Kicking ass in an awesome first person shooter. Sounds pretty sweet right? Unfortunately this will probably never be me. Why? Because first person shooters (FPS) nauseate me. Almost every game with a first person view does, for that matter. Can I do something about it? Well, I have tried… obviously. Let me tell you about my attempts to fight gaming sickness. Spoiler-alert: They were not always that successful…
But first! What is gaming sickness?
What is gaming sickness, also known as video game motion sickness or simulation sickness? Simply put: when you experience sickness from gaming it basically means that your brain is ‘confused’. Let me explain. As a videogame player you see what your character sees on the screen, even while he or she is moving. But in reality your body is still stationery. Your inner ear, which contains the sensory organs for balance, doesn’t sense motion. Because there is no real motion. The motion you experience is only visualised. So the signals that are received by your brain do not add up. The possible consequences? You might experience dizziness, nausea, cold sweats, headaches and even vomiting. Not a result you would expect from playing a videogame. Yet, I have experienced them all…
The possible ‘solutions’…
What a lot of people want to know is: How do you beat gaming sickness? I have read about several possible solutions to this problem. In order to spend more time playing videogames (especially FPS) I tried to implement them all. Here is what I found out.
Can you ‘tweak’ your videogame settings so you experience less gaming sickness? In my experience, yes! For example, a higher frame rate (and consistent frame rate) means less nausea. Excessive head bob, motion blur (added for special effects), depth of field effects? No thank you! If the game allows it, disable them all!
If it’s possible, try to also extend your Field of view (FOV). Because in real life you can see further to your left and right without turning your head than in most videogames. The FOV is especially limited on most console games. In my case this limitation also results in more dizziness. If you can’t extend your Field of View, then try moving further away from your tv or computerscreen(s). This can really help! Do these so called ‘technical’ solutions help eliminate my gaming sickness completely? Nope. However, they they did extend my FPS game-time (time playing before I got sick)! So if you have gaming sickness, I recommend trying these tricks first.
A bit more extreme measure would be using over-the-counter motion (travel) sickness tablets. I do not recommend using medication when you are not sick. But in my experience motion travel sickness tablets do help fight gaming sickness. Sometimes it even eliminates it completely. Since taking these pills on a regular basis is not good for you, clearly this is not a long term solution. So let’s move on.
This remedie is so obvious, but I have to mention it. Simply.. sleep.. more.. At times, when I was really tired, gaming sickness kicked in so fast I didn’t even know what hit me. Of course I like to pull an all-nighter when playing videogames. But when nauseated as a result from playing videogames the night ends early. So night night and don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Ginger and ginger tea help against nausea, too. I have no idea why, but it just does. Chamomile tea and fresh lemons might do the trick as well. Put some freshly squeezed lemon juice in your tea or simply inhale the smell of the lemon (I know, it looks super weird!). So if life gives you lemons, use it to fight gaming sickness! But all jokes aside. These natural products really helped me extend my game-time.
Train your brain
By playing more, you are training your brain by simply letting it get used to it! Tough love people. Does this work on me? …No… I cry in the corner like a little baby when I’m sick from playing a certain videogame. So I dismissed this so called solution pretty quick. I mean.. I still like to enjoy playing videogames, I’d just much rather not learn to hate them. Right?
After trying all the above mentioned solutions separately I went into desperate mode and tried to combine them all. After 10 hours of sleep I tweaked my videogame settings, drunk some ginger tea while sniffing a lemon and popped a travel sickness pill. I was ready for a day full of first person shooters. Did it work? Yeah… it actually did! But seriously, does anyone actually have the time and willingness to do all of this?
In conclusion …
Currently I’m back to playing my fighting games and JRPG’s.. Because the remedies I found during my research take too much effort. I think that I was just not meant to play certain videogames. Unless, of course, I somehow decide I don’t mind throwing up. I am still hoping that there are some better solutions/remedies out there. If you know any that have helped you, please share!? Maybe someday we can play some Destiny together, probably Destiny 5 or something by then.. after I trained my brain…
Of course I am curious about your possible experiences with gaming sickness. Share your stories in the comment section below or through our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Game on!