Astigmata: Suffering In A 3D World

Good luck with that, eye-freaks.

Do you care about 3D? As a broken-eyed freak-child, it only makes me feel lonely and left out of the new club for cool kids. Are all games going to start to demand I wear a pair of fetching specs that cause my astigmatism to drill a headache into the centre of my brain? Activision today announces that COD: Black Ops will support 3D play on all systems, so long as you have a 3D TV (which would make you of about seventeen people in the country) or a 3D card that supports it for your PC (much more likely). Presumably there’s a lot of people that want it. But I’m not yet convinced.

I’ve not tried this rapidly flicking shutter tech that’s replacing the blue/green/whatever colour. Perhaps it would work splendidly for me, revealing games in spectacular extend-o-vision, letting me feel as if I were right in the thick of the action, surrounded by the imaginary world. Except, well, I already do. I don’t spend my time playing games with my conscious screaming at me, “YOU’RE LOOKING AT A MONITOR!” I forget that almost instantly (until the game generously offers me the information that it’s “loading” every few seconds).

But I suspect it wouldn’t. I have a rubbish eye. My left eye was born rugby ball-shaped. An astigmatism. Something that I wouldn’t learn wasn’t called “a stigmatism” until my 30s, I can proudly tell you. (Because apparently I was willing to accept that my eyeball had been nailed to a cross, or something.) However, my right eye couldn’t be better. Like the International Prototype Kilogram in the basement in Sèvres, France, my right eyeball is that by which all standards of good vision are measured. It compensates for all of Lefty’s failings in day-to-day life, without boasting or need for credit, letting me see clearly, and binocularly. My right eye is a true hero. But he can’t offer me pretend 3D.

I like to remind myself that my binocular vision affords me extraordinary three-dimensional vision at all times other than when staring at a screen. But even then, I’ve yet to find myself completely bemused by the picture being flat. It seems, in fact, that my brain interprets the depth of field completely splendidly. Rarely have I sat watching a television shouting, “BUT WHO IS BEHIND WHO?! WHY ISN’T HE BANGING INTO THAT TINY CATHEDRAL? HOW COME THEY’RE NOT GETTING WET FROM THE SEA FLOATING ABOVE THE SAND?”

The over-quoted moment (this link works in the UK, but not the US, but this link works in the US, but not the UK – HAHAHA COPYRIGHT) from Father Ted, as Ted explains to Dougal the difference between small toy cows, and cows that are far away, amply illustrates the lack of complexity when it comes to understanding perspective. We could choose to become confused about why the corridor in the FPS gets smaller, and how come the enemies are so small when they walk into it, but even parodying this thought is incredibly difficult without using the word “further”.

Of course, this also means I’ve not been able to enjoy the Things Poking Toward The Audience genre of film, which means I’ve missed out on so very many classics. Presumably while others are having their breath taken away by a game’s introductory cutscene pointing a gun toward their faces, I’ll be simply seeing a gun being gestured toward the screen, which I will have to wildly interpret as being intended to be about me.

But I’m not alone. I can do binocular vision, but I can’t translate that into viewing two individual images and converging them into one. Estimates show that I’m among around 10%-12% of the population (here, here and here). That’s six million people. Of the RPS crowd, three out of the four of us have eye problems that make 3D difficult, or impossible. It certainly gives us all headaches.

No, I’m not about to go on some lunatic crusade, defending the rights of the rubbish-eyed. Because by that logic all games, television, film, magazines, books, paintings and indeed light and its refraction by objects should be banned, because lots of people are blind. But it does suggest that it’s not perhaps the best direction for all media to embrace, if it’s going to take out a tenth of your potential audience.

Of course, it’s equally unlikely that any publishers will be so astronomically stupid as to release 3D-only games. And of course, games have had 3D options for many years. They don’t make much fuss about it, but if you’ve a pair of red/blue glasses, and eyes that can be bothered to work properly, you could enjoy Trackmania with the loop the loops extending out of your monitor.

