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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.

Nausea Caused by Aggressive Camera Centering / Fighting

When a game gives me only partial control of the camera, especially when I need to fight the game for camera control, this makes me nauseous every time. Ironically, when a game takes total control of the camera from me, such as in God of War 2, I do not get nauseous.

resident evi 3l box artThe poster-child for this type of camera-control-fighting-induced nausea is the entire Resident Evil series. Not only does the game st0p you from moving your character wherever you wish (they are all ‘on rails’ games), the game aggressively fights the player for control of the camera by constantly pulling the camera back to the center every time the player looks hither or thither. Rumor has it that the forthcoming Resident Evil 5 might finally hand camera control to the player where it belongs. Surprisingly, this is controversial.  I won’t be playing RE5 unless this problem is finally fixed. [Spring 2009 Update: The reviews for RE5 were so bad, I’m not even going to bother trying it.]

Each of the recent Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Battlefield: Bad Company, Resistance Fall of Man, Grand Theft Auto IV (but only when driving) and Star Wars, Force Unleashed (but only while moving) games fought me over the camera somewhat. This resulted in mild dizziness. Happily the implementation of camera centering in each of these games wasn’t aggressive enough to cause me to abandon the games over the issue.

Nausea Caused by No Y-Axis Inversion Option

The first console-based video game I ever played was Pilot Wings, on the N-64. As a flying game, it naturally featured inverted Y-axis controls. A dozen years and a hundred or so games later, I have inverted the Y-axis on every console game I’ve played since.

If I can’t invert the y-axis I can’t play. Non-inverted game play makes me instantly nauseous. My brain is wired in such a way that when I pull the right stick back, my brain expects the camera to move up. When the camera goes the opposite way it is very disorienting.

silent hill homecoming cover artThere are very few games now-a-days that do not provide the inverted control option. Indeed, inverting the Y-axis is so common that the Xbox 360 can be set to automatically configure every game I play with the Y-axis inverted.

I was astonished to discover that Silent Hill: Homecoming does not allow players to invert the Y-axis for normal viewing (it does have a limited Y-inversion option for shooting when the gun is wielded).  As I wrote here, the game was unplayable. I had to abandon it.

Dizziness Caused by First Person Bobbing While Walking

I first wrote this post in October 2008. In late May 2009 I played F.E.A.R. 2 and remembered another cause of dizziness – the screen bobbing while a character walks. In F.E.A.R. 2 and several other first-person video games, the screen bobs up and down as the character moves. The bobbing, I gather, corresponds with the cadence of the character’s walk. This doesn’t make me dizzy or nauseous as quickly as the other factors discussed in this post, but I can usually only play a game that does this for an hour or so before becoming dizzy. The game is not unplayable, but it has to be taken in light doses.

Nausea Caused by the X-Factor – Possibly Frame Rate

laura croft tomb raider legends cover art Finally, there is a class of game that makes me seriously dizzy or nauseous even when I have full control over the camera and the Y-axis is properly inverted (see list below).

I’ve never fully understood, absent the camera/Y-axis issues, why some games make me dizzy and nauseous while others do not. I’ve always assumed it was a frame-rate issue. I’d be keen for any of you to suggest other possible causes.

Whatever the reason, such was recently the case with Mercenaries 2. The game gave me complete camera control and I had happily inverted the Y-axis but it still made me nauseous to play.

List of Games Causing Dizziness / Nausea

Below is a list of games that have made me seriously dizzy or nauseous. I also list the underlying game engine in parenthesis. Note how many games are built on versions of the Unreal and  id Tech engines. I intend to expand the list over time as I remember them:

PC:

  • Half Life 2 (Valve’s Source Engine): Enjoyed it so much I pushed through about 80% it. But, to this day, just the sounds of that game (the gravity gun in particular) make me woozy.

Original Xbox:

Xbox 360:

PS3:

(Note, the numbers are fewer here because,  if given a choice, I play the 360 version of a game. Each platform is an equal opportunity nausea causer.)

