Point being, it could happen to anyone, anywhere. Deep-vein thrombosis, heart attack or even, one supposes, murder. Games are just the catalyst. As responsible as the weather, or what's playing on the television.
People die all the time. Death is, after all, the one thing we can all be assured we will experience. What makes these gaming deaths remarkable is the fact the deceased all perished doing the thing they truly loved. Of all the ways to die, surely there are worse than gaming.
- Sky Diving
In 2004 Steven Hidler died in the United Kingdom while competitively skydiving. Cause of death: massive trauma. Investigators estimate he hit that ground going about 120 miles per hour. The investigation also showed the cords on his parachute had been cut. The jump, while fatal, was also successful in that it put Hidler and his team ahead of the other competitors. Friends and relatives all suggest he died doing what he loved.
In August of this year, 48 - year-old Wilmington, North Carolina, resident Kenney Whitman died in a boating accident when his aluminum fishing boat struck a dock pylon and launched him and his passengers into the water. Whitman was hit by the boat's propeller and suffered massive injuries. He was dragged from the water by emergency workers and pronounced dead at the scene. His son told reporters Whitman lived a "fast life" and died "doing what he loved."
- Crocodile Hunting
Steve Irwin, also known as "The Crocodile Hunter," was killed by a poisonous sting ray while filming a documentary off the coast of Australia. Family, friends and colleagues all suggest he died doing what he loved.
Among the celebrated entrants to the book of in delicato flagranto morto is, according to an article in the May 1996 issue of Cosmopolitan, Félix François Faure, a 19th-century president of France. Faure died in 1899 in the company of a young woman who, upon discovering he had died, suffered lockjaw and had to be surgically removed from the corpse. There is no doubt President Faure died doing what he loved.
That we die is not newsworthy, but the manner of our death, along with the date and that of our birth is all that will ever be recorded about most of us. And unless we croak while getting lucky in the workplace or in a gaming cafe, our 15 minutes of fame will be more like 15 seconds, buried six sections under the headlines on the obituary pages.
Can we equate playing videogames to skydiving, boating or sex? Expiring from exhaustion, heart attack or DVT from playing a game for three straight days to accidental death while pursuing a leisure activity? Aren't the two the same thing? Die in the act of love and you're a hero. Die playing a game, and you're a freak. The gaming stigma endures, even in death.
Yet considering the virulence of the gaming obsession in South Korea, what's remarkable isn't that they are dying while playing games, but that, considering the odds, more of them aren't dying while playing games.
According to the latest census information, Americans spend, on average, about four hours a day watching television and up to as much as a quarter of our waking hours. Imagine the headlines in Korea about dead Americans.
Russ Pitts hopes to die in a fiery explosion, after driving over a cliff at a high rate of speed, in a fire engine red Ford Torino. His blog can be found at www.falsegravity.com