But there’s no doubt that 3D is having its era. Possibly not for the purest of motivations. Films are increasingly released in two versions, and often with the be-glassed version the definitive. And it’s profitable. Avatar has now made over seventy trillion billion dollars, despite being about the Smurfs. But a conspiracist (or realist) would point out that perhaps a reason behind this movement might be to get cinemas to convert to digital projectors, thus saving the studios a lot of money on expensive film, and once that’s done they’ll go back to making films in sensible two dimensions. And gaming is trying in various ways, with Nintendo’s 3DS appearing sometime early next year, and, of course, the PS3. The PS3’s big motivation is, naturally, money. If Sony can get all films and games onto BluRay, they’re sorted, and pushing 3D TVs to accommodate this is in their interests. Which they just happen to manufacture.

See – you 3D liking idiots are being tricked by The Man! Don’t you see? Everyone, don’t take this! Poke out an eye! Join us half-blinds in our revolution against the evil corporate schemes!

Or maybe I’m just jealous because I see a blue smeary mess and then have to take a paracetamol. I mean – I can force myself to see what 88% of people are seeing for a few seconds, by straining incredibly hard, and I get it – it looks quite fun. Then I collapse and recover in hospital. Although, let’s be honest, no one’s experiencing things in crisp, perfect clarity, are they? 3D is still very washed of colour, no matter which method is used. Is it really good enough to replace the pseudo-3D our brains are so fantastic at interpreting?

Also, everyone looks stupid wearing those glasses.


  1. Spoon says:

    I will only start caring about 3d when it becomes glasses free. I already wear vision correcting glasses, and really don’t want to do the whole double-glasses thing.

    • subedii says:

      This is pretty much the standard response I’m seeing everywhere.

      For any number of reasons, until 3D can be done without the glasses, it’s not really likely to catch on. Companies are just trying to push it because the need some means of pushing more expensive hardware, and they’re hoping this catches on.

      I mean for PC gaming specifically, graphics card sales are stagnating somewhat because games no longer require the latest and greatest graphics cards. Nobody’s really pushing system specs and you can quite happily play the latest games with old hardware.

      Which is why I suspect Nvidia want to push 3D so hard. All of a sudden your framerate’s halved and you need some hefty graphical muscle to do what is essentially 2x the image processing. They need something to drive more hardware sales, and they’re hoping this is it. Console developers looking to develop 3D titles don’t need to do much to make a title 3D compliant, but with the huge resource strain, consoles would also (finally) need to move on to next gen hardware in order to keep visual quality whilst still pushing 3D graphics.

      3DS is the only approach I’m seeing on the horizon that’s really likely to take off, at least for the time being.

    • Arthur Barnhouse says:

      Even the 3DS doesn’t look that good, because you have to be looking at it from the correct angle in order to have the 3D effect work. Which means you can’t really show a friend something on the thing. And I don’t know about you, but I tend to not sit rigidly still when I play games.

    • subedii says:

      It probably won’t work for multiple people, but from what I’ve read from people that used it, the viewing angle is actually pretty generous, and you don’t need to be “sitting static” in order for it to work. Hence why I think it’s a much better proposition that what else is currently being pushed.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      What, you mean this? link to

    • karry says:

      3D ? I still dont see why everybody were so quick to jump on that useless widescreen wagon. I mean, whats the freaking point ? Yeah, you see more, but you see worse, since the further from the eyes focus – the less sharp you percept it.
      And HD ? As if anyone REALLY wanted to see pimples on that news anchor’s face. Progress in the name of progress, indeed.

    • Barman1942 says:


      You’ve gotta be joking. The human eye sees in widescreen, we have about a “90 field-of-view” if you will. Viewing, or playing, anything in 4:3 cuts off your periphery.

    • Carra says:

      @Subedii. Interesting point. If Nvidia & Ati can push the 3D then there will indeed be a reason to get a new graphics card. My three year old 8800GT still manages to play all games so no real reason to upgrade.

