ByKen McDonnell, writer at
Now Loading's sentimental Irishman. I can't stop playing Overwatch, please send help.
Ken McDonnell

Gaming hurts.

When some 5-year-old annihilates you in your favorite game online while successfully lambasting you and your family, that stings. When your non-gaming relative instantly spots the solution to a puzzle you've been stuck on for weeks in The Witness, the pain is real. But, while these pains are limited to our own heads and our shaky self-esteems, there's another form of pain that gamers know all too well:

[Credit: MCA Records]
[Credit: MCA Records]

Thanks for clearing that up, Olivia. Now on to the games!

Seven Games That'll Hurt More Than Your Ego

[Credit: Nintendo]
[Credit: Nintendo]

1. 'Mario Party'

One of the most famous injuries gamers have contracted is that of the palm blister from the N64's beloved Mario Party (which just celebrated its 20th Birthday). Nintendo dealt with hundreds of complaints from parents whose children were physically marked by the joystick of their controller. See, in order to play a particular mini-game at great speed, players would firmly place their palm atop the joystick and vigorously move it from side to side. What happened?

"One kid got a tetanus shot," said Christi Pritchard, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Additionally, one parent said their child had been playing the game for 15 to 20 minutes when they got a second-degree burn on their palm. This guy really wanted to win.

Nintendo eventually had to come up with a settlement deal to drop the numerous cases thrown into the company's lap, so the company eventually agreed to provide four sets of sports gloves to each Mario Party owner who sends in a request. A little too late for the young lad that was literally burned by his N64, though...

2. 'Athens 2004'

I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with the terrible, officially licensed video game of the 2004 Summer Olympics, Athens 2004, but if you are, you'll more than likely recall the pain.

Several mini-games required players to absolutely hammer one or two buttons at a time in order to get their character moving. The proficiency of your character's actions depended on how quickly you could mash buttons. I still recall the pain. I used to break out in a sweat playing the 800m race, screaming in agony towards the end as the AI joyfully ambled past, unaware of my misery...I loved this game.

3. 'Battlefield 3 (Simulator)'

The only thing that hurts when I play Battlefield 3 is my pride. Who knew I could die that often? *cries* Maybe Battlefield 1 will see me kick ass online...unlikely.

But there's a version of the game that differs in one key way from the console and PC versions we're familiar with: pain.

In a promotional move for EA's Battlefield 3, a 360-degree simulation booth was created to place players into the popular FPS in a completely unprecedented way. With full protective gear on, you stood on a platform outfitted with metal bars that rotated once you walked on them, thus moving your in-game character in whatever direction you moved. You also got to hold a gaming gun! We imagine the immersion was intense, especially when you were shot.

The simulator actually had paintball guns stationed around the 360-degree platform, so if your character was shot, you were shot in return. Now if any of you have actually played paintball before, you'll know what this feels like. I remember one of my friends collapsing to the floor during one session, clutching his groin in agony. He was never the same...anyway, here's the trailer:

4. 'Kid Icarus: Uprising'

Nintendo experimented with some really bizarre ways of playing games on the 3DS. Numerous titles saw me wrestling the control scheme while desperately trying to keep my head still for fear of ruining the "3D effect." But one of the handheld consoles most trying examples came with the wrist-snapping Kid Icarus: Uprising in 2012.

There's just something intrinsically wrong with having one finger on the left trigger while steering with the circle pad and supporting the rest of the console's weight with some ungodly arrangement of your remaining digits. To compound the problem further, your right hand is just adding to the console's apparent weight by pressing down on the touch screen from above.

Nintendo knew this game would challenge us, so it actually released a stand for Uprising. But in all honesty, who wants to use a stand in order to play a game on a portable device? You can't chill on the couch and play Kid Icarus, not unless you want your day ruined and cramps to bombast your hands. Instead, you were expected to lean forward with the 3DS on a table in front of you like the world's worst PC. Nice try, Nintendo, but next time just make it work in a more normal, pain-free way.

5. 'Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games'

The Wii brought much joy to many a household with its family-oriented fun. How good was it to see your parents attempt to play tennis with each other? Hilarious, right? Until this happens, of course...

Your face says it all.
Your face says it all.

Nintendo beautifully marketed the Wii as the perfect console for mansion owners. With all of that televisual bounding around living rooms and a family of four or more wildly swinging their limbs at each other, it felt like anyone could do this. 'Til you brought it back to your normal-sized home and smashed your siblings in the face.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympics is the perfect game for this sort of "fun."

Either your arms start weeping from the kind of muscle action the PS3 never required, or some family member is left distraught on the couch with a bag of ice draped over their face. The joys...

6. 'PainStation'

Meet the PainStation. Let me tell how she works.

The game that you play is basically Pong, so you need to turn the dial that you see above with your right hand in order to move your little in-game paddle to protect the ball from hitting the wall behind you. However, your left hand needs to remain still over the metal plates, otherwise known as PEUs (Pain Execution Units). There are two pressure buttons you need to keep pressed on this sheet of metal in order to keep the game in motion. You lift up your hand, you lose.

But you see those little icons behind the paddles? They represent what'll happen to you if you let the ball hit them. There are three punishments for conceding: the metal sheet becomes extremely hot, it shocks your hand, or you can be whipped by a small hard piece of wire. Here's the kind of fun you can anticipate with this dastardly machine:

7. 'Arm Spirit'

"The machine isn't that strong, much less so than a muscular man. Even women should be able to beat it," said casually sexist Atlus spokeswoman, Ayano Sakiyama following the arcade machine's recall. Why was it recalled? Nothing too bad, it just broke people's arms. IT BROKE ARMS, SAKIYAMA!

So yeah, this is basically an arcade game where you wrestled the machine. Each stage introduced a new wrestling partner and an increased level of difficulty. Apparently it's super tough. Though some people actually beat the damned thing, while others suffered broken spirits and limbs along the way. Man, games can be cruel.

8. The Gaming Vest

Ever thought what it'd be like if you actually felt the pain of your characters in tandem with them? FPS guy gets shot, you feel it. Riu gets a swift kick to the solar plexus, you feel that too. Well, at the University of Pennsylvania, that's their goal (not their only goal, I'm sure they research other stuff sometimes). My friends, meet the gaming vest.

[Credit: Gaming vest (Saurabh Palan)]
[Credit: Gaming vest (Saurabh Palan)]

Here's the designer on the concept:

“The idea is to develop a haptic interface for first-person shooting games,” says Saurabh Palan, a graduate student at the university who is working on the project, on his website. “The feeling of bullet hit, body impact and vibration or a shoulder tap will enhance the gaming experience and fun.”

Essentially, you'll be hit in the same place that your character was by this crazy-looking vest. Ouch. I'm not sure how this is supposed to "enhance the gaming experience and fun" but maybe I just get shot too often in video games. Yeah, that's probably the reason. Would you try it out?

Which game hurt you the most?


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