Whatever the downsides of video games -- lack of exercise, increased urge to shout ethnic slurs at strangers a continent away -- we don't think of it as a particularly dangerous activity. You might think that the introduction of full-body gaming via the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect probably brought on a rash of injuries due to flailing Wiimotes connecting with the heads of sibling spectators, but that was surely offset by all of the great exercise those kids were getting. But the truth is way stranger.
It's actually senior citizens taking out patronizing game journalists.
In a study conducted from 2004 to 2009, they found about 700 injuries stemming from video games that were severe enough to require medical attention. And get this: The motion-based games only accounted for 13 percent of them. The rest, mostly finger, hand and wrist ailments, were from traditional "sit 'n' press buttons" game play. We're just shocked that this many patients were willing to admit that to a doctor.
"The doctors say you've suffered severe pwnage to both of your arms. They want to amputate."
Now, 700 might not sound like a huge injury toll considering how many people play games, but if we had had to guess at how many people had injured themselves sitting completely motionless and tapping thumb buttons, we'd have figured a dozen at most.
Not that motion gaming is off the hook here -- it has led to a whole other category of injuries of their own. In the first full year of motion gaming, from 2007 to 2008, injuries from video games immediately rose 214 percent. Most of these were from overexertion or being whacked with the remote. But it doesn't stop there. While you wouldn't even think of real bowling as a sport that could injure you unless you dropped the ball on your foot, the completely ball-less Wii Sports bowling has led to multiple cases of patellar injury and even early onset carpal tunnel.
Wii Shanking has to be the worst culprit.
Meanwhile, the Wii Fit balance board has caused numerous ruptured Achilles tendon injuries. The Kinect sports titles have resulted in tons of ailments, including bursitis and tendon and ligament inflammation. This is what happens when older people, and normally sedentary gamers, are all of a sudden flitting around the room. Nobody is warming up first or wearing shoes made for exercise, and they're quite frankly not used to the motions. And, because it's all happening in a game, they probably figure there's no way they can really injure themselves throwing an imaginary ball.
But at least motion games are getting us in shape, right? Actually, no. While gamers suffer the kind of injury the athletes of the world put up with, they're not getting the benefits. In one motion gaming study, it was discovered that kids who owned motion games didn't, on the whole, get any more exercise than the ones who played the "sit and stare at the screen" variety.
It was discovered that executives who play motion games are 80 percent more likely to look like tools in bad suits.
And, if you're a PC gamer who took a break from playing World of Warcraft on your laptop to read this article, we have even worse news ...
We've all been in bed late at night, working on some super important project with our laptop nestled on our crotch. And maybe this project, uh, required you to have your penis out. But while you were competing in your own little demented Ambien challenge, the fact is that the heat from the laptop's battery was blasting you directly in your yam bag.
A study in 2010 discovered that the heat coming from a laptop sitting near your coin purse exposed it to scrotal hyperthermia. As in, the opposite of hypothermia. It's cooking your balls, is what we're trying to say.
Cooking your delicious yam-balls.
It's not that your genitals are going to burst into flame, but it may very well lower your sperm count. Keep in mind, the entire reason a man's parts are outside of his body is that sperm need to be kept cooler than body temperature or else they die. Raise the temperature of your fragile bits by just two degrees and sperm start getting damaged. And this study found that just one hour of laptop use raised ball temperature by 4.5 degrees.
But that's OK, because you won't be getting laid anyway, sweater boy.
And no, sticking a pillow or laptop pad under it won't matter -- they tried that, and got the same result. Your boys need to be able to breathe. So are we saying that your MacBook is the reason mankind will slowly dwindle away to nothing, a generation of men unable to procreate, frustrated and infertile? No, but there is no question that there is less risk to your swimmers if you put the laptop on a table. And keep your genitals exposed to the cool outdoor air as often as possible. My God! That homeless guy on the subway was right all along.
6 out of 10 people are probably related to him in some way.
Music, love and more from Justin here: The Hot Meals.
For more technology you should probably be wary of, check out 5 Sci-Fi Technologies People Achieved By Hacking the Kinect and 8 Terrifying Robots Now Stalking Your Local Hospital.