Gaming Sickness

What is it and how is it triggered?

As I mentioned in the Introduction, playing the game triggered gaming sickness. Since I knew about the changes made to the game and how gaming sickness works, I feared that would happen. Gaming sickness did happen to people during the beta which did not experience this before. Thatīs why I want to give some basic information on that topic first.

Gaming Sicknes or Motion Sickness is related to Travel Sickness but seems to be triggered differently. I traveled by ship more then once but do not get sick. Actually I have sea legs and enjoy a rough sea on a ship, I love it.

Gaming Sickness is caused when the brain is provided with different information from both the eyes and the body. Most first Person games can cause gaming sickness because of the immersion, which gives you the impression that you are the person running around in the virtual world. The eyes send pictures to the brain which indicate that you are running. But the rest of the body tells your brain that you are sitting, not going anywhere. Thatīs the trigger which causes the brain to react with nausea and dizzieness.

During the years computer games got more and more realistic. I experienced the first problems by the time I switched from a CRT monitor to an LCD, 1998. I did play Quake II a lot in the months before but was unable to play on my brand new LCD from the first day on. and I was not able to play First and most Third Person games anymore. I did play Assassins Creed, walking everywhere instead of running, and pausing the game every hour. When the second one was released I was surprised to find out that I do not had any problem playing it.
The Witcher III triggers my gaming sickness every time I use the build in Witcher Sense. But the devs implemented switches which alter the way how that works and I was able to play without problems.
During the Beta Phase of The Division I experienced heavy gaming sickness but a few months later the devs provided some switches for several mechanics and now I have no problems anymore while playing it. But once the devs released DX11 support I turned it on and got sick almost instant. No sickness with DX9, instant with DX11.

You see, sometimes it is hard to find out what exactly causes the Gaming Sickness and medical research on that topic started just a few years ago, but there are some triggers which are ease to identify like

Fast Movement - Fast Turn - Blurry Pictures - "Head Bobbing" - narrowed field of fiew

The faster the movement or turn the heavier the difference between the signals from your eyes and your body to the brain. Some of the triggers are related to graphic effects which are intended to make the picture more realistic by adding depth or 3d effects or blurry vision, like Motion Blur, Chromatic Abberation, film grain. Good thing is that the devs of most computer games are aware of the problem now and provide switches to turn those effects off.

What can you do to stop it?

Fortunately Funcom included some switches in the game for common triggers and there are some options you can try out (they should help with other games, too):

One last word: Some gamers use medicin for travel sickness to fight gaming sickness. I have not tested that, because most of the meds which may help are based on scopolamine and you need a prescription for that in my country. Be warned: there may be some side effects which I personally donīt want to experience.

However, a while ago someone gave me the tip that ginger root has an effect similar to scopolamine but weaker. I bought ginger root capsules from organic farming and took capsules half an hour before a longer gaming session, which slowed down gaming sickness or weakend the effect. You may test that by yourself either with capsules or with raw ginger but I give you a warning: Not everyone likes how it tastes.

I hope these tips here are helpful.