I’m Sorry, I Can’t Come To Work Today, I Hurt Myself Playing Nintendo!


When I mention “Nintendo Thumb”, all of the old school gamers know what I am talking about.  The symptoms are the blisteringparaesthesia and swelling of the thumbs, mainly through use of the use o the directional pad.

As much as I love the classic Nintendo controller, it was actually pretty dangerous for gamers.  It was not ergonomic, and its boxy, hard edges put a lot of strain on your hands.  The D-pad and buttons were not the easiest repeatedly push, especially when playing button mashing games such as Track & Field.  But we wore our blisters like trophies. 

Today’s controllers are built for performance and comfort. Sure you can still strain a thumb or finger by gaming hard, but I believe it is less likely today that yesterday.  I remember a local Video Rental store that used to sell rubber thumb protectors to save your thumbs from harm.  They came in Purple, Red, and Blue and slipped over your thumb.  I actually wore through at least three of them before giving up on them all together.

As controllers got better, the term nintendo thumb seemed to fade away only to be reincarnated as “texting thumb.  Now that most phones are going touch screen I would expect that are thumbs are living in a safer place.  Have you ever hurt yourself while gaming?  What happened and how did you do it?

Essel Pratt has spent his life exploring his imagination and dreams. As a Husband and a Father, he doesn't have as much time to write as he would like. However, his mind is always plotting out his next story. Someday he hopes to quit the 9-5 grind and focus on writing full time. Currently, Essel has three published short stories and is working on a handful of novels. Essel focuses his writings on mostly Horror/Sci-Fi, however is known to add a dash of other genres into his writings as well. In his spare time, he can be found playing one of the 40+ video game consoles in his collection, especially his Wii U (NNID: EsselPratt). Click the links below to follow Essel's exploits in the writing world, and be sure to follow his blog at http://esselpratt.blogspot.com/ as well as his articles on Nerdzy.com.


  1. The front-loader NES controller does suck. That’s why I’m glad -and probably why- Nintendo released the Dogbone controller with the top-loading NES. I find it to be perfectly shaped.

    And if the NES gave you “Nintendo Thumb,” then the N64 definitely gave you “Nintendo Palm.” I have scars on each of my hands, not from being totally awesome, but from playing Mario Party. Friction-burned a good two layers of skin off my right hand from the bloody 1v3 mingame with the raft and the Shy Guys poking you with spears. Gah…

  2. NES gave Nintendo Thumb. N64 gave Nintendo Palm. Wii tried to give me Nintendo Shoulder when I was over-competitive playing tennis.

    Gaming is slowly killing me.

  3. The 3DS gives me a hand cramp when I play Mario Kart. Labor of love.

  4. I fear the day when a Nintendo Hernia is something we talk about…thank goodness the Wii U looks to be going back to controllers!

  5. Why yes, I have hurt myself gaming.

    Speed run in Super Metroid on the SNES… Nintendo thumb. Despite the perfectly-designed dogbone, the fight with Ridley when you’ve only got three energy tanks is very… intense.

  6. I hate the PS3 D-pad. Gave me the biggest blister after playing Super Street Fighter 4. I hated that game since