Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Playing to Death - Some Thoughts, Reactions, and Springboarding

 It's kind of morose, but it's something that needs to be addressed.

Although it's not the first and will hardly be the last case of something like this happening, recently another person died while playing video games.

There are a couple factors that set this case apart: first is the fact that no one apparently even noticed the gamer -- a Mr. Rong-yu -- had even died; it seems to be the case that nine hours passed from his time of death to someone actually noticing that 'hey, this guy isn't playing his game, or, you know, breathing'. Secondly is the notion that remaining in the low temperature location and sedentary for so long might have exacerbated a pre-existing heart condition, the combination of factors having be theorized to have lead to a clot followed by a heart attack.

There isn't as much press going on regarding this particular case, perhaps because the media already got their mitts on something similar a couple of years ago and started in on the rabble rousing that video games are an addictive threat to kids and whatnot. Plus the fact that this man had a pre-existing medical condition means that it makes a less convenient target overall.

Still, it seems that every time something like this happens: whether it be people ignoring their own basic needs to the point of demise, allowing pets or even children to die because they are so enthralled by a virtual experience, or seemingly most damning of all: wanting to carry out some of the acts that they see in the games in real life, with invariably tragic and disastrous consequences. Then of course comes the all-to-inevitable backlash "games are too addictive", "games are too violent", "games make your kids into crazed killers" and all of that jazz.

Not only are these arguments demeaning in some cases, they also belittle general intellect to boot. The same shadowy, 'evil presence' that follows these games is the same one that follows all forms of new media. Books, movies, television; all have been branded with the same devilry as video games and the internet are being branded with now, and mostly for the same reasons: people want a convenient scapegoat.

I do consider it a sad story that this man died while playing a video game -- sadder still since no one even noticed for the longest time -- but is the game to blame for being 'too addictive'? No. Even the most brain addled player has the capacity and more often than not the will to keep doing the things that allow them to actually live even if it means prying themselves away from the tv or monitor to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, etc. Those who can't have a serious problem, they have an addiction; like all addictions an addiction to the world of a video game can end up costing you your health, your well-being, or yes, in some extreme cases your life. However, as people who have overcome addictions to other things will tell you, it's rarely about the gaming/sex/booze/gambling, but rather the void that it seems to fill in themselves. I'm not saying that if this man hadn't of been playing video games that he would have say, drank himself to death, but certainly if one doesn't fall for one harmful vice there are a million others.

Gaming is meant to be something that is enjoyed as a pastime, not binged on constantly. If you play video games for twelve to twenty-four hours a day then you might not be doing as much harm as if you smoked or drank, but you're still taxing just about every aspect of your body. Doing something to such extremes isn't normal, nor is it beneficial in any way. Certainly we've probably all been there; I know people that played Skyrim and other such games for huge marathons after it first came out, but while such indulgences are alright once in a while, if a person finds themselves doing it constantly then it's time to seriously evaluate what's going on.

Frankly, what I'm getting at, in the simplest possible terms, is that no game regardless of how good it is is worth playing yourself to death or lunacy over. I'm not even the best person to quote the whole 'everything in moderation' type of mentality, but even I know something that's spiralling past ridiculousness when I see it.

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