Conclusion

Thankfully, better graphics, higher frame rates and the abandonment of nausea-inducing camera controller techniques is making gamer illness increasingly a thing of the past. Unfortunately, as the recent games Silent Hill: Homecoming and Mercenaries 2: World in Flames have shown, we still have a way to go.

182 Comments


  1. // Reply

    Hi I found this page by typing in ‘fable shaky camera’ into google. Like you some games gave me headaches and some didn’t. I am quite prone to headaches anyway due to tiredness, hot sun, stress etc. Quake3 I could play endlessly. HL and HL2 I can play for half an hour to an hour before getting a headache. Same with Portal, same engine. nnDoes anyone remember a game that came out a few years ago where you could run up the walls and across the ceiling? you were in some alien spaceship with weird gravity settings. It actually made me dizzy, so i returned it within the 14 day period and got a refund. nnI just bought Fable on Ebay and tried it, i can’t play it for 2 minutes without getting a headache. Its all to do with the camera, during the cutscenes i’m totally fine but when controlling the avatar, its really bad. I worked out its probably 2 things: One is the head-bob you get when strafing left or right. The other is lack of direct mounselook control. When you move the mouse, the character turns at its own rate a split second later. What that means is that I don’t have control over the rate of movement with my mouse. That feeling as the camera accelerates and turns and then slows down is really nauseating. Just thinking about it is sickening. Its the first time i’ve experienced something like this in a FPS.nnI know its got nothing to do with detail, res and hertz because I first played it on default setting then cranked everything up to max. nnI think i need to have control over acceleration of movement.


  2. // Reply

    I find that Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2 will both make me ill. I can still play for hours but it I can have a nasty headache later. Breaks help but other than that I don’t get motion sickness ever. I ha e noticed that when I play I have a tendency to try to follow the camera more than it moves. I do know that my peripheral vision is highly tuned from years of drill practice. I do notice slight offsets in color on my TV and I know the backlight wavelength of florescents isn’t good for your eyes either. So maybe one of the new TV’s that includes Yellow and has LCD Backlight might be easier on the eyes and at least reduce some of the visual stress. Getting closer or maybe even adding blinders (such as the wrap around glasses comment earlier) might help.


  3. // Reply

    Hey Jerry, I think you are on to something!nnI don’t recall the game, but I remember playing a shooter where if you were using the sniper rifle, if you were zoomed and you reloaded, the game automatically zoomed you out during the reload and zoomed you back in after the reload finished. This always made me nauseous. I would have preferred no zoom change at all, or just leave it at the zoom out, but the double zoom over the course of a second or two always churned my stomach!nn…Dale


  4. // Reply

    I don’t think you mentioned one source of dizziness. It is a real problem in the original xbox game Black. It has to do with zooming. Some games instantly switch to scoped view and back again, which is fine. This type of zooming does not cause dizziness. But in original xbox Black shooter game, they actually show the gradual transition from normally view to zoomed view and back again. The thing that really makes me dizzy is the unzoom transition, which distorts everything in a backwards direction. Yuck. Another thing they did, which is quite amazingly poor judgement on their part: When you reload, everything is out of focus except the reloading of the gun. When I play the game I get nauseous.


  5. // Reply

    What other games have you played on the 360 Dida? As you can see from my original article Resident Evil also made me sick on the 360 as well as a dozen other games. But there are many dozens more that don’t. Also, older games are more likely to make me nauseous than newer ones. Have you played newer games? All the PC games you listed below (Oblivion, Morrowind, Dead Space, FEAR 1 and 2) are all available on the Xbox 360 too. Have you tried playing any of these on the Xbox to compare PC to Xbox head-to-head.nnI find it very hard to imagine that its the Xbox per-se. For me, I’ll get equally nausous playing Half-Life 2 on the PC as I do on the Xbox, but many, many other games do not make me sick.nn…Dale


