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Games Entertainment

Why Do Computer Games Claim Lives? 321

Ektar wrote to mention an article from Chosun, a Korean newspaper, asking the question why do videogames claim lives? The article is in response to some recent high profile gamer deaths. From the article: "Apparently rare overseas, such cases make frequent headlines in Korea. Why? Experts point to the poor environment of the 'PC bang' or Internet cafes that have mushroomed nationwide. Generally dark and poorly ventilated, they cater to gamers who tend to smoke heavily. The bad air and light can increase the danger of sudden death, experts warn."
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Why Do Computer Games Claim Lives?

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  • The game did it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:44PM (#14281425) Homepage Journal
    Gotta love the shift of responsibility.

    I take it the game just reached out on its own volition and killed the people?

    Thats as bad as saying "the SUV ran over the child", or " a gun shot the teller during the holdup".

    Cant anyone take responsibility for their own actions any more?
  • Life claims lives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:45PM (#14281430)
    Why does this surprise anyone. Everything in life "claims lives." Driving claims lives. Taking a bath claims lives. Sitting on the couch claims lives.

    I'm not even a gamer and I can tell this is just another example of sensationalist journalism.

  • by Caspian ( 99221 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:46PM (#14281440)
    The bad air and light can increase the danger of sudden death...

    Um... darkness isn't deadly.
  • by damiam ( 409504 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:48PM (#14281449)
    People die all the time while laying in beds. No one publishes an article every time it happens, wondering "why beds claim lives". Yet every time someone dies while playing a game, it's big news. Never mind that they've chosen to go for days without eating, drinking, or sleeping; apparently it was the game that killed them.
  • by assassinator42 ( 844848 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:48PM (#14281455)
    So, he went 20 days without sleeping? Or hardly sleeping? I couldn't do that. It seems these deaths are at internet cafes. How about these people get computers and internet connections at home? It seems like it might actually cause the problem to become worse, but hopefully they'd actually remember to sleep at home.
  • Why? It's obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eli Gottlieb ( 917758 ) <eligottlieb AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:49PM (#14281460) Homepage Journal
    Videogames claim lives because the government wants to regulate video games.
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:50PM (#14281464)
    Because dying of disease, infection, drowning, poisoning, hunger, thirst, and/or war is now rare.

    The longer you live, the more likely you are to die of something new. The newer it is, the more likely it gets your dead self in the newspaper.

    The more hype it gets in the news, the more people think it's more significant than getting hit by a car or falling out of a tree.

    Someone cries on TV. Lawyers get involved. New laws are passed that prohibit things. Life becomes a little less worth living. People resort to videogames to escape. And then...

    Maybe someday, we'll wise up and just allow people to make their own choices.

  • by Parham ( 892904 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:51PM (#14281473)
    I need to disagree with your comment. Hundreds of adults die on freeways out of MILLIONS. If the same begins to be true for gamers (from poor nutrition, hygiene, etc), then it certainly is a crisis. From TFA, someone who plays games for 20 days straight in a net cafe, REALLY does have a problem. If cases like this grow around the world, then it is a problem.
  • by IAAP ( 937607 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:51PM (#14281480)
    While death due to game addiction is still rare, many PC game players suffer from disorders of the musculoskeletal system related to repetitive strain such as pain in the wrist, shoulders and lower back

    Anyone would get that way sitting in front of a computer that long. I do. Why blame games exclusively?

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:56PM (#14281513) Journal
    In these people's cases, I think it's fair to say the game did it to them. They're kinda like a lab rat pressing a lever to get more cocaine.

    Like the majority of gamers I know I've occassionaly gone without a night's sleep because i was up gaming. These guys are doing the same thing... but to an extreme.

    Fundamentally, it's a compulsion just like gambling, food, drugs (alcohol/harder stuff) or sex can be.

    And most of the aforementioned things aren't usually considered to be 'addictions' until they begin having a negative effect on your life.

    Games are to those gamers, what heroin is to a junky. And they ODed.
  • by deacon ( 40533 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @06:57PM (#14281521) Journal
    From the summary

    Generally dark and poorly ventilated, they cater to gamers who tend to smoke heavily. The bad air and light can increase the danger of sudden death, experts warn."

    So the games themselves do not cause death. Instead, and unhealthy environment, poor nutritional habits, and general Lard-assed-ness cause death.

    Who knew?

    Next we will discover that video games don't make you kill others, and that guns just sit there unless some picks them up and uses them.