    • Joshua says:

      But. You know. IT CAN BE DONE WITHOUT GLASSES. It could be done without glasses since 1946. You can do it on those holographic 3d picture things which can be adapted for film format. But all the methods apperently have some perks which makes them not very awesome (The 1946 3d without glasses required you to sit still. And completely sit still. Because otherwise the effect would be lost.). But all of them have a great potential, but for some reason, nobody wants to develop them further…

  2. Alaric says:

    The whole 3D bru-ha-ha is idiotic in my opinion.

  3. Rich says:

    My eyes!

  4. Malkar says:

    Haha, I remember when Trackmania came out, I was visiting a friend on the other side of the country. We ran around town searching for the plastic red/blue film to make 3d glasses. >_>

    • iainl says:

      Ah, some of us were lucky enough to pick up the fancy version with the glasses in the box. Which we then used for 10 minutes before announcing that the eyestrain and lack of colour wasn’t worth the effort.

  5. RQH says:

    My eyes! My eyes! That screenshot is murder!

    Also, I recall sitting in at the story panel at QuakeCon this year when someone asked the panel what they thought of 3D. Emil Pagliarulo’s immediate response: “I fucking HATE it.” To cheers. Seriously, is there anyone (except hardware manufacturers) who wants this (in its current state)?

    • Ozzie says:

      My uncle. I think I tried it out for a short time, but it didn’t blow away exactly.
      Eye strain can be the cause of bad syncing. Not that I have a clue though. ;)

  6. gryffinp says:

    I’ve often wondered about this about the oncoming rush of 3-D imagery. Theoriteically, it shouldn’t be much of a problem in video games, as any SANE AND REASONABLE developer would include a non-3d option and as we all know SANE AND REASONABLE developers are the norm rather than the exception.

    Anyway, I don’t like 3d because I have to wear real glasses and I feel really stupid with two pairs on over on another.

  7. Linfosoma says:

    This entire generation is making me feel old, 3D, games that force you to stand up and wave your arms around, just I want to sit down and press buttons.

    Also, considering how popular FPS are Im surprised nobody came up with functional Virtual reality glasses, it can’t be that hard to pull off with current tech.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Uuum, they are there. They are just still expensive. Because still nobody buys them. Because still they are expensive. Because still nobody buys them. Because… most humans are incredibly short-sighted retards.

    • Rich says:

      Oh and I suppose the fact that they’re consistently shit has nothing to do with it.

    • Matt says:

      Well we can’t ALL be Mr. The Plague with our fancy virtual goggles and safety cage-ring to play in.

  8. netsukemonkey says:

    Brilliant article

    I tried the whole 3D thing at Eurogamer – was a little underwhelmed and felt a little headachy afterwards. Noticed a few other people rubbing their eyes after using as well. But then again I have an astigmatism as well (which also meant the whole 1990’s Magic Eye thing was a waste on me)

    • Malagate says:

      @netsukemonkey, surely you mean “Magic Eye is a waste.” Indeed, it is a waste for all.

      Also what’s really got my goat about this 3D stuff recently is that it’s old. Still the same bloody glasses I was wearing as a kid to view my telegraph Jurassic Park Raptor poster with. Still the same headache after a while. Still the same blurry pictures when you move your head a bit. I would only support it if they can promise it will lead to hologram technology.

  9. Rich says:

    My Walker we are clearly cut from the same cloth. I was born with a cataract in my left eye that mean I can’t even see 3D in real life. I personally consider it a bonus in gaming, because, apart from the inability to move my head to slightly change perspective, the worlds presented to me on screen are as 3D (or not) as the real world.

    If this 3D craze goes anywhere though I might have to start living in the sewer with the other cycloptic mutants.

    • Rich says:

      Reading on, it seems though we may be cut from the same cloth, I have more frayed edges.
      You’re nothing but a Normal!

    • DrGonzo says:

      Games give a far better 3d effect in my opinion(without any glasses or effects I mean). Avatar and the like don’t look 3d in the slightest to me, it’s just like a pop up kids book.

    • TNO says:

      I’m sure all the color blind people in the world felt the same way when color film and TV came out.

      “It’s not like we had trouble understanding the sky when we saw it. Why did they have to make it blue? What does that really add to the experience?”

