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Pilot Says Video Game Gave Him Seizures

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A former Navy pilot claims the video game "Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls IV" gave him a grand mal seizure that caused him to lose his flight status. John Ryan McLaughlin says he was playing the game when its strobe lights gave him "a grand mal seizure for the first time in his life," causing excruciating pain and breaking a bone.

McLaughlin, a former F-18 pilot, says the seizures caused him to permanently lose his flying status.

The game is made by lead defendant Bethesda Softworks, of Rockville Md. McLaughlin also sued its corporate parent, Zenimax Media, and Sony Computer Entertainment, which makes the Playstation 3 system on which he was playing the game when he was affected, on March 28, 2010.

McLaughlin says the seizures were caused by the defective product: "The product was so designed that it exceeded the upper acceptable limit of more than 3 flashes over a 1 second period, as well as acceptable spatial pattern and luminance flash limits. These risks were not made known to the plaintiff and/or an ordinary consumer prior to the time of purchase."

He says, "The defective and dangerous condition of the product, and that it was unsafe for the use and purpose for which it was intended when used by certain consumers as recommended, was expected and reasonably anticipated by the defendants, and each of them, or in the exercise of ordinary and reasonable care should have been known and discovered by defendants, and each of them."

He seeks punitive and damages for negligence, breach of warranty, and product liability. He is represented by Dennis Minna of Santa Ana.

Similar problems were reported in Japan in 1997, when fast, repetitive strobelike effects in the "Pokemon" cartoon series were blamed for sending hundreds of children to hospitals with seizures and seizure symptoms.

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