Suffering From Simulation Sickness
So it might seem kind of strange that I’m an avid gamer, have been playing them for most of my life and yet I suffer from DIMS (Doom Induced Motion Sickness) or rather Simulation Sickness; more so than all of my gaming friends seem to. It does sometimes determine what games I can play. First person games tend to be the most problematic, but I’ve also had bad experiences with cartoony 3D games like Croc and Spyro (I haven’t gone back to these types of games since the Rugrats made me throw up – I wasn’t able to watch the show again either.) It also means that I sometimes miss out on highly praised games or what my friends are all playing. Portal made me really ill for instance, which has sort of coloured how I feel about that franchise. In fact most games on the Source Engine do seem to affect me badly, while I can play other first person games with no issues at all (like Prey for example.) Amnesia actually got to me a little, but then Outlast was fine. Blocky games or older graphics tend to bother me. Although I can play Minecraft, but I can’t watch other people play it. Smoother cameras positioned slightly further away from the character are usually preferable. I can also tell when I’m coming down with something by how badly I’m affected by Simulation Sickness. If I’m not right in myself then games that wouldn’t usually bother me will suddenly become unplayable.
Simulation Sickness is why some people just can’t come to appreciate games or can be reluctant to be around a person who is playing. My family suffers from it worse than I do and so I’m often restricted to playing in my room so that it won’t affect them. I love games too much to let this issue prevent me from playing them though. It is also possible to overcome it if you’re persistent enough. I’ve found from personal experience that If I continue to play a game in short bursts it will eventually get better to the point that I can play for hours without becoming ill. The other solution is to simply stick to genres and games that don’t make you ill.
I was happy when I saw Extra Credits attempting to tackle this issue in the video ‘Simulation Sickness – Causes and Cures For Game Headaches.’ It was one of the first times that I’d noticed the subject being talked about and it gives some good advice on how to deal with it (although I’ve personally found that turning down the lights makes it worse, which is problematic for a survival horror fan.) VR devices are also a concern for me. I seem to be the only person amongst my friends who is not looking forward to using one as I can imagine it making me really ill. I hope that developers do start to consider issues relating to Simulation Sickness more because it does affect accessibility and enjoyment of the game.
If you love games, but suffer from Simulation Sickness, don’t let it get you down. I still enjoy a very active gaming life despite DIMS. 😛