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Why Do Computer Games Claim Lives?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-blame-stupidity dept.

Games 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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Seems obvious to me (4, Funny)

gizmonic (302697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281407)

From TFA:

On Dec. 8, a 38-year-old man died suddenly after playing Internet games for 20 straight days at an Internet café, sustaining himself solely on instant noodles.

I think we just nailed it in this case. What's the mystery?

Re:Seems obvious to me (5, Funny)

IcySludge (938344) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281453)

We can safely assume they were NOT Ramen; otherwise the man would have been protected by His Noodly Appendage.

Re:Seems obvious to me (3, Insightful)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Seems obvious to me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281527)

I really hope it was a lack of sleep that killed him, and not the instant noodles, because if it was twenty days of noodles that did it, then I've only got a couple of days left to live.

Re:Seems obvious to me (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281691)

most instant noodles have very little nutritional value. I think there's another case of some dude in Japan who dided after he holed up in his room playing games, living on instant noodles.

Re:Seems obvious to me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281768)

Relax, it was just a joke. I actually have a very diverse and nutritious diet--instant noodles, frozen pizza, microwave burritos, beer--I'm all about nutrition. I'm sure I'll be fine.

Re:Seems obvious to me (3, Insightful)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281655)

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.

Re:Seems obvious to me (5, Funny)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281509)

...that the mystery is "What game is still interesting after 20 days?"

Re:Seems obvious to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281622)

Many MMORPG's have well over 20 days play time. I have racked up over 30 days in-game time played in World of Warcraft, and I'm on the light end of many of the players. I've seem people with 80+ days played time. Other than that, there are general online games, such as FPS's, which generally offer a myrid of game modes, maps, and weapon settings. In a completely other category rest things such as Civilization IV; where each game lasts insane amounts of time, and where each game is completely unique.

Re:Seems obvious to me (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281799)

none was, at the end he was playing minesweeper, as after 10 hours, he owed them $1,500 us and was told he had to pay when he stood up, so he just played till he died!

If living on instant noodles is deadly (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281611)

no male would survive living on his own. Okay so I am the exception but I used to be a baker so I am a poof anyway.

I somehow fail to see how a mere 20 day bad dieet could kill you. Especially since it is merely poor nutrition. Not like he stuffed himself with lard for 20 days. Or drank cappucino's like it was water.

Perhaps he was just you know. One of those people that die young. It happens. Sure if he had taken better care of himself he might have lived but everyone can tell you they heard of this health nut who died at XX age while their chainsmoking uncle will never see 100 again.

People die. Go figure.

Re:If living on instant noodles is deadly (2, Interesting)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281760)

20 days without sleep could be deadly, though.

Re:Seems obvious to me (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281700)

No mystery. When you die in the Matrix, your body dies too. The body can not live without the mind.

oh noes the gamers are dying (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281411)

hundreds of people die on freeways every day.

A gamer dying here and there isn't a big deal.

Re:oh noes the gamers are dying (2, Insightful)

Parham (892904) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:oh noes the gamers are dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281572)

Agreed. People who play games until they die have a problem; but the problem is not a global one, it is purely personal.

But more importantly, if someone makes a choice which causes their death, they are still free to make that choice. There are many circumstances when death is preferable to life, and it is selfish of you to "save lives" because it makes you feel better about yourself.

That said, if i am going to kill myself and you try to stop me, i will kill you and then myself.

Because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281417)

because vin diesel made warcraft too awesome

Would a gamer want to die any other way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281423)

I think not!

The game did it. (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281425)

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?

Re:The game did it. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281508)

Ok, I ran over the child in my SUV after I shot the clerk with a gun.

You people just won't let me forget about that, will you?

Re:The game did it. (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281513)

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.

Re:The game did it. (2, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:The game did it. (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281753)

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.

Re:The game did it. (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281801)

let's see how easy it is to fix your problem .

There you go. Easy. That's the key word. Nevermind fixing any problem that isn't easy.

Re:The game did it. (2, Interesting)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281775)

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.