      I’m not trying to be combative, but I find it hypocritical when the same audience that screams “games are so misunderstood! Why must the grumpy world crusade against them just because they don’t like them?” is so hostile to a new technology. I don’t think 3D is particularly well done yet, but I think that (like color and sound before it) it will become a new tool in the box of game and film makers. Over time they will become more subtle and intelligent about using it, and it will create unique experiences.

      Some people will be left behind, it’s sad but inevitable. Just like some people were left behind by the move to color:
      link to

  10. a says:

    I’m with you John. I have a lazy eye and 3D doesn’t work for me either. Fuck the binocs, I thought Avatar was a horrible movie in two dimensions anyway. =p

    • subedii says:

      I didn’t mind Avatar as a film, but I don’t see why everyone holds it up as the representative of 3D films, I don’t think the 3D really worked all that well in it.

      For long-distance shots it did give a really nice sense of depth, and I could potentially see its usefulness there. But for most of the film I was just seeing double images of tonnes of stuff that was in the fore-ground or background of what was being focussed on. This is especially prevalent in forest scenes where you’d get things like plants clipping into the foreground and you’d see them as double-images.

      It just didn’t really work for me. Might’ve maybe worked for a slower paced film, like Moon. Or else something that stuff to showcasing sweeping vistas and didn’t need to get close to anything.

    • Sucram says:

      I have a bad right eye. After donning my 3D glasses I always find myself trying to squint with my left eye to try to make it as rubbish as the right one.

    • Dave says:

      After seeing Avatar in 3D, I wanted to see it in 2D so I could tell what people’s faces actually looked like. But the hype eventually wore down my desire to bother going to the cinema again.

  11. DrGonzo says:

    At university we had a projection suite with a bunch of the shutter goggles. We had to learn how to make 3d animations, which was fun. However, watching them was horrific. Wearing them on top of my normal glasses was uncomfortable. Worst of all though they make you feel ill, not like how some people say polarised 3d glasses make them sick. About 30 -40% of the people who used them felt ill.

    It’s a shame because they gave the best 3d effect I’ve ever seen. Though I am not really a fan of it. Games, films and pictures already give depth, they are already 3d. This is just a gimmick that gives you several 2d planes layered on top of each other, which actually makes it less 3d than a normal film.

  12. Bluebreaker says:

    Without having any eye defect, watching these 3d things gives me a strong headache.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Apparantly getting headaches from it is a sign you DO have an eye defect and you should go to the opticians and get it checked out.

      Makes me get a headache too though, and as I wear glasses I get my eyes tested regularly and they have never said I have any problems other than short sightedness.

  13. bbot says:

    This video contains content from MyVideoRights (MVR), who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

    This video works in the US, though I don’t know if it contains the same scene in your linked video. They have the same title, at least.

  14. Nallen says:

    3D TV looks pretty crap even if your eyes are fine. As stated above it looks like a pop up book, a bunch of 2D layers. So yeah, don’t fret.

    • sinister agent says:


      It adds nothing to the film and takes something from your wallet. I am highly skeptical of having it ported to games.

  15. Ian says:

    I can’t read about 3D games/movies etc. without remembering one of the Radio 1 DJs sending somebody into the streets to ask people if they think it’d be cool if they could see in 3D all the time.

    And them finding a worrying number of people who were like, “Yeah that’d be pretty cool!”

  16. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Never cared about 3d. Ive been amazed at how well your monitor does it, while it is in of itself, flat.

    I dont care if they release the glasses for free. If i had a pc and monitor and the glasses all perfectly capable of running it, i still wouldnt.
    A load of extra work for a dimension is dont miss.

  17. Pete says:

    I have a laptop which came free with the NVIDIA 3D shutter glasses kit, and all the drivers pre-installed. Impressively it seems to be able to retrofit itself to some games, e.g. World of Warcraft. But I’ve not used it past the initial playing, as it accelerates eyestrain headaches and doesn’t really add much.

    The lack of “depth of field” effects – everything in focus even though they are supposed to be at different depths – doesn’t help either.

