Video games get a pretty bad rep, taking the blame for some pretty heinous crimes. In some cases, the blame comes across as conjecture; but there are occurrences where specific games are undeniably linked. These ten deaths range from gruesome murders to accidental happenings, but they all have one thing in common: Video games were involved.
Daughter vs. Gaming
Sometimes it gets difficult sorting out priorities and deciding which should come first. Do you pay the electric bill or the water bill? Should you attend your best friend’s wedding or stay home and make sure the couch doesn't move? One thing that shouldn’t ever be a question is if your children should come before your video game habit. After his 17-month-old daughter accidentally knocked over his Xbox as he engaged in a 6-hour session of Ghost Recon, Tyrone Spellman put gaming before family. The 27-year-old gamer beat on his daughter, Alayiah, cracking her skull in several places, killing her. Spellman lost a daughter, was convicted of third-degree murder and sentenced to up to 47 years.
Influence of Grand Theft Auto
Few games have received as much gripe for its senseless violence as Grand Theft Auto, and while many horrific acts are attributed to the game desensitizing youths, there’s one case where its involvement is near undeniable. On June 7th, 2003, 18-year-old Devin Darnell Thompson, also known as Devin Moore, went on a rampage that left two police officers and a 911 dispatcher dead. After being brought to a Fayette, Alabama police station on charges of grand theft auto, Thompson was reported saying “Life is a video game. You’ve got to die sometime” before snatching a handgun, shooting his victims in the head, and attempted to make a getaway in a cop car. The case against Grand Theft Auto’s influence was strong, especially when it was revealed that GTA: Vice City featured a mission eerily similar to Devin’s actions.
A Life for a Sword
To some, games are a simple form of mindless entertainment, used to enjoy time with friends or alone. Others see every aspect of a video game as something worth fighting over, even including otherwise worthless in-game items. Legend of Mir 3 player, 41-year-old Qiu Chengwei, went on a rage-filled quest to take out Zhu Caoyuan.. In real life.. With a real sword. Allegedly, Qiu had lent Zhu a sword he had recently won in the game. To show his gratitude, Zhu sold it for roughly $1,000. Though Zhu offered to hand over the cash after Qiu attempted - and failed - to press charges, Qiu saw no other resolution than to stab Zhu to death.
Trash Talking to Death
The next time you consider trash talking somebody you don’t know over a game, consider the possibility that the individual on the receiving end is none-too-stable and all-too-predictable. Had 15-year-old Daniel Duterte, alleged grandson of Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, thought of this, he’d likely still be alive today. During a heated match in Defense of the Ancients against Jepse Torotot Haha, Daniel apparently had plenty to say that left his opponent feeling a bit enraged. The altercation, which occurred in an internet café, ended with Duterte being stabbed to death and Jepse fleeing.
World of Neglect
Addictive gaming is an unhealthy habit, but it’s not just the gamer that feels the effects. Take Rebeca Colleen Christie and her alleged addiction to World of Warcraft, which lead to the prolonged death of her 3-year-old daughter. After the death of her child, it was discovered that Rebecca logged onto Warcraft for approximately 15 hours every day. As she explored the extensive fantasy lands of Murlocs, Night Elves, and Demons, her daughter was left to fend for herself, even going so far as to eat cat food when her hunger was at its worst. Eventually, the 3-year-old died of malnourishment and Rebecca’s World of Warcraft days ended with a 25-year prison sentence.
There are those that may be passionately against FarmVille being labeled a video game, but there is likely no conflict in agreeing on the horridness of the case of 3-month-old Dylan Lee Edmondson. Dylan’s mother, Alexandra Tobias, was heavily invested in her virtual farm as her child wailed on about whatever he was in need of. Unable to take the incessant crying, which distracted her from her budding crops, Tobias grabbed her son and shook him violently. It’s believed the boy’s head struck something as his mother swung him about, killing him all for the sake of inedible vegetables and cartoon animals.
Tragedy in Azeroth
World of Warcraft is a lot of things – but being associated with tragedy was never meant to be one of them. On December 27th, 2004, 13-year-old Zhang Xiaoyi of China jumped to his death after a 36-hour binge session in World of Warcraft. There’s little doubt to the connection between the young boy’s death and Blizzard’s popular MMO as a note left by Zhang stated he wished to “join the heroes of the game he worshipped.”
The sudden death of Shawn Woolley is one that still baffles those that knew him. Though he suffered from a learning disability and showed emotional issues as a child, Woolley was on a good path, especially after obtaining employment and a place of his own to live. Despite the positivity, Shawn’s mother came across his dead body slumped in front of his computer with Everquest still running. Woolley had killed himself and his mother immediately pointed her finger at the virtual world her son was so heavily involved in. No note was left behind to confirm reason, but it’s believed Shawn had met with some sort of in-game tragedy, possibly over a fellow player he had grown attached to, and shot himself in the middle of playing.
Lineage II Rivalry
To his Lineage II clan, Platanium, he was known as Albert; to his rivals, the Coo-clocks Clan, he was nothing more than a nuisance that needed silencing. 33-year-old Albert had taken a swift beating in-game, leading to a real-life meeting between he and his 22-year-old enemy. The face-off between the two Russian gamers ended with Albert sustaining brutal injuries and earning a trip to the hospital. Albert passed away shortly after, and though arrested for the crime, his killer stuck to his belief that the former Platanium member needed to die.
Lengthy Play Time Syndrome
They say too much of a good thing can be bad, and while gamers would probably disagree when it comes to their beloved medium, we have some truly sad stories to tell that support this claim. Such as the devastating end to Chen Rong-yu’s 23-year existence, which ceased at the end of a 23-hour session of League of Legends. Chen was dead for 9 hours in an internet café before anyone noticed. There was also Lee Seung Seop, who collapsed and died after almost 50 straight hours of Starcraft, and a Defense of the Ancients player, Rustam, who had a broken leg and died of thrombosis after a 22-day gaming binge.