Hey, let's call these people irresponsibility addicts! Then we can blame the lawyers for getting them hooked on quick money for being irresponsible!

On a slightly more serious note, therein lies the whole philosophical conundrum: to prevent what appears to be an easily preventable tragedy, the one person whose actual responsibility it is to prevent it has no desire to do so. At that point, people start wringing their hands and saying someone else should take up the responsibility instead. And it's unconscionable that nobody should handle the problem, because it appears so preventable.

That, sadly, is the keystone for the founding of the nanny state. That's where the state gets invited in to watch for people doing this one thing irresponsibly. And while they're there, someone will almost certainly reason, they could watch out for this other thing, and maybe those things as well. It's people thrusting power and responsibility onto the state, and the state is only too happy to receive it.

And the ultimate twist? Those people who want the state to protect the irresponsible are themselves giving up responsibility for whatever the problem may be.

Re:The game did it. (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:The game did it. (3, Interesting)

cnettel (836611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281563)

Well, maybe the game didn't, but obviously the gamer's love for (or obsession with) the game DID.

I think the situation is similar to several possibilities to die from drug use, where the real reason for death is not a physiological reaction outside the brain, or even a brain collapse, due to the substance, but rather the fact that the substance keeps you from keeping yourself in a living condition.

As I noted in another comment, this seems to be connected to the cafe gaming environment, which maybe makes the enjoyment more intense (or whatever, I don't really know). If it is that way, then we can just ask(/regulate) the shopkeepers to pay some attention to what their customers are doing.

If a game was released that really, with total certainty, made anyone who played it so obsessed with it that IV feeding always ended up as the only option, then I would think it would make total sense to stop it. It's not unreasonable to think that it would be possible to create something that triggered the general human nervous system that intensely, either.

Before that, it's a matter of distributing the blame. It's reasonable (without more detailde information) to place most of the blame on the poor suckers who died, but that doesn't mean that everyone who would have been able to do something about it, but didn't, should feel good about themselves. If, for example, a MMORPG allows continous login for 48 hours, that sounds like a stupid idea, even from the simple "stop the bots" perspective. If it can stop one or two involuntary suicides, that's quite nice, too.

Life claims lives (5, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Life claims lives (1)

shreevatsa (845645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281491)

Sure, but you can be sure someone is taking games too seriously, when something like this [msn.com] happens. When did trading in games start spilling over to real life and money, BTW?

Why Do Computer Games Claim Asian Lives? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281437)

Are there any of these deaths in which the person wasn't asian?
It seems like they're the only ones who keel over.

Cause of death: Darkness? (5, Insightful)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281440)

The bad air and light can increase the danger of sudden death...

Um... darkness isn't deadly.

Re:Cause of death: Darkness? (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281488)

Tell that to people who trip over things.

Plus, I hear the boogey man and the monsters under my bed are all quite certainly wanting to eat me, therefore I keep the light on at all times.

Re:Cause of death: Darkness? (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281499)

But nothing that even approaches day/night light conditions won't exactly promote an existance with proper patterns of sleep and hormonal activity. I would venture to guess that it's more likely that it hides the normal signs of not feeling well, as the environment is abnormal in itself.

On the other hand, for that long a period, the lack of some kind of day/night rhythm could mess different signal substance levels up, for real. It won't, generally, be enough to kill on its own, but even VERY bad air won't be enough to kill on its own, either. If the body orders a low pulse, while the air is full of CO2 (or even CO), or some other messup, I would certainly think that it plays a little, but significant, part. Also, in a badly lighted room, the chance of some around you noticing your face suddenly getting very pale, or something similar, is even more slim, than if they were just playing WoW, but would be able to see your face if they looked at you for a second.

The (anti-social) geeky side of me tell me something else: Not very many seem to die from gaming in a solitary condition at home. These people are not dying from gaming for 20 days straight, they die from social gatherings, the by far most dangerous human invention ever.

Re:Cause of death: Darkness? (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281505)

Well, maybe not on it's own. But I know it can cause depression, for one thing. Could probably cause other psychological problems as well.