  6. // Reply

    ETA: Forgot to say that the PC games that I CAN play are Oblivion and Morrowind, Dead Space, F.E.A.R. 1 and 2, etc, All games that I am convinced would make me sick on the XBoxnXBox games that made me sick: Call Of Duty IV, Bioshock, Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil (All of them), etc.nnIf anyone else suffers from this and can play on PC without a problem like me, I think we need to start a group to encourage game companies to continue to produce PC versions of their games! nnPlease Email me at didadragonfly@yahoo.ca


  7. // Reply

    Hi there! nI just googled this topic and found your commentary.nnI am one of the unfortunate sufferers of this problem as well. I LOVE gaming, and I CAN play my games on my PC. For some reason, I can NOT play games (ANY GAMES) on the XBox 360 without becoming very ill. It starts with a headache and quickly changes to nausea with headache and then I become physically sick.nIts HORRIBLE! I bought a Special Edition Resident Evil XBox 360 before discovering this. I tried motion sickness pills, ginger pills, wrist bands, EVERYTHING! nThe ginger pills worked the best, but I found that I had to wait about half an hour for the ginger to get into my system to work. That made it impossible for me to say, “Hey, I’ve got some time, I think I’ll play XBox!” No spontaneity allowed!nWell, I ended up giving my XBox to my son, (he’s happy!), so the only games I can play are on my PC. And NONE of them make me sick o.O nWhy would this be the case? Why can I play PC games, but not console games?


  8. // Reply

    I also get carsick from playing FPS which is why I have not interest in HAlo. I have found that Killzone 2 tends to give me a headache so I try and play for 20-45 min at a time. I will try inverting the Y axis and see if that helps. I read somewhere that this sickness is due to the brain and the inner ear. Basically the brain thinks that your body is moving with the character in the game but gets confuse when it realize your not actually moving the picture on the screen is.n


  9. // Reply

    I couldn’t play Eat Lead or Left 4 Dead. Got extremely nauseous and it lasted for 2 days. Also couldn’t play Avatar because like Eat lead, the camera centers off to one side.


  10. // Reply

    Eek! Actually vomiting from a video game. I’ve never had that happen. I’ve stopped long before it got that far. Getting dizzy or nauseous is very common. You/we are definitely not alone! :)


  11. // Reply

    Wow. I’ve just come across this post when I did a bit of Googling about nausea and video games. And here’s me thinking that I was a bit weird for feeling sick after playing certain games. rnrnI’ve just dug out Spyro for the Playstation (felt like having a trip down memory lane) and after 20 minutes play I actually vomited. Not pleasant! I remember having episodes of nausea when playing this when I was a teenager but not after just 20 minutes. I’ve had to take my anti-nausea meds and feel pretty crappy.rnrnHalf Life on the PC is also a killer. I remember playing the majority of Half Life 2 in one day and being ill for about 2 days. It’s put me off playing games of this genre, which sucks. I do suffer from bad travel sickness (cars, coaches, buses) so always thought it was connected to this. I’ve never had problems with the Tomb Raider or GTA series (thankfully, I love GTA). Nice to know I’m not the only one!


  12. // Reply

    I am not a parent but to me letting a child play more than an hour or two in a day seems excessive. Children can get addicted to games. Parents need to set limits. As someone with a life-long lazy eye, I’m not sure that a video game will cause it. It exists. When I’m tired my lazy eye gets worse. I’ve had my lazy eye for 45 years – long before video games were around. You should definitely get him to an eye doctor and cut down on that video game playing. There’s more to life.


