“Such order in the midst of chaos makes me woozy and disoriented.” -Alice, American McGee’s Alice

Update: You might be interested in my post about prevention & cures for motion sickness from video games.

When I was a kid, I could read in the car while sitting upside down and facing backward, singing about great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts. When I reached my mid-teens, however, I started getting motion sick in the car — just like my dad. Suddenly I needed quiet and fresh air; I needed to stare out the window or shove my forehead against the cool glass of the side window. I do fine on straight stretches. We even thought I was getting over my motion sickness when we moved to the city for a few years. But as soon as we were back to a more rural area with winding roads, I was getting sick again. It’s not just the car that makes me nauseated now. Some video games make me sick too.

I never really noticed it when playing games back in the day. Maybe the games I played didn’t have motions or camera angles that set me off. Maybe my susceptibility has increased. Or, maybe I’ve been cursed by some shaman. Regardless, I’ve had to give up games I’d once loved, because I was getting car sick — in my living room, no less! I couldn’t play .hack//Infection last time I tried, and TG and I nearly quit Everquest Online Adventures when they released their Frontiers expansion pack that added a screen shake every time my new nuking druid cast a damage spell. We did quit Vanguard: Saga of Heroes when a patch added a bug that caused intense hitching for both of us. We also quit playing Lord of the Rings Online for the same reason, despite having paid for two lifetime memberships, but that’s a rant for another post.

The real heartbreaker for me was the last time I tried playing Katamari Damacy and We <3 Katamari. Once again, I was sick. I'd put countless hours into these games in the past. Why couldn't I play them now? And, now, after playing a good deal of Beautiful Katamari on the 360 with no problems, can I be assured that it won’t suddenly start making me sick?

I’m only now learning about simulator sickness. I’ve always just said that some games make me car sick. It feels the same to me. I’m desperate for fresh air in the same ways. I’m feeling vomit-y in the same ways. I’m just not actually in a car.

TG has vertigo, so we’ve ordered some Sea-Bands and Psi Bands that work for him, and now I wonder if these would at least help me play a bit longer before the nausea kicked in. Everyone on the Internet has tips: sit farther back from the TV, keep the room well lit, or keep trying a game so as to build a tolerance and teach your brain that you’re not in peril. But why does my brain think I’ve been poisoned and am now hallucinating?

Even now, as I write this, TG is playing American McGee’s Alice, which we got through a download code that came with Alice: Madness Returns. After about twenty minutes of watching him play and a quick walk of the dog to get some fresh air, I now sit facing backward on the couch with my laptop. I can hear the game, and that’s peachy, but I just can’t look at it for more than a few seconds without becoming ill.

Way to suck at games, brain.


About Amanda

Amanda is a 20-something flailing gamer. While she loves MMORPGs, the company in them often triggers flare-ups of her social anxiety. Her all-time favorite games include Everquest Online Adventures, Eternal Sonata, the Animal Crossing series, Katamari Damacy, and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. She lives on junk food, and her favorite books are equally trashy. She doesn't believe in putting two spaces after a period, but she does strongly believe in the serial comma. Unfortunately, she has a penchant for starting sentences with "and" and "but;" hopefully you won't hold that, or her excessive use of semicolons, against her.

2 responses »

  1. […] downloading. Great! Once it arrived, I started with American McGee’s Alice, but I was getting so sick that I had to stop after just a few short levels. The game’s controls were awkward and the […]

  2. […] to the many "katamari motion sickness" searches that are leading people to my previous motion sickness from video games post). We can’t continue to deprive the King of All Cosmos, so I’ve been doing some […]

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