Re:Cause of death: Darkness? (1)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281520)

Um...DUH! Haven't you ever seen a horror movie? What percentage of casualties in those movies happen in broad daylight? Movies and video games ARE like real life, after all.

Re:Cause of death: Darkness? (1)

RootsLINUX (854452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281607)

I don't know if darkness is deadly, but it can cause an imbalance in your hormone levels which can lead to depression. If you live way up north or way down south where there is much less sunlight during certain seasons, you are more likely to become depressed. It has to do with the way the brain regulates hormones during the circadian rhythm [wikipedia.org] (24hr day/night cycle). So while darkness probably didn't end this man's life (my bet is it was the instant noodles...) it likely pushed him into a more depressed state.

Shit, what the hell am I doing posting on Slashdot. I have a final in less than two hours

Re:Cause of death: Darkness? (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281630)

Um... darkness isn't deadly.

No, but when it's dark, you are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Because it gets reported (4, Insightful)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Because it gets reported (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281640)

Never mind that they've chosen to go for days without eating, drinking, or sleeping; apparently it was the game that killed them.

Well, apparently it was a game that compelled them to go without food and sleep for such a long time, but that's still pretty fucked up.

A poster above mentions one person who died after twenty days of nothing but video games and instant noodles. I just don't understand how you do that. I'm a fan of games, but I can't even do one day of solid gaming before I get too bored or tired to continue.

This is just speculation, but I think that there's got to be something wrong with you to begin with before it's even possible to game yourself to death. Maybe it would be more productive to study the underlying causes of compulsive gaming than to study the games themselves.

Average gamer? (3, Funny)

baryon351 (626717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281452)

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

And this is different to the den of the average console gamer how?

Re:Average gamer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281498)

You'll find if you look at real gamers we're more aware of our own health than most people. Less likely to smoke than the average perosn as it could have an adverse affect on the gaming rig itself, and most know that getting out & about and keeping in good health means quicker reaction times & a deeper gaming experience all up.

But no it's easier to throw crap at us isn't it?

Re:Average gamer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281625)

Umm.. Okay

Re:Average gamer? (1)

Armadni General (869957) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281752)

Because I'm too young (and probably too smart) to smoke cigarettes. So I burn a few tons of incense instead.

Re:Average gamer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281822)

So I burn a few tons of incense instead.

I guess you'll die of AIDS

Why? It's obvious (5, Insightful)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281460)

Videogames claim lives because the government wants to regulate video games.

Re:Why? It's obvious (1)

keyboardkungfu (889341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281620)

Videogames claim lives because the government wants to regulate video games.
I would have to agree... I'm not sure where I remember hearing the story about some middle eastern country coming down on people playing D&D because it was rotting peoples minds. It was the government telling people it made them lazy and detached from reality. From what I heard, it was almost like the government was saying stop having fun... GET BACK TO WORK!

I have a feeling this is what's going on here as well. Propaganda to keep the video game man down!
Even U.S. gov has admitted to starting rumors in 60's to get people to stop doing acid and other drugs.

Maybe if Korea stopped with this death crap and went with something more important like "... another man goes impotent because of overplaying Counter-Strike ... ", people would actually care.

- - -

When you ask a question that begins with why, you usually already know the answer.

parent association of america... (0)

nazsco (695026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281463)

...just demanded that game companies changes worfs line in star trek mmorpg to "it's a good day to die not playing games"

It's next on the list (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's next on the list (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281525)

The longer you live, the more likely you are to die of something new.

And now we have some sad cases who really do spend the bulk of their time gaming. When they do die, games get the blame.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281466)

The bad air and light can increase the danger of sudden death, experts warn.

Time to get out of the basement.

Anyone sitting in front of a computer (2, Insightful)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#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?

the death toll is too high. (0)

indy_Muad'Dib (869913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281502)

even living claims lives, the gamers are just dying doing what they like to do best.

"Suicide is man's way of telling God, 'You can't fire me - I quit.'"

