Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Heartsick and Motion Sick

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 25, 2010

It’s no secret around here that I do enjoy retrogaming. While I appreciate lush graphics as much as the next gamer, I guess I still consider it non-essential to my gaming experience. I can turn off that part of my brain that goes, “Oooh, pretty!” and still appreciate an indie game or retro experience which doesn’t quite push the technological envelope. And I understand the difference between attractive visuals and photo-realistic, or technologically overwhelming, visuals.

But there is an exception I’d forgotten about. Back in the 90s,  I could only play first-person perspective games – the ones with Doom-like or Duke Nukem-like engines – in small doses. No more than an hour, generally.  Because they made me sick. Something about how they rendered the world just didn’t work in my brain. I neglected this danger once when Descent first came out. We played it multiplayer for about three hours straight the day it came out. I really never played the game again after that, because I was so incredibly dog-sick for the rest of the day. I couldn’t eat, and was worried about holding down what I already had. I went straight to bed that night, anxious for relief. The next morning, when I woke up, I was still feeling a little motion-sick.

It’s been a long time since I had to worry about that. The problem hasn’t entirely gone away with modern first-person games, but it has to be a pretty extended session before I even feel the first hints of a problem.

I recently re-discovered Might & Magic 6: The Mandate of Heaven. I bought it from GOG.COM some time ago, and played it a little. I try to spend a little bit of time each week playing CRPGs of all kinds (yes, even when you love games, when you are neck-deep in making them, it’s easy to forget to play.)  This one came up, and – unsurprisingly – I’ve found myself really getting into it.

I had had a rough evening in the real world. We’d received the news that we’d lost a good friend of ours to cancer. It was a lot sooner than we expected. I still don’t know the details. We were heartsick.

Later, I found it tough to get motivated to work. I got a little done, but not much. I sought escape. So why not fire up this old classic and spend the time doing “research?” That way I could at least pretend I was accomplishing something.

It did the trick. I was lost in the world of Enroth for about a few  hours. I had a wonderful time. Although it didn’t succeed in taking my mind completely away from dwelling on the loss of a friend, it at least diverted my focus for a while. That was good. It was just what I needed. Except…

After playing for a bit, I felt uncomfortably warm. And a little queasy.   Might & Magic 6 has one of those vintage 1990’s 3D engines, with the crawling, scintillating, flashing pixels that defy proper laws of motion and perspective that my brain expects from visual input.  In the intervening decade, I’d completely forgotten about the danger of playing those games. And now, my body was none too happy.

So now, it’s the next morning. My heart and mind are still coming to grips with the loss of a respected friend, and I’m still feeling a little motion sick from the night before.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to play much more Might & Magic 6 after over-doing it last night. If not, bummer. It was a good place to go for a while when I needed it.

Filed Under: Retro - Comments: 15 Comments to Read

  • Brett Douville said,

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Thanks. He was a good guy. I’m really worried about his family. He was still a pretty young guy – today would have been his 44th birthday. His kids are all still living at home. Cancer sucks.

  • Brian 'Psychochild' Green said,

    Always sad to lose a friend. I found out (quite a while ago) that one of my good friends from high school passed away. I had fallen out of contact, and it kind of shocked me.

    I also get motion sick pretty easily. I find that if I “work up to it” then it goes away after a while. But, if I don’t play a 3D game in a while, it comes back.

    A former business partner recommended Sea Bands, which is a bracelet you put on your wrist and it applies a certain type of pressure to help with nausea. Never tried it out myself, but he swore by it.

    Also, definitely check out Might & Magic 7 if you get a chance. I think it’s a superior game to 6, and didn’t have a lot of the problems the last two in the series had. It uses the same engine, so proceed with caution. (Speaking of 3D engines, M&M9 had a totally re-written engine, but the game design was terrible by most accounts.)

    It’s funny that it is easier to run much older games (via DOSBox) than it can be to run a bit more recent games.

