Navy pilot loses flight status after video game seizure

photosensitive pilot has first seizure from video gameA former Navy pilot permanently lost his flight status after experiencing a seizure while playing the game Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls IV on a Sony Playstation 3. John Ryan McLaughlin, an F-18 pilot based in San Diego, also broke a bone in the incident. McLaughlin has filed suit against the game manufacturer, Bethesda Softworks, and Zenimax Media, its corporate parent, as well as Sony. Read the story here.

Note that pilots are very, very carefully screened for possible seizure disorders–using photic stimulation, which really can’t replicate the visual experience of a video game. I have to wonder how the game forums will respond to this…usually these commenters love to blame the parents of children who have video game seizures, claiming everyone should have anticipated it would happen. This very sobering case involves someone highly trained to defend our country, who’s been tested up and down to detect even the hint of a seizure problem, who now can’t use his flight training anymore. Ever. Are the game forums going to blame a guy who’s been certified seizure-free for not paying attention to a warning in the game’s user manual? Or maybe find his parents responsible?

Read more about lawsuits filed by consumers who experienced seizures from video games.

2 Comments on “Navy pilot loses flight status after video game seizure”

  1. Jovi says:

    While technically it is the games fault, he should not be able to sue by the fact he had a seizure that would have probably happened at some other point from another source. It still is normally the parents fault for not reading the manuals thinking they can sue if they or their children have problems with epilepsy.

    He may have been tested but that does not hide the fact that it can be developed by any person at any age. So as you like to “wonder” how game forums react, we are more intelligent beings than someone who posts news that does not go and do their research automatically blaming us or the games.

    • jsolodar says:

      Since, as you point out, photosensitive epilepsy can emerge at any age, and since games can be designed in a way that is unlikely to trigger seizures, why don’t developers try to limit the seizure risk in their games? Whether or not a user sues is beside the point.

      I’ve visited a number of game forums. As you must be aware, while sometimes the seizure issue is discussed in a respectful way, often it is not.


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