Professional athletes have to put up with a lot, not least of which is the always-present risk of injury. Not only are these painful, but they prevent the athlete from playing the game.

I've never been an MLG gamer, and probably never will be, but I have to imagine that, like a football player worries about a season-ending knee injury, pro gamers must fear carpal tunnel syndrome.

You're not winning a Halo tournament with this thing strapped to your wrist.

I spend a lot of my free time gaming, and over spring break a few weeks ago (during which I had a great deal of free time), my left wrist and thumb began to hurt.

Obviously I needed to rest my hand, but when I put down the controller I didn't know what to do with my free time. Being a social recluse (and my friends being out of town besides that) I decided to game around the injury.

Before I go any further, let me say this: If you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome, quit playing video games and see a doctor. I did not do this, but that does not mean you should do what I did. I am not a medical professional. I am an idiot. (If you want serious carpal tunnel advice, check out GI's Health Week article about it.)

I kept gaming, but I still didn't want to use my left hand more than I had to. So I ended up playing these games, which are perfectly playable with only one hand.

Full House Poker

This game still has its share of bugs, but as a poker fan I couldn't pass up on buying it when it came out a few weeks ago. The game has a lot of good things going for it, though. Namely that it can be played with one hand.

All the table actions (bet, call, fold, etc.) are controlled by the face buttons. The only game-important function on the left side of the controller is the left bumper, which is only used for lowering bets. As long as I didn't accidentally move the meter too high when I was setting a bet amount, this game didn't require the use of my left hand at all.

Scene It? Box Office Smash!

This game comes with four buzzers that look like remote controls. Which means you only need one hand to play it. It's even advertised on the box art.

I don't pop this game in often, but an achievement-hoarding friend had rented it and wanted to get 10 online wins really quick. I needed that achievement too, so we connected online and played 20 games together. (During which time we probably saw every question in this game twice.)

You Don't Know Jack

Also playable with big button pads. Way more fun than Scene It, too. I was actually pretty sad when I realized I was almost out of new episodes to play. Good thing a new DLC pack just came out.

Pokemon White

This game is actually partially responsible for my injury in the first place. However, the gameplay is turn-based, and in the game world you never really need to use the D-pad and the face buttons at the same time. So I put my DS on a desk and played it all with my right hand. It took a little longer to get things done, but as I mentioned before, time was a luxury I had.

Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers

Like Pokemon, this game is best played with both hands. Also like Pokemon, you don't really need to use both hands at once. This whole game is just a matter of highlighting cards with the control stick and selecting them with A. There is no turn timer against the computer, so I played this game the same way I played Pokemon.


My hand is starting to feel a bit better, although the pain does still flare up from time to time. I'm just glad I'm not a professional gamer. This injury would have cost me a lot of practice time.