Overwatch has always felt off to me. Somehow, it is both still new but also really old. At the same time. And while I wouldn’t call it a spiritual successor for Team Fortress 2, Overwatch has done some pretty cool things. It has a unique e-sports scene, a ton of heroes and a pretty fair model for lootboxes. And the gameplay is somewhat reminiscent of a chaotic TF2 server.
Yet, unfortunately, I have never been able to experience any of this.
I literally can’t play Overwatch.
I promise, I’ve tried. As of writing, I even have Overwatch installed. But I simply cannot actually play the game. After about five minutes of playing, I lose the ability to concentrate and I start to get a headache. If I ignore that headache, it gets worse and worse until I stop. After I stop playing Overwatch, the headache gradually fades away.
The headaches are pretty bad as well, mostly behind the eyes. If I haven’t been playing for long (less than 5 minutes) then the headaches do fade as soon as I turn the game off. But no matter what, if I play, I get a headache. It’s pretty awful.
Can’t watch it either.
The bigger problem is that this translates to watching Overwatch as well. I discovered this after watching aabicus’s recordings of Overwatch, as well as the cool livecasts he did for smaller leagues. However, I can get away with watching for longer. It takes about 15 minutes for the headaches to start, but that’s mostly because I can look away for brief periods of time.
However, watching people’s streams is still tricky. One start-up group I follow, a bunch of nice guys called Squad Goals, often use Overwatch on their game nights since “everyone has it”. Sadly, I often sit these nights out (or lurk in their discord voice chat). I simply can’t deal with the headaches. If I take a five minutes on, five minutes off approach, I can watch more videos in one sitting. But at that point, I wonder why I’m bothering.
I don’t really know what causes it.
I’m frankly at a loss as to why Overwatch gives me such bad headaches. In fact, it’s pretty much the ONLY game to give me headaches in a repeatable manner. Sure, I’ve had headaches playing other games. Destiny 2 also gave me headaches until I turned the settings down and turned Bloom off. Warframe almost certainly causes headaches if I play for more than 2 hours without taking a break.
However, I do think it’s multiple things, all happening at once. Overwatch IS a very bright and flashy game. Even with bloom turned off and settings turned low, there is a LOT going on all at once. But I believe the biggest culprit is the HUD. The HUD is insanely flashy and draws my attention all over the place. Every time someone dies, there’s a flash of white or red. The HUD is also a rather bright white too. Combined with everything else that’s going on, it becomes a recipe for disaster.
It’s a real shame though. I do think Overwatch is pretty neat, and I’d probably actually play it if it didn’t cause me pain. But I’ve kinda moved on from competitive PvP, that boat has sailed.