    What is this, Masters of the Obvious week?


  • by Trailwalker ( 648636 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:02PM (#14281554)
    I've seen several of these stories. The "victim" plays games to the exclusion of everything else.

    He neglects small health problems until they become life threatening. Lack of sleep, malnutrition, etc. add to these health problems.

    Suddenly, one less gamer.

    Any compulsive behavior could possibly lead to one's death.
  • by Trigulus ( 781481 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:07PM (#14281582) Journal
    People commit suicide for many reasons. Most of them stupid (loss of love or wealth, failing at something) The gamer suicide probably stems from an unusually strong emotional investment and the subsequent loss of or failure at that which they so irrationally care so much about. It is no different than someone committing suicide over the loss of a girlfriend/boyfriend or for the older the loss of a job. The fact that it was gaming related is just a novelty.
  • Extremists (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tiberius_Fel ( 770739 ) <(fel) (at) (> on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:08PM (#14281592)
    As with anything, there are extremists in video games. Yeah, video game extremism is a little less written about than say, religious extremism, but there are some people who take everything to the extreme. And doing anything to the extreme can lead to serious injury or death, be it gaming, drinking, sports, what-have-you...
  • by Traiklin ( 901982 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:17PM (#14281655) Homepage
    actully they do have internet service at home, the only problem is it's cheaper to go to an Internet cafe which has up to date PC's and faster connections then you can get at home.

    what they are intended to do is close every now and then so shit like that doesn't happen...naturally they ignore the rule so they can get more money and when people die they just go "Not our fault" and move on.

    there's stricter laws in place now that force internet cafe's in korea to close at a certain time &/or kick people off computers after a certain ammount of time to try and help cut back on the rate dumbasses die...don't even try to defend these morons, 20 days of straight gaming, killing yourself cause people online betrayed you, killing someone cause they sold a sword in the game, they were all dumbasses plain and simple and the world is a better place now that they are gone.
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:20PM (#14281666)
    If you're addicted to something, it may not be your fault ... but it's your problem. And you're responsible to get the problem fixed. No one is required to help you or make it easier for you.

    Our society of no responsibility (created by lawyers, so they can make money off of every single thing that harms a person, every time it happens) allows addicts a whole range of excuses they can use instead of fixing the problem.
  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:27PM (#14281704)

    I think it's fair to say the game did it to them. They're kinda like a lab rat pressing a lever to get more cocaine.

    Lab rats don't have the intelligence to say to themselves "You know what? Maybe playing a game for twenty days straight isn't a good idea". Human beings do. Or, at least, if they don't, maybe it's a good thing that they get chucked out of the gene pool.

    The grandparent had a point. Why shouldn't we hold these people responsible for their own actions? They aren't rats, they are people! If they are too mentally retarded to be able to figure out when something is hurting them, perhaps they should be in an institution. Being as dumb as a rat qualifies as mental retardation to me.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:33PM (#14281735) Journal
    Well eh they don't?

    There was a time cars claimed lives. This was in the day when it was thought that having a sharp metal pin aimed at the drivers chest and directly connected to the front of the car was a good design feature. Same with regular glass windows and nice sharp metal knobs. Saves you the worry of how to get out of your vehicle after a crash I suppose.

    In that way cars killed their passengers although the more accurate claim would be that it was the designers of the car that killed the passengers.

    You can say that smoke claims lives (smoke as from a fire) but this again is a fairly direct form. You would not say that love claims lives despite the fact that an awfull lot of people commit suicide over a broken heart.

    It is not the gameplay that killed them. If say you were playing a DDR game that just kept getting more and more intense until the user falls dead THEN the game would claim lives. If you played fear and got so scared you suffered a heart attack THEN the game would have claimed a live.

    Just taking bad care of yourselve is not the games fault. Sitting motionless in a chair eating bad food is not restricted to gaming. Just ask your average soccer widow.

    All these guys seemed to have neglected their body for a prolonged time and were probably not the most healthy in the first place.

    One article claimed the 38 year old male in question had existed on a 20 day diet of instant noodles. Eheh and before? Because I know from personal experience that the body can live a lot longer then that on instant noodles. I am willing to bet a few bucks that before he wasn't exactly a 2fruit+veg a day man either. So the real newsstory is, man who neglects his health totally does not live to a ripe old age (38 was once an advanced age for a human to reach)

    The other has someone having a 9 hour gaming session? Well I doubt anyone would be able to do that without having to pee and even then so what? I done far longer sessions. Perhaps this person was not the most prime example of the human species? If 9 hours in chair kills you then all this proves that darwin was on to something. You know there are people out there who for fun do 12 hour marches? What about pole-sitting contests?