  18. Brumisator says:

    I can’t wait for the 3DS, but as far as glasses-3D goes, meh.

    BTW, I intent to sublimely ignore the upcoming rererererererelease of Star Wars in 3D.
    Go die in a fire, Georges Lucas, or time-travel back to the 70s-80s or something.

  19. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    I was standing watching someone play killzone 3 in 3d at eurogamer and it took me good five minutes to realise that it was the TV that was fucking about rather than my hangover.

    Kermode on 3D

  20. Artist says:

    Does anybody remember how often they now tried to shove that 3D-stuff down the monkey’s throat? Maybe it works this time…? Or the next time…??

  21. BizSAR says:

    I have astigmatism in my left eye as well. I don’t get a headache per-se, but after about 20 minutes (which is as long as I’ve checked out the 3D shutter glasses), it feels as if I’ve been crossing my eyes the whole time.

    I think 3D games are a bit overwhelming…at first it detracts from the game (“Wow! Look at those cool…BAM!”), then, your brain tends to forget the 3D. Anyone that watched Avatar in 3D knows that there are parts where you forget it is in 3D. You brain just follows the storyline. Games are the same way. After some time of being fully focused in game play (FPS’ especially), you tend to forget it is in 3D (until the headache kicks in for many).

    Basically, I feel it is one of those “gee-whiz” features that will not go really mainstream.

  22. James G says:

    I tried out Nvidia’s 3D offering at the Eurogamer Exo, and was very disappointed. Not only did the glasses loose synch to easily, requiring you to star directly at the IR emitter to get everything working again, but even when things were working they were far from impressive. While it might have been purely psychological the flicker seemed to be perceptible, and the effect broke down somewhat upon rapid movement, loss of light was also disappointing. I’ve had similar experiences with active shuttered approaches from Panasonic. Again, far too much bleed through.

    I’ve had more luck with polarised lenses, which at least work for me. In these cases the effect is fine, although a bit flimsy with near foreground images. Things fall apart a bit when you attempt to look outside the plane of focus, but I admit that I was intentionally trying to hit the limits of the technology at this point. With decent cinematography this shouldn’t be an issue for anyone but stubborn arseholes like me. Oh, and people like John who can’t see to catch the effect at all anyway. (I also have a crap left eye, needs a prism and a strongish prescription. Can’t remember what the issues called, but can only assume that its different to John’s in that ‘buggers up 3D films’ doesn’t appear to by a symptom.) All that said, I’m not sure 3D has added a whole lot to the films I’ve seen, and outside of the initial ‘ooh, 3D’ feeling, that lasts all of three minutes, I’m not sure there’s anything worth paying extra for.

    I am quite interested in what the 3DS looks like though, as I’ve not seen lenticular 3D in effect, outside of those cards you used to get on the back of cereal packets at least. Saw an article yesterday suggesting that Panasonic were demoing a lenticular 3D TV, although how they cope with a wide viewing angle I don’t know.

    • James G says:

      “loose synch to easily”

      Ugh, I really should proofread my comments more.

    • Gah says:

      @James G

      I tried a 3D-TV in a store a while ago and I noticed the glasses flickering too, but only when looking at other light sources than the 3D-TV itself. Polarized lenses have worked very well though.

      But it’s all still immature tech and will likely be perfected as we go. I’m personally very much looking forward to glass-less 3D-TVs.

  23. Heliocentric says:

    The 3d thing means that annoying depth of field can die a death and hopefully once human brains stop instantly processing infinite amounts of information (but only in front of pc’s) the developers can stop adding motion sickness blur to everything.

    • Urael says:

      Motion blur – gah! Why, developers, why? It’s the first thing I turn off in games and my gaming only improves because it’s gone.

      Depth of field I can live with….in moderation, tastefully done.

    • Rich says:

      Motion blur in HL2 Ep3 was pretty good, i.e. mostly unnoticeable. In a lot of other games it’s just way to pronounced. Depth of field is much the same.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah motion blur and dof will be used really well once the novelty has worn off. I do really like DOF in games though, when used correctly it can make a game look far more realistic. When used badly it can make you feel like your on drugs though.

