I didn’t think I was going to quit on any of these games. I fully intended to slog through every one, all the way to the end, no matter how terrible or boring they might be. If needed, I would use cheat codes or change the difficulty setting (like I did for X-Files: Resist or Serve) but I was going to experience all the awfulness these games had to offer. There was just one thing I didn’t account for: motion sickness
There was no way to see this coming. I’ve been playing games for as long as I can remember and this has literally never happened before. There have been a few times–when I was already sick or hungover–that I consciously avoided 3d games because I knew they would only make me feel worse. But this is the first time a game, by itself, made me feel like I needed to throw up.
I tried to pinpoint the exact problem, but I think it’s a confluence of unfortunate factors. I sit fairly close to the television when I stream which changes the ideal FOV. The camera in 24: The Game is very sensitive and leaps around with even the slightest provocation of the right control stick. This was likely exacerbated by playing a standard definition game on a high definition TV. This game released in 2006, which means it was developed right in the middle of the mainstream transition over to HDTVs. The aspect ratio scales well enough, but it’s easy to imagine that the camera controls and FOV were designed explicitly with SDTVs in mind.
Maybe there’s no good answer. Motion sickness is a weird thing. It affects everyone differently. Even its mechanism of action in relation to video games is poorly understood. Is it merely a mismatch between the perceptions of our eyes and the fluid in our ears? Or does the distorted view and perspective trick our brains into believing that we are being poisoned, triggering the desire to vomit?
Either way, I played approximately two 1-hour sessions of 24: The Game and I was done. I couldn’t do it.
For the two hours I played 24: The Game, it felt like a better shooter than Reservoir Dogs (though, weirdly, the driving segments were somehow worse). It wasn’t nearly as disgusting as The Sopranos, even though it had the obligatory interrogation scene that made me feel a little dirty. I might have even kept playing, despite my occasional nausea, if not for one section of the game that ended up being the last segment I was willing to play.
It was a chase scene. I approached a suspect in a shop, and had to run after him through a series of twisting and turning alleyways. He threw objects at me to slow me down, and I had to dodge them. When I didn’t catch him in time, he ran out into the street and was hit by a bus. In the last moments, my character was stopped by an invisible wall in front of the street, so it looked like he just ran in place for a couple seconds at the end of the alley.
I played this level four times before giving up. I still don’t know what I was supposed to do. I held down the sprint button the entire time but never gained any ground on him. I dodged most of the shit he threw at me, but it didn’t help me gain on him. Each time ended with the same display of futility, ramming up against an invisible wall, unable to take even a step forward to prevent the game over. All the while, the rapidly adjusting camera made me feel worse and worse. I got to the point where I couldn’t try again. So I shut down the PS2, pulled out the game, and decided it wasn’t worth it.
I’m more than happy to play a terrible game. But not if I have to throw up.
Hey, at least I got video of an interrogation: