It would be a great name for a rock album, but its actually the formal name for what causes some video games to have seizure warnings as part of the loading process. I learned it from this fantastic article. In case you were thinking it was a dry medical article, here’s a snippet:
The reason, is that only year before, the first ever case of epilepsy triggered by a video game was reported. It was named ‘Space Invader epilepsy’ because it was triggered by the arcade game Astro Fighter and the neurologist clearly didn’t know the difference between the original arcade classic and one of the cheap knock-offs.
The article goes on to argue that the idea that video games can cause seizures is a bit misleading. In fact, the medical science now knows that what really happens is that certain sequences or lights, sound, or even emotion, can trigger a seizure in those who have a pre-existing condition call reflex epilepsy.
One commenter does bring up a good point though – just because the condition is pre-existing doesn’t mean the person knows about it, and suggests that the onus is sill on the game developer to avoid triggering a reaction. (Something I would think is difficult if its as individualized as it seems to be from the initial literature I read).
Anyway, what do you think? Are early medical journal articles like this the beginnings of video games bad rap sociologically, or a reminder of real problems that the industry needs to be working on?