    Nah I am afraid that as I read these stories it is just, not very healthy person dies doing something to extreme. I had an elderly neighbour who died going to the toilet (yeah how do you like to discover that eh?) Apperently the "pressure" caused a bloodvessel (internally) to burst and she bled to death. Going to the toilet is bad for you? No she just was old and that was her time. If it hadn't been then it would have been if she had bend down to lift something heavy. Sad but that is live. No need to make a headline off it.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:35PM (#14281753) Journal
    Drug use can instill some very very low level urges in a user.

    Even after you've weened a druggie off the physical dependence they had on their drug of choice, you still have to deal with the psychological dependence.

    Former users get cravings just from walking by a building they used to do drugs in, or seeing a person they used to hang out with while doing drugs.

    A psychological dependence is much harder to break.

    And you're responsible to get the problem fixed. No one is required to help you or make it easier for you.
    I'm not sure what country you're from, but some countries have this concept of 'the public health'. You might be shocked to know that in some countries, accepting addiction is not something that the government considers to be in the best interests of 'the public health'.

    Not to mention when the destructive behaviors that addicts begin to manifest start spilling over and affecting other people. So while nobody is required to help you, and it is your problem, it is in society's best interest to keep you from wreaking havoc on other people's lives.

    People like you deserve to get held down and injected with heroin. It might not be your fault you're addicted, but let's see how easy it is to fix your problem .

    FYI- Nicotine is more addictive than most if not all street drugs. Some people quit and some people can't.
  • by Arcys ( 99663 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:40PM (#14281770)
    You can't compare IQ across populations. IQ is standardized on a population and then only predictive on that population. If the test had of been standardized on African-Americans, Asians would score below 100. Its all down to how good your culture is at answering the IQ questions picked. The source you picked is a bit suspect as at least one of the authors seems to have a racist agenda.

      " In 1991 I extended my work on race differences in intelligence to other races. I concluded that the average IQ of blacks in sub-Saharan Africa is approximately 70. It has long been known that the average IQ of blacks in the United States is approximately 85. The explanation for the higher IQ of American blacks is that they have about 25 per cent of Caucasian genes and a better environment." is a quote from R. Lynn's web page, and this is no where near the most blatant.

    Now I suspect you didn't go far enough in your research to find this, but just remember that IQ has long been used to justify racial superiority. When ever you see a cross cultural comparison based on IQ please consider the source.

    As for the rest of your post, as a psych student I would be very interested to see the correlation between intelligence and obsessive behaviour (of any kind). While it is a stereotype that more intelligent adolescents play video-games, I would need evidence to show that there is any causal relationship.
  • by forgoil ( 104808 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:42PM (#14281781) Homepage
    Take a look at home many gamers there are out there, then look at how many of them die from these kinds of situations. Not that terribly many, right? Now take a quick peak at two of societies most common forms of entertainment, nicotine and alcohol (for those cultures who don't subscribe to those particular poisons, I leave it up to the reader to substitute). How many people dies every year because of those two? And not just from the direct causes (alcolism / lugn cancer) but from side effects such as the users killing others.

    So the point is, games are far less dangerous than alcohol and nicotine. Fix those problems first instead of whining about obvious cases of mental illness where society is unwilling to find and treat the people who are sick.

    Now move along, nothing to see...
  • by Zantetsuken ( 935350 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @07:47PM (#14281808) Homepage
    I admit, I stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning playing PC games, but then I go to sleep for the normal 8 or 10 hours a person would sleep and get up at 2 or 3 in the afternoon. However, what these people are doing is completely different, they stay up non-stop, for days and even weeks on end. Of course staying in a room with bad ventilation and a bad air supply (smoking) will cause asphyxiation, and of course staying up for days on end will drain your energy to the point where you can't move.

    My point is, its not the games that kill, its the life-style that these people are living.
  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @08:40PM (#14282051) Homepage
    I'm not even a gamer and I can tell this is just another example of sensationalist journalism.

