Hi, My Name is AlienRedQueen, and I Have Simulator Sickness

It’s time to discuss a very serious situation that also happens to hit close to home:

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Motion sickness… while gaming.

First Person Shooters are common culprits for simulator sickness

First Person Shooters are common culprits for simulator sickness

Never heard of it?  Not surprised.  It’s probably not exactly the height of cool to be one of those people that gets headaches, feels dizzy, or even pukes (not me, thankfully) from playing their favorite video games.

I just got Resident Evil 6 as a Christmas gift from a friend and I actually haven’t been playing it day in and day out like I normally would, given my abnormal love of the franchise.  I was playing through the campaigns the first few days I got the game, with the friend that gave it to me, but I actually had to let him do most of the playing, due to the nauseating headache I was getting from the camera motion.  I haven’t fought one boss yet.  He always seemed to have the controller when the bosses came along (coincidence, I assure you.)

This is not new for me.  It’s happened before…and yet I played RE 5, ad nauseum.  And now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I had the same problem with that game.  I think I started popping Dramamine before gaming sessions for a while, and then I must have gotten used to the motion again, because it stopped bothering me.

There must be a mental component to it too, at least for me, because even thinking about it now is making me slightly nauseous.

Anyway, here are a couple tips if you suffer in the closet from this horrid affliction.

1) You may try desensitizing yourself with short gaming sessions, stopping for a while when you feel too sick

2) Take a dose of an anti-nausea medication like Bonine or Dramamine before you start to play.  In my experience, it does help with my motion sickness (travel-related as well,) but you should take it at least an hour before hand, as it seems to take quite a while to kick in, and it may make you sleepy.

3) Try slowing the camera down or changing the camera view on the game.

Here is a bit more about simulator sickness and some more tips on what may help.  Sadly, there is no cure. We must just suffer…but we need not do it in silence, my friends.  Maybe we should start a support group for weenies people like us, who get physically ill, but can’t bear to give up our gaming.  You can be the president…I’ll just be over here sipping my ginger-ale.

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*if you’re a RE fan like me, here’s a bit more on RE 6 and the changes made to the camera view this go-around. I’ll give you a hint– they kind of suck!

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“This is Bat Country!”

Been back on a Fishdom kick lately.  You know, that game where you match little  shapes, the object of which is to clear each level. In some of the Fishdom games, if you connect a certain number of like shapes, you get a “power-up” in the form of a bomb that blasts away all shapes in a given radius.  I played the game for a while many months ago, until I basically got all played out on it, and just recently picked the game back up again, as a nice addicting little diversion.

And now every time I close my eyes I feel like I’m in a Hunter S. Thompson book or something.  Not, not really.  Actually, my first irrational thought was that I had somehow spent so much time camped out in front of my little Netbook screen that the game images were burned into my corneas.  Because when I close my eyes or blink, or walk into a dark room, I see crabs.  Little blue crabs.  And sometimes anchors or cornucopias.    I see them in a sort of bright black, negative image, like the floaters you might see from staring at a bright light or the sun.

Eek! I’ve got crabs!

So I did what any self-respecting quasi-hypochondriac would do…  I Googled it.   And it turns out what I’m experiencing is not an unheard of phenomenon.  It even has a name.  The Tetris Effect.

People who play Tetris for a prolonged amount of time may then find themselves thinking about ways different shapes in the real world can fit together, such as the boxes on a supermarket shelf or the buildings on a street.  In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of habit. They might also dream about falling Tetris shapes when drifting off to sleep or see images of falling Tetris shapes at the edges of their visual fields or when they close their eyes.

The Tetris effect can occur with other video games, with any prolonged visual task (such as classifying cells on microscope slides, weeding, picking or sorting fruit, flipping burgers, driving long distances, or playing board games such as chess or go.)

source: Wikipedia

Mentioned in the Wikipedia entry for Tetris Effect was another related concept called Game Transfer Phenomenon, where residual thoughts, feelings, or impulses remain after playing a video game.  I have experienced this phenomenon first-hand, with no small measure of amusement, I assure you.  When I see movement in the tree branches in my periphery and my first impulse is to shoot at it with my non-existent sniper rifle, part of me wonders if I shouldn’t be glad I don’t actually have a rifle.

