I like rolling things up. I can’t help it. I also can’t help that it makes me sick. I’ve taken about a week off from Beautiful Katamari, and now even it makes me motion sick, even though I had originally thought it was just Katamari Damacy and We <3 Katamari that made me ill. I had thought it was something about their older graphics or camera panning that was triggering my motion sickness.
Clearly, there's just a Katamari motion sickness epidemic that lots of us are dealing with (at least according 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 research.
Avoiding Motion Sickness from Video Games
The biggest problem with motion sickness from video games (simulator sickness) is that it seems to affect everyone a bit differently. I’ve rounded up the best tips I can find, but you’ll have to try and find what works best for you.
- Play in Short Bursts – This is probably the most helpful but frustrating tip. You might want to have a marathon gaming session and just push through the awful nausea, headaches, and sweat, but it’s not a great idea. If you only play while you’re still feeling good (i.e., quit while you’re ahead), you’ll give your brain opportunities to adjust to the disagreeable stimulus. After enough positive sessions, you should be able to play longer and longer before getting sick. Ideally, you’ll even stop getting sick. The kicker? It’s probably just for that game for which you’re building up a tolerance. Other games that make you sick need to be “broken in” in the same way. Bummer, huh?
- Don’t Take Time Off – This is what I’m dealing with right now. While you’re building up a resistance to a game, avoid extended breaks from the game, or you’ll be back at square one.
- Don’t Psyche Yourself Out – Avoid playing triggering games while you’re worrying or thinking about motion sickness. You’ll just get sick sooner.
- Avoid Stimulants and Booze – Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and salty junk food can all increase your body’s motion sickness response. If you can avoid these things while playing (and even just before playing), you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
- Adjust the Lighting – Some people say they do better with the room lighting very dark, but I find I do better with a moderately lit room. Too bright or too dark, and I’m quick to headaches. I assure you, I’m finicky about my porridge too.
- Sit a Bit Further Back – It can also help your senses if you sit back away from the TV. Let your eyes see more than the screen, and try to glance at something off-screen every once in a while (preferably, something stationary).
- Know Your Own Triggers – This is different for everyone, but many people find the head bob or weapon bounce in FPS games to cause simulator sickness. Older 3D games are a common trigger. Once you work out what games and, more specifically, what aspects of them trigger you, you can more easily play in the short bursts we mentioned earlier.
Cures for Motion Sickness from Video Games
As with avoiding motion sickness, these won’t all work for you. Try things out and see what works for you.
- Ginger – You can get ginger in tablet form, crystallized to suck on, or in tea form. You might even have some luck with Ginger Ale. I’ve never tried it myself, but Wikipedia claims that while it helps to stop vomiting, it does not help with nausea specifically.
- OTC Medication (Dramamine, Bonine, etc.) – Dramamine has always been a savior to me for car rides, but it makes me cranky as all get out. This would definitely not be a long-term gaming solution for me, especially with the expense. These pills, however, are designed to treat (and prevent) motion sickness and its terrible symptoms. Taken about an hour beforehand, they work well, but have side effects (like drowsiness).
- Wristbands – These are accupressure bracelets that stimulate a wrist pressure point that helps with nausea. Often used by pregnant women and sea travelers, I’ve heard they work well. TG actually uses them for his day-to-day vertigo and finds that they really work for him, even though he doubted they could possibly work at all when we first got them. If you’re looking for these, you might try Sea-Bands or Psi Bands.
- Fresh Air – Less officially, a bit of fresh air might ease your suffering. It seems to work best for me to take a walk with the dog. We, however, do live in a cool climate, and I wouldn’t recommend this during the peak of summer!
Lovely (and hopefully not nauseated) readers, what works for you? Anything I should add to the list that you simply cannot or absolutely must live without when gaming that might help your fellow gamers?