  13. // Reply

    Hi Dale,rnI just noticed yesterday that my son is actually developing a lazy eye, or a crossed eye after long episodes of gaming. Over the weekend he might game 8 to 10 hrs a day. I know that’s too much but he excels at school and it’s his most enjoyable down time. He does get in a bad mood from some games but hasn’t really been getting sick.rnrnI first noticed the crossed eye a few months ago but just thought he was over tired. He noticed it himself yesterday when he looked in the mirror. Very upset.rnrnHe’s going to scale back to an hour a day after a few days of recovery first. He is a gamer though, but I think those days may be coming to an end. It is definetly causing an eye problem, strain, or something. But it isn’t worth it. I’ll be taking him to the doctor too.rnrnHe does get sick reading while traveling and I can only look at his games a few minutes before I get motion sick. I can’t watch. Time to change. It is his favorite thing and the games are great rewards for great work at school. Thanks so much for this sight and your input.rnrnWhat do you think?rnrnconcerned


  14. // Reply

    hey ofc every1 is intitled to there own opinion we are here trying to help each other so we can play all the games and enjoy them saddly there is some u and i and many others cannot enjoy ;3 tho yesterday i played call of duty mw 2 for a good 2 hours (i was really tired it was at night) and went well :) so im gonna try again tonight i think i gotta get my mind tired so it’s lazy to imagine im the guy and not feeling the pain lmfao!nkeep posting people!!


  15. // Reply

    i know not much we can do but i read from a siten”Your body can get used to it after repeated sessions (a pattern of playing and getting sick, stopping, and then restarting later when you feel better until you stop getting sick entirely) when your brain finally realizes that what you are seeing and doing isnu2019t actually harming you. That process of getting used to it can take a while and isnu2019t pleasant, however. “nhttp://xbox.about.com/od/buyersguide/a/vgmosick.htmnthat is a link to it for more infondo u think that would work? playing and then stoping then playing?


  16. // Reply

    Could be pixels, could also be something like the screen door effect but without consciously seeing it though your eyes are trying to make sense of all the pixels. I’d keep an eye out for game resolution and tv resolution. I bet it’s less of an issue at higher resolutions and/or further from the TV.


  17. // Reply

    The TV resolution has been a constant. I’ve been using the same Plasma HDTV now for 3.5 years. It doesn’t seem to be wholly resolution because I can get it from higher and lower quality resolution. The only “CONCRETE” thing I can point to is the second I look at a game that has the x-factor, I can instantly feel a weird sensation in my head. I can play, for example, Halo for 10 hours straight without getting any feeling of sickness, yet for the games that do make me sick, I’m feeling it instantly, and consistently for the specific games.


  18. // Reply

    I’m in the same boat. I can play Halo 3 for hours on end but 2 minutes with Half life 2 and I’m ready to collapse, making the totally unplayable. Fable 1&2 both make me queezy and now Farcry 2 is making me sick. It seems as though you’re right and it could be a frame rate issue. I just can understand why Halo will not make me the slightest bit queezy but Half Life 2 with it’s nightmarish source engine absolutely kills me


  19. // Reply

    at Jim:
    to me half-life2 source engine is better than RL, it’s so smooth and never gets me dizzy, i love it so much just for this reason…
    but farcry2 is so annoying to play, i can hardly hit anything, the same with bioshock and some other games… since i don’t have that good of a computer i have to tune down the settings and that usually fixes it, when i set the resolution to 800×600 or something low it’s easier for me, the textures seem more robust so i guess that’s a plus.


  20. // Reply

    This is my story! For the past 2 days I have been in a sheer living hell. I gave my 9 year old son his adderall yesterday morning. About 20 minutes later he came upstairs white as a ghost, sweating, dizzy, nautious and passed out cold. He was pretty sick all day long too. I thought for sure I must have givin him my medication by mistake as they are the same color and size, but a slightly different shape. I called the pharmacy and they said he’d be sick for a few days but it wasn’t life threatening or a need to go to a dr. But I still felt worse than anything.

    This morning he felt much better. He was acting like his normal crazy self. So I gave him his medicine but made him inspect it first. He said yes, that’s it and took it. 20 min. later he was back up here with the same symptoms and passed out on the couch.

    Now I knew I had given him the correct medicine this time for 100%.

