First-person shooters and nausea

Anyone else have a problem with this? I was playing Return To Castle Wolfenstein on my computer a lot, and every time I’d play, I could feel myself getting slightly queasy. Enough so that I’d have to stop playing after about an hour or so. I was really enjoying the game, but it eventurally got too much for me and I just stopped playing.

I thought maybe it was something just particular to RTCW, but yesterday, I went over a friends house, and we played Halo on his XBox for a while. And I got it again, this time, much, much worse. It knocked me down for the rest of the day. I guess it feels like some sort of motion sickness, but I’ve never had trouble with that before. I have no problem with flying or being on a boat. I also never had this problem with the older first-person shooters, like Doom or Duke NukeEm. I’m not sure if it’s happening now because the games are getting more realistic, or because I’m getting older.

So, anyone else have this ailment, or am I alone in my suffering?

Do you wear glasses? I’ve occasionally experienced mild nausea while playing FPS while wearing my glasses. Your eyes flick around your field of view pretty quickly in newer shooters (lest something rush you from an odd angle), and slight variations in the lenses might have a disorienting effect. I’ve never experienced this while wearing my contact lenses.

Just a WAG.

No, I don’t wear glasses, so that can’t be it.

It must be a pretty common problem – ever read the warning at the front of a manual for a fps?

I remember getting very queasy when I first played Doom, but that’s because I’d been playing Wolfenstein3d lots and the head-bob through me for a loop. Course, I was 12 at the time.

I’ve had a similar problem with Dungeon Siege, primarily when my party is at the top of a tower and I tell them to go outside. The spinning motion as the group heads downstairs is pretty disorienting.

Damn, shoulda been warnings. Perils of typing one handed.

Lots of people experience this with FPS games. My guess is that the eyes are telling the brain that you are moving, but your inner-ear says you are not and conflicts with this input. Nausea could be a response where the body is thinking that the “bad input” is caused from being poisoned.

Way back in the Mesozoic era when I was playing the original Wolf-3D on my 286, I never experienced it. But when I got a 486-66 and suddenly the game got MUCH smoother, I started to get nausea from it. I get it once in a while still on newer games, but it’s pretty rare.

I would always feel weird if I looked at anything except the screen. Of course that was after 9 straight hours of quake 3.

Revtim hit the nail on the head. You are getting motion sickness. Do you ever feel sick while riding in a car?

Basically your eyes are telling your brain that you are moving around while your inner ear, stomach and apendages are saying, “No we’re not!” The brain, not liking the conflicting messages, wigs out and causes all sorts of nastiness.

I believe the semi-official term is “VR sickness.” Like air sickness and car sickness its caused by a conflict between sensory input (I am going someplace) and inner ear input (I am sitting still in a chair).

I can’t play any type of first-person style game for this reason. I think if you ask around most people who game a lot know a few friends/aquaintences who don’t enjoy it for this specific reason.

I definitely do believe it’s motion sickness, but the weird part is, no, I don’t ever feel sick while riding in a car. I did get seasick once, years and years ago, but it was on a small boat in very choppy water, and I’ve been on other boats since with no ill-effects. So I don’t seem to suffer from motion sickness under other circumstances, just while playing these video games.

Thanks for the term, Hello Again. I googled ‘VR sickness’ and got a whole bunch of hits. I don’t have time to go through them right now, but definitely will when I get a chance later.

Just another victim of VR sickness here.

I find that my nausea gets stronger and arrives quicker if the game screen fills my entire area of vision – that is, if I don’t have a stable “framing area” around the screen. If I keep the game window small, or play the FPS on a TV and sit back from the screen (so I can see part of the room around the TV), the nausea is minimal.

You might try varying your gaming environment a bit–e.g. if you’re in a dark room, turn on a light, if you’re in a light room, turn off the lights/pull the shades. Some of it could be coming from eye strain. At the very least, you could try pausing the game every half hour or so and taking a quick breather.

I had this problme at times as well, but only with certain games.
I think it only happened with the Lucasarts games Dark Forces and Outlaws.

Everything else works fine.

It helps if you turn off the head bob. At least that’s what I’m told; they don’t make me ill.

You are certainly not alone. I started a thread on this very subject many moons ago.

Here’s a link. Perhaps it will be of some help.

I never had a problem until after I’d played a lot of Unreal Tournament. Then I tried to set up my sister’s (older) computer with the original Doom and nearly threw up. For some reason, going from a high-quality to a lower-quality FPS, even one I had played to death a mere 5 years ago, was enough to give me headaches and nausea.

Sufferer of VR Sickness chiming in. But its only when I play with my glasses on. If I play with them off then I’m OK.

I don’t get it, but one of my best friends does. He can’t handle FPS games at all. He tried to play Colony Wars (my favorite Playstation game) once, but the first-person view point combined with zero gravity (meaning no real up or down) made him disoriented and nauseous. He could play Ace Combat 2 with no problem however. He wears glasses also and gets carsick only if he isn’t driving.