REPLY TO ALL: Gaming Injuries

Every occupation or hobby has its hazards (football players blow out their knees and end their careers early; lawyers drink too much and die of cirrhosis, stamp collectors…okay, almost every hobby). Over the years, after plenty of competitive battles and awkward gaming accessories, gaming has had its dangerous moments. The Cursed gather to discuss their most historic gaming-related injuries.

Fight Night: Round 3

Fight through those eye bleeds


I’m gonna go way back to start this off. I had some track and field game for my MS-DOS PC way back in the day. One of the events required you to hold down a key for extended amounts of time during the race. Well, after one extensive play session I got up from the computer and realized my finger had locked into place. It eventually loosened up, but to this day on my right index finger I can bend and lock the top knuckle without bending the rest of my finger. Can I sue anyone?


No. You have no damages and the statute of limitations has passed. However, considering the way that EULAs are written, you might owe your PC manufacturer royalties for your Track-and-Field inspired locking-finger joint.

I have two categories of gaming-induced injuries: direct cause and proximate cause. The only injury that comes to mind that was caused directly by video games was from playing too much Fight Night: Round 3 during summer break during law school – the outside of my right thumb got rubbed a little raw from throwing a lot of punches; the little nubs on the right analog stick impart friction…which is good as long as you’re not newly single and taking a 2-week break between school and starting your summer job and most of your friends have grown-up jobs already.

Proximate cause injuries, though…much more serious. As in “knocked out cold and bleeding from the scalp” serious. No, really. It could have been any game, but my guess is that it was Golden Axe for the Sega Genesis; I’m sure I cheated or did some other thing to drive my younger (and smaller, at the time) brother up the wall. Our shouting match turned into me thumping on him which turned into him chucking our mother’s heirloom sterling-silver comb that she got from her grandmother at me from across the room, striking me in the temporal lobe and rendering me unconscious and bleeding from the head. Pretty sure that was the last time the cute babysitter two years older than me, who I was crushing on pretty hard, ever watched us.


The only game related injury I can think of is putting my fingers on the prongs of the PS2 plug trying to guide it blindly into the outlet behind the tv stand. You have to be careful not to actually plug it in while your fingers are still on the prongs or guess what….. you get shocked. Could have just as well been a lamp though. I’ve not had any Wii related injuries… thank the heavens.


But what about Nintendo Wii related injuries? (ba-da-bum)

Nintendo Wii

Safety first


Wii jokes just never get old… but anyway… My wife once threw an NES controller through a big screen TV, so she’s only allowed to play with my Wii with the strap on.


SNES Controller

How is this not cheating?

I did have on unfortunate incident with one of the SNES controllers that had a turbo switch on it. Needless to say, there were more than a few games where the owner of said turbo controller was accused of cheating, and that controller didn’t survive the first summer.


I hit myself in the mouth with a Rock Band mic pulling it in too fast… didn’t really do any damage, but it hurt and I felt pretty stupid. Luckily nobody saw it happen.


Speaking of Rock Band,  friend of mine was wearing a snuggie while playing Rock Band 2.  If you’ve ever owned a snuggie, you’re probably aware that, after a Van Der Graff generator, snuggies are the biggest source of static electricity known to man.  As I understand it, static electricity loves grounded conduits with low resistance factors.  Like Rock Band 2 microphones plugged into XBox 360s.  So: my friend reached for the mic.  A spark of rather gargantuan proportions jumped from her to the mic and caused a big flash of static to come through the speakers at which point the mic ceased operating.  A tear down of the mic showed some shorted circuits beyond repair, requiring replacement.


Finger cramping happens to me all the time, but hunching over a computer for too long tends to do a number on my back as well (I can blame work for that too I guess). I think the worst video game injury I have ever gotten is from stepping on my Dreamcast control back in the day. The little place on the back that was supposed to hold the memory card in were sticking straight up and it hurt like a biznatch.

Boom Blox has caused a few shoulder issues for me, especially if I’m losing to my wife and frustration causes me to fling my control harder. Wii Boxing has the potential for future harm so I’m just waiting around till a nose gets bloodied during a competitive match.

Boom Blox

Is role playing involved?


I can’t remember what game or games I was playing but I seem to recall getting a blister on my hand or forefinger. Probably one of those ultra grip button masher games (that I can’t remember) we all know and love. I do have a Wii-mote story though that I remember quite vividly. It was shortly after I got the Wii, which was in the launch window thanks to a loving fiance who camped out all night for it while I was at work. We decided to take the system down to her mom’s house and show it to her family. But before we got to show it off, we decided to play a little Wii Sports in her Mom’s living room. The controller my now wife was using flew into the hardwood floor shattering into a few pieces, rendering it completely in-operational. This was before the Wii-mote condom’s and the thicker string tying the strap to the controller. She blamed the string, I blamed her lack of institutional control and made her call Nintendo to fix the situation. Thankfully Nintendo was awesome and sent one out (with a thicker string) right away and we could continue to have epic tennis battles.


