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Coyote's Howling: Game at Your Own Risk

By Guest Writer on August 11, 2011 | Columns | Comments

Game at Your Own Risk

If you've ever flipped through a gaming manual out of necessity or "I'm in the bathroom with nothing else to read" boredom, you probably only half-noticed the "Please Don't Sue Us" list of warnings that came with the game you just purchased.

 I mean, it's a video game right? How dangerous could it honestly be? The list of possible ailments and effects that you may experience from merely playing the game sound so medically impossible and horrific, you'd wonder why people would risk playing them at all.

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Consider actual warnings such as:

Nintendo Thumb

What it is: The end result of a gaming marathon fueled by copious amounts of Funyuns and Mountain Dew. Okay, so our very first example isn't an actual warning in any gaming manual: bad example. But in all honesty, it totally should be.

Nintendo Thumb (dubbed so by us "old timers" who wasted our youth playing Metroid for days straight because the kid down the street said that if you beat it four times in a row Samus gets totally naked) is pretty much the textbook definition of terrifying the first time you realize that you have it - especially if you've been awake for 30 straight hours and happen to glance down at your now deformed hand.

Symptoms Include:  Your thumb is flat.  Like really f**king flat.  The kind of flat that you laugh off in front of your friends but are worrying yourself sick over in the back of your mind because you only have two thumbs and one of them looks like it was run over by a cartoon steamroller.

We're talking “toe thumbs” flat.

The only known treatment is to put down the controller and go to bed. When you wake up, there will be no lasting damage past your thumb being a bit sore and maybe a little red.  If there is lasting damage, though?

I don’t know... go apologize to Michael Bay and try to worm your way back into Transformers 4 or something.

Motion Sickness

What it is:  Pretty much you being a little bitch.

Symptoms Include: Whining, crying, and generally sucking at first person shooters to the point where you have to make up some lame-ass excuse about why you can't play because you feel nauseous and have to take a widdle break.  Okay, this is like the 19th or 20th Century. I might not know things like "actual dates" and "calendar basics", but I'll tell you what I do know: Evolution.

Man evolved from monkeys because those monkeys couldn't play first person shooters without puking. Sure, they could dig in their own crap all day without so much as a dry heave, but as soon as you threw a little Quake 2 at them and they started getting owned, they'd sigh like they were battling cancer and push away from their little poo-stained keyboards.

"I have to take a break guys," they'd say, their little monkey voices strained with a false loss of strength "my motion sickness is getting the better of me." Then the other monkeys would roll their eyes, make "chimp-pansy" jokes and go back to evolving so that they didn't have to hang around with him.

This brings us to the present, where the only excuse for “first person motion sickness” is playing Dead Space 2.  Because, damn.

Photosensitive Epilepsy

What it is: Pretty much a flawless victory against your opponent in any game that you play because they fell off of the couch and are foaming at the mouth.

Symptoms: Tongue swallowing, full body spasms, people looking around nervously because they've never seen someone have a seizure before, and most frightening of all: angry emails chastising us for making fun of something so serious.

"How can you even joke about something like that? I have a brother, sister, mother, cousin who has severe epilepsy and they can't even drive because when the stop light changes from red to green they piss themselves and almost DIE. Is that funny NOW Mister Humor Writer? People are dying of a serious ailment and you're making cheap jokes because you were in the bathroom reading an old Left4Dead manual and you thought you were being clever? You make me sick."

Look. We're not saying that photosensitive epilepsy isn't a real thing. We're not saying that it isn't very serious and even deadly to some people.

What we are saying is that if you have photosensitive epilepsy and you still try to play video games, you kinda deserve a couple of immature jokes made at your foamy expense. You don't see people with peanut allergies going:

"Just ONE spoonful, I'm sure everything will be alright."

No. They avoid that sh*t like the plague because their little neck holes might close up and cause them to die. They don't look at a can of honey roasted nuts and tempt fate, they run from it like it's full of bees, or spiders, or god help us, bee-spiders.

But rather than get into an argument with you Mr. Fictious-Example-Of-A-Real-Person-We'll-Without-A-Doubt-See-In-The-Comment-Section, let me offer my sincere apology and a picture of some robots and hearts to show no hard feelings.

Gastrointestinal and Digestive Disorders

What it is: Probably something pretty serious like your digestion being disrupted by long periods of sitting, poor eating habits, or stress levels from extended gaming sessions.  Us? We're already getting hate mail because of the whole epilepsy thing, so we're just going to be mature adults and call them for what they are...

Gaming farts.

Bad ones. Bad ones powered by the aforementioned over-consumption of Funyuns.

Symptoms Include: Sonic booms of the pantsular regions, giggling, and your friends desperately clawing at their face and eyes as they gasp for breath because in a bout of vile premeditation you closed all of the windows and were sitting directly in front of the fan. They may all be dead, but you know that somewhere, up there, they're looking down in appreciation of your well delivered attack.

Guys are like that.

Musculoskeletal Stress Injury

What it is: I have no idea, but I just sold every goddamn video game that I own.

Symptoms: From the sounds of it, I'm pretty sure your entire f**king skeleton just leaps out of your mouth like in that School House Rock cartoon from the 80's that I still have nightmares about.

Video games are supposed to be something you enjoy, a past time to help you ease out of the real world and relax in a bit of fantasy and play, they're not supposed to come with warnings scarier than what you'd find on a pack of cigarettes.

Heart palpitations? Involuntary twitching and spasms?  Sure, these cases are extremely rare, and the corporations only put them in to avoid frivolous lawsuits, but still the next time one of your sport playing jock buddies gives you a hard time over being a game addicted couch potato? Point out that he might risk a sprain whenever he goes outside and exercises - but you're staring into the eyes of death with every mouse click.

And if that doesn't impress them?

 Invite them over to play, close the windows and bust out the Funyuns.

-Coyote