    • Delusibeta says:

      @Heliocentric: Ditto TF2. Honestly, if you can see the motion blur, you’ll be waving your characters head so much his hats will fall off.

    • Mattressi says:

      I can’t stand 3D, DoF or motion blur! I have absolutely nothing wrong with my eyes, but all of those effects strain my eyes and make them water. I just wish developers would stop trying to simulate eyesight in games; my own freaking eyes automatically focus on the bit of the screen that I’m looking at, you don’t need to do it for me! I hate games that have ironsights and blur out everything but the sight picture. IRL I can choose to keep the sights up and move my eyes around, then focus them again on the sights, which is exactly what I can do when they don’t add that blur crap!

      As for 3D, I hope it dies soon. No one I know is really into it, so with any luck it’ll sell so terribly that the manufacturers will stop making it. Avatar was a decent movie, but it would have been a lot better if it wasn’t in 3D. For me, the stain 3D causes on my eyes actually makes me much less engaged in the film/game than a simple 2D screen.

      tldr; Walker, and all astigmatics (that’s what I’ll call you freaks :D), you aren’t missing anything. 3D sucks.

  24. BAReFOOt says:

    Hey, STOP making links, that don’t tell anything about where they link to! You linked to two YouTube videos, and neither of them works for me because of the copydeadchildrapingmassmurderingterrornazisfromhellright.

    So how am I supposed to find out, what to search for now? Remember the web developers’ PROTIP: If you remove all the other content, it must still be clear, where a link goes to!
    Yes, that means that all those “click here” links are epic horrible failures, made by people who are not even remotely professionals, and make a webdev cringe every time he sees them.

    P.S.: Please replace the bad CAPTCHA that is ambigious about the caps more often than not, and replace it by reCAPTCHA.

    • Rich says:

      Well, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

    • mlaskus says:

      His bed seems to have all wrong sides. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a not angry post by him.

  25. oceanclub says:

    I went to “Avatar” and was distinctly underwhelmed by the 3D effort; what you gain in StickyOutyVision, you lose in colour vividness and resolution. I tried the 3D in “Minecraft” and, again, it was just a novelty I turned off after a while. The efforts of the various entertainments industry to foist 3D _as is it now_ on us seems a triumph of greed for a new “standard” (and therefore, more bucks) over technology.


    • Melf_Himself says:

      Really? I think Avatar must be the most vivid, colourful movie I’ve ever seen (I saw it in 3D, obv).

      I mean, the entire plot is a rip-off of Pocahontas. But it looked nuts.

  26. Down Rodeo says:

    I agree with many points raised here but it really helps with football. Having seen some clips when visiting the cinema for the one 3D movie I’ve seen I could see that being a definite benefit.

    But which 3 of 4 RPSers, John? :D

  27. mandrill says:

    I have to say that I’ve seen a few movies in 3d (avatar being by far the most accomplished use of the technology) and reckon that thats where it should stay. At least until we all have rooms where every wall (including floor and ceiling) is a screen and we manipulate whats on them by waving our hands. By which point the clunky and half-cooked 3D tech of today will be redundant anyway

    Its a gimmick designed to sell us hardware and it won’t go away until the uncanny valley is bridged and we get photorealism that is indistinguishable from reality in our games, at which point we’ll see a need for really beefy gfx processors again.

  28. Bascule42 says:

    I can sypathise there….I know Ive always had that eye condition, but with a decent pair of lenses in my specs…its never been anything to worry about. Not one for getting caught up in fads, it was only when our sister in law lent my wife a copy of Final Destination..the new 3d one, with a pair of 3D specs, (the crppy cardboard ones that I had to work onto my head, then try to put my normal specs over the top of), that I discovered that the whole 3D thing was even more worthless to me than I’d thought. I could see some of the 3D effects, but the colour filters dont work right. At the time, I just thought “Meh”. But after a short time it dawned onme that that was it. No 3D gaming. No 3D movies. No 3D.

    Me being me, I simply thought – “Shove it up yer arse then”. And not thought about it since…’till today. Thanks for that John.

