Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dude, I'm sure the game wasn't THAT good

From Time:

(BEIJING) — A man in southern China appears to have died of exhaustion after a three-day Internet gaming binge, state media said Monday.

The 30-year-old man fainted at a cybercafe in the city of Guangzhou on Saturday afternoon after he had been playing games online for three days, the Beijing News reported.

Paramedics tried to revive him but failed and he was declared dead at the cafe, it said. The paper said that he may have died from exhaustion brought on by too many hours on the Internet.

The report did not say what the man, whose name was not given, was playing.

Aw, c'mon! The only thing anyone wants to know is which game it was. Some reporter wasn't on the ball. Marketing departments of computer game companies everywhere are waiting with baited breath: which game was so great someone actually died rather than stop playing?

Humor aside, I suspect the cause of this addictive behavior will be found as much in the psychology of the person afflicted as in the addictive qualities of the game itself. No game is that good. I wonder if people do this because they have nowhere else to go. Someone needs to analyze this phenomenon.

I know World of Warcraft actually has built-in incentives to take a break from playing: by "resting" in an inn, you can increase the rate at which you gain experience points. The result is that you can advance as quickly by taking breaks as you can by playing constantly (I'm not sure if it's exactly equal, but near enough. I haven't played WoW for a while so I'm not up on the latest tweaks and expansion packs.)

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