

I really liked the recentish DC fighting game and played it alot while zoning out on podcasts. Lots of fun simple challenge modes and very cheap now.

That or jrpgs. I dont have ps3 so cant make a reccomendation. They vary wildly in style so im sure you can find one that appeals to you, aesthetic wise. More traditional/retro ones wont fuck with your equilibrium.
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:06 PM on February 2, 2016

Maybe Transistor or Bastion or other ARPGs with a zoomed out and slow moving FOV.
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:08 PM on February 2, 2016

You can run MAME games, so what about Castlevania and a bunch of oldschool JPRGs?
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:27 PM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

How about Papers, Please? It's incredibly engrossing without following a constantly changing perspective that would add to your nausea and because it's a 2D adventure/indie it'll be easy on your old computer.

Analogue: A Hate Story is a visual novel type game that's also incredibly engrossing if a bit horrifying like a Toni Morrison novel.

Neither of these games require any coordination/balance, super-powered graphics cards nor should it cause you to hurl while being incredibly fun.
posted by maykasahara at 12:18 AM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

How about games with an isometric perspective, like various RPGs, city-builders, the Civilization series, or Diablo 3?
posted by strangecargo at 12:26 AM on February 3, 2016

Haha, I thought this was gonna be a post about the Virtuix Omni and I got ahead of myself. Because a sync'ed up VR treadmill (optional Oculus Rift) while playing something like Day Z or Arma III sounds incredibly fun, and hopefully not nausea inducing like your experience.
posted by maykasahara at 12:42 AM on February 3, 2016

Yeah, I'd say the less 3d the better. Maybe something like Guacamelee, but really you'll be best off with something abstract and maybe turn-based. Which sounds like the opposite of the kind of gaming you're into. Have you tried Hearthstone?
posted by aubilenon at 12:44 AM on February 3, 2016

I'm pretty sure that if I tried to run while looking at any kind of screen I would puke. How about listening to podcasts or music instead?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 12:58 AM on February 3, 2016

Have you tried the #1 game of all time? Skyrim?

(my opinion of course, I'm sure many others share it though)

You can also try any Final Fantasy game, X is my personal favorite. Or Sengoku Basura
posted by lunastellasol at 3:15 AM on February 3, 2016

Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Family Feud, Monopoly, Life, You Don't Know Jack...
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:48 AM on February 3, 2016

I don't think there's any way I could play Papers, Please on a treadmill, but YMMV. That thing is Nintendo Hard even with full concentration and requires a certain amount of dexterity. Or else your whole family dies. The concept's absorbing and thought-provoking, but it was both more-stressful-than and too-similar-to my actual job so I quit playing pretty fast.

Anyway, I'd suggest visual novels. Nothing remotely taxing in the way of controls, and you can set them to whatever pace you're comfortable with. There are a few good ones available for PS3, like Steins;Gate (play it, it's wonderful) and Hakuoki. Plus there are a bunch from Telltale that are pretty variable but usually fun. There's no shortage of visual novels for PC, either.

JRPGs might work out as well; you can get a lot of good older ones via PSN but I'm not sure how many of those play on PS3. Ideally I think you'd want stuff where you're not required to react quickly to anything -- that way if you feel wobbly while running and looking at a screen, there's no game penalty for looking away for a bit while your equilibrium gets itself together. Turn-based stuff should be ideal for that.

OTC motion sickness drugs may also be an option -- I've taken them for gaming purposes before myself, since I don't do so well with 3D -- but it doesn't sound like you have these problems when you're not running at the same time. Probably not worth it.
posted by asperity at 1:22 PM on February 3, 2016

Sounds like you need a game with no movement that will mess up your sense of balance, and that doesn't call for a bunch of quick decision making that would distract you and cause you to loose your footing.

posted by yohko at 2:41 PM on February 4, 2016

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