Motion sickness isn’t fun. It’s that naar feeling caused by confusion of signals to your brain between what you’re seeing and what you’re feeling, and most often associated with cars and boats – but it’s actually pretty common amongst gamers too. By the way, you’re still whatever a “real” gamer is if you get motion sickness; the two things are not mutually exclusive.
This sucks when you enjoy a game otherwise, but can only play it in 30 minute intervals. Some people avoid whole genres just to avoid feeling sick. Most often, it’s associated with games that use a first-person perspective or simulate driving, but it’s different for everyone. One of the suggested remedies, alongside sitting further away, sticking a dot to the middle of the screen, and improving your lighting, is chewing gum.
So, being a person that occasionally gets motion sickness from games, I wanted to test the chewing gum idea. FOR SCIENCE.
For clarity’s sake, I’m not prone to motion sickness in my everyday life – road trips and sea voyages do not fill me with dread – but Tomb Raider (1996), Half-Life (which I loved and finished anyway so shut up), and, most recently, Giga Wrecker Alt. are just some examples of games that have done me wrong. For this experiment, I used The Witness, a peaceful little puzzle game, filled with colour and light that makes me want to curl up into a ball and die.
Super scientific methodology
My Xbox One, a well-lit room, and a freshly-installed copy of The Witness (it was banished months ago due to grievous bodily harm). Play said game until nausea did, or did not, make me have to stop. Science!
Without the use of gum, it took 30 minutes for me to feel uncomfortably ill enough that I had to stop playing. It then took me approximately one hour and 40 minutes to recover, by which I mean feel capable of doing anything other than lying down, pondering why I ever pitched this idea as a feature.
Rehydrated and ready to rock round two, I unwrapped a Chappie, found out that the Spanish national anthem has no words (mucho wow), and got back into The Witness. I chose Chappies because, at the very least, I would have some new facts to amaze my friends with. Also, they’re a national treasure. Also, also, didn’t they used to cost 5c?
Did you know? A camel has three eyelids.
The effect was immediate, any lingering nausea was gone and I managed to play for an hour. I did go through three Chappies, though, because the flavour disappears very quickly and chewing just gets sad after a while. Science has no time for sadness. According to the numbers, that’s play time improved 100%. However, I do feel like I traded motion sickness for jaw fatigue and a weirdly dehydrated mouth.
Super scientific conclusion
Chewing gum does seem to prevent motion sickness while gaming, but probably isn’t a feasible option if you play for multiple hours at a time, due to side effects.
Did you know? The male seahorse carries the babies.