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Gaming medical conditions (serious business)

Every so often in the news you see stories that link serious human conditions with playing video games. It’s easy to see how playing a video game makes you obese, murderous (i’m looking at YOU Korea) a little bit tarded. Conversely, there are real life human conditions that manifest themselves in video game culture. They are much harder to spot and in some ways are much more serious (yes more serious than murder this is video games!). Bear with me as i run through a few.

Real Life Condition: Muscle Atrophy

“Muscle atrophy is defined as a decrease in the mass of the muscle; it can be a partial or complete wasting away of muscle.” –Wikipedia

Gaming Equivalent: Skill Atrophy

Skill atrophy is defined as a decrease in your ability to perform simple controller inputs, it can be a partial of complete wasting away of your ability to do a shoryuken.

Personal example: Street Fighter (any)
I will admit i’m not a fantastic street fighter player but I’m not completely shit. I’m not going to enter Seasons Beatings any time soon but i could probably beat a kid in an arcade providing he’s not asian. Thing is, if I don’t play constantly i will completely lose any skills I have. This last couple of weeks i took a break from playing Super to focus on other games and other life commitments. When i got back to the game i found i had little to no strategy, could not pull off ultras properly and was getting my ass handed to me by players I knew i could beat 2 weeks prior. I knew i was playing terribly but i just couldn’t get anything right, i had completely lost the skill to move that stick in the right order. I lost 1000pp in one sitting (if you’re not familiar with PP, all you need to know about that is that’s atrocious). This is a more than just a once off occurrence.

There is no cure. I’ve clearly learnt i can’t stop playing street fighter EVER for fear of having to defend my honour in a random situation, losing and having to perform seppuku.

Real Life Condition: Locked In Syndrome

“Locked-in syndrome is a condition in which a patient is aware and awake but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body except for the eyes.” -Wikipedia

Gaming equivalent: Lawnmower man Syndrome
“Lawnmower Man syndrome is a condition in which a gamer is aware and awake but cannot move his body or communicate verbally due to being ‘totally in the zone man’”

Personal Example: Lumines PSP (close second to Puzzle Quest)
That game.. man that game. If there is any other that can make me lose time, loved ones, personal hygiene it’s Lumines. There’s something about blocks disappearing to the beat of music and the simplicity in the controls and puzzle element that lets you just turn off and run on auto pilot. If you play it long enough in one sitting you would still be playing it in your head when you stopped.
I used to commute an hour on the train every day to get to University (college to our American listeners) and would play Lumines to pass the time, there was a trip when i had to stop playing because i had missed my stop... twice. 

Take the red pill

Real Life Condition: Dissociative identity disorder (or more specifically violent Dissociative identity disorder)

“Dissociative identity disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment” -Wikipedia

Gaming Equivalent: kKk_cl1tripp3R_420_kKk disorder

“kKk_cl1tripp3R_420_kKk disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes the condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities when playing on Xbox live.”

Personal Example: Halo 3 Xbox Live Multiplayer
You know, i’m a nice guy. I’m progressive, open minded, open a door for a lady and heck I even recycle and know a vegan. However, put me in a Halo 3 matchmaking lobby with ten or so 13yo racist little buggers and i’ll eventually resort to talking about their mothers ability to cook, their position in the class system and sometimes even using homophobic slurs like Bumder. Penny arcade put it best with, there’s not much more i can add:

Oh, unless a hot laddy joins the game, then i’m all about a/s/l and protecting her from those brutes.

Settings > Voice and Text > Friends only. Unless you’re friends with __Joker$tylez[420]__, XxXNGrKKKillaXxX, <[email protected]==> or BobtheWeedSellerGuy (thanks IRC)

Real Life Condition: Synaesthesia 

“Synaesthesia is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway”

Gaming Equivalent: GrandTheftesia

“GrandTheftesia is a neurowhatsit-based condition in which stimulation by something in real life leads to an automatic, involuntary experience with that object in video games, usually resulting in murdered prostitutes and crushed turtles.”

Personal Example: Burnout 
I played a lot of Burnout, in car view. Burnout rewarded you for close calls but not actually hitting the other cars, going against the traffic and general tomfoolery that’s going to get you or other people seriously hurt in real life. I know it’s a video game, but the thing is that didn’t stop me having to actively think about taking my foot off the accelerator when i saw two cars parked side by side in traffic in real life. The video game instinct scared me sometimes, i would eye up everything and think about how close i could get my car without scratching/killing it. “I can totally make that”, and hell if i couldn’t i could always restart the race right? It was then i decided to stop playing burnout before driving my nephew to playgroup. 

Do what TheToiletDuck don’t does.

Real Life Condition: Chirophobia

“an irrational fear of hands”

Gaming equivalent: Digitusminimusphobia

“an irrational fear of having to use your little finger”

Personal Example: Guitar Hero / Rock Band
I’ve been playing Guitar Hero since it was first released in 2005. At first i was really shaky and could barely pass any song, that’s understandable as i don’t play guitar and this was an entirely new experience. With practice i got much better and could eventually play most of Ziggy Stardust without looking at the notes. That does however come with one giant caveat, i only played on medium because i couldn’t learn to press five buttons. 
Fast forward 5 years to Rock Band 3 and i can still only play on medium. That’s five years. Five years. People learn a language well within five years and i can’t learn to press orange at the right time. Everything that happened in World War 1 was within 5 years and i can’t take that time to pass I love Rock and Roll on expert? Forget about it.

Practice, or in my case pretend you don’t care / blame it on your double jointed knuckles that lock a bit when you try to extend your little finger, a condition that totally exists and doesn’t allow me to do anything that requires skill because it is not my fault and i am awesome and shut up my uncle works at Nintendo.

So there you go five medical conditions that manifest themselves in or around video games. This can be part 1 if you like. I have more ideas but i didn’t really want to take the time out to write it all up if the whole idea flops anyway. So let me know if you want to see more. Or just tell me to STFUAJPG.

p.s. if anyone you know has these conditions, dude it's a joke it's okay i know they're serious.
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About TheToiletDuckone of us since 3:33 AM on 03.19.2007

31 year old kiwi gamer currently living it up in Scotland as a Malariologist that probably buys more games than he actually plays i.e. an avid consumer. Gen is my SF main. Not sure if that says anything about me? No, probably not.

Dear God, i've wasted my life.

also, video games.

@TheToiletDuck is my twitter, do with it what you will.

Some Destructoid Mosaics i made using avatars and wallpapers. I <3 U Dtoid
Xbox LIVE:TheT0iletDuck
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