How Motion Sickness Can Ruin Games (And How You Can Fight It)

I can play games for hours on end. No problems. Good friend of mine, though, there are certain genres — FPS and driving mainly — that make him physically sick.

He's not alone. It's a safe bet most of you either know someone, or suffer yourself, from motion sickness brought on by video games.

There's a great piece on The Guardian's website exploring the subject, noting that while there's been little hard science done on it, it's estimated between 10-50% of people may experience motion sickness while gaming to some degree.

Noting that US research on military flight simulators found around half of users reported some kind of sickness after use, it's speculated that it's caused in video gaming by a disconnect between your eyes detecting motion on the screen while your inner ear has no such luck (because, you know, you're not actually moving).

This might trick your body into thinking it's being poisoned, which triggers a nausea reflex.

So how do you fix the problem? Well, there's no cure, but as The Guardian's helpful test subject notes, over-the-counter motion sickness medication (he cites Joy-Rides) can either delay or alleviate the effects slightly.

Playing video games makes me sick [The Guardian]


    oh great, turn to pharmacuticals...errrr, no.

    My wife gets this but not from video games. I missed about 15-20 minutes of Cloverfield in the cinemas because I was standing outside the bathrooms while she was vomiting up dinner.

    Everyone can play Mirror's Edge now. No excuses :)


    I was almost sick when watching my friend do the the flight level in the campaign of BF3 for the first time - that being said I was so fucking high at the time i'm lucky I didn't fall off the lounge!

    I don't get any sort of motion sickness any other time

    HL2 air boat level. Guaranteed to make my head feel weird.

      ANY vehicle sequence in HL2: it was so difficult to play for me, and the only other time Ive been motion sick was when I first played an FPS (Wolf 3D) as a kid. 5 minutes in and I'd feel unwell...

    I'd rather not take pills, too lazy :P
    Dimenhydrinate and dimenhydramine is what's used for motion sickness.

    It's not motion sickness. There's no motion involved. It's simulation sickness.

    I've only had it in one game: Half Life 2 for PS2, for some reason that game made me really sick :S

    I don't play FPS for this reason, although since I played portal I have an increased tolerance

    Portal and Portal 2 for me, I don't get physically sick but a splitting headache after only 20 minutes of playing :( I bought portal 2 yesterday during the steam daily deals and hate to say it but I can't even play through 2 levels at a time before I get a serious headache.. does anyone have any advice for me? CoD, HoN and even mirrors edge didn't give me this kind of sickness..

    I suffer from this quite often. I narrowed the causes in game down to a few things:

    1) Refresh rate - I find games with a lower refresh rate cause me less problems

    2) FoV - I find adjusting the field of view helps significantly, adjust until you are comfortable and can play longer without the effects of sickness

    3) Motion Blur - When youre moving around quick and turning fast I find the motion blur messes me up.

    Aside from that, I try to play in a well lit room with lots of fresh air and water on hand. I also just avoid games that make me sick, but if its something I absolutely must play I use over the counter drugs. Ginger pieces also help to chew on.

    I get it playing HL2, but there is a trick to changing the angle of the view and the viewable area through the console that stops it. You can google it but from memory the settings were to a degree I would not expect in the majority of games and in no console games.

    Mostly its games where there is no point of reference on screen, eg FPS bad, over the shoulder 3rd person shooter good.

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