Motion sickness can seriously mess up your ability to play video games, and first person shooters are especially bad for this. James Roque shares his advice on how to play them – minus the nausea.
Motion sickness sucks. A lot. As someone who’s had an extreme case of it his whole life, it’s caused me to miss out on many fun things; amusement park rides, reading on any form of transport, VR headsets, anything involving rolly-pollies – you name it, I’ve vommed as a result of it. These things have caused me so many traumatic, world-spinning moments that I’ve learnt to avoid them completely. And for the most part I’ve been happier for it.
However, there is one motion sickness-inducing thing that I’ve had a hard time letting go of. Something that as a teenager, I grew up loving and bonding with my friends over: first person shooter video games.
From Halo to Call of Duty to Counter Strike, the list of great first person shooters is long. But as a sufferer of motion sickness, most of my sessions with these games usually end with me lying on my bed with my hands over my eyes trying to get the room to stop spinning while my friends roast me for it. Despite this, I still love them (the games, not my mean friends) and have over time accumulated ways to overcome the struggle.
Here are Roque’s TipsTM for anyone struggling with FPS sickness.
Sit up properly, you egg
This is probably the big one for me. I find that the times I’ve played any shooter game (or even a 3D platformer for that matter) collapsed on a couch it increases my chances of getting sick, because it puts unnecessary tension on your back, neck and shoulders. Sit up! Your mum was onto something when she berated you about it your whole life. Get yourself a nice chair with good back support and line it up straight front-on with your screen; it will help. Be careful that you don’t sit too close to the screen though, as it will decrease your field of vision and make you even sicker.
A hot room can actually make things ten times worse. If you’ve ever felt carsick in a stuffy car, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Get an electric fan going or crack a window open and get some fresh air in that room. Especially if you’re playing in an enclosed bedroom – the heat coming from your console or PC is enough to turn your room into a sauna. And while you’re at it, turn your lights on! Playing video games in a dark room can put more strain on your eyes and make you even sicker. (Whoa! Your room’s a mess, bro. Sort that out, you have company)
This one is a no-brainer. If you start to feel yourself heading down the path of no return, take a break. Get up and go for a little walk. Get yourself some water, look at some trees, talk to your loved ones – whatever you have to do to not look at a screen. Playing through the sickness is not going to make it go away. Don’t be a macho douchebag and try to tough it out. It won’t work. The only thing that will look tough is the toilet after it withstands a remix of what you had for lunch.
Taking regular breaks can actually allow you to play for longer – and it’s a good thing to do as a gamer regardless of whether you have motion sickness.
Ginger (aka the best Spice Girl)
Ginger! The miracle motion sickness remedy. A lot of people have reported that ginger has nausea-reducing qualities that not only helps you feel less dizzy but also settles your stomach. If you have a severe case, get yourself some ginger pills before you play. They have helped me in the past. Heck, get some real ginger beer up in there while you’re at it. Call your best ginger friend and have him/her sit next to you while you play. Just get as much ginger in your life as you can. What have you got to lose?
Side note, you can also get other over-the-counter motion sickness medication before you play. Personally I prefer using ginger as it’s natural, but you know, each to their own (also, I’m not a medical professional so I’d prefer not to be giving out advice about this in case you explode because of a pill or whatever).
If all else fails, play third person shooters
Third person shooters don’t make me feel nearly as sick as first person ones do. I’ve read that it has something to do with the fact that you have a bigger field of vision in them. Also, because you can see the character you’re controlling, your brain and inner ear don’t send the confused signals to your stomach about which direction you’re moving. So why not give these games a go? You still get the riveting fun of a 12 year old cursing you out online but with half the nausea.
Here are some fun third person shooters that are really popular at the moment (in 2018 – ed.).
Players Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) – PC
Arguably one of the most popular games at the moment, this game is taking over the internet. It’s a Hunger Games-esque battle royale where a hundred players are dropped onto a map and are left to their own devices. The last player to survive wins.
Fortnite – PS4, XB1, PC
A multi-platform shooter that has a survival mode that is you fighting a hoard of zombies, and a battle royale mode that functions pretty much like PUBG, except with fewer hackers and the ability to build forts to protect yourself, Minecraft-style. I’m currently obsessed with this game and if you play it you’ll probably fall victim to me hiding in a bush and shooting you as you run past.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 – PS4, XB1, PC
The second instalment of the Battlefront games, this one was plagued with controversy on launch for its ridiculously unbalanced in-game micro transaction system. In other words, if you paid more money you were given an unfair advantage over others. I’m happy to report that the devs have since fixed this and it’s actually a really enjoyable game to play online.
There’s a bunch more fun TPS that I’ve missed, including classics like The Division, The Last of Us and Army of Two, but that’s what Google is for. So if none of my previous tips help you with First Person Shooters, maybe it’s time to make like a good New Zealander and be happy with third instead of first (DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE).
That’s all folks! Hopefully if you’re a fellow motion sickness sufferer who’s been avoiding FPS games your whole life, you can use some of these tips. The FPS genre is a fun one with a thriving online community and I know it sucks to feel like you’re missing out on that. So hunker down, ginger up and get your headshots without feeling like your head got shot (honestly how do I get paid to write jokes for a living).