    Long crazy scary story short….both times I gave him his meds he was playing Call Of Duty 4 on a new XBOX 360 that his older sister brought over 3 days ago. The first day he was fine because he was playing Madden. But both times he got sick he was playing call of duty. That has to be what is going on. The video game! I was about to bring him to the E.R. not knowing if the meds were fake (I’ve seen that on TV before about pharmacies getting bad meds).


  21. // Reply

    Wow celefb,

    That sounds way more serious than what I experience. You read on video game boxes that video games can sometimes cause seizures and such. Sounds like you should get your son in for some tests if he passes out from video games. It’s never been THAT bad for me.

    …Dale


  22. // Reply

    Hi all, I don’t play alot of video games as a rule but got completely hooked on Guild wars. Once I’d got my head around the game and could play without stopping, I was merrily playing for several hours at a time. I played every day without too much of a problem for about a week. I just got a slight headache and sore eyes, understandable I suppose. Then, after a heavy night of playing Guild with many mssions completed, I woke with a mild headache feeling a bit irritable and tired. I was regretting spending so much time on the game. I went off to work but within and hour or two of being there I experienced the most intense attack of vertigo. I was unable to stand up so I lay on the floor while a sensation of very fast spinning over took my whole body. I felt like I was falling and spinning all at the same time. Thank God for my colleagues who stayed with me, holding my hand and talking to me through it. After a couple of minutes it stopped, I did not feel particularly sick, just absolutely terrified! It took me three days to really get over the shock but in fact, I felt mildly ‘off balance’ for about four months. I noticed that even short periods of playing this game gave me weird sensations in my head, mild ‘falling over’ sensations. I also get a little motion sick.
    Now, I limit any play of this game and Guitar Hero (my other favourite) to 30-45mins at the most. I had a brain scan and balance testing because I felt there was something seriously wrong with me, like a brain tumour of something.
    I think we should all be careful of potential ‘side effects’ when playing these very sophisticated and fast paced games. I am so greatful that I wasn’t crossing the road or driving at the time I suffered this attack. The consequences are unthinkable.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not against gaming I’m just sharing my experience. Our brain and the various mechanisms that these games affect are undoubtedly very powerful and can fool our whole body into experiencing every sensation of movement and action. I think that it would be helpful for the game producers to give gamers a little warning about this as well as the epilepsy one.
    Thanks for reading…all the best!
    Sarah.


  23. // Reply

    well i’ve been trying to play Call of Duty 4…but after 15 mins of playing i dont know why, but i get nausea. and the thing is that i was enjoying the game. the thing is that this only happens when i play this game… i don’t understand it because i wanna keep playing but when this happens i have to stop.

    what can i do to enjoy this game without getting nausea?
    Help


  24. // Reply

    Tay, I don’t think there is an answer.

    Some games make some people sick/naseous and others don’t. I personally get dizzy/nauseous playing many games (as you can see above) but I had no problems with Call of Duty 4.

    You might see if you can change your Xbox 360’s video settings. I know that higher frame rates make me less dizzy. But your video settings are probably already optimized for your TV. You could also try playing the PC version (or its demo) and/or a PS3 version if possible to see if the issue you are having is console specific or unique to this game.

    Wish I could help more. One of the reasons I posted this post is in hopes of starting this kind of a discussion so that people can figure out what specifically makes them dizzy/nauseous. In my case it seems to be the Unreal and id Tech engines almost always make me sick.

    …Dale


  25. // Reply

    While playing Psi-Ops and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic on my PC I’ve begun to feel sick and dizzy so I stopped playing, as a rule, games like that go into my storage box never to be played again:-{


  26. // Reply

    I face the same problem with COD4… i sometimes do get dizzy after playing games which has the valve engine for like 2 hours but in COD4 case, its more like 10 mins. GOW was awesome though.. i didn’t have any problem with that….


  27. // Reply

    I just stubled upon this website while looking for more people who have the troubles that I do.

    Wow I did not know there were so many, from the minor searching I have done, it is said to be at most 3% of the population can be effected by changing light patterns and contrasts, (strobes). (appears much higher than that)

    This is called the Bucha effect and was discovered in the 1950s when the government was investigating rising non hardware failure related helicopter crashes. The pilots were being strobed by sunlight hitting the rotors and disorienting the pilots.