They were low level players. (5, Funny)

joelsanda (619660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281507)

All good gamers know that you play until your hit points get low, rest, then come back. The period of time between resting grows longer as you level up.

Re:They were low level players. (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281647)

All good gamers know all game genres well enough to be bored to death by even the most interesting game before exhaustion, starvation, dehydration,... even start playing a role.

More anti-game hype and idiocy (4, Insightful)

deacon (40533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281521)

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?


Re:More anti-game hype and idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281580)

Just wondering...video games are designed, mostly, to entertain. Maybe simulate, but mostly entertain.

What purpose do guns have?

I blame the parents (1)

DasBub (139460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281532)

I mean, isn't it obvious? The videogame's parents must not've given it enough attention during the early formative years. They probably let it watch as much TV as it wanted, eat junk food, read dirty magazines.

Come on, let's stop passing the buck and put the blame squarely on the Super Mario cartridge and the X-Wing collector's edition CD who had unprotected sex on the dirty matress behind the YMCA.


Holy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281542)

Holy cow! That alien jumped outta nowhere! ughh... help! I'm dying of a heart attack.... ughhghhgh uhhh.....

(falls dramatically on the floor)

Compulsive Behavior (2, Insightful)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Compulsive Behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281786)

I have to admit I'm kind of interested in why the "berieved family" of many of these gamers don't notice them missing for the 'however many' days it took them to starve/exhaust themselves to death.

Course if the person is without any loved ones to actually notice them spending all they're time away from home maybe dying this way is the best for them.

Maybe this behavious is just indicative of a society that has lost touch with one another and the only way people feel they can truly be happy is by plunging themselves into a fantasy world which was intended to be enjoyed only for short durations.

Weirdest Slashdot headline ever (1)

mack knife (96580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281556)

Who would have thought the /. would ever have such a headline?

"Would you like to play a game?"

Noise (1)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281574)

So are these deaths statistically significant, or could I also claim that it wasn't the game but the simple fact of owning a gaming device? It seems that it's more a case of a few but fairly well publicized deaths. I mean I'm sure there are people who have died do to eating oranges, should we write articles about the horrors of oranges then?

It's not the games... (3, Funny)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281576)

It's the radiation from the monitors that killed them. Everyone stay away from computers, they'll kill you! No, wait! I'm on a computer! Aahhh!

The real connection (3, Insightful)

Trigulus (781481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281582)

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 (2, Insightful)

Tiberius_Fel (770739) | more than 8 years ago | (#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...

Probably because they're Korean. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281598)

Has this ever happened to a black man? Or a white man?

It's not the game stoopid (1)

Azreal (147961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281615)

The question shouldn't be, why do games seem to cause more deaths in Korea than elsewhere? The question should be, what leads Koreans to game so excessively to the point of death?

I firmly believe it's not the games at fault, but the environment/Korean culture which leads those people to obsessive behaviour towards games. As a Korean, I know the culture intimately. Japan seems to be the archetype for the overworked person pressured by family and society exclusively toward the goal of achievment to the point where it seems the message is, "achieve or die", but Korea has taken this attitude to the next level. The cause could be the fierce competitiveness between Japanese and Korean cultures, the number of jobs versus the number of people, ingrained competitive attitude towards other Koreans, or other cultural factors. Whatever the cause it appears that all this has culminated in a group of highly stressed, obsessive people. Using a game as an outlet to focus both the obsessive attitude and the stress seems to result in a "higher" death rate.

software predicts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281616)

humans are obsolete, kill all humans?

IQ, addictive personalities, and Korea (1)

Raindance (680694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281619)

Other factors are mentioned by the article; I'm sure they're very valid. However, I suspect these problems are amplified by some other factors that, on their own, are relatively harmless or positive.

Basically, people in south asian countries have, on average, very high IQs. The best data I have on South Korea is that the average IQ there is 106 (normalized on UK=100, where the US has an average of 98- http://www.isteve.com/IQ_Table.htm [isteve.com] ). That may sound wonderful, but with a high average IQ you get high IQ personality problems, such as a tendency toward addiction to video games (whether high IQ folks have a general tendency toward addictive behavior is another argument).

