back to article Mother launches attack on epilepsy inducing video games

Videogame developers may be forced to cut scenes from their offerings if tests show they could cause epileptic seizures, if a British mother's campaign for a change in the law is successful. Somerset dentist Gaye Herford launched the campaign after her ten-year-old son suffered a seizure while playing Rayman Raving Rabbids on …


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  1. Tom
    Thumb Down

    Wont they just follow the movie adn tv industry....

    by putting warnings on anything and everything that may in the slightest thing cause an epileptic fit?

    If you are warned to not use something because it causes danger of death then you dont use it, regardless of how cool or enjoyable it might look.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Unless the brit games are that different, there is a clear warning at the begining of the user manual that states the game is dangerous for people who are epileptic.

    someone else trying to ruin good fun cause they want the world to be coated in bubble wrap

  3. Joseph Zygnerski
    Thumb Up

    A great idea

    As someone who suffers from seizures (though not ones triggered by flashing lights and such), I think this is a good idea. As the article says, TV tests for it, so why not video games, especially since people tend to be much closer to the screen when they look at them.

  4. Edward Pearson


    We need to ban sugar in restaurants as well, too many diabetics around.

  5. Sampler
    Thumb Down


    Games, even when I was a kid, come with an epileptic warning - if you're an epileptic don't play - simple as.

    If you don't know you're epileptic then surely this is a better way to find out then when you're 17 and coming upto the traffic lights at speed.

    Bloody nanny culture penalising the majority for the sake of cotton wooling a minority.

  6. Nick Mallard
    Thumb Down


    More red tape and complete crap - frankly there's hardly any computer games that DON'T involve flashing images, they ALL warn of this as a possibility, even some of the card games I've got do.

    So who's to blame - the game manufacturer for providing a game with flashy lighty things (well, its called Raving Rabbits - what do you expect, Tellytubbies with glowsticks?) - or the mother for buying this for her son in the first place?

    Put the blame back where it should be - in the place of the damned fools daft enough to buy them in the first place. The same idiots that despite reading "WARNING - HOT CONTENTS" on a MacDonalds Coffee manage to burn themselves.

  7. Andrew Tyler


    I seem to remember every video-game since, well a long time ago- at least the mid nineties- having a big black-box epilepsy warning on the first page of the manual.

    I wouldn't mind seeing something like a scale of how likely a game is to induce seizures (who decides though, a doctor?) though. I didn't know a lot of games used the strobe effect anymore, that was pretty much a way to make something look "bright" when all you could do was flip the palette around. We have fancier effects these days.

    Still, this is the sort of thing that tends to pass right through without any actual thought going into it. Video games hurting kids is all politicians need to hear- even if it's only has an effect on one in a thousand kids (according to the Epilepsy Foundation, in the US).

    I'm not against it, but I hope they give it serious consideration.

  8. Alastair Dodd

    ALL video games have a warning

    and have done since the early Eighties - another lazy parentwho didn't check and wants to blame others. Never their fault is it?

  9. EvilFairy


    all they need do is put an epilepsy warning on? this may trigger etc

    might as well add may contain nuts aswell just incase people try eating the manuals or something

  10. Anthony

    Ban mothers

    Who let their epileptic kids play video games.

    Shouldn't they be taking them outside to parks and playing soft ball games with them?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must enter title

    Hmm, I though all games already had an epilepsy warning in the manual or on startup?

    I seem to remember it a lot from gameboy manuals :)

  12. George Johnson

    Extended gameplay on smaller screens?

    From a purely personal point of view, I must admit that playing on small portable devices, like my PSP, occasionally gives me close to migraine headaches, whereas playing on large LCD panels of TVs allows me to play for longer without any ill effects. Could concentrating on a small area with very little eye movement also be an additional trigger?

  13. Greg

    I take it she can't read

    There's a warning in the front of every game I own about epilepsy seizures. Some even have it onscreen before the game starts, where it's a risk. On TV, if its a possibility they warn you before the programme or news item. If she's too much of a fucking idiot to read the manual when her kid has epilepsy, that's her fault.

    If my kid had epilepsy, and something that came with an epilepsy warning caused a seizure, I'd be kicking myself, not the manufacturer.

  14. Justin Stone


    ...They can't force that. A game isn't like a movie, you have to willingly create scenes that can cause fits in a movie. In a game it can arise due to a bug, like Z-Fighting. Sod it, just stick a sticker on it saying "Not be suitable for people with epilepsy" and be done with it.