    Because. Sensational headlines sell media. Look to none other than human nature. Fact is people don't want to look at mortality face on. We all live on the roulette wheel of chance, yet it's far more comforting to exclude one's self from the equation when in fact they themselves are at fault for their own demise. Not surprisingly, the truth hurts and thus becomes a sensational rude awakening that draws attention to the populous.
  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @08:42PM (#14282071)
    ... for their own actions. I mean look, video games can, for some people, I suppose, be as addictive as drugs. Liquor companies are no more responsible for alcoholics than video game publishers are for video game addicts. That is to say, neither video game publishers nor liquor companies are responsible. In the U.S., we've been building this culture of "it's not my fault." Cigarette companies are sued for people dying from smoking, McDonalds is sued for people pouring hot coffee on themselves or getting obese from eating their food.

    I'm a big believer in Darwinism and the "not my fault" culture goes completely against it. It's like those stupid warnings on hair dryers that warn you not to use them in the shower. If you protect idiots long enough, they'll breed. That's bad. If a guy is going to spend 20 days straight playing video games and eating noodles, then he should die. There's obviously something very wrong with his genes and that's not a trait you want to pass on to the next generation.

    That might sound cold and heartless, but to some degree, you need to be able to follow a basic instinct to survive or you need to be pulled from the gene pool. Protecting all these people from themselves actually encourages bad genes to propagate and it actually hurts the race as a whole.

    Oh well, guess I'll get off my soap box, but I just wish people would start taking responsibility for their own lives and stop blaming their bad habits on everyone else.
  • by queenb**ch ( 446380 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @08:43PM (#14282079) Homepage Journal
    Do we blame cars when people die in accident? No, we blame the drivers. Do we blame the knife when we accidentally cut ourselves in the kitchen? No, we blame our own carelessness. I fail to see why the death of some goober who refuses to eat, to drink, to bathe, and to otherwise care for himself is the game's fault. Herion addcits always blame the drug and never themselves for their addiction. Addicts of all types fail to take responsibility for their actions as well as the consquences of those actions. It's part of what makes an addict an addict in the first place. Ask anyone who's ever had to deal with one. It isn't until they can admit that they are responsible that they will seek help. I find more than a hint of this type of thinking in blaming the video game for the gamer's death.

    Everyone else is *always* at fault. What a load of crap! It's not like someone held a gun to any of these guys heads and said, "Sit here and keep gaming." It's the stupidest thing I think I've ever heard. While it is curious from a social psychology perspective, it really isn't newsworthy. I think it is research worthy though. We should find out what motivates these people and see if there isn't some medication or therapy that can help them before they manage to do themselves in by gaming. My personal suspicion is that there is some sort of OCD or other mental illness at work here, perhaps even something that might be easily treatable. Where, I ask you, are the university psychology departments stepping up to research what causes this?

    The real shame here is that the owners of these places don't chase these fools off. Drunks get cut off by bar owners, because they lack the good sense to cut themselves off. Since this also seems to be the case with some of the gamers, why not cut them off in the same way? Since they all obviously have computers with internet connections, it should be easy enough to manage - fairly trivial in fact. Surely it would be in their best business interests not to kill off their best patrons. I've worked on demanding projects that called for an intense schedule and we always follow what we call the 1-2-5 rule. That means you get one bath, two meals (and no, stuff from the vending machine doesn't count) and at least 5 hours of sleep out of every 24 hours. Anyone caught in violation of the 1-2-5 rule is packed off to rectify their violation immediately and not allowed to return until they have done so.

    2 cents,

    Queen B
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday December 17, 2005 @08:56PM (#14282125) Journal
    Once you break the physical addiction, you still have a psychological one to deal with.

    That is the reason that most addicts go back to using. Not because their body craves sex/drugs/gambling/food but because they can't quiet the mental urge which is constantly saying "i want it."

    Yes, some people can quit cold turkey without ever looking back, but some people can't. Not because they're weak willed, but because their brain is wired funny.

    I wonder how many of the people opening their mouths and saying "addicts should be responsible" have actually had to deal with an addiction in their own life. Or watch someone very close to them do self destructive things & refuse to stop

    And I don't mean "i crave chocolate," I mean "I weigh 500 lbs, why can't i stop eating" or "I look like a skeleton, why can't I stop taking meth"

    These people aren't stupid, but they usually do benefit from AA/SA/NA at the min and institutionalization at the most extreme.

  • by Karlb ( 87776 ) <ksb@am b e> on Saturday December 17, 2005 @09:11PM (#14282191)
    He escaped.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.