    I would love more information on this, if any doctors / medical professionals have input.

    Half life 2 is the worst game for me. by far. the first levels arent so bad, but outside or any water refelctions in that game is instant nausea.

    GTA4 also has its moments for me. it doesnt seem to be related to frame lag, necessarily, I have played much more laggy games with no effect at all.. strange.

    I will also add, that I am more than your casual gamer. Almost every game will have some section or part or scenes that will effect people like us. (be it small part, or a large part of the game) What really bothers me about this, with software laws the way they are.— we cannot return the video games from this issue. They put the required visual epilipsey warning on the package and they are good to go.

    also, I am a PC gamer, I have not played PS3 or XBOX 360 enuff give an accurate sample.

    I have a question, how does it start for everyone else? the first indicator I get, is feeling mildly cross-eyed (im guessing that is mild onset of vertigo) and followed by instant nausea and a mild headache.


  28. // Reply

    Nathan, for me its usually a combination of headache, dizziness and nausea. Though in some games I don’t get nauseous. Some games I just get a dizzy, throbbing headache. Yet other games I could play 24 hours a day without any adverse affect.


  29. // Reply

    I thought I was losing my mind now I see I’m not alone. It has been a recent thing for me to get sick when playing games. I have tried to play Oblivion, Silent Hill, Call of Duty 4 and Tomb Raider all on the PS3 and end up feeling so sick I go to bed and take a nap. I experience headache, shakiness, nauseousness, and feel completely drained within 15 min. I haven’t had this problem with Splinter Cell or Metal Gear 4. Any thoughts?


  30. // Reply

    Lisa,

    Have you tried changing the distance you sit from your TV/monitor when gaming? (or even the viewing angle?)

    Also, can you feel it creeping up on you, or is it instant wham! nasuea? For me, I generally will feel cross-eyed for a 5-30 seconds before the nasuea hits me. Some games like Half Life 2, are almost instant nausea for me.

    You say that only recently you started getting sick when playing? Has anything changed in your life recently? new medications? sleep habits? stress?

    it started for me a few years ago, (or at least thats when I noticed it) about the time half life 2 was released for PC.

    There has to be some sort of better understanding of this phenomenon (or condition is it?)

    Dale,

    you said that some games only make you dizzy versus some that cause nasuea, headache, etc. I am curious, is it consistant accross the games, I mean, does X game always cause Y effect, or does it vary for you?


  31. // Reply

    Nathan:

    I always get the same symptoms from the same game. Like you, Half-Life 2 is a killer for me. But I like the game so much I played through it too m any times. But I couldn’t play the expansion packs in the Orange Box. I wanted too but just couldn’t bare it for more than 15 minutes or so.

    So, while the symptoms may vary from game to game, the symptoms I get for any given game are always the same. And, as I said, the games that don’t make me sick, like all the Halos, never make me sick.

    …Dale


  32. // Reply

    Nathan,

    I can’t really remember feeling ill when I played games on the PS2 just the PS3. I sit pretty far back from the t.v. as well. I do remember years ago I used to play games like messenger on the pc and that would make me feel dizzy as well. Within the first 5 min I start to feel somewhat faint and quesy almost like my blood sugar level is low. I end up taking a 2hr nap and when I wake up I feel fine. It’s just strange…


  33. // Reply

    I’ve had the same problem for years! The first time it hit me was playing castle wolfenstien. Doom (the first one) would also make me sick VERY quickly.

    Because of this I’ve always been reluctant to play FPS games. However, a few years ago I owned a PC gaming center and multiplayer FPS was very popular, so I started playing again. I’ve included a list of the games that make me sick vs those that don’t, just for comparison with your’s, Dale…

    All are PC games….

    No problem with Halo 1, Alien vs Predator 2, Jedi Academy, Doom 3, America’s Army.