  15. Neil McAliece

    Brain problem

    If there was something wrong with my kids brain then I wouldnt let them near the computer games that cause epilepsy in people with problems.

  16. Not That Andrew

    Agree with most above posters

    I'm epileptic, fortunately not photosensitive, and I've seen those warnings in and on games for years. Apart from anything else, the title of the game, "Rayman Raving Rabbids" should sound alarm bells to any parent with a functioning brain.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is testing TV shows a UK thing?

    I'm in the U.S. but I don't remember there being "testing" prior to broadcasting a TV show for seizures. Is that a UK only regulation? Heck we have home-grown cable access shows, that you know couldn't have spent money on testing prior to broadcast.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Testing the games

    Well, how are you supposed to test for something like that in a video game?

    In a TV show, you only ever see something from one perspective. How could you possibly test every perspective in a sandbox game like GTA?

    Bottom line:

    TV & Movies are simple to test, because they are linear and last ~1.5 hours. Video games can take 40+ hours to get to the credits, let alone complete the game!

  19. Scott Silver badge

    This is embarrasing!

    I have epilepsy and I object to someone suggesting that I am too stupid to read a warning on the box.

    She is probably like the person who recently objected to the word "brainstorming" at a meeting I was at. They were worried in case it offended someone with epilepsy.

    I said that the word was fine but I considered the attitude behind wanting to forbid it to be grossly offensive.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personal and corporate responsibility

    As a non-epileptic I had a full blown 'grand mal' or so called 'tonic/clonic' seizure whilst playing Street Fighter II in an arcade.

    Ended up in A&E. I was 17 at the time and never considered suing anybody. On reflection, maybe I was lucky the arcade owner/guy working there didn't sue me instead? Jerking away on the floor probably didn't do his business much good that day and I know it scared him half to death. Or maybe the ambulance service should have sued me for making their day a little more difficult or the British taxpayer for funding the NHS or even the game publisher, Capcom, for reacting to this game in this negative manner thus putting off potential punters? Was it really their fault? Or just circumstances?

    It was undoubtedly triggered by the game and the dark setting didn't help much either but there were a host of other factors involved, such as chronic sleep deprivation and general physiological stress from being hungover from the night before. Contrary to popular belief, seizures of this kind can pretty much affect anyone if the circumstances are right though it does not mean the person affected is epileptic or will go on to develop the condition.

    Some sensible precautions and general education can help and I don't see why the games industry shouldn't screen their games in the manner that television production companies do? Can't see it adding that much to the cost of development all things considered. They already play test games extensively (or should do) and though I agree industry is certainly overly bound up in regulations, the question of avoiding the triggering of seizures in games players isn't too much to ask, though I'd certainly agree that the responsibility stops with any parent or guardian too stupid to read age or health related warning labels on the products they buy their kids. So sue yourself if you've no inclination to take personal responsibility for your own life or that of your family and for sake of peace on earth leave politics out of it - we don't want to give any self serving politician cause for furthering their careers and annoying the shit out of the rest of the populace.

  21. Bryan
    Thumb Down

    Take responsibility!

    I'm someone who's suffered a seizure, and I think this is a horrible idea.

    If *I* have a disorder of some sort, it's up to *ME* to take steps to protect myself. It's up to *ME* to decide what risks I wish to take. My having an issue shouldn't force others into accomadating it. We don't force resturants to offer sugar-free meals for those who are diabetic...

    But then I'm crazy; I'm into this whole personal responsibility thing.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So do they actually test the games with warnings on them?

    If every single game out there contains the warning sticker "may cause seizures", but only e very few actually has the potential to cause these seizures, then the warning becomes useless.

    I aggree that in this case maybe the mother should have known better, but if there actually is a relatively simple way of testing for this, then by all means - go ahead

  23. Daniel B.

    Remember Pokemon?

    That cartoon induced epileptic seizures on people that *didn't* have epilepsy. I remember about 10 years ago that watching cartoons with what I call "fullscreen strobe effects" (that is, all screen white, then all black, then all yellow, etc. etc.) would be kind of painful for me to watch. And I know for a fact that I'm not epileptic.

    I think that the aforementioned "fullscreen stobe effect" is something that should be banned, its stupid and a cheap way to "impress" players. Much like the default PowerPoint "animations" commonly abused by dull managers.

  24. Anonymous

    come on people, we need to cater for those less fortunate!

