Video Game-induced Nausea, Dizziness and Headaches

nausea in video games

In the early days of console gaming, about 25% or so of all games made me nauseous, dizzy or gave me headaches to the point where I couldn’t play them. A prime example was Deus Ex: Invisible War. I enjoyed the game and wanted to continue playing it. But I couldn’t play for more than 15 minutes without becoming dizzy and nauseous. Ultimately, I had to abandon the game.

[Updated May 25, 2009. Added first person bobbing-while-walking factor.]

In the current (Xbox 360/PS3) console generation, the percentage of games that are unplayable due to nausea, headaches or dizziness has dropped dramatically to, perhaps, 5 to 10%.nausous gamer For example, I couldn’t play the otherwise enjoyable Laura Croft: Tomb Raider Legend for more than 15 minutes without feeling ill.

Below, I identify three four factors that cause me dizziness, headaches and nausea when playing video games.  I also list specific games that have made me sick.

I’d be interested in your thoughts – especially with respect to what might be behind the X-Factor discussed below.

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Silent Hill Homecoming is Unplayable – No Y-Axis Inversion

Reviews: Metacritic 73%| Game Rankings 77%
Reference: Achievements| wikipedia12
WalkthrusWikiCheats | GameFAQ   | Mahalo
Developers: Konami | Double Helix Games
Genre: survivor – horror
Status: Abandoned after escaping hospital

As explained in my “Video Game-induced Nausea, Dizziness and Headaches” post, I had to abandon Silent Hill Homecoming due to nausea caused by the inability to invert the Y-axis.

It came as a shock to me that, while there is an option to invert the Y-axis when shooting, Silent Hill Homecoming does not give you the player the option to invert the Y-axis when walking around, fighting or doing anything else in the game. This is extremely rare in modern video games.

silent hill homecoming nurse killingA quick Google search to see if there is a patch, cheat code or some other way  to rectify the situation yields posts like this one and flame wars like this one. It seems that Konami is aware of the issue and just doesn’t care. No patch is available and none is in the works. It’s truly bizarre that Konami does not provide an across-the-board option to invert the Y-axis in a major title such as Silent Hill. This is a standard option in virtually every console game that comes out these days.

The upshot for me – the game was unplayable. I tried. I killed some nurses and critters, got a couple achievements and made it out of the hospital. But 25 minutes of playing without inversion made me too dizzy and nauseous to continue. FYI, the game also suffers from reliance on quick time events – which I detest.

Thank goodness this was a rental. Back it goes.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames – Abandoned Due to Nausea

Reviews: Metacritic 73%| Game Rankings 72% | zero punctuation
Reference: Achievements| wikipedia12
Walkthrus: MahaloWikiCheats | GameFAQ  
Developers: Pandemic Studios | Pi Studios
Genre: Third person shooter
Status: Abandoned after first level

As a shooter fan, I was looking forward to Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. Unfortunately, I had to abandon it after the first level due to nausea. 

jennifer mui - mercenaries 2Mercenaries 2: World in Flames was fun – as far as I got. Nothing spectacular, but some good old-fashioned sand-boxy, shooter fun.

I unintentionally ended up playing the hottie female character, Jennifer Mui, pictured to the right. I’m not sure how that happened because I didn’t necessarily intend to pick her. But she was fun to play nonetheless

The weapons were fun, the controls were responsive, the vehicles were enjoyable. I liked the tracer-bullet effects (would like to see that in more shooters). The sounds were realistic. The collecting cash bit was a bit cheeky. It looked like it was going to be a fun romp.

But, within minutes of starting, that old-familiar dizziness, headachy feeling that, in me, leads to nausea, reared its ugly head, forcing me to stop playing an otherwise enjoyable game.

It’s been awhile since nausea (in this case for the x-factor reason) forced me to stop playing a game. Having also been forced to also stop playing Silent Hill Homecoming due to nausea (caused for a different reason), I decided to write this “Video Game-induced Nausea, Dizziness and Headaches” post.

I hope those with stronger stomachs/heads enjoy Merc 2. 🙂

Resistance Fall of Man Mini-review

resistance fall of man cover art4 rating  (4/5) – shooter

Reviews: Metacritic 86%| Game Rankings 87% 
Reference: Trophies – none| wikipedia12
Walkthrus: WikiCheats | GameFAQ | IGN
Developer: Insomniac Games
Engine: Insomniac Engine

Note: The pros and cons portion of this post was written in  April 2008. I am posting this entry on November 4, 2008 – the day I purchased Resistance 2. I have back-dated this post to April of 2008 to reflect the time period when I played the game.

Initial Experience – Pre Rumble

I picked up Resistance Fall of Man (RFoM) the day I purchased my PS3 in August of 2007). However, my initial experience wasn’t good. After years of playing console-based shooters on my Xbox 360, RFoM didn’t feel right without rumble – regardless of its merits. After a level or two, the game was set aside … until …

Resistance Fall of Man – Post Rumble – Ummm…. Good!

In mid April, 2008, Sony finally released the Dual Shock 3 controller with rumble. After figuring out how to get rumble to work (details here), I gave the game another try.  I’m glad I did. I liked it so much I played through the entire game and then played 50% of it through again on the hardest level.

I was surprised and delighted with how much I enjoyed the game. It took me awhile to get into it but was really enjoying it once I figured it out (especially the unique weaponry).

resistance fall of man picture 1

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Orange Box – Mini Review

orange box cover art3.5 rating    (3.5/5) – shooter – platformer

Reviews: Metacritic 96%
Reference: wikipedia12
Developer: Valve Corporation Engine: Valve’s Source Engine

[Note: This mini-review predates the founding of the Daleisphere. It was culled from an email I wrote to friends about the game in early December 2007.]

Orange Box consists of several games in one package:

  • Half Life 2 and the mini-sequels Episodes 1 and 2,
  • Portal (there will be cake 🙂 )
  • Team Fortress

Certainly worth a rental if you’ve never played Half-Life 2 – or even for Portal. Unfortunately, as was the case on the PC, Half-Life is a game that gives me headaches and makes me nauseous after 30 minutes of play. I cannot sit with it long enough to play it through. If whatever does this doesn’t affect you, its quite a nice shooter. Though I wouldn’t give it the kudos its getting in the press. 

The game “Portal” also makes the Orange Box worth a rental. It’s playable all the way through in just a few hours. I enjoyed it quite a bit. 

I didn’t try Team Fortress (which is getting terrific reviews) – it is an online only game and nobody I know has the game.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Mini Review

uncharted - drake's fortune - box art 5 rating  (5/5) – action – adventure

Reviews: Metacritic 88%| Game Rankings 89.69%
Reference: wikipedia12
Developer: Naughty Dog Engine: Naughty Dog proprietary

[Note: This mini-review predates the founding of the Daleisphere. It was culled from an email I wrote to friends about the game in early December 2007.]

Just finished the PS3 exclusive ‘Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’.  Prior to this game, the most fun I had on the PS3 was playing the PS2 titles God of War 1 and 2.  Finally, a PS3 exclusive that is top notch.

image This is an THE BEST action adventure game I have ever played. Very much in the tradition of Laura Croft, Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia and many others, but with much, much more. I’ve never quite played anything like it.

Naughty Dog really took advantage of the PS3. It has more “realism, and is more cinematic than any video game I’ve played. The story is terrific – the most “adult” (in the sense of mature, developed characters – not simplistic and juvenile) video game story I’ve experienced. They hired real actors to play the characters and the actors participated in both the motion capture and voice work – simultaneously. A rarity in video games. The result was wonderful.

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