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Beware: Video gaming can cause injury

December 15, 2006 19:12 IST

Probably the only criticism that video games haven't faced till now is that they causes physical harm.

Now, thanks to game-makers Nintendo, that has also changed.

Here's what the problem is: Nintendo's latest revolutionary Wii console -- which will compete with Sony's Playstation3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 -- was launched in November 2006, with a first-of-its-kind Wii remote.

This remote is a handheld pointing device that can sense motion and rotation 3-D. For example, if you are playing a tennis game, all you need to do is strap the Wii remote to your arm and you are all set to swing away and pulverise your opponents with that lethal forehand.

As soon as the Wii console hit the stores, a website called Wii Damage ( came up.

It predicted many problems that will arise. In it's post with pictures from the Wii's instruction manual, the site, asked: 'Is the modern living room the place to be swinging your arms around like you're John McEnroe on centre court, chipping like Tiger on the 18th hole or shakin'it like Andre 3000? Sounds like a lot of fun, and clearly this is going to bring in new gamers, but what about the potential missile you'll be holding, the Wii remote?'


Soon, it turned out that the site's fears were real, as news about Nintendo's guinea pigs – its ad sales girls with no gaming experience – had a go with the Wii remote and soon, the remote slipped from one girl's hand and dented the office wall!

Soon pictures started flooding in from gamers. Broken appliances in living rooms, bruised kids and girlfriends with black eye. Another web site even had pictures of a girl who dislocated her knee because she was playing tennis on the Wii with her high heels on!

As pictures showing gamers with a range of self-inflicted injuries flooded in, the Wall Street Journal even coined a name for the new ailment: Wii elbow.


The American Chiropractic Association has taken the unusual step of offering advice to Wii users, recommending that they warm up by stretching and take frequent breaks.

Nintendo is reported to have started shipping remotes with stronger straps and has also started sending e-mail reminders to Wii players to hold on tight to the control and warning them against extreme movement. If your hands become moist, stop and dry your hands," the company has had to emphasise.


Wii: Pronounced like the pronoun 'We' this low cost gaming console is a rival of the Playstation3 and the Xbox 360. Comes with a first-of-its-kind motion-sensitive remote control that senses motion and rotation.

Wiimote: The nickname for the Wii remote in gaming parlance

Wii scars: black eyes, cut fingers and bruised heads and any other cuts and bruises, inflicted on self or others while playing.

Wii elbow: The Wall Street Journal's term for the ailment due to over-exertion caused by playing tennis on Wii.