    YOU'RE ALL VERY WRONG!! I can see why people are taking this route, but is that really fair, to stamp a sticker saying 'warning - may do such and such' - no!

    If you're allergic to nuts - ie: your life ends - you die without immediate treatment, and even with immediate treatment, you still have a 45% chance of dying, then what use is a "MAY CONTAIN NUTS!" warning on the label?

    Epilepsy and seizures are actually very similar between people, so testing for them is in fact very easy. It's extremely viable and a fantastic idea for games developers/companies to test for these issues, to ensure people with these issues can still play the game. We can't simply exlude these people for possessing an illness which is definitely not their fault.

    Nobody's suggesting playing a normal tame game is bad for a child, 'in moderation' a small time playing a computer game is fine, so to the idiot who posted 'get outside and play softball' (obvioulsy an american, as such, what a typically expected comment, given the dire parents who can't even regulate or teach a child to eat correctly or properly...) - a balance, as with all things in life, is required.

  25. Adrian Esdaile

    Dihydrogen monoxide kills children too! BAN IT!

    While not in actual games themselves, almost all game manuals contain traces of dihydrogen monoxide, a PROVEN LETHAL chemical compound, PROVEN to cause the deaths of thousands of people worldwide. Young, unsupervised children of ignorant parents are frequently KILLED TO DEATH by inhalation of particles of dihydrogen monoxide.

    Dihydrogen monoxide is also found in car exhaust gasses and NUCULEER reactors, which shows just how DEADLY DANGEROUS it is. Fruit snacks given to children are almost always CONTAMINATED with this LETHAL DEADLY EVIL CHEMICAL. Every single product that comes from CHINA is LACED with TRACES of dihydrogen monoxide.

    This caring and concerned parent is completely excused from READING THE FINE MANUAL due to the presence of DEADLY KILLER EVIL DANGEROUS dihydrogen monoxide. The sooner our government wraps us ALL in that special NASA-TEKERNODLEGY anti-dihydrogen monoxide BUBBLE-WRAP, the sooner we can PROTECT INNOCENT CHILDREN from PROVEN EVIL KILLER DEADLY LETHAL DANGEROUS COLOURLESS ODOURLESS DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE.

    Actually, tightly wrapping this concerned parent in a dihydrogen-monoxide-proof covering would swiftly solve her problems.

  26. Barry

    Let's all lynch the mother!

    A sample of comments:

    > another lazy parentwho didn't check and wants to blame others

    > Who let their epileptic kids play video games.

    > If she's too much of a fucking idiot to read the manual when her kid has epilepsy, that's her fault.

    > Put the blame back where it should be - in the place of the damned fools daft enough to buy them in the first place.

    > If there was something wrong with my kids brain then I wouldnt let them near the computer games

    Is there some kind of lynch mob mentality going on here? It took me all of ten seconds research to see that the boy had no history of epilepsy before playing the game.

    The mother was absolutely not at fault.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just got a new game so I opened the user manual before installing

    First words at the top of the first page:


    Please read before using this game or allowing your children to use it.

    'Nuff said. Stupid woman needs to look to herself if there's any blame to be apportioned.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's more to epilepsy

    than flashing lights, the timing of them ,and their color or contrast also contribute, almost no one who has epilepsy likes to think they can't do something because of it, and this sort of regulation isn't going to make them happy. I think there are probably ways to mitigate the flashing of some games for those who want to play them anyway, off the top of my head special lenses, or filters for certain frequencies built in to displays, it's a little computer it can be made to do what we want conditionally probably with little added cost. Just my two cents.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    ALL video games have a warning -- ORLY?

    Some of you are saying things like: ..."ALL video games have a warning"... or ..."every single game out there contains the warning sticker"... etc. Frankly, you're talking out of your collective arses.

    Case in point: having just pulled the case and manual off the shelf I can tell you now that the Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare game on PC (distributed by Activision) has no such warning in either its manual, installer, README files or on the physical PC-DVD case it came it that I can find in a few mins of looking. IIRC the same is true of S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl (distributed by THQ).

    There are scenes in both games which contain dark places and flashing light effects in the game (think of muzzle flashes on some of the night-time/underground levels for example), so I would expect warrant a warning on these products.

    In fact, the 4 Activision games and 4 THQ games I've just looked at have no warnings about epilepsy on the boxes or in the manuals (COD2, ST:Armada2, Supreme Commander are some - check for yourselves if you wish.)

