It’s all fun and games…until somebody DIES!
Mind you, we’re not talking about accidentally hitting the jump button and plummeting to an abyss only to be returned three quarters of the way through a level. There are no respawns IRL, which, unfortunately, these gamers found out the hard way.
Here are 8 heartbreaking stories to remind us that unlike video games, you can’t just hit “continue” in real life.
Berzerk is one of the earliest known examples of a video game being fatal.
In April 1982, 18-year-old Peter Bukowski notched a couple of high scores on a Berzerk arcade game before collapsing from a heart attack. It is said that his compromised cardiovascular system was agitated beyond repair thanks to the game.
MMORPG EverQuest had a massive following of diehard fans who affectionately referred to the highly-addictive game as “EverCrack” or “NeverRest”.
Shawn Woodley took his EverQuest passion to the extreme in 2002 when he quit his job to play full-time. After ignoring an invitation from his family to Thanksgiving, his loved ones found him dead in front of his computer from a self-inflicted shotgun wound…with EverQuest still running.
The reason why Woodley took his life are still unknown, although many people believe that it may have been related to a troubled in-game relationship.
3. Legend of Mir 3
You’ll be wary of playing MMORPGs by the end of this list…
Legend of Mir players Qiu Chengwei and Zhu Caoyuan jointly earned the extremely rare Dragon Sabre in-game, but Zhu decided to sell the sword on eBay in 2005 without Qiu’s consent.
They earned $870 for the sale of the Dragon Sabre, but the two players couldn’t come to a reasonable agreement as to properly distribute payment for the sword, so Qiu stabbed Zhu to death in his sleep.
Qiu was sentenced to life in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2020.
Cute, cuddly, colourful FarmVille on this macabre list? Believe it.
Alexandra Tobia, a 22-year-old mother, was so addicted to FarmVille that she shook her three-month-old son to death in 2011 because his crying kept interrupting her from playing. Tobias received a 50-year prison sentence for her abhorrent act.
She also, allegedly, confessed to a fellow inmate that she hit her baby’s head against the computer monitor in the process of trying to silence the baby.
5. Nintendo Wii
Back in 2007, Nintendo Wiis were incredibly rare in the US, so the Sacramento-based radio station KDND decided to run a contest giving one of the consoles away. Unfortunately, the terms of the contest were very misguided.
The challenge: drink an inordinate amount of water without urinating, with the last person to leak winning the Wii.
The problem: it’s possible to die from water intoxication, and Jennifer Strange, a participant in the event, collapsed and died once she returned home after failing to win the prize. The station fired ten employees and lost a $16 million lawsuit.
6. World of Warcraft
MMORPGs are known for attracting people with addiction problems, some of whom have sacrificed real-life responsibilities–as previously seen above–in order to dissolve into a fantasy world. And this story is one of the worst we have ever heard.
Rebecca Colleen Christie spent such an inordinate amount of time playing Warcraft that she allowed her three-year-old daughter to starve to death.
Prosecutors found that Christie had just engaged in a 15-hour WoW session prior to finally calling 911 for her daughter, who was unresponsive by the time authorities arrived.
She was subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder-by-neglect.
Before Pokemon Go introduced augmented reality games to the mainstream and caused people prone to risky behavior, there was Ingress.
While playing Ingress in 2014, 16-year-old Brazilian teen Gabriel Cavalcant Carneiro Leao lost track of his surroundings while rushing to a “portal” in-game and was subsequently hit and killed by an oncoming bus.
Ingress has built-in limits to prevent unsafe behaviors, there was nothing to stop an absorded and enthusiastic kid from walking into a busy street.
The safeguards also couldn’t help Frank Maxwell, a 48-year-old father who drowned near a pier in Ireland while playing Ingress in 2015.
8. DOTA, Diablo III, StarCraft and WoW
If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that you have to get up and move around sometimes, because the list of deaths from sitting on your butt is surprisingly long.
A 2015 report in The Mirror detailed the death of a boy named Rustam who played DOTA for 22 days.
In 2012, an 18-year-old named Chuang died in an Internet cafe in Taiwan after 40 hours straight of Diablo III.
In 2011, Christ Staniford died in England from deep vein thrombosis after playing 12 hours of Halo.
In 2005, Lee Seung Seop died in South Korea after 50 hours of StarCraft.
Take some time to move around. It might just save your life.