Xbox Series X Has Too Many Horrifying Holes

Xbox Series X Has Too Many Horrifying Holes
Trypophobia is a major concern for Xbox Series X owners.

As reviews for the Xbox Series X arrive, I’m here to talk about one aspect of the console that could impact your desire to buy one, as it has mine. I am a trypophobe, and I cannot own an Xbox Series X because of all its damn holes.

[Since this post discusses a phobia, we won’t include any triggering imagery. Please be respectful and don’t share any similar imagery in the comments.]

Trypophobia (Google at your peril lest you suddenly and violently discover you too are afflicted) is described as the “fear of small holes.” (Shout out to the American Psychiatric Association for at least waiting a few paragraphs before including images that caused me to yeet my laptop; most online explanations of trypophobia unfortunately include pictures.) Trypophobia is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, so it’s not an officially recognised mental disorder, but it’s estimated that 16% of people suffer from it. I am, unfortunately, one of them.

Any uniform arrangement of small holes or spaces induces revulsion in me, accompanied with a slight “flight” response. Common triggers for me are usually organic but can include man-made things, such as certain manhole covers, those lotus pods that can come with Korean BBQ or dried in potpourri, pinecones, sunflower heads, gauze or bandages, any liquid mixture that bubbles like cooking pancakes or blooming yeast , this map of election results, and the grate at the top of the Xbox Series X.

I knew the Series X was going to be trouble the minute its design was revealed. The holes are just big and prominent enough to trigger a response. The Series S is a bit better, since the holes on its speaker are small enough to be obscured when viewed at a distance. Up close, it’s still slightly unsettling, but the annoyance factor is more negligible. My response to all these holes is not very strong, so I can continue to work at Kotaku without gagging every five minutes as our coverage of the cursed console increases as we get closer to release date. But I don’t think I could keep the new Xboxes in my home without prolonged exposure making me want to throw the console away.

Resident Evil 7 is a big time trypophobia offender. (Screenshot: Capcom) Resident Evil 7 is a big time trypophobia offender. (Screenshot: Capcom)

In the realm of video games and phobias, I could do a lot worse than trypophobia (see: spiders). But the insidious thing about trypophobia and video games is that it can manifest suddenly and in weird, innocuous places. My new desktop computer has a vent at the top, and the first couple of days with it, I was ok. But seeing the holes in my periphery every time I sat at my desk was enough to make me cover the grate up with a sheet of paper.

I get skeeved out in games too. Older games sometimes feature certain triggering textures in objects or on walls. For more modern games, a recent example for me is Resident Evil 7: Negative spaces that look like holes can freak me out, and there are a ton of maggots in that game. (Believe it or not, actual maggots don’t bother me; it’s the space between a swarm of them that sets me off. Humans are weird.) D’vorah from Mortal Kombat 11 is also a problem: She’s one of my favourite new characters, but she has a move that unleashes bugs from her chest, and the holes, man… I can’t do it.

My trypophobia manifests unevenly — small holes don’t always send me over the edge. So I’m ok with things like speaker grates or the metal mesh of my Blue Yeti Microphone. In fact most electronics and their penchant for using small holes to vent heat don’t bother me at all — except this mouse (thanks a lot, Fahey) and the Xbox Series X.

I could employ similar strategies for the Series X that I did for my computer. I could try to hide it in my entertainment console. Standing the console vertically would also obscure the vent. If I absolutely had to have a Series X, I could make it work, but why should I suffer having a triggering object in my home when I could just own a hole-free PlayStation 5 instead? Your move, Microsoft.


  • I don’t believe I have trypophobia as anything artificial just doesn’t bother me in the slightest, nor do the organic examples like honeycombs or some plants… but any google search for it always shows those images of the holes in peoples’ skin, partially filled with fuck-knows-what, and THAT is what always makes me deeply uncomfortable.

    • I actually have a theory on this.

      I believe that trypophobia is actually several different phobias or biological responses that have become interwoven thanks to their being caused by the same or similar evolutionary and psychological triggers.
      There seems to be a lot of debate among internet people and academics over what constitutes the so called phobia even though they’ve already isolated the wide range of triggers that actually seperate them such as illness, insects, and the artificial/natural shapes of a perfect/irregular pattern.
      (That in turn are also linked to illness and insects)

      The interesting thing to me is how differently these biological reactions manifest in people, from outright fear, a slight uncomfortable feeling, morbid curiosity to calming and hypnotic effects.
      (Such as honeycombs which trigger multiple and conflicting responses from people individually)

      I also think the internet craze surrounding the term has created a misguided understanding of these broad responses and created entirely new and badly recognised phobias based on their proximity.

  • Mines always been set off by natural patterns only and the effect has never been more than a slightly uncomfortable feeling coupled with a strong curiosity to observe closely.

    The funny thing is by the time I learnt that it had a name the internet had already taken it and turned it in to its own horror genre of sorts, much like what Transientmind speaks of.

  • I had no idea I had it until I went to a Dr Karl talk at the uni last year, and he put up a picture of a seedpod, and I had a truly visceral reaction to it.
    I seriously can’t look at those images for more than a second.
    The Xbox images don’t seem to give me the same response, but organic ones are horrible. Hopefully seeing the thing in real life won’t trigger it.

  • Where do you hire these people we dont care your hole disorder and that your feelings get hurt but things your get free games and consoles and you write trash like this REVIEW the dam product sigh this hole site has really gone down hill if this the trash being posted.

  • Is this article legit? With respect, this has to be the most unprofessional piece of media covering the launch window of the new consoles.

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