    That said, there is an "Indemnity" clause in most manuals holding virtually any firm with any connection to the game "harmless for all damages, losses and expenses" or similar. Perhaps those covers it? (i.e. you agree that if you have a fit when playing its not the firms fault your mind is a bit dammaged and their product triggered you to fit.)

    Bootnote: Command and Conquer 3: Timberium wars (An EA title) along with most (All?) EA titles I own has a very clear warning on the 1st page of every manual for their games about epilepsy.

  30. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    The problem with this

    Is that from my way of reading the above article it says that scenes which MAY cause epileptic seizures for a very small minority would be removed from the game for ALL of us.

    That is just a ridiculous idea. If it comes down to them testing the product and finding yep we might cause an epileptic fit, put an additional leaflet in the box saying "Not suitable for epileptics please return for a full refund", thats the way to handle it. But if their going to be forced to start cutting parts out of the game then thats just ridiculous and will ruin the experience for EVERYONE!

    People need to start taking personal responsibility for their actions and get away from this americanisation of our culture!

  31. Paul T

    Nanny state

    whats next.. banning streetlights because colorblind people can't see red anyway ?

    or rather ban the stupid mother.. this is like giving sugar to a diabetic without the proper insulin balancing

  32. J Gray

    Giant warnings

    Ok, one of two things happened:

    1. She didn't know the kid has epilepsy and they found out about it in a relatively safe environment.

    2. She knew the kid had epilepsy and bought him a game player and a game that both have giant epilepsy warnings in the manuals, on the box and when you turn on the game players.

    Either way, the kid should not play video games now and she should be really hopeful that it is just video games that trigger his seizures. There are much harder to deal with forms of epilepsy out there and of course the kids who are deathly allergic to almost all food (it is hard to find found without any peanuts, wheat, dairy, or egg products in them).

  33. John A Blackley

    The usual suspects

    Ah, the usual crop of El Reg careful readers and compassionate writers!

    First, as I read the article, the mother wasn't calling for warning labels - so it doesn't matter if the mother was irresponsible, "should have known better", or "another lazy parent". When I read the article, the first line said, "Videogame developers may be forced to cut scenes from their offerings if tests show they could cause epileptic seizures."

    Second, there's no mention in the article that the child was "an epileptic" (which, in my world, is a person with a diagnosed, chronic and debilitating tendency to seizures). The child had a seizure allegedly induced by this game. That's not epilepsy if epilepsy is defined as a prevailing condition.

    I guess most of the above comments are what happens when you pay online games too much.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Epelectic controls

    Some games have perental controls. Why not epilectic controls. An option that allows you to turn down/ off strobing effects.

    Anyway as someone who "suffers" from mild manic depresion my medication is also used to treat epilepsy. So I'm fine :)

  35. Comp

    You people are ignorant

    Let me tell you how ignorant most of you people who have replied so far are.

    I am an epileptic and have been since I was 7. I'm now 41.

    I am an IT Manager, been involved with computers since 17 and am a regular games player.

    I mainly play the fast paced racing sims and fps games such as Call of Duty 4, Unreal Tournament etc..

    What has to be realised is there are many varying degrees of epilepsy and putting a general warning on a package is not enough.

    Im not knocking any of you for your ignorance of epilepsy because unless you have it or know someone close who has it you can't know about it.

    In a few of todays games there are certain parts that are more inducive to triggering a seizure than others. Strobe lights in particular.

    If you just put an epilepsy warning on all games then people like me, if I heeded them, would never get a chance to play any of them. Games that probably wouldnt affect me in the first place.

    A lot of flash-fire for example has a higher chance to trigger a seizure, such as you find in war games. For me personally, I find I can put up with this for quite a while then my head kinda tells me when its enough and to stop.

    Another example on a game which should have had a warning, or lets say an extra warning, is Kane & Lynch Dead Men. Theres a scene in that where you are in a nightclub and there are a lot of flashing lights.

    I found that particularly disturbing but I got through it. People who have worse cases of epilepsy than myself may not. However the rest of the game is fine so far.

    Its the same with news channels. They should always warn the viewer of things like flash photography as this gives a strobe effect.

    Sometimes they do tell you and sometimes they dont.

    Why not simply put a lighting icon in the corner of the screen when some flash lighting is about to happen. Simple.

    That would work for TV and maybe even games too.