  29. zipdrive says:

    Two notes, John:

    1) I’m also mainly using my awesome right eye, as I have a lazy left eue (literally).
    2) 10% of the world population is over 600 million people, not 6 million.

  30. Vinraith says:

    We’ve been through this fad before (in movies and TV, anyway) and we’ll undoubtedly go through it again, but the fact is that 3D doesn’t really add much to these experiences and as long as it requires glasses it’s never going to become a permanent fixture in entertainment. It’s a gimmick, it’ll stay a gimmick until someone makes it more convenient and more worthwhile.

  31. Lucas says:

    My only real desire for a 3D capable display is to have a 120Hz actual image update rate (not just refresh rate or backlight flicker), and not for the 3D mode. When all the glasses come with built-in head tracking to simulate perspective change (like a fake hologram you can look in and around), then I might bother to check them out.

    • Melf_Himself says:

      Shame that you won’t be able to distinguish the refresh rate from your current 60 Hz rate.

    • jarvoll says:

      Er, if you’re referring to the fact that one needs to be far above the minimum specs to get a game to actually produce 120 FPS, then sure. But as any 2nd-year psych student will tell you, most of the structures in your visual pathway right up to about V4 and V5 process visual information at about 120Hz. Perceiving anything at a lower frequency prompts people to *know* (though they might be unable to say why exactly) that what they’re looking at is not real life. This is a robust and generalized phenomenon of human visual systems – see the wiki article on “Blindsight” for another example of more basic visual structures giving us information of which we’re not consciously aware. Unless we view games at 120FPS or higher, our Thalamus (RGN), Superior Colliculi, V1, V2, V3, and a few parts of the ventral visual pathways, will KNOW it, and we’ll have the gut feeling that the game isn’t real.

    • EthZee says:


      There’s a reason that we don’t believe that the things onscreen are actually happening; that’s because they aren’t.

      And I don’t think having a 120Hz display would convince me that anything happening onscreen is real, either; if it did, I imagine most games would become terrifying ordeals as every few seconds you would be ducking out of sight of the scary men pointing guns at you through the box.

  32. BAReFOOt says:

    Am I the only one here, they wouldn’t have put to death or chased out of the city in SPARTAAAAAAA? (Which by the way is a much more fair and rationally sensible morale than our “give the most support to the worst people, because we all want to be like them” fake one of today.)

    • the wiseass says:

      You are well aware that the majority of the world population needs vision correction, right? So clearly you’re in the minority.

  33. AndrewC says:

    Just under 10% of the population has some form of colour blindness too. And, after all, what need do we have for colour when we’ve worked out how to make sense of black & white images perfectly well?

    So what could 3-D, a technology designed to add an extra axis to spatial information, possibly offer a medium that so often relies upon spatial awareness?

  34. Walsh says:

    That screenshot makes me want to vomit

  35. nayon says:

    Wow, so much hate here.

    I own a 3DTV, and I’ve played quite a bit of 3D PS3 games with it, and it’s really awesome. No headache, no dizziness. It’s just a matter of calibrating your TV. Most of you guys probably experienced bad calibration or something.

    It adds a lot to games, and makes them much more exciting. I don’t get all this 3D hate. Maybe some of it is rooted in jealousy? Because I’ve enjoyed every second of my 3D experience.

    I even have astigmatism too, and I can play without my corrective glasses without any strain. I think the issue here is either bad calibration, other factors, or exaggeration in general.

    And no, I didn’t pay millions of dollars for my 3DTV. It was pretty much the same price with regular HDTVs of the same size category. So I don’t know where that comes from either.

    • konrad_ha says:

      Nice try, Sony marketing social media guy.

    • Rich says:

      One functioning eye 3D boy! Count them, ONE!

    • Tom says:

      I’m with you this one Nayon
      3D is freakin aaaawwwweeesome!
      gotta love particle heavy gmes.
      underwater scenes in Bioshock 2 are lovely too.

    • Nallen says:

      Jealousy of what?

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      I like how you completely missed the glaringly obvious part of the article that says that 3D doesn’t work for people with astigmatism.