  • Bad Sector said,

    Probably it’s the perspective. I have a kind of distorted perspective (i have strabismus, which alters the vision and while the cosmetic effects can be fixed, the vision isn’t fixable) which, among others, makes me to perceive some 3D things as flat, have the recent “3D graphics” (avatar, 3DS and every single technology we had at the previous company i worked at on the matter) to not work on me and feel the “wrong” rendering of older 3D engines very normal. I can play games like doom, wolf3d, duke3d and (recently, since i also got it from GOG) M&M6 for hours without problem.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I’ll have to try those if I play it some more. When M&M 7 comes out on GOG.COM I’ll see about picking it up. Right now the thought makes me a wee bit queasy still, but hopefully I’ll be recovered and blissfully forgetful by this weekend.

    In addition to it being easier to run older games than more recent games, I’ve found it’s easier to run the DOS games through the emulator than any DOS-based PC in history. The DOSBox guys rock.

    My sneaking suspicion is that the DRM & copy protection crap is a major source of the problems we have getting these newer games to run.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    @BadSector – I’ve never heard of that. But I guess, all things considered, I’ll take my motion-sickness with those older games over your problem.

    I’ve got a wide-screen display now, too, which distorts things even further. I should see if I can play the game windowed. That might help. I’m really enjoying it and would hate to give it up (but I do have such a backlog of games to play….)

  • Greg Tedder said,

    Sorry for your loss.

  • slenkar said,

    its a shame you cant enjoy mm6, its so well balanced and the way it gives rewards is perfect – e.g. gold,spells,skills,experience

  • sascha said,

    I’ve also bought the M&M six pack on GOG a while back.
    Basically what animated me to buy it was the strange, surrealistic 3D graphics of M&M 6 mixed with realistic human photos for the avatars.

    Today most people who have no sense for nostalgic, old games would call that just ugly but I embrace the simplified graphics of old games because they make your brain tick into a different direction. There’s something about the look of those old and limited graphics that modern games don’t posses. But maybe that’s just me being nostalgic, after all I grew up with C64’s and Amigas.

  • Bad Sector said,

    I wouldn’t call them ugly, but the graphics *are* inconsistent. On the other hand, those portraits look funny as they change from normal, to sick, to injured, etc especially when the change is edited :-P.

    From all M&M games from the pack, i played this one the most 🙂

  • Hugo Riley said,

    I got Daggerfall from my friend because he couldn’t play it, he always got motion sick in dungeons. I never had problem with it so I cannot confirm, but you should try some medicine that helps against sickness in car or bus.

    I played M&M7 long ago and had some fun but I didn’t optimize my characters so I couldn’t finish it then. I tried M&M 6 and 7 recently again but had to quit quickly. Everywhere you go there is horde of monsters. Clickfest until they all fall down, move a little further and then some more monsters, clickfest again.

    It is very nice game, great skill system and beautiful big world but those combats are really ruining the game for me. I like tactical fights with few stronger opponents rather then hordes of weaklings. Or maybe I play it wrong?

  • slenkar said,

    yes it is a clickfest but there is more strategy than diablo. Eventually you get spells that can kill loads of enemies, like the skeleton horde in one of the villages can be killed with fireballs, meteors and turn-undead if they respawn, fun fun fun.

  • Demiath said,

    My condolences for your loss. Weirdly enough, I remember playing another retro RPG – the by then newly released Wizardry 8 – after I just got the news that my grandfather had passed away…

    As for MM6, I have very fond memories of playing it for about 8-10 hours a day (!) for more than a week during a summer vacation a few years ago (long after the initial release of the game back in 1998). The incredibly addictive quality of the grinding and the sheer unadultered joy of exploring sunny and colorful high fantasy vistas made MM6 one of my most intensely enjoyable 60+ hour gaming experiences during the last 10 years or so…

  • Silemess said,

    Sorry for your loss.

    I don’t have much to suggest about the motion sickness. I’ve heard that the bracelets recommended before help, but I have not used them myself so cannot say.

  • M&M 6: Why Play Retro? said,

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