You’ve probably grown used to people accusing video games of supposedly being bad influences on our children. Well, this article isn’t really about that. It’s less of a matter of influence and more about a direct after effect. Surprisingly, it’s not the excessive violence or foul language that might pose as the biggest threat. Sometimes, a game is so good that it’s easy to be absorbed in it to the point where it becomes an addiction. And like every type of addiction, this kind of situation has taken its toll on the victims… fatally. Here are 7 Video Games That Literally Ruined Lives.
If you take a look at the screenshot above, you might be tempted to ask yourself how exactly it managed to destroy anyone’s life. Berserk was a game of the late 70’s and onward, which apparently was capable of making 19-year old Peter Bukowski so addicted to it that he ended up concluding a series of high scores with an unfortunate heart attack. An article published in the
An article published in the Video Games magazine which talked about the incident wrote about the reason for the sudden heart failure. Apparently, the game made him so agitated that this ended up damaging his cardiovascular system, something that imminently led to his premature death.
2. World of Warcraft
One of the genres that are most likely to get players hooked to the point of unhealthy addiction is MMORPGs, shortened name for “massively multiplayer online role play game.” World of Warcraft is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the domain, but it also, unfortunately, became known for indirectly putting a woman, by the name Rebecca Colleen Christie, in jail. She became so immersed in the world of the realm that she gradually starting neglecting all real life responsibilities, including feeding her three-year-old daughter, who starved to death. Christie ended up ringing 911 only after a 15-hour WoW session, and it’s safe to say that the authorities weren’t very understanding of the situation, sentencing her to 25 years of jail time.
She became so immersed in that world that she gradually starting neglecting all real life responsibilities, including feeding her three-year-old daughter, who starved to death. Christie ended up ringing 911 only after a 15-hour WoW session. It’s safe to say that the authorities weren’t very understanding of the situation They sentenced her to 25 years of jail time.
Another MMORPG, EverQuest is sometimes nicknamed “NeverRest” by the fanbase, specifically for its addictive nature. In 2002, Shawn Woolley decided that nothing was worth leaving the enthralling world of EverQuest anymore, so he quit his job and became a full-time player. Relatives started getting worried after Woolley turned down a Thanksgiving dinner invitation. When they went to check on him, he was found dead in front of his computer, which still had the game running on the screen. It’s certain that it was a self-inflicted gunshot that took his life. As for the reason, many believe it may have been the result of some in-game relationship drama.
When they went to check on him, he was found dead in front of his computer, which still had the game running on the screen. It’s certain that it was a self-inflicted gunshot that took his life. As for the reason, many believe it may have been the result of some in-game relationship drama.
MMORPGs and arcade games aren't the only ones that can potentially endanger lives. A mobile app called Ingress, which requires the user to go outside and roam around the streets, ended up leading a player to his death. Sixteen-year-old Gabriel Cavalcante Carneiro Leao was paying so much attention to his phone screen, that he became completely oblivious to his surroundings. This sadly resulted in him walking right in the middle of a highly circulated street and ended up getting ran over by a bus.
Ingress does try to make the experience as safe as possible. A good example is the feature that deactivates the app if the user starts running above a certain speed. However, it definitely can’t keep an eye out for people that stop paying attention to the world around them.
Don’t laugh, even excessive virtual farming can be dangerous if too much time is dedicated to it. Alexandra Tobias was a hardcore FarmVille player, who couldn’t find the right way to divide her love between the game and her three-month-old son. In an episode of rage triggered by the baby interrupting her game with his cries, she furiously ended the child's life. Tobias confessed this deed, but only after the fifty-year prison sentence has been given to her.
6. Lineage II
Not all addictive games lead to death or jail time. Some of them lead to lawsuits! Craig Smallwood sued NCSoft, the company behind Lineage II, over the fact that their game was so good it literally ruined his life. The beef between Smallwood and NCSoft can be traced back to something else, though. He was, according to the lawsuit, banned from the servers after NCSoft started suspecting that he may have been trading in-game items in exchange for real life money. That is as unethical as it is clearly forbidden. Possibly out of revenge, Smallwood proceeded to fault
Possibly out of revenge, Smallwood proceeded to fault Lineage II for his incapacity to carry on mundane tasks, such as shower, socialize or generally go outside. Although the case was put an end to in 2011, it’s unclear whether Smallwood ever managed to get something out of this dispute. Or if he ever managed to take that shower.
7. Nintendo Wii
It’s not just games that can be potentially dangerous, but the consoles they’re played on too. Radio station KNDN decided to host a contest in 2007. The prize? A Nintendo Wii console, of course, which was so difficult to get your hands on back at the time. Participants had to drink as much water as they could without going to the bathroom, and the last person to hold it in would be the lucky winner. Jennifer Strange wasn’t so lucky, as she found out the hard way that something like water intoxication exists. After the contest, she collapsed on her way home, and never got up again. The radio station was hit by a hazard: it fired ten employees, lost a lawsuit filed against them and had to pay $16 million, then ultimately shut its gates in 2009.
Jennifer Strange wasn’t so lucky, as she found out the hard way that something like water intoxication exists. After the contest, she collapsed on her way home and never got up again. The radio station was hit hard. It fired ten employees, lost a lawsuit filed against them, and had to pay $16 million. After that, it ultimately shut its gates in 2009.
The lesson to be learned from this isn’t new. Indulging in excess of all kinds is very harmful. Even though video game addiction deaths aren’t that common, many people genuinely have their personal lives damaged because of their passion. It’s important to try and not immerse ourselves completely in fictional worlds. Also, we should try to keep an eye out for our real life responsibilities. This is what we can take from these 7 Video Games That Literally Ruined Lives.