      But yes, it’s all because of mysterious “calibration” problems, and because we’re jealous. That’s totally it and not the eyesight thing. You got us figured out. We’re so “jealous” that our eyes piss on themselves and purposefully make the image look horrid. That’s how jealous we are.

  36. the wiseass says:

    — As a broken-eyed freak-child, it only makes me feel lonely and left out of the new club for cool kids.

    Don’t worry I feel the same way. Every time I try to watch a 3D movie in cinemas I get a terrible terrible headache after 10 minutes. Also It doesn’t help that I’ve got to wear pretty thick glasses and have to do the “double glasses thing” which is absolutely retarded to be honest.

    I don’t really care about this kind of 3D at all. It’s just a crappy optical illusion. If I want to drive my synapses crazy I’ll just stare at an Escher drawing for a couple of minutes. Give us REAL 3D, then we can talk. Until then, this is just a cheap marketing ploy to sell more hardware stuffs to the already overfed technocratic crowd.

  37. Heliocentric says:

    3D cinema looks great to my eyes btw, no blury mess here.

  38. Pani says:

    I may be able to see the “3D experience” but I have another issue with my peepers.

    I have night blindness and can’t see jack without lights in the dark. I have many hilarious (to others) moments to share about walking into trees whilst camping at night etc but that I can get past. What really bothers me about it is that I cannot see stars.

    It’s the most disheartening thing when on a beautiful clear night, my friends and family exclaim how many millions of magnificent stars they see and all I can do is strain to see 4.

    • Pani says:

      I’ve honestly never had the opportunity to use proper astronomy binocs nor a telescope so I couldn’t tell you if I could see stars through those. I just couldn’t warrant paying for either of these with only the chance that they’d help me see better.

      They all know I can’t see at night, heck, they lead me around enough (or I just grab onto someone). They just forget.

    • Pani says:

      That’s very interesting. Thanks for that information.

      I’ll always keep my eye out for the chance to use a telescope and in the mean time, I’ll dust off the old binocs and try it out.

      As frustrating as it is, I have a lot of respect for the completely blind, and thank God that I can see what I can.

  39. Miker says:

    The goggles!

  40. Segal says:

    It is funny how a lot of people working in games industry have ampbliopia (me being one of those). I’d say instead of 10-12% we have something like 20-30% here. I’ve asked my friends from industry about it and seems that at least one third of them have same problem as me and can’t see 3D properly.

    Makes you wonder about nerd in glasses stereotype :)

  41. ZamFear says:

    We could choose to become confused about why the corridor in the FPS gets smaller, and how come the enemies are so small when they walk into it…

    Reminds me of one room in The Sword in Thief: Dark Project. You walk in, and see 4 corridors leading out of it. Three of them are tricks of perspective, the doors at the other end doll-sized. My first time through, I didn’t catch on until I was right up to one of them.

  42. Ars.Gladius says:

    Ahh, gotta love Foamy the Squirrel.

  43. BaronWR says:

    Bah, the future of 3D is in autostereograms (aka, magic eye)! I saw it in Magic Carpet, so it must be true!

    Seriously, though, the 3D thing is a recurring fad that won’t catch on until it works without glasses (and I suspect even lenticular screens such as the DS use won’t really work for something like a TV).

  44. brio says:

    Woot? I must have missed the release of Ep3….
    btt: crysis i.e. had too much motion blur

  45. RobH says:

    You and me both, John. Not only do I have astigmatisms in BOTH eyes, I also suffer from a problem where my lenses become cone shaped instead of nicely round, which makes this even more problematic.

  46. brio says:

    that supposed to be reply to Heliocentric/Rich…oO

  47. Kieron Gillen says:


    Still doesn’t care enough about it to want to wear those glasses for hours at a time.


  48. konrad_ha says:

    3D-Cinema: acceptable but not something I’d want to have all the time.
    Nvidia-3D-stuff: headache
    3D-TV-screens: laughable

    I can’t believe people would be willing to spend money on this crap. Oh wait, they don’t.