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UK tabloid attacks Nintendo over epilepsy

The Sun talks to "top brain expert".

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The Sun, the biggest-selling daily tabloid newspaper in Britain, has published a report quoting a "top brain expert" who calls for Nintendo games including Mario Kart: Double Dash to be banned on the grounds of causing epileptic fits.

Speaking to the tabloid, Aston University's head of clinical neuro-psychology, Professor Graham Harding, said that "we need guidelines like those in broadcasting to make sure games with flashing light patterns that have the potential to cause an attack are eliminated."

The Sun reports that the professor wants to see the games - with Mario Kart: Double Dash highlighted as the key culprit - banned, although comments made elsewhere by Harding call for warnings on the packaging of the games, and new safety guidelines for the games industry.

The other games which include the specific light patterns that can trigger epileptic fits are Nintendo's Metroid Prime and Super Mario Sunshine and Capcom's Megaman X; according to Harding, these titles have the potential to trigger epileptic fits in one in 4000 people.

This isn't the first time that Nintendo has come under fire for having light sequences in its games which can induce epileptic fits; the firm has previously defended court actions on the topic, and has been accused of knowingly shipping products which contained the offending light sequences.

Most games sold around the world today, including Nintendo products, carry guidelines for use which include explicit instructions for sufferers of epilepsy; however, Harding is calling for more clear guidance to be included on the packaging for the game, not just in the manual.

In a statement made to The Sun for today's article, a Nintendo spokesperson said that "video games do not cause epilepsy," going on to explain that "a small percentage of the population has a pre-existing neurological tendancy to have seizures triggered by flashing lights or patterns."

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