Hurts so good: Kevin Allen’s love-hate relationship with video game hockey

SHARE Hurts so good: Kevin Allen’s love-hate relationship with video game hockey

A 12-year-old girl recently walked into a Swiss hospital with intensely painful sores on her palms.

Doctors figured out was wrong, and put a name to it — “PlayStation palmar hidradenitis.” She’d been playing too much Playstation 3.

I’m embarrassed to admit, I feel her pain — although my symptoms aren’t as severe, and I haven’t actually been diagnosed.

It all has something to do with my “puck window.” You see, everyone has a puck window. Unfortunately, mine has been negatively affecting my ability to work for the past couple of weeks.

The puck window — for the uninitiated — is a term a few

friends I grew up with coined to describe the time you’re available to play

each other online in the EA Sports hockey video game “NHL 09” for the

Playstation 3 console.

There’s no doubt that the bone-crushing hits I routinely administer with Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell during my puck window have resulted in a blister on my right thumb. And the wicked dekes I break out with winger Kris Versteeg have left me with a chronic dull pain in my left palm.

Sure, I don’t share the little girl’s “series of sweat- and stress-induced lesions.” But the bottom line is: I’m 29 years old, and I have a video game

injury.

I know what you may be thinking, and I fully realize that

playing online video games against my buddies with any regularity removes

“dateable” from the list of words many women would use to describe

me.

But I grew up suffering through the original eight-bit

Nintendo, graduating to 16 exciting bits of Sega Genesis, and then to Nintendo

64 and Playstation 2 in college. I’ve had them all, but none have I loved more

than the Playstation 3.

If I didn’t fully embrace the fluid gameplay, insane

graphics and general amazingness of this console, I’m afraid a childhood

version of myself would find a way to travel to the future and punch present-day

me in the face.

But I can’t help but wonder while typing this very article

with my poor, pained hands, is it worth it? (Don’t worry — I know the answer

to this question.)

Thankfully, there’s a cure: Stop playing. At least for a while.

Nina Goad, of the British Association of Dermatologists told

the BBC: “If you’re worried about soreness on your hands when playing a

games console, it might be sensible to give your hands a break from time to

time, and don’t play excessively if your hands are prone to sweating.”

A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

reiterated Goad’s (and my mother’s, for that matter) advice: “As with any

leisure pursuit there are possible consequences of not following common sense,

health advice and guidelines, as can be found within our instruction

manuals.”

There you have it. I’m loath to admit that I’m suffering the

consequences of not following common sense.

The good news is that spring is a few weeks away, bringing

reasons to go outside. However, as I watch my puck window close, I can sense

that the release of the intriguing baseball offering “MLB 09: The

Show” will coincide with the opening of a brand new, equally destructive

window.

Playstation rash: high scores, red lesions [Globe and Mail]

Game consoles cause ‘skin sores’ [BBC News]

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