It's Not Just Cyberpunk, Video Games Need to Take Epilepsy More Seriously

Kanika was in the middle of playing Overwatch, a game they'd previously enjoyed without incident, when it happened—10 seizures in the span of roughly 10 minutes. They started staring off into the distance, as if they were disconnected from their body. Kanika went into a state of shock, before their partner noticed something was wrong. After being taken to the hospital, Kanika was diagnosed with epilepsy. A game, of all things, triggered this discovery.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wx8gxy/its-not-just-cyberpunk-video-games-needs-to-take-epilepsy-more-seriously
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I had no idea this was still an issue in other games. Thanks for the article.

The omnipresent epilepsy warning before every Ubisoft game suggests that it’s always a risk to somebody. I kinda figured that developers would at least test for that kind of thing, but apparently (thanks Twitter) Nintendo is the only hardware manufacturer that DEMANDS epilepsy testing as a part of their cert process.

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“Could they have done a better job?” said Hamilton. “Undoubtedly. Negligent? Perhaps. Malicious? Absolutely not. Replicating a real world device designed to trigger seizures? Highly doubtful.

Emphasis mine. I continue be puzzled by the impulse to “debunk” Liana Ruppert’s comparison between the Braindance visuals and medical photic stimulation. “Those devices trigger EEG spikes, and only rarely[!] result in seizures!” “It probably wasn’t intentional!”

I also can’t understand why that particular quote of Hamilton’s was included in this article, given that Ruppert’s comparison itself isn’t included in the text.

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Yeah, I thought that line was bullshit. Has he even seen the Braindance sequence, or is he just reacting to what he’s read about it?

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I suffer from migraines, not epilepsy, but a lot of the triggers are the same and I find the generic ‘gaming ccan cwuse seizures in people with epilepsy’ warning all games open with to be so, so useless. It can mean anything from ‘we put a trippy brain fuck sequence in the game’ to just covering their asses for when, inevitably, your character gets caught on a table in this room of a dungeon and the flickering rapidly between in- and out-of-bounds possibly triggers someone.

So while I definitely want them to run these games throught the Nintendo R.O.B., I’d also like straight up trigger warnings before sequences there’s any concern about. Ideally with a ‘skip sequence’ feature. Not just the ambiguous ‘consult your doctor before playing Watch Dogs’ stuff, actual, in-game warnings (you can toggle off in settings, for all the whingy gamers) directly before it happens.

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@anon63201727, probably because there’s a level of expertise inferred to Hamilton while Ruppert’s comparison is anecdotal, though in context the former isn’t being presented as debunking the latter. There’s a simple Hanlon’s razor explanation here, as there are many real world devices with necklace designs like this have similar design requirements but different purposes (attach to the person to focus on their head/face, without attaching directly to the head). If you’re not a fan of Hanlon’s razor here, and are looking to attribute malice, I think you’d need some additional evidence to bring people with you on that thought process.

I didn’t get any flicker in my experience, but I think it took me too long to get there and i got the post patch experience instead. Most of the flicker I’ve seen has been fixed by turning down settings until my GPU can keep up.

That’s exactly my point - the piece contains no other reference to “a real world device designed to trigger seizures”, so that particular quote from Hamilton isn’t in conversation with anything, and I can’t understand why it was included.

Yeah, the article kinda changes the context of both statements, one being “hey this looks like it could have been based on this other thing”, and the other just saying “probably not”. I don’t think the “probably not” was intended to be directed at Ruppert, but rather at those participating in the ongoing discourse. I think that the Hamilton comment was just included to be a more complete statement, given it seems to itself be an appeal to Hanlon’s razor.