Video Game Induced Diseases: Is There Any Truth Behind Them?

How much game playing is too much?

A recent article on Game Set Watch brought to light an “organization” which is aimed at making people aware of “diseases” caused by playing video games.  Each system, or more correctly each system’s controller, has its own disease.  While the actual site is more of an impressive art gala, it does make you think about what excessive video game playing could actually do to our bodies.  While most people do not play enough games to warrant any medical attention, there must be some basis for thinking that they would.

One such affliction is the “PlayStation thumb“, which is basically a heavy callus on the thumb.  The picture is a pretty interesting dramatization of what could really happen with excessive video game playing.  While it is unlikely that it could get that bad, playing games excessively can cause skin sores.  Calluses by nature will occur in any activity that involves friction, so it would not be unheard of them appearing in video game users.

Besides the sores causes by game playing, the site also depicts several forms of deformation caused by apparent arthritis.  The physical depiction in the photos is again a very dramatic representation of what could happen.  Carpal tunnel syndrome can happen in all who do repetitive movements, and many Carpal Tunnel cases are attributed to using the computer.  While CTS is more realistic for game players, the severe arthritis in others is a little far fetched.  In fact, since one of the early signs of arthitis is the inability to grip most things, it would be a long shot to say that game playing could continue after that point.  Not to mention, the type of arthritis that is depicted in the photo is Rheumatoid Arthritis which is an autoimmune disease and is not causes by strain on joints due to repetitive activity.

One of the more realistic injuries on the list of those depicted is the Wiimote shoulder dislocation.  Wii sports games require a little more strenuous activity than other game.  Mimicking a sport can give you the same, although less severe, injuries that the same sport can.  This goes the same for exercise games versus exercise.  One mimics the other and injury risks are similar. The explanation that follows the picture seems to indicate that playing in such a way as she had, she has irreparable damage.

The last, more than questionable affliction, is the whited-out pupils and bruising around where the bags of the eyes would be.  Discoloration of the eyes in this manner is impossible.  This is determined to be a disease caused by excessive eye exposure to the tv.   It’s no secret that playing games for prolonged period of time will cause headaches and fatigue and can also dry your eyes out.  While you are most likely never going to look like a zombie after playing,  be aware that there is some truth to these reports if you dig around.  In regards to 3D gaming though, there are significant ongoing studies but no conclusive results on how the 3D mechanic effects our eyes.  Only time will tell how the excessive game playing of our generation will effect us in the long run.


[Sources: Game Set Watch and Game]

[Images courtesy of: Kenzie Burchell

Jessica Weimar
Jessica Weimar
Jessica Weimar

MASH Veteran

Jessica is clearly a fan of video games, or she wouldn't be writing for this site. She attends college and like most other staff on the site, has a day job that she despises. She spends most of her free time playing games with her boyfriend.

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