First-Person Gaming and Motion Sickness

Wolfenstein: The New Order/Steam

Some of the most notable games are in first-person: Outlast, Bioshock, COD, Far Cry; the list goes on.

The beauty of a first-person game is that they’re designed to make gamers feel as though they are living it. The story becomes your own, because the characters you play are meant to be you. It’s a brilliant way to immerse you into the game’s world, but while the majority of gamers can enjoy or even prefer first-person gaming, there are those who can’t. It’s not for lack of want; it’s due to a troublesome setback caused by video game motion sickness.

Yes, video game motion sickness is very real. Gamers exhibit the same symptoms people do with car or seasickness – nausea, vomiting, sweating, headache, rapid heart rate etc. These symptoms may vary, but the outcome is the same; it limits many gamers from enjoying some of the games they’d love to play.

WebMD says this happens when the part of brain responsible for detecting motion, senses that you’re moving when you’re actually not, and it confuses your brain, thus causing motion sickness.

There are many over-the-counter medications available to help with motion sickness, some come in pill form, patches, as well as wrist bands. Some websites also claim that ginger is an extremely helpful remedy. Of course, if you’re struggling with video game motion sickness, do your research on these remedies before deciding which one to use. As a first-person motion sickness sufferer myself, most of the options out there have not worked for me so it’s difficult to know what will work for others.

The only other method of avoiding video game motion sickness is to avoid first-person games all together. This is the most unfortunate remedy for those who want to play certain games, but it works because you are able to visualize your character moving throughout the game; basically, you have something to focus on. Your brain senses movement and you physically see the movement so it greatly reduces your chances of motion sickness. There’s also something wonderful to be said about third-person gaming. It’s a beautiful thing getting to know the characters you’re playing and watching their stories unfold as you go on the journey with them. You grow attached to your characters because of the time you’ve invested with them. So if third-person gaming is your only option, it’s not a total loss.

It would be nice if all gaming companies decided to allow third person as an option so that everyone could experience the stories that all first-person gamers do. It couldn’t hurt gaming companies’ pockets that much could it? If anything it could add to it because more people would be able to play their games.

When it comes down to it, first-person video game motion sickness is a real nuisance. Just minutes of game play can cause an hour of discomfort. Motion sickness medication can help for some people, but there’s always the option of avoiding first-person games. Maybe one day all games will the possibility to play in third-person. Only time will tell.

Published by Joanna Wolford

I am an SNHU alumni with a B.A. degree in creative writing/screenwriting. I have a passion for all video games. I was the little kid who used to stay up until six in the morning playing Atari (yes Atari!). I love, love, love anything horror, anything with a good storyline, and indie games. My favorite games are The Last of us, Resident Evil series, and Silent Hill series. I enjoy both console and PC gaming. Sophie's curse and FNAF keep me up at night, and I will never get used to jumpscares!

One thought on “First-Person Gaming and Motion Sickness

  1. Had an ex that was the same way. However, the issue is that any game that moves from first person to third usually ends up giving people who play in third person POV an advantage. That’s not a problem in single player games, but a huge one in multi-player games.

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