If you get injured playing a sport or you’re sick, there’s a good chance you’re going to spend time playing video games. However, those same video games do, in some rare instances, have the potential to cause injury or sickness. Over the years, there have been some bizarre cases where a person–or group of people–has found themselves in physical pain because of a video game. Perhaps a wrist sprain, eye soreness, or a little headache.
In general, these injuries and illnesses haven’t lasted long, and in most cases, they can even be pretty funny. Sure, at the time they happened, we doubt those suffering were laughing, but it’s a whole lot easier to look back on them now. We’ve even suffered from a few of them, so we’ve rounded up some of the most prominent and famous video game injuries and sicknesses.
Mario Party Blisters
We really don’t know what Nintendo and Hudson Soft were thinking when they released the original Mario Party with the Pedal Power minigame included–and it wasn’t even the only one to cause injuries! Trying to power a light via a stationary bike to defend yourself against a ghost, you had to rotate the Nintendo 64’s analog stick as quickly as possible. The problem is that to do so quickly enough, the minigame required using your palm instead of your thumb, resulting in many a child getting enormous blisters. Nintendo eventually reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s office to provide free gloves to anyone who owned the game.
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Virtual Boy headaches
Who would have thought that creating a “portable” VR system that only uses red and black colors would not be very pleasant to play? The Virtual Boy could induce headaches quickly because of the high-contrast visuals and its attempt at pseudo-3D gameplay. The uncomfortable way you had to play it (your face pressed into the headset portion) also didn’t help.. The good news is that if you found yourself getting too sick or uncomfortable to keep playing the Virtual Boy, you weren’t missing out on much. To date, it’s still Nintendo’s worst-selling system, and it was discontinued just a year after it launched.
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Sega VR sickness (unreleased)
Long before virtual reality was widespread–or good–Sega attempted its own take on the technology. Announced years before the Virtual Boy hit shelves and planned as a Sega Genesis peripheral, the Sega VR headset looked sleek and stylish. However, as many VR players have come to realize, poorly implemented or optimized virtual reality technology can make you sick. Because of how bad this problem seemed to be with testers and Sega’s wish to not make half the country throw up while playing a video game, Sega VR was canceled before it actually released.
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Too many Wii injuries to count
Nintendo knew this was going to happen when it was developing the Wii, and it’s just lucky that the system was such a ridiculously huge success that the risk of injury and breaking stuff didn’t turn people off buying one. Wii injuries ranging from hitting your friend in the face while playing tennis to giving yourself a legitimate sports injury through repetitive motion were entirely possible. The wrist strap was designed to eliminate some of these, but that can only do so much for those playing in a smaller area. Similar injuries are possible with the newer Switch Joy-Con controllers, but those are, thankfully, a lot lighter and smaller than the Wii Remote.
“Gorilla arm” in VR games
Wondering what the heck “gorilla arm” could possibly be? Before the age of VR, you may have never encountered it, but it’s an injury that occurs when you’re trying to do physical movements while inside a virtual world–potentially overextending your arms in order to reach an object or defeat an enemy. Because you are so deadset on completing your in-game task, your shoulders can become damaged. With more and more people using VR as an exercise tool, especially during the pandemic, the risk of such an injury is much higher.
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Claw grip hand pain
Gamers will do whatever is necessary to win, and this includes contorting their hand into a massively uncomfortable shape in order to access buttons and sticks more efficiently. For first-person shooters, this is particularly true, especially Call of Duty and Halo, this means using the “claw” grip, which gives you better control over the sticks and triggers. However, using this unusual grip for long periods can cause serious hand fatigue and soreness. It shouldn’t cause long-lasting damage, but if you find your hands hurting after long hours of online multiplayer, give them a break or switch to a normal grip for a while.
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It’s not quite as common today, but there were quite a few games during the height of the NES and SNES eras that required furious button-mashing in order to beat certain sections. This could be a particularly frenetic beat-’em-up or a shooter, but the end result was basically the same: Nintendo thumb. A pretty nebulous condition that sees your thumb swell or get particularly tender to the touch, Nintendo thumb can still happen in plenty of games today–one of our writers (yes, that was me, Gabe Gurwin) once beat Cuphead only to find himself unable to type for about 24 hours because of the pain.
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Source: Game Spot Mashup