    So its not about crazy mothers who should just take their kids to play in the parks. Please dont be shouting down this mother as she is pushing ahead with something that should have been done a long time ago.

    You all act as if its a personal slight against you and that somehow you'll be affected.

    Game manufacturers can always put a 'Flashing lighting off/on' option in the graphics options for particular problem areas in a game.

    There are a number of ways to go about this.

    I for one back her all the way because some control is certainly needed. At least to allow us all to have a chance to enjoy the games out there instead of having them just blindly having games that get faster and faster and flash more then they need to just to provide some eye candy and then it all goes out of control.

    I registered here just to make this post as I was saddened to read some of the non-thinking replies that were in front of mine.

    Cut her some slack and have a bit of consideration for others.

  36. Jeremy


    ...She's got a point. It would be nice if developers were encouraged (preferably without resorting to the big stick) to tone down the nasty stuff. I'm lucky in that not very much will affect me but the stuff that does is often almost gratuitously unnecessary. It's almost as though the designer used it for no other reason than because they could.

    Cut-scenes are often the worst culprits. At the very least, it should be the case that those found to fail the standard test for epilepsy triggers (I forget what it's called) must be skipable with a button press such that susceptible players can 'get out' of the scene if needed.

    The option in most FPS's to turn off the "gun wobble" as you walk is there for the benefit of those who it makes feel nauseous (including me - I was never able to play Doom for more than 15 minutes). I don't see why not going so overboard on the nasty flashy stuff should be seen any differently.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahh, freedom...

    Brittania hardly knew ye.

  38. Richard Large

    Add an option

    Just add an "Epileptic Safe" option or something like that in the menu. Everyone is happy.

  39. Paul T

    keep this in mind

    There is no such thing as epileptic safe :)) theres a broad range of stimuli that can trigger a seizure (even an adrenaline rush).. also some seizures can pass unobserved, so i don't really know what her point is (she may be a good dental care provider but thats all).

    That's why i said stupid .. the most the game producers can do is to stick a 'warning, can induce epileptic seizures' label.. and thats exactly what they are doing now. The most such 'testing' as she is proposing can do is add something like 'can induce epileptic seizures in 50% of the tested sensitive population'. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy :)

    Those defending the mother don't really have a base. Either it was an accident and she should be thankful it didn't happen in more dangerous circumstaces, or she was responsable for endangering her child. I stick to my opinion. Oh and how exactly could this article's writer know about her kid's medical history ? That's confidential. The way i see it, its equiprobable that he has a history of seizures, or he doesn't. The most common cause for seizures in young children is fever. If that was the case and he was playing the game, maybe fever triggered it and it doesn't have much to do with the game.

  40. Spleen

    Excellent news

    I'm going to sue the Heavy who killed me during that last game of TF2. Firing his minigun directly into my face could easily have induced an epileptic seizure. I'm not actually an epileptic, but nor was this kid, so it's clear that this selfish player was acting with wanton disregard for my wellbeing just so he could get another frag.

    I will not rest until I'm given a billion quid and Valve replaces the Heavy's minigun with a pretty flower.

    Then I can sue on the basis of my pollen allergy.

    P.S. To previous posters, what exactly would an 'epileptic safe' option do? Turn all the maps to fullbright? It would rather spoil games like Stalker, Fear, Bioshock, in fact pretty much any game that doesn't take place in a sunny field and involves chasing puppies.

  41. alistair millington

    Given that pc games are

    If any of you actuall played games...

    Graphical output is ENTIRELY dependent on indvidual hardware restrictions and that means it won't work as expected once out the developers lab.

    This is a silly and pointless law. I play games a lot on lots of different machines, most have warnings (EA tends to have the warnings as already mentioned.)

    HOWEVER. Example. Crysis, Cod 4 all very fast and brand new, and therefore most people need to update drivers (169.09 BETA which resolves skinning errors) . If they don't flickering occurs and metallic ghosting or shadow issues. You can't design against it, you can' allow for it and you can't code round it. It is because another company (NVIDIA) hasn't released a driver to the mass market that was then forced upon the public. (you have to search for the driver as it is a BETA) It is down to the user to update. ALSO because other companies make the GFX cards to run the NVIDIA software so who is responsible for enforcing driver updates.

    ALSO not everyone needs the update for the drivers, so what, launch malware to scan to see if they should update and then update in the background, but laws go against that already.

    I got the flickering and read a forum two days later to get the resolution. If the PC had done it for me I would have complained of spyware and removed it.