I'm not too surprised. I expect similar problems in China (average IQ = 100 *before* many rural citizens live in a 'modern' IQ-enhancing society, and before they've had access to iodized salt and enriched bread and such). China's decision to curb the MMO culture by limiting playing time may end up a wise move.

Re:IQ, addictive personalities, and Korea (5, Insightful)

Arcys (99663) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

How about a nice game of Global Thermonuclear War? (1)

neatflux (929822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281635)

For those of you who don't believe that computer games claim lives, you should check out War Games [amazon.com]. The game came close to leveling the entire planet! (kidding)

Communism, it's to kill you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281638)

Korea is communism rolled up into a get away from the Ills internet bang cafe. Sad if you think about it, but who cares, it's Korea, where they call your pets dinner.

I almost died (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281679)

Except for me, it wasn't games, it was just computer use in general. After I graduated from high school there was nothing stopping me from sitting in the chair from the moment I awoke until way too late... chatting on IRC, programming, browsing the web, all while doing my best to ignore my bodily signals. Try doing this, combine it with high stress, and you can get into trouble.

For me it was dehydration. When the day is almost over during the summer and you finally cannot ignore the hunger pain anymore, you jump up to grab something and begin to pass out, then it becomes clear how you can die from computers. I obviously survived, but I was malnourished and it was difficult rebuilding my strength both mentally and physically.

People think this is insane I'm sure... but I am proud to have such mental dedication. I don't think it is an abnormal skill for humans, but I do think it is something much more common in Asia due to their culture. This is probably why the coverage is from there and not the USA. Most Americans just can't handle much discomfort without giving in.

Why do sensationalist headlines murder babies? (0)

millennial (830897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281690)

"Why Do Computer Games Claim Lives?" It's not the games; it's the environment. People who are addicted to crack will die in a crackhouse if it's poorly-ventilated. It's the addiction and where it's being fed that causes the deaths.

Well, Korea... (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281709)

Or China, but has this happened (the whole no sleep for 4 days then die) in America?

Nothing aganist Korean of Chinese gamers, just personally every article I've seen on /. and other sites always is about a gamer in a different country.

Re:Well, Korea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281733)

There's an informative article in last months issue of PC Gamer (UK) about the culture surrounding video gaming in Korea; how it isn't the norm to have a home PC for gaming, how these dingy internet cafes are so popular. It's all down to culture, in the end, as it everything.

My basement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281713)

Sound like my basement, but the smoke is not always from tobbaco products :)

Why do computer games claim lives? (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281735)

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.

It is just that... (1)

kvant (939634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281742)

True playas don't die, they grind till the end of times, deaths are mere cases of n00bishness.

In South Korea Gaming is for Old People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14281754)

We should not be surprised.

Reaction (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281758)

Games claim lives:

Asian kid dies after playing WoW for days straight.

Stupidity claim games:

The parents of the asian kid sue Blizzard, partially to convince themselves their kid didn't die because they were terirble parents (or maybe for the cash, dunno).


Question: Why does stupidity claim games?

Cigarettes and alcohol (4, Insightful)

forgoil (104808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281781)

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...

Didnt Mention the Most Dangerous Part (1)

Evil W1zard (832703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281792)

Which is the fart-riddled chairs that release a stinky puff of poot everytime you sit on them!

Its not the games that kill, its the life-style (2, Insightful)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281808)

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.

Limits (1)

Fwonkas (11539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14281816)

Shouldn't these cafes just place somewhat generous limits on how many hours per day a person can spend in them? 6 hours seems like more than enough. Besides, I imagine that after a day or so, the body odor would drive some customers away. As for these places being dark and poorly ventilated, wouldn't it make sense to at least ventilate the place? All that smoke and crappy air must surely cut into the life span of the computers. And oh yeah, into the life spans of the customers, too.
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