    Some problems (slight nausea and headache after a short while) with Battlefield 2.

    SEVERE problems (heavy nausea with only a couple of minutes of play) with all Half life titles.

    My console experience has also been mixed. I can’t even get close to half-life games, but I can play through hours of Team Fortress. Portal gives me slight nausea, specially in closed spaces. I can play Halo 3, but again, closed spaces are not good.

    GTA games only give me nausea when my character is walking through closed spaces… and it takes a while to hit me, it’s not instantaneous.

    Finally, Oblivion is giving me serious nausea just after about 20-30 minutes of gameplay…. IN OPEN SPACES! I’m going to try inverting the Y-axis to see how that goes (I really want to play the game) and I’ll post to let you know… but it’s really irritating.

    One thing I haven’t tried is changing my tv. My 360 is still hooked up to an old CRT TV, and I’m using that to convince my wife that we have to buy a decent LCD soon :)

    Oh, and just for the record, I get no motion sickness anywhere else… not in cars, planes, buses, trains… I’ve even spent 18 hours in the deep insides of a ferry between Denmark and Scotland, and never even felt dizzy. Only video games… is this the case with anyone else?


    1. // Reply

      Pepe, the screen might actually be relevent. I never thought of it until now. I bought a plasma HDTV about 4 years ago and games do not bother me as much as they used to. I had thought it was that games and frame-rates had improved, but part of it could also be a MUCH better screen.

      My guess is that inverting the Y axis will make things worse for you. I note that when a controller does not act how I expect it too, that causes me to get nauseous quicker. One of the reasons I started this thread was in response to the inability to invert the Y-axis to my preference (see above). When my brain thinks/expects the screen to go one way and it goes the other way … the stomach almost instantly starts to churn.


  34. // Reply

    I had another thought on this. I get severe motion sickness if I try to read in a car, and from what you two were just talking about…

    perhaps it is somewhat related to environment / spacial awareness in game, not necessarily frame rate. (and also perhaps your playing enviornment [lighting, distance from TV/monitor, etc])

    Closed spaces in games are actually better than wide open to me. (to a point — huge maps with framelag cause me issues — the battlefield games for example)

    I am interested to see if perhaps a different monitor would help me out. I use a once top of the line Lacie CRT monitor. Inferior LCD technology in years past made me keep the CRT. With 2ms refresh times and very high contrast ratios, perhaps it is time to make the switch.

    pepe- I would think Doom3 would cause you more problems than TF2. I literally played 4 minutes of Doom3 and felt so sick I had to lay down… (worse response I have ever had to a video game) and I too can play TF2 for hours with no issues. (that game is generally bright tho, where as doom is totally dark…) which also makes me think in game and real life lighting are related to how your eyes / head react.


    1. // Reply

      Nathan … I too get sick while reading in a car (but not a plane). I wonder if that is another common thread between all of us that get queasy in some video games. Good point.


  35. // Reply

    This a very interesting site as I was researching about game playing vertigo! I'm in my mid fifties and I'm having the same problem playing the Resident Evil 4 on the Wii, it makes me very dizzy and nauseated! So much so that I only play it before bed and even at that I still feel the ill effects the next day for the better part of the day! But I love the game so much that I keep playing it and I'm trying to find ways that I can minimise the sickness thus reading your articles. I play it on a 46" LCD sitting 9 feet from it. So I'm going to try and sit further and also try inverting the Y axis I went on another site where someone said they took "ginger pills" and it worked great for them. I'll keep you posted on my results with the changes.


  36. // Reply

    Well I tried the axis and as you said Dale it didn't matter for me. So a week later I decided to try just for the heck of it those Ginger root pills. I thought, what do I have to loose at this point as I can't play 3 of my games I love! I took 2 pills (1100mg) and waited about 40 mins and started playing. I played for 2 hours and NO NAUSEA, just a slight headache at the end! Went to bed and got up the next morning like I had never played! I am so excited! I researched before taking and I guess ginger was used for sea sickness since the middle ages. Works for me! Just wanted to share my findings I hope others can benefit too.