Anyhoo… while I was reading and assimilating all these interesting new tidbits of useless knowledge, I did not happen to see any information to indicate when I could expect to close my eyes and not see little crabs.  And I still can’t decide whether or not I should be annoyed by this.  Hmm…

When the Interwebz Attacks

Until now, the perception has been that you can say anything you like on the internet, without any consequences. Recent cases… show that is getting less and less true.

I’ve blogged…at length…about sex in video games and the experiences girl gamers face.  Some of these experiences are amusing.  Some of them are even funny.  Some are just plain irritating.  And anyone that has spent even a modest amount of time in online pursuits where there is some sort of interaction through either comments or live chat, has likely had at least one or two negative experiences with trolls or people that are just flat out ignorant asshats.  These are people who either intentionally look for others to harass, or  just feel free to say whatever half-formed thought crosses their half-formed brains due to assumed anonymity.  Maybe they think they’re “just having fun” or perhaps it makes these pitiable human beings feel better about their own ineffectual and pathetic lives to be able to take a virtual shit on people who might normally kick their asses in real life.   And some of them are just plain assholes.  Mean.

And these people will use whatever dirty epithet or blasphemous racial or sexual slur they can think of to insult you and tear you down.  It’s their only real weapon in place of something intelligent to say.

But even knowing all of this, even experiencing a lot of this, I was still shocked by the vicious cyber attack on Californian blogger, Anita Sarkeesian, after she launched a project to make a web video series about video game tropes and  women.  Not just the ignorant and inflammatory comments, but the fact that this woman was the victim of a concentrated effort to vandalize her Wikipedia page and organized efforts to have her YouTube videos flagged as “terrorism.” Additionally, she became the target of threats of violence, rape, and death.

Now, if you follow some of the comments made on the videos, you’ll notice that even people who supported this woman in a respectful way were subsequently flamed by some of the other commenters.

I am really floored.  Do all the idiots congregate in one place (comment boards on the internet?)  Or is it that most of the normal and good people (not all, mind you, but most) know there’s no point in even wasting time trying to argue with these narrow-minded, disrespectful morons?

It appears that Anita Sarkeesian has not only offended most of the remaining misogynists in the world, but even worse,  she has offended video game nerds by “insulting” their beloved games.  And by “video game nerds,” I don’t mean just “people who like or play video games.”  (After all, I play video games.  So does my husband and a lot of my friends.)  I mean those people who are so sad and pathetic that they live vicariously through their video games.  You know who you are.

Now, while the very existence of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church should clue me in on the fact that there are still evolutionary throwbacks in humanity’s pond, I have to admit, even I am still stunned that there are so many socially and intellectually stunted people in this world.  Watching the news everyday is depressing enough without this happy horse shit.

I wonder what it was about this woman that pissed so many people off.  As my step-father used to say “opinions are like assholes; everyone’s got one.”  I’m sure she is not the first person out there to spark a feminist debate about video games.  Is it just because she is semi-well known?  If I was more well-known, would I receive nasty remarks and threats of violence for this post?  Maybe I should ask WordPress to create a Widget exclusively for keeping track of death threats.  To hell with overall views and “followers.”  You’re not popular until you’ve received death threats from the dregs of society via the internet.  Bring it on (and I’ll happily ignore and delete them as per my comment regulations!)

On a more serious note, given the disappointing and disturbing trend in the past couple of  decades or so of the legal system’s increasing support of people’s unwillingness to take responsibility for their own actions, part of me hopes we will begin to see repercussions for online harassment.  Because that’s what it is.  Aside from rude remarks, some people seem to think they have the right to threaten and verbally assault others by dint of being online, and that having “freedom of speech” gives them the right to act like total assholes, when if they said some of this stuff to people’s faces, they’d get arrested or punched in the mouth.  If you ask me, some people could really still benefit from a punch in the mouth…

Cuz this is what would happen if you said that shit to mah face!

But maybe that’s just this humble female blogger being a “bitch.”