4 Videogame Health Issues I’m Never Going To Take Seriously

October 3, 2014 by

In the end, maybe sitting too close to the TV really is the only thing to worry about when it comes to a gamer’s health. Read more to find out!

Over the past weekend I was lucky enough to find myself with a few spare hours and unlimited internet access. Being the standup fellow I am, I decided to spend this time educating myself instead of buffing up the power stats of my right hand (by lifting weights, you sicko). Vaguely concerned by a dull pain in my pinky, which WebMD immediately diagnosed as a bad case of everything-cancer, I thought it would be fun to look up the various types of ailments gamers can supposedly suffer from (admittedly, your type of fun and mine are probably very different).

The ensuing result was a list of about ten thousand sites describing symptoms that, for the most part, sound like complete and total crap. And while I appreciate fear-mongering as much as the next person, I couldn’t stand the fact that most of these health “issues” read like a PSA for the type of parents who put leashes on their children. So what I’ve done below is list out a couple of my personal favorites in order of ascending stupidity, explaining what each one is and why it’s not going to murder you in your sleep like a brain aneurysm (it’s not a joke, Lana).

4.) The Tetris Effect

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Everybody wants the straight line…

If you’re new to the internet and haven’t heard of this before, the Tetris Effect refers to a phenomenon many people experience after playing the same game for a considerable length of time. Once back in the real world doing real world things, victims of the Tetris Effect often complain about seeing elements of the game they were playing all around them (the most tired example being Tetris blocks and skylines). This can also affect dreams, causing the player to experience everything in the same environment or medium the game was portrayed in.

Why you shouldn’t worry.

I pity those who haven’t had a dream that looks and feels like it was designed by Bethesda. Many a time I’ve binged on a new release, only to close my eyes in the early hours of the morning and find myself back in the game. Whether it be Skyrim, Call of Duty, or Deadspace (though this last one is questionable), some of the most entertaining dreams I’ve ever had I attribute to this glorious mental illusion. But what about while you’re awake? I suppose “seeing” a necromorph in the dairy aisle might be as disconcerting as a bad case of PTSD, and perhaps focusing on the platformer-esque clouds while driving might be dangerous, but if you’re really that suggestible perhaps you should stay indoors and hallucinate quietly like the rest of us.

3.) Addiction

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Any real gamer knows playing like that for more than two minutes is impossible

Perhaps you have a friend, or maybe you are that friend, who would rather stay in and replay the Halo series instead of going out for a night on the town with your buds. Sure, we all have times (especially for the more social-fearing types) when a quiet night at home sounds loads better than a loud bar or club, but for videogame addicts, this is always the case. Soon you stop hearing from them and you can’t even tell if they’re still alive, save for that little indicator on your phone alerting you to their presence in the Xbox Live marketplace. Gaming addiction can lead to financial, social, and emotional ruin that can be impossible to come out from under. There’s even Gamer’s Anonymous group devoted to helping people break the habit.

Why you shouldn’t worry.

Like compulsive drinking, gambling, or kitten-kicking, gaming addiction is a serious issue, which is why I almost hesitated putting it on the list. I think my only justification as to why this is shouldn’t concern the average gamer is that addiction is a generalized mental disorder involving dysfunctional regulation, but that dysfunction isn’t unique to a single outlet. All too often you’ll see recovering drug addicts become addicted to gambling, or gambling addicts become addicted to drugs, because it’s all about replacement. The urge in the addict doesn’t leave them when they’re in recovery, they simply understand that their previous habit was bad and they must now find something to fill that gap. It’s sad, but in the grand scheme of things, I’d rather my friends were addicted to videogames than meth. At least then I know the Mexican cartel won’t come looking for me as some form of payment.

2.) Palmar hidradenitis

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You had ugly hands to start with

While it may sound like a sweet Harry Potter spell, Palmar hidradenitis, also referred to as “Playstation Thumb”, is a semi-annoying condition commonly caused by D-pads and analog sticks on gaming controllers. Apart from the slight neuropathy (localized numbness or tingling) you experience after a few hours on the latest Mortal Kombat clone, Playstation Thumb can also result in blisters or lesions on the thumbs and fingers, causing irritation, infection, and gangrene (if you have absolutely no idea how to clean a wound and instead wash your hands with fecal matter).

Why you shouldn’t worry.

Who today doesn’t know what a Band-Aid and antibacterial ointment is? Hell, don’t even bother learning about the two separately because they have Band-Aids WITH antibacterial ointment built in now. Cleaning a cut is as easy as opening a package and slapping the contents on the boo-boo. Seriously, if a blister is the worst thing you can throw at me to deter future gaming all-nighters, you’re barking up the wrong derma. I had blisters on my feet from summer camps that were big enough to stick quarters in, this right here is child’s play. Next!

1.) Death

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Cheetos grease on the controller doesn’t sound so bad now does it?

With the surge in player population for massive online games like World of Warcraft, Second Life, or Starcraft, we occasionally hear on the news about some poor fool found dead at their desk with the computer running and what appears to be Mountain Dew bottles full of urine surrounding them, or perhaps those are actually just bottles of Mountain Dew. Whatever the case, more than once there has been an instance in which players have actually “gamed” themselves to death. Usually attributed to exhaustion, heart or kidney failure, or all three, the devotion to a boss raid has at times proven too much for 0.0000000067% of the gaming community.

Why you shouldn’t worry.

The reason Death earns the number one spot for “bogus reasons why gaming is dangerous” is because this idea can be applied to absolutely everything. Sure, if I sit on my ass and ingest nothing but sugar water and preservatives while playing The Sims for 48 hours straight, chances are I’m going to die, and I’d probably deserve it (at least let me die playing something remotely fun). But the same goes for being underwater, pleasuring myself, or running on a treadmill; these are all activities that will certainly kill me if I do them long enough. It’s common fucking sense, and if you’re likely to fall victim to that then I suppose Darwin was right and you deserve nothing better.

While I’m not a doctor in the traditional sense, or any other sense, I am someone who has yet to actually suffer from any of these issues (one of them I actually enjoy on a regular basis…it’s not death), therefore qualifying me as your best resource in denouncing all this medical hype as complete and total fluff. So game on, but while you slaughter countless Covenant scum, keep in mind there’s a whole world outside the virtual one that we do have to occasionally participate in, lest they shut off the power at home.

About Johnny Ohm

When his nose isn't diligently to the grindstone, Johnny can be found skulking around the dark corners of San Francisco's many pubs. You can contact Johnny via Twitter or ouija board.