  37. // Reply

    Wow, other than Halo, I don't know if there would be any game I'd care that much about to try taking pills over. Where did you get the ginger pills? GNC, a health-food-store?


  38. // Reply

    I have been an avid video gamer since 1986. I've been strictly been a Nintendo guy when it comes to owning games, but I have played other systems' big games, such as halo and whatnot. I had never gotten nausea or headaches once in my entire life. I could play Metroid Prime 1, 2 and 3 all day everyday and it wouldnt bother me. Yesterday, I bought Resident evil 4 for the Wii. It is the first RE game I've ever played. Yesterday and today, after putting in a little time in on the game, I have never had a worse headache and my eyes have never been as sore as they are right now. I took 4 excedrin extra strength. No help. I'm in the dark and wearing sunglasses right now because the computer screen is too bright for me. I don't think I'm going to be able to finish the game. It's absolutely ridiculous how bad it is. I can actually feel my eyes hurt while I'm playing.


  39. // Reply

    I have an old Sony Trinitron CRT tv that I'm going to play Wii Resident evil:4 on tomorrow to see if it still hurts my eyes. I'll keep you posted.


  40. // Reply

    Ha! As I said above, Steve, all RE games are the poster-child for on-rails naseau. I'm not surprised that one caused you problems. I've never played Metroid Prime – don't own a Wii (though I owned an N-64 a long, long time ago). I think age could also be an issue. Not sure.


  41. // Reply

    I look forward to hearing the results. Changing the TV hasn't made any difference to me in the past.


  42. // Reply

    Ginger is heavily used to prevent sea-sickness. I know you have to take motion-sickness pills an hour or so before they take effect. It would be interesting to see if Damomine or dome sort of motion-sickness pill does the same thing. Ginger would be healthier though.


  43. // Reply

    Sarah! that happened to me exactly the same, only i was in Gimnastic class and i thought i had just pushed myself too far on the acrobatics but apparently not, the spinning sensation and the lack of control and balance specially, i mean it didn't even hurt at all it was just, sooo weird, i kind of laughed for a few seconds. I guess i was so scared and confused i laughed. Ever since that day i cannot roll or spin for more than a few tiny seconds or i fall flat on the floor and lose all my balance.
    Strangely enough, the night before i had been playing games till it was 4 am and had to wake up at 7.


  44. // Reply

    HELLO my comments for nauseous video games. I'm a 3D animator in Mongolia. Played games since childhood. And i probably know what makes nauseous. This is the right answer i guess. This is mostly the Frame Rate not pixels. They say human eye can receive 24 frames per second properly. But most games have 60fps and even more. Because of the high frame rate, your brain got tired before even your eyes get tired. So most people get nauseous. Only GAMERS don't feel like that i think.


  45. // Reply

    eruult, I think the opposite is more likely. Older games had fewer frames per second, newer games have more. It's the older games that give me problems. I don' know this for sure, but the MORE my eyes are given, the easier it seems on my head.


  46. // Reply

    i completely understand nausea in video games. some that come to mind for me are:
    Call of Duty 4 for PC, Bioshock for PC, Half-life 2 for PC, Resistance 2 for PS3, God of War for PS2. your list seems very good. i do know why it occurs, and i know the problem is going away these days.
    Bad Company and GTA4 for PS3.. would not be on the list for me.


  47. // Reply

    Shows how different people are eh? Of all the PC games you list I have only played one of them on the PC and that is Half-Life 2. It's a poster child for nausea for me on any platform. But, except for Bad Company & GTA4 which only caused mild dizziness, none of the others you list, when I played them on the 360 or PS3, have made me sick. I'm good with each of CoD4, BioShock, Res2 and GoW.

    I'm playing Prince of Persia right this moment. It's so like Tomb Raider, but so UNLIKE Tomb Raider on the sickness scale. I could play this 24-7 and never get sick.

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