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Rumbling Nintendo Switch controller tipped man off about tumor in his hand

Nintendo Switch review
Nate Barrett/Digital Trends
Nate Barrett/Digital Trends

Like many excited gamers, a programmer from Australia named Chris bought the Nintendo Switch at launch to experience The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. After exploring Hyrule for a number of months, Chris started to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. That’s when he started to feel a strange pain. Remarkably, it seems like the Switch’s HD Rumble feature pointed out a growing tumor in Chris’ hand, according to Kotaku, which did not use Chris’ last name in its story.

As chronicled on Reddit, every time Chris played Mario Kart, he felt a sharp pain radiating from his right palm to his index finger. The pain intensified whenever he picked up the yellow coins littered throughout each track. Snagging a coin is one of the various events that causes the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers to rumble.

Normally a PC gamer, Chris stopped playing the Switch because of the nagging pain and went back to gaming with an Xbox One controller. The pain subsided and so did his worries. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. After a few months, though, a bruise surfaced on his palm where the pain had been.

“Around that time, a few friends pitched in and bought one of our friends a Switch and a few games. I noticed as soon as we played our first race that the pain was a lot worse than it used to be, and it wasn’t really something I could ignore anymore,” Chris said.

He made a doctor’s appointment and was told that something was indeed going on with his hand.

“That was perhaps six months ago, now I’ve got a nice lump sticking out of my palm and everything I do with the hand hurts, but thankfully I’m due for surgery sometime in the next month. So, thanks to the Switch’s HD Rumble I managed to spot a tumor months earlier than I would have otherwise!” he said.

Unlike other game controllers, the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers use a more precise form of feedback through their HD Rumble technology. Vibrations from Joy-Cons can be abrupt, powerful, and oriented to a specific location. Chris did not experience any pain from using an Xbox One controller, which also has a rumble feature.

Thankfully, Chris says that doctors informed him the chances of the anomaly being cancerous are low. Based on an MRI, doctors think it could be either a giant cell tumor or vascular malformation.

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