Video games are generally considered to be a “safe” hobby. When we think of injuries sustained while playing video games, we think of blisters, muscle cramps, and, if you’re in Korea, brutal murder by gang violence instigated by matches of Counterstrike or Starcraft or some other stupid bullshit. But people tend to forget that sometimes video games can cause serious injury can occur that ISN’T a result of Koreans being fucking ridiculous. For example…
Rotating the Control Stick in Mario Party
Mario Party was fucking awesome. There are still few games that can compare to the simple fun of getting a bunch of your friends together and playing minigames for coins. And then, in the end, you end up screaming “GODDAMMIT! WHAT THE FUCK IS A HAPPENING STAR?!? I HAD 8 FUCKING STARS AND I STILL LOST?!?” But, despite what you’d think, the most prevalent injuries weren’t from strangulation among friends or electric shock after chewing through the cartridge trying to eat Toad’s brains for giving someone who did really shitty like 10 FUCKING STARS AT THE END. No, according to this article, Nintendo received several complaints about kids who were receiving blisters and other injuries by spinning the control stick with their palms instead of their thumbs. Of course, this is the mainstream media we’re talking about, so instead of reacting to this in a normal way, by saying “Ok, well, kids aren’t doing this the way they’re intended to, but Nintendo’s fixing the problem by offering free gloves which prevent the injuries,” they freak the fuck out and make shit up. For example:
“One kid got a tetanus shot,” said Christi Pritchard, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
A tetanus shot? Jesus christ! Was the kid playing in a bucket of rusty nails? Also, note who she works for. I think if anybody needs to get a shot to stave off disease, it’s probably her.
Another great line:
“The alarming thing was how little time some of these children spent playing the game before they were injured,” Pritchard said. “One parent said their child had been playing the game for 15 to 20 minutes when they got a second-degree burn.”
Heh, they’d probably be even more shocked if they knew that the “second-degree burn” the kid supposedly received (I say supposedly because I’ve spun the control stick enough times to know there’s no way he could have caused enough friction to leave a second-degree burn unless he was some kind of cold-fusion powered robot) took place in the space of a 30-second long minigame. Those “rotate the joystick” style games didn’t come up very often, and when they did, you never had to rotate for very long.
The problem with the article is the same as with any article about video games that appears in the mainstream press: apparently, journalistic standards just go out the window when you’re writing about video games. There’s no reason to do any research whatsoever; just copy and paste whatever press release the game company releases, then talk to outraged people who are just as fucking clueless and ill-informed as you are. Why should you have to talk to people who enjoy the hobby, or, god forbid, actually play the goddammed game? You’re a journalist, your job is reporting news, not virtual game Natendos. Those will never be news-worthy!
CNET’s poor journalistic ethics aside, you could really fuck your hands up on those control sticks. I got Mario Party for my birthday, and me and 3 of my friends sat and played it all night. It took us about an hour to figure out how much faster you could rotate if you did it with your palm, and once one of us figured it out, the rest of us had to do it to keep up. So, the next day, our hands were covered in blisters. It looked like we had been jerking off the Human Torch. Our hands hurt so bad we couldn’t hold the controllers correctly. That didn’t stop us from playing, of course. Mario Party fucking rules. At least, it does until Toad gives Donkey Kong 6 fucking stars at the end. He didn’t even earn them, he’s a monkey.
Virtual Boy Migranes
This one is a little harder for me to write about, because it’s something I’ve never personally experienced. The Virtual Boy has always gotten a lot of shit because apparently looking at it for 10 minutes causes your brain to start bubbling out of your ears. Supposedly the headaches are so bad that no one can play the damn thing, except for myself, apparently. Tell me THAT shit doesn’t sound like the premise for a cyberpunk movie: a virtual reality device which is so advanced (and yet looks so primative, like all the technology in cyberpunk movies) that no one can use it… except one man: Freddie Electric. Because when you’re in a cyberpunk movie, you have to have a retarded name.
Anyway, when people played the Virtual Boy for more than a few minutes at a time, the red-and-black color scheme and lack of outside light apparently caused severe headaches and, in some cases, temporary sight problems. It really sucks, too, because the Virtual Boy was fucking awesome. Seriously, you guys have no idea what you’re missing. Everybody always likes to beat on the VB because it was so “terrible”, but really, I don’t understand what was terrible about it. Most of the games were fantastic, and, except for the headaches it caused, there was really nothing wrong with the way it looked. I think most people who use it as a point of ridicule do so simply because they think it’s an easy target, and I’d wager that most of the people who use it as an easy punchline have never even played it, or if they have, they haven’t played it for long enough to give it a fair chance. Probably because of the headaches. Stupid humans and their inability to withstand a visual assault.
Ok, this one is a little more abstract, because it’s not really a video game injury so much as it is a result of childhood stupidity, but every gamer I know did it, so I think it deserves inclusion.
Few things hurt as much as an NES controller spun around at top speed. I know, because I got fucking hit with them all the time. Thankfully, I grew out of that really early, but I had the misfortune to have a little brother 6 years my junior who didn’t. He loved to pick up my controllers and spin them around like a fucking lasso, and 9 times out of 10 this ended up hitting me right in the teeth. It got to the point where I knew exactly how much each controller hurt. The SNES controller has a smaller surface area, but is heavy and more compact, so the hits were harder. The N64 controller was chaos because it was so large, which lead to it being really hard to follow, which means it hit you more. However, the plastic was hollow, so it didn’t hurt as much, unless you got hit with the memory card/Rumble Pak slot on the back. The worst was the PS1 Dual Shock, though, because it was big, heavy, and pointed. A hit by one of those to the temples would hurt for hours. Fortunately, as the older brother, I didn’t need controllers to fight back with, because I could just punch him in the face, which was a lot easier and more efficient.
Of course, now most controllers are wireless, so this should be a thing of the past, right? Wrong.
Motion Controller Murder
With the new wave of motion-controlled systems, games are becoming more active than ever. This means that gamers are becoming more active than ever, and this can only spell tragedy. We don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to full-body movements, and Mountain Dew and pizza do many things, but they sure as hell don’t push your body to perform at max intensity (well, they force your heart to perform at max intensity, but that’s not quite the same thing). All of this shows, too; there are fully two websites dedicated solely to pictures and stories of horrific injuries inflicted by Wiimotes, and multitudes of pictures, videos, and one-shot novelty articles dedicated to the topic. A man went for a smash in Wii Tennis only to jam his hand through a glass lamp cover, shredding his hand to pieces. One woman gave herself a huge black eye before a series of job interviews, leading to her having to explain that she is not, in fact, being abused in her home life. Another woman killed her dog. Killed it! Just flat out. How do you throw a small, light piece of plastic hard enough to kill a dog? Is there some kind of slingshot-Wiimote game? Did she get hit by a bolt of lightning as it launched from her hand? Is she fucking Mileena? Or, with the Wiimote already killing animals, and both Microsoft and Sony introducing their own wholly derivative products, should we all run for the hills and pray that our new kitty-petting simulators and pretend handball games don’t find and kill us? I, for one, favor the latter. At the very least, it will save us from how inevitably shitty Move and the Microsoft EyeToy will be.