[MUD-Dev] Death of a game addict

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Tue Apr 2 18:33:42 New Zealand Daylight Time 2002


From: http://www.jsonline.com/news/state/mar02/31536.asp

  Shawn Woolley loved an online computer game so much that he played
  it just minutes before his suicide. Elizabeth Woolley, who says
  her son, Shawn, was addicted to EverQuest, wants to sue the
  makers. EverQuest is played by more than 400,000 people worldwide.

  The 21-year-old Hudson man was addicted to EverQuest, says his
  mother, Elizabeth Woolley of Osceola. He sacrificed everything so
  he could play for hours, ignoring his family, quitting his job and
  losing himself in a 3-D virtual world where more than 400,000
  people worldwide adventure in a never-ending fantasy."

MMORPGs have come into their own.  They have people blaming them for
the world's ills, once the coveted position of Dungeons & Dragons
(see http://ptgptb.org/0006/egbert.html for the eerie similarities).

Never mind that a man suffering from "depression and schizoid
personality disorder" was living "alone in an apartment the last
months of his life."  It must be EverQuest's fault!

Ever encounter one of these folks?  We have.  And we've tried,
whenever possible, to cut them off early -- from players who ask to
be banished for "their own safety" to coders who indicate such
mental instability that we force them to retire.

But far more worrisome in the article is:

  I've seen a lot of wreckage because of EverQuest," Parker
  said. "But they are all the same. It's like cigarettes. They need
  to come with a warning label. 'Warning, extensive playing could be
  hazardous to your health.' 

  Warning labels are exactly what Jack Thompson, a Miami attorney
  and vocal critic of the entertainment industry, wants to result
  from a lawsuit he plans to file against Sony Online Entertainment
  for Elizabeth Woolley."

I could easily see a minimum age requirement due to the likely
contact with adults and adult material for games.  But a warning
that doing something to excess is bad for your health?  Puhleeeaze!

Mike "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator
http://www.retromud.org/talien

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