I’ll be getting Mirror’s Edge for the PS3 this weekend, and I’m really looking forward to playing it seeing if it’ll make me vomit. In Mirror’s Edge, I’ll be a sexy Asian woman (that’ll be a nice for a change) making use of parkour to deliver black-market messages in a locked-down, police state.
I’ll be running on rooftops some 40 stories in the air, leaping across vertigo-inducing gaps, tight-rope walking on pipes, and wall running like the Prince of Persia, all the while being chased down by the cops who’d loved to pop a cap in my ass. All this frenetic action may cause discomforting simulation sickness and result in me bringing up the pizza lunch I had earlier.
Only 15 minutes into the game, Clive Thompson over at Wired.com said that his mouth began overproducing saliva, and he had to pause the action for a few seconds to avoid carsickness. Other FPS games hadn’t affected him in this way, and he thinks Mirror’s Edge felt so visceral because it is the first game to hack into his proprioception.
According to wikipedia, proprioception is a sense of one’s own body – it is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other.
Most FPS games don’t create a proper sense of proprioception because you can’t see all the limbs of your character and can’t get a sense of the dimensions of your in-game body. In Mirror’s Edge, however, you can see your arms pumping up and down as you run, and your legs come into view when you make a jump. Clive says the game is not merely graphically realistic; it’s neurologically realistic. He feels he is the character, there is a strong sense of physicality, and the speed at which his character moves now means something and affects his brain as if he were really travelling at speed.
In any case, when I eventually get to play Mirror’s Edge, I’ll have my bucket nearby in case of emergency ;)
You can read Clive’s article on Mirror’s Edge and proprioception at Wired.com.