Recreational computer gaming has become one of the most lucrative tech industries in the world. In 2016 alone, interactive entertainment revenues hit $91 billion across all of the main gaming platforms. Compared to 2015 figures, it seems the gaming industry is expanding at a rapid rate.
However, of course we know this as we all grew up playing video games ourselves. Whether you plugged away at Mario Brothers or guided Sonic the Hedgehog through a difficult maze, you can identify with modern day gamers and their complete obsession with the virtual world.
30 Years Later
While we were all happily dedicating out time to killing bosses and navigating mazes, we were not really thinking about the long term effects of such activities. Since computer gaming only started reaching obsessive levels in the mid-80s, it’s only in the last decade or so that we have been able to fully understand the long term effects of such intense gaming activities.
While we had an inkling that a 12-hour gaming binge might have some effect on our bodies, it wasn’t really an issue. As it turns out, long term gaming activities can actually have some very scary consequences. We take a look at some of the worst gaming-related injuries you didn’t even know about.
3D Optical Disorder
When we were young, we were told that watching too much television would make our eyes square. While this was just a silly quip meant do dissuade us from spending too much time inside, it turns out that eye injuries are very real. Medical scientists have revealed that first-edition 3D technology had a corrosive effect on the retina.
What this means is that gamers who spent too much time in a virtual space would actually end up with partial blindness. If you were one of those gamers who could not separate yourself from your SEGA VR, Nintendo Virtual Boy or similar VR headsets, you might be suffering from blurred vision and eye twitching, which are all signs of 3D optical disorder.
The Xbox is Microsoft’s flagship console and was specifically designed to compete with Sony’s PlayStation unit. Since its inception, there have been continual debates over which console is better and which offers a more complete gaming experience. One of the unique features of the Xbox was the way the controller was designed.
The strange curving shape of the controller meant that players had to learn a completely new way of controlling the game. We now know that this has led to the development of Xbox Hypertrophy in some players. Hypertrophy is when the hands swell and become misshapen through extended use of the controller.
While the Xbox controller has been deemed the worst for extended use, pretty much all the controllers across the board have the ability to affect your wrists and hands. Have you ever heard of Nintendo Arthritis? This is a form of arthritis that results from excessive and repetitive use of the Nintendo gaming console. The same is true for all the controllers across the board. This form of arthritis can lead to crippled joints and even dangerous callouses.
Carpal Tunnel Injuries
Computer based gamers are also at risk of sustaining long-term injuries. One of the most common injuries that affect gamers and office workers is carpal tunnel syndrome. For gamers, this results from spending too much time playing first person shooter games.
For office workers, it can simply be because of too much typing on the keyboard or clicking of the mouse. Prolonged use of the keyboard or mouse can lead to compression of the wrist as well as numbness and swelling. In some cases, it can even lead to the development of tumours.
Sticking with computer gaming injuries, have you ever heard of WASD injuries? This refers to the specific letters on the keyboard namely the W, A, S and D. These are the keys used to move characters around in PC games like World of Warcraft, Doom and Half-Life. Players who spend too much time on these games sustain repetitive strains on finger joints that can lead to severe arthritic symptoms. In critical cases, this can also lead to the muscles becoming deformed and restricted use of the hand.
Shoulder Dislocations and Torn Muscles
When Nintendo released their wireless gaming system, the Wii, it revolutionised the entire gaming industry. The WiiMote finally allowed players to interact with the games on a physical level, and thereby created a more complete experience. In the early days, the first remotes didn’t even have wrist straps, which resulted in more than a few WiiMote’s crashing into the television.
The addition of the safety strap sorted out this problem, but the Wii still has some potential to do harm. Since the physical movement has no responding force from, let’s say a real tennis racket or golf ball, the amount of swing required can sometimes be overestimated. As you can imagine, this has led to multiple shoulder dislocations and muscle strains, which send more people to the emergency room than any other type of gaming console.
Fortunately, online casino games seem to be pretty much injury free, so if you stick to them, you should stay out of the ER!