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Pokemon TCG Live launched not too long ago, replacing the often-complained-about TCG Online. The new version allows trainers to play the card game on their phone and desktop, making it easier than ever to practice with their favorite decks.

But as more trainers have started utilizing the new app, there’s one feature that’s had some in the Pokemon TCG community concerned.

Recently, a competitive Pokemon TCG player shared a Twitch clip in which he reacts negatively to a sudden bright flash that exploded on the screen when Wo-Chien attacked with Forest Blast. The powerful move didn’t just knock out his live Pokemon but also seemed to cause him to wince in pain.

While some Pokemon players responded that the player, SunnyGames, was much too sensitive to play video games, it should be noted that bright and flashing lights can hurt many gamers’ eyes. It’s also a possible cause of seizures if someone has epilepsy.

One in 100 people have epilepsy and only around 3% of people with epilepsy in the world have photosensitive epilepsy, which is when someone with epilepsy has seizures are triggered by certain rates of flashing lights or contrasting light and dark patterns.

Still, this condition has left many cautious about the possibility of a seizure. At movie theaters, you’ll often see warning signs outside of theaters that are showing films that include bright and flashing lights.

Countries in the EU as well as Japan have FCC regulations set in place to ensure that television shows and movies have settings that don’t trigger epileptic seizures, with studies noting that more people have photosensitive epilepsy than previously reported. Now, many people within the epilepsy community are hoping to raise awareness in the United States.

The Long History of Pokemon and Flashing Lights

Unfortunately, Pokemon is not new to this issue. The Pokemon TCG Live attack isn’t the first time that players have reported a potential concern when it comes to epileptic seizures. In 2021, Niantic had to fix its latest update after a player with epilepsy stated that they were “getting sick” from the excessive white flashing lights that would appear when tapping on a wild Pokemon.

Other trainers chimed in on Reddit to claim that they felt similarly due to the flashing lights. Luckily Niantic reacted quite rapidly, issuing a statement that a fix was on the way to remove the feature.

Even wilder, this was also not the first incident where Pokemon was accused of causing seizures. In the original cartoon back in 1997, a Season 1 Episode 38 episode called “Denno Senshi Porygon” was accused of harming children.

In the episode, Ash and his squad are transported inside a Pokemon transmitter machine that takes them to an alternate universe. Inside, they battle the digital Pokemon Porygon used by Team Rocket. When the team defeats Porygon, they are attacked by an anti-virus program that forces Pikachu to counter with his classic Thunderbolt attack.

The dramatic moment includes an interesting animation technique called “paka paka” where two colors are flashed rapidly on the screen. The red and blue flashes allegedly caused thousands of kids to have seizures after the unexpected moment triggered their photosensitive epilepsy.

Here is the moment in question — remember it will have extreme flashing lights.

Ultimately, the reports were exaggerated, researcher Benjamin Radford found. But he did discover that 600 children had genuinely reported headaches, convulsions, and breathing problems from watching the episode. After the news spread, other children also claimed to have a negative reaction to the episode days later, most likely due to “mass hysteria.”

Only time will tell if Pokemon responds to the latest epilepsy concerns with Pokemon TCG Live. For now, remember that there will be a dramatic flashing white light when certain Pokemon get a knockout with particular attacks.