First off, Ethan talking about being hunched over his computer makes me think of ‘Make Love Not Warcraft’. Damn that’s a great episode of South Park. I really can’t think of any injuries from games. Reason being, I was into games more than my older siblings and therefore did not spawn many fights. I think that blisters and general finger chaffing is to be expected with any prolonged playing. That is until good controller calluses are developed. The hazards that I seem to run in to the most is what could be called the hermit effect. We all know how this works. Buy a new game, get way to involved in the game, and proceed to fall off the grid for extended periods of time. Hell, at one point I considered Sora (pictured) one of my best friends. Be advised, becoming a hermit can create sensations of depression. If we go full circle back to sports, I would say that online multiplayer is my golf. I love to play others online, but damn is it frustrating at times. Of course no matter how much I practice, I never seem to be able to get my game to where I want it to be.


I think they are saying, "We're not real, JP"


JP brings up an interesting point, physical damage is only one possibility of harm that video games can do to a person. While my body may not ever fully recover from all of the pizza and chick fil-a marathons brought on by World of Warcraft. Getting sucked into those MMO’s can also take a toll on your personal life. Luckily my heaviest stint of WoW also included my roommate so I wasn’t completely solo, but part of the reason I stopped was when I realized I was starting to choose the game more often than going out with friends. That eventually led to stopping WoW all together, but I was lucky.


JP does bring up an interesting point – Sora is lame. That said, while I did just admit to borderlining a traumatic brain injury due to video games, I don’t think I’ve ever run into the negative social aspect that can arise. Still, it is a somewhat worrisome occurrence, especially considering that with headsets and “friends” and messaging and so on, I think it could be pretty easy to fall into that trap of “virtual” friends being your core group of social interaction. Which is sad. Because outside, there are women taking advantage of the warm weather. Women who aren’t avatars. (Not that there aren’t men doing the same, ladies, but I’ve been informed that men are much more “visual” creatures than women.)


First, similarities between me and that characature of a WoW player are few and far between. I will say that depending on my mood, video games can drive a wedge between me and reality and that tends to cause problems in a variety of situations. I try not to eat while gaming, but in my past weight gain came from video games and macaroni and cheese.


South Park

It's actually pretty comfortable.

In Ethan’s defense the WoW players in South Park lean back in their chairs rather than “hunch over.” Either way, macaroni and cheese sounds amazing right now.


Yeah, I might have to run out to Noodles & Company.


Sociability has drastically changed in games over the past few years. The first game I played online was Lost Planet. It was strange to not be playing a game with everyone in the same room.

The psychology of games is very strange, and the spectrum of gamers is very broad. On one side you have ‘normal’ people who play games and live very full and active lives. At the other is the sterotypical gamer that lives in their parents basement and love comic books. I hate to pick on WoW, but we all know that there have been weddings involved via this game. I have heard stories of people meeting and getting married in the game, and then grow their relationship into a physical relationship resulting in a real wedding. The thought of sociability and psychology also makes me think of an episode of True Life (MTV) I watched. The episode profiled ‘professional’ gamers. The stand out individual was a Halo pro. He did have a girlfriend, but their interactions mostly involved him practicing while she fell asleep on the couch. As I watched the story play out, I could not help but think that this couple did not have a relationship. Yeah, she went to his tournaments and they were around each other, but they were never spending time with each other despite being together. I am in a situation where my wife is out of town for work for 14-28 days straight. It sounds great on the surface, but it quickly can become a curse. I easily find myself throwing away days at a time. I can truly say from experience that I have had negative social aspects of games at various different points in my life.


It's real to me, dammit.


To take this in an entirely different and hilarious direction, I must bring up my DDR’in days. This story is not about me, but about a friend I had when I used to go play just about every day. He was playing doubles (using both pads at once) and slipped off the right side of the machine between the game and the wall. There’s only about a 4 inch gap there, and this dude had giant feet, so long story short, guy broke his foot. So he sits out for a bit, with his foot in a mop bucket full of ice while the rest of us keep playing. When we’ve all gone and it’s his turn up at the machine he just kind of starts maniacally laughing. He winces and stands on the pads, picks a song and hits start. At this point we all start shaking our heads because we know this song, and we know how he plays it. There’s a spot just after the bridge of the song where sure enough he jumps as high in the air as he possibly can and slams both feet down on the pads as hard as he possibly can as the beat comes back in. Then he stopped dancing, and hobbled of the machine on one foot… video games can be dangerous kids!

Oh, and I’ve seen my fair share of hand wounds from Mario Party. Especially the one for the 64 where you have to rotate the analog stick in a circle as fast as you can. I had a friend who used the palm of his hand and made a perfectly circular blister in about 60 seconds.



Heals broken bones.

I love the foot in the mop bucket image, thank you for that. You DDR kids are nuts.


There was more on the line than pride in our competitive video game days. Broken hearts, broken limbs, and being knocked unconscious are just some of the fringe benefits.


Giant Bomb (images)