Underneath my yellow skin

The first person blues

I get motion sickness. A lot. An hour in the car? Motion sickness. Flying? Motion sickness. First person games? Motion sickness.

Side Note (quickest side note ever): When my mom was trying to guilt me into going on a cruise with her (whole family), I brought up motion sickness as one of the issues. Not the main one, but a serious issue. My brother said that a ship is so big, I would not be likely to feel it. I Googled it, of course, and there are people who get motion sick on a cruise ship. It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take, especially since I did not want to go in the first place.

I can play some first person games with a lot of fiddling, but getting there is very uncomfortable. Nausea, a headache that threatens to become a migraine, queasy stomach, etc. If I really want to play a game, I’ll do it, but if I don’t care about the game, it’s easier to give up. Or even if I’m just slightly warm about it. I really liked Firewatch and suffered for half an hour as I delved into the files to fiddle with the FOV. Same with Borderlands, one and two. A little bit of three. Even if there is an FOV slider, it doesn’t always make the game playable.

My biggest regret is that I couldn’t finish What Remains of Edith Finch by Giant Sparrow. It’s first person, which I didn’t know when I bought it. I had heard so many good things about it that I just gritted my teeth and continued. It was low-level nausea and headache at first, but then I hit the part where I had to fly and the urge to vomit was so strong and the headache was so intense, I violently recoiled. I immediately shut down the game and tweeted my regret that I couldn’t play it before asking for a refund. Sparrow Game tweeted me back saying I could either use the reticule or take it off (don’t recall which) because that helped some people. The thing is, I didn’t even want to open the game again because it had been such an intense reaction. I’m really sad because I’ve heard such amazing things about the game. I *may* try it again, but every time I even think about it, my body negatively reacts.

Recently, I heard a ton of good things about a game called Paradise Killer by Kaizen Game Works. It’s an open world murder mystery game with a retro/neon vibe. The protag is called Lady Love Dies and yeah, it’s that kind of game. You’ve been exiled for being tricked by a demon. Paradise is an island, and you know what? The plot is not easy to explain. Just know that it’s very noire and ‘she had gams that went for days’. You have to investigate who killed the members of the Syndicate and you can call a trial before the Judge any timeĀ  you want. You can accuse anyone you want and there is no railroading (from what I’ve read). In fact, one of the frustrations is that near the end, you can roam around for hours because you missed a clue. If I remember correctly, you don’t get confirmation if your deduction is correct or not, which I find fascinating.

Anyway. It’s first person. Once again, I forgot to do my due diligence because of all the hype. I’ve been looking for a good detective game for AGES and this seemed right up my alley. I immediately adored it and kept fussing with the FOV. I turned off the motion blur and the background switching thing. The devs specifically said that the latter would help with motion sickness. I played about half an hour before I had to turn it off. I Googled the issue and there were a few suggestions that I’ll try, but I’ve been chary of turning it on again. The nausea and headache are low-key but persistent, and it’s not pleasant at all. I’m willing to work with it, however, because the game seemed to be completely my jam. I just need to summon up the wherewithal to deal with the effects as I fiddle with the settings.

I also bought a game called Before I Forget by 3-Fold Games. It’s a short game about Alzheimer’s and the main character is Indian (of the South Asian variety) (living in America, I believe). I bought it because it sounded intriguing and it’s not often you got a game with a female Indian protagonist. Much to my chagrin, it was also first person. It was meant to be played in one sitting of roughly an hour and the nausea/headache were low-key, so I decided to soldier through. What’s my opinion? I like the concept and there were a few heartfelt moments. It didn’t really resonate with me, however, though I’m glad I played it. The music is terrific and I like the graphics. It’s another game that I’m glad exists even if it’s not really for me.

I hate that I have this issue with first-person games, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I just need to be more careful about the games I buy, but it’s difficult as most games are in third person. The problem isn’t just that it gives me a headache and nausea–which is similar to a migraine. It’s that the effect lingers for hours afterwards. And, in the case of Edith Finch, it made my brain feel scrambled. Even now, thinking about it, my brain hurts. I would have to do a significant amount to overcome the negativity I physically feel when I think about the game in order to try to play it again. Even with Paradise Killer about which my reactions was much more muted, I am reluctant to start it up again. My way of dealing with it the first time was to fiddle with the FOV slider, play a few minutes, fiddle again, and keep on going like that. I messed with it probably six or seven times without hitting that sweet spot.

I’ll try again, but I have to admit I’m dragging my feet. Such is the life of a person who easily experiences motion sickness.

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