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“Sweaty Hands” or “Why I Hate Touch Screen Gaming”

Illustration for article titled “Sweaty Hands” or “Why I Hate Touch Screen Gaming”
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Time to level with all of you. I have an embarrassing secret. My hands sweat… a lot.


This condition (hyperhidrosis, if you want the fancy medical name) has been a part of me ever since I was a little kid. Luckily, aside from being cripplingly embarrassed whenever I had to hold someone else’s hands (something that happens a lot more in those childhood years than you probably remember), it generally hasn’t affected my life or the things I like to do.

That is until touch screen gaming entered the fray.

When it first started catching on with the Nintendo DS, it wasn’t any problem as you could use the stylus. But as gaming on the iPhone got big and the Vita game out, I began to loath touch screen gaming in general. Of course, this is for one reason only. Because of my sweaty hands, it is nearly impossible to play them.


I don’t know what it is about sweat on a touch screen, but basically, after a few minutes of gaming, the system—be it iPhone, Vita, or Wii U—stops registering your taps. Or, more correctly, it doesn’t stop registering your past taps (as if your finger was still pressing on the screen) so the new ones don’t register either. Worse yet, neither wiping off the screen nor rebooting the system solve the problem. Usually, I have to wait a good ten minutes for the screen to air dry before I can start up again.

Of course, if I am calm and sitting in a cool room, I am usually fine and sweat free, but if there is any kind of exciting action or I am stressing out over a difficult encounter (or if the room temperature is just plain hot), my hands might as well be a fountain.

Now, I do keep a towel handy, but a mere few seconds after drying my hands they are sweaty again. And of course, I use a screen protector but that doesn’t seem to make any difference.

But how bad is it really? Well, I’m generally lucky if I can get through even three wishes in Robot Unicorn Attack 2. And I must have played that final fist fight in Uncharted: Golden Abyss a good dozen times as each time I got near the end of the fight, my swipes stopped registering. But even Zero Escape: Virtues Last Reward—a puzzle game with no time requirements—gave me no end of problems when suddenly I could no longer touch the items I needed to use.


In the end, I hate touch screen gaming as it feels like it is mocking me—saying, “Look at all these fun games you could be playing. Oh, wait! You have sweaty hands. These games are not for you. Go away!”

So, am I doomed to be left behind as touch screen games become more and more widespread? Am I the only one with this problem? Apparently not, as there are many online posts related to sweat and touch screens, particularly about smart phone screens. Some claim that certain brands of screen protectors work better than others. For the condition itself, there are quite a few remedies to consider, including daily medication, botox, or even surgery. So maybe there is hope for sweaty hands gamers like me.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.


To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @BiggestinJapan.

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A Clockwork Burning Chrome

Even non-sweaty hands have oils on them, which is why I don't use touchscreens.

Hard enough time keeping monitors clean as it is.