    Now take that to a portable games console where you can't upgrade at will or like the XBOX where you can't touch hardware and drivers are limited (granted it is easier to test)

    It is pointless and unworkable as you can't expect at a small cost a company to take in EVERY combinatiuon of GFX card, Driver and hardware setup together with every monitor and expect it to be thoroughly tested. And because the annoying americans and increasingly the brits are in the compensatiin culture, the first to say it is tested and that testing fail will be sued.

    It's a stupid idea to have this as a law and completely unworkable. It will only lead to people being sued. Which MP's should be more worried about.

    It's just a shame that stupid MP's who are too busy signing expense checks to themselves for 150,000 above their wages (because they think they are more important than police, firemen, nurses, binmen etc) and passing laws to make themselves above the law (in case we figure out they are signing checks to themselves) are not IT literate and just work on what some poor unfortunate kid has had to go through.

    Can we have an icon for making a stand against the nanny state. Or perhaps a darwin award for those that should have been removed from the gene pool for stupid ideas that just need common sense rules applied to overcome instead of legal jargin and more need for the lawyers.

    To play games you need. Good overall lighting, good diet, plenty of time spent doing things like sleep, exercise and breaks in playing.

    I have hayfever, I found out when aged seven and living in the country side surrounded by hay fields. What should I do, ask them to pass a law that means every farmer should put a warning on a field because it may contain hay and then cover it in a bubble?


    The icon doesn't do justice to me swearing at this stupid notion.

  42. Mark

    My Precious....

    Does this country not remember there's something called 'Parental responsibility'?

    To the dentist that's taking this action I suggest wrapping your precious in cotton wool and placing them in a polythene bag in case they are exposed to the real world for instance they get on a bus and catch a cold from a fellow passenger. Or are you considering testing passengers before your precious gets on board?

  43. Dimitrov


    When I smoke, I see the label on the box: "Smokers die younger". Yet, I choose to smoke anyways. The Government isn't forcing companies to remove tobacco from cigarettes because it causes harm. A society where the Man protects me from all harm is a terrible dystopia.

    I'm sorry, but if you are afraid of lung cancer, you don't smoke. If you can't play games with flashy lights, you don't. Simple as that. It's terrible, but it's the stone-cold truth.

  44. Andy S


    >If you're allergic to nuts - ie: your life ends - you die without immediate treatment, and even with immediate treatment, you still have a 45% chance of dying, then what use is a "MAY CONTAIN NUTS!" warning on the label?

    That sounds like a VERY useful warning to me, ie if you're allergic to nuts you view that warning as "do not touch as this product will kill you". The fact that there's a chance it won't doesn't make the warning any less valid, you still steer well clear. Just because some cups of Mcdonalds coffee may have gone cold, doesn't make the warning that its contents are hot any less valid, if you pour one on your crotch, chances are you'll get burned.

    I actually remember back in the early nineties the scare headlines "Nintendo killed my son" etc. It has been known for a very long time that games can cause seizures, and shouldn't be stared at closely for extended periods of time. Ever since then games have toned down the flashing sequences and developers are aware of the problem, however if you buy a game called Rayman Raving Rabbids what do you expect??? I can tell just fron the title that its going to contain lots of flashing, and probably some mindless repetitive techno music

    There just aren't enough details to make a judgement really, was he up for 14 hours straight, high on caffiene and sugar, sat in the dark staring at a 2inch flashing screen, or did he have the seizure quickly in a well lit room, while being very fresh and well rested?

  45. Anthony
    IT Angle


    It's so nice to see new El Reg readers responding so fervently to tell the rest of us hacks how it really is. I made the going outside to play comment but I'm not American, just a parent who thinks that doing things that cause your kids to die is a bad thing. If my kid (epileptic or otherwise) had a seizure from playing video games or watching tv or eating strawberries, guess what they wouldn't be doing again in a hurry?

    This is one of those "Asian man dies playing computer game" stories where we have half of the facts and all of the speculation. Ultimately all we want to know is what game he was playing and can we have his stuff.

  46. Shell

    Warnings already on many boxes

    Don't many games already have the "may cause epilepsy" warnings? Several xbox 360 games have these warnings in their manuals.

  47. Ash

    @Scott (Epilepsy)

    I'm afraid the word "Brainstorm" has officially been banned by my local borough council.

    The term is now "Thought-Shower"

    Please ammend your P.C. dictionary accordingly.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waring Games can induce night terrors

    As a teen playing driver for something like 15 hours straight, I went to bed consequently dreamed about the game inducing a night terror, which lead to be repeatedly punching a wall and breaking my hand. Oh and scaring the crap out of my little brothers and my parents (who did not know I was up late playing games). The dream consisted of been caught by the mafia and put into a kiln to be cooked alive.

    The point is I was prone to night terrors and the game agitated my condition, the developers were not to know that this could be possible consequence of their game and entirely my own fault for undertaking such a long and late night game session.

    If your are diagnosed with epilepsy you are aware that certain things can cause you to fit (at least as an adult, children may not depending on their age) if your targeting you game at children you should really consider clear warnings and attempt to reduce if not remove any content that could induce a fit. For adult games then a waring and an option to remove possible effects which could cause epilepsy.

    Then at least parents who buy games for their children can see that this game could cause epileptic fits, but all measure have been take to reduce this risk but advised that you supervise your child whilst playing the game.

    I don't think its unreasonable to ask for clear warnings and possibly ability to remove fit inducing content. Just as isn't unreasonable to ask for shops to have access ramps for people in wheelchairs.

  49. Anonymous Coward


    I'm epileptic. I know that if I play a video game, watch TV, go to the cinema, go to a club, go anywhere in fact - I may have seizure. Just how it is.

    I had my first seizure in the back of a car when I was young. Passing a slat fence at high speed where a carpark was on the other side. Glare of the windscreens flashing into my eyes triggered it. Do I want to have a go at the people who put up the fence ? Parked their cars? Made the windows of the cars ? No. I'm not an utter twat.

    If you have a condition, disability, injury, illness, whatever, you take it into mind EVERY time you do something. To not look out for yourself is stupid.

    However - if she didn't know her son was epileptic and this was the first seizure;

    a - Be greatful you found out this way rather than others have said.

    b - Learn from it - Maybe don't let your kid sit playing computer games as much on shitty handheld bits of crap ? I had a DS and they are a bag of wank tbh.

    The warnings are there. For those few things they aren't on, use common sense. I wouldn't sit in front of a strobe and set it off, have a fit and then start trying to ban/change strobes because it didn't have a warning on it. It's common sense - if it's a screen, TV, monitor, projector, source of light - it may induce a seizure.

    We all have a "first fit", we learn from it and usually thank Jebus that it wasn't whilst doing something dangerous.

    No-one or thing is to blame. 'cept maybe evolution.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barrier to entry

    It sounds all nice and fluffy, but this kind of thing will mean that only large developers with a substantial test team (Will they have to hire a range of epileptics?) will be able to afford it.

    Expect a big "Yes" from EA et all and an "Oh Sh!t" from the likes of Bohemia Interactive who clearly don't have any test team at all..

  51. The Avangelist

    Are these people bloody stupid?

    Like everyone has said all games have a disclaimer sheet with them as standard and Nintendo/Sega were the first dev's to actually produce them in the first place!

    What kind of dumbass parent provides a games console to their kid if they know they have epilepsy anyway? what's she getting him for Christmas a Strobe and a free weekend pass to a rave?

    Parents' here is a great idea!

    Stop buying stuff for your kids if you are not going to investigate it first, it is your own darmn fault

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Im gonna murder every last one of you.

    Manhunt and an illegally downloaded version of Manhunt 2 has made me into a mindless violent thug because i have no will or personality of my own. I am also under the legal purchasing age, but my mum bought me it, so she will no doubt have a lot to say about the evil developer that made me the monster i am. To top it all my hamster had a siezure and thats pretty much pushed me over the edge. Now. If you could all kindly post me your details, i'll get round to each of you in turn. It's societies fault and you lot are society.

  53. Rob Gemmell

    Not Black & White

    As a few posters have mentioned already, it's not as easy as turning off the epileptic seizure sections in the game. For one there are many types of ways that one can get a seizure, not to mention that some are more sensitive than others.

    And it's not as simple as testing the game and removing the sections that probably will cause them still doesn't guarantee that it won't cause seizures anymore. There's always the possibility that the game will cause a seizure because of an abnormality in coding.

    I rather see a rating system that judges the possibility of a seizure. There's some definite things that will cause a seizure, so the company can base their scale on that.

    But in all reality, those who know they have it, or a family history of it, are smart enough to know that they are taking a risk every time they play a game. They can't blame the company because no one forces them to play the game in the first place.

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