164: Baang You're Dead

Baang You're Dead

"For three days Lee played StarCraft in a public computer cafe in Taegu, South Korea. He left his computer only to use the washroom, sleeping nearby on a makeshift bed.

"Lee had recently quit his job in order to spend more time playing games, presumably so that he could eventually "go pro" and compete in South Korea's popular gaming competitions. It was a life choice that would ultimately prove fatal."

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Name a job or passtime that hasn't caused a fatality?
If there's anything that causes increased stress to the body, there will be some fatalities.

However, if there was a proper study done into the effects of long-term gaming, by a unbiased group, then maybe we'd have some proper legislation. Especially with the case of the Final Fantasy causing people to puke.

And the line "It was a life choice that would prove ultimately fatal." will be snapped up by the courts, and anyone wanting to ban games.

The event in question happened more than 3 years ago, and was extensively covered in the press at the time. If it wasn't successfully "snapped up by the courts, and anyone wanting to ban games" then, I think it's probably safe to say that this article doesn't place our hobby in too much jeopardy.

I think this says more about South Korea than it does about games. Here games are played for fun and to escape from the real world for awhile. In Korea they feel the need to escape and never come back. Granted, this happens in America too, but it seems to happen more often there.

Death is inevitable. Dying doing something you love is a poetic way to go. Dying by having a stingray stab you in the gut is an accident. Dying sat on your arse for 3days in a public place playing a computer game is depressing, whether they loved doing it or not.

I agree with Cousin_IT - anyone who dies due to sitting on his arse for an insanely lengthy amount of time is a loser and such a death is not poetic nor even noteworthy except as a cautionary tale to young folks who might be going down the same loser path. The guy might have died doing what he loved, but he also denied himself the majority of what was likely to be a long life where his interests might have grown beyond doing one thing obsessively.

Oh geez, and my friends think I'm a Hardcore gamer, starving dogs and Suffocated babies? You need to time youself South Korea!!!, But seriously it's sad man

This was in all likeliehood a hoax/urban myth, probably as propoganda to try & curb the obsession of some players & serve as a "this could be you if you don't get a grip" parable.

Accidents happen, but deaths related to video games are easily preventable... it's called doing something else for a while. When we say "he died doing what he loved," it's just something to make us living folk feel better. I'm sure, if given the choice, he would have chose another way to die; quietly while sleeping probably ranks very high among most people. ;-)

This was in all likeliehood a hoax/urban myth

No Zamna, I assure you every story recounted in this article is completely, verifiably true.

ah yes, South Korea keeping the stereotype alive.

All in all this was a pretty impressive sideshow, but while on one hand I feel compelled to chastise these people for their irresponsibility, there is a certain necessary silliness about saying "death by video games" which defies the gravity of the situation sometimes.

I think to fully get a understanding of the reasons behind these unfortunate events, you must first understand a little bit more about South Korean culture.

South Korea is a very intense place to grow up. Most children as early as five years old spend eight hours a day in school and then shuffled into multiple academies for the remaining five or six hours before they are allowed to come home. When students reach high school, they stay from 8:10 am and are at school until 9:00 pm, after which they go to academies for English or Math training. Most students get home somewhere between 11:00pm to 1:00am, only to start again the next day. Their idea of summer vacation involves five hours of classes every day with a mandatory 5 hours of "free study" time; essentially sit in your classroom and shut up.

If you ask a Korean student what their hobbies are, they look at you a bit funny but manage to come up with "listening to music" or "watching t.v." Organized sports also have no place for students, unless you are training for a national team.

Why do they do this? Well, South Korea is having a hard time with unemployment. Parents put a huge amount of pressure on students to study hard and only study because they only get one chance at college. Without getting into a good college, there is NO chance to get a descent job.

Video games have given many people a chance to escape, literally. If your childhood/teen-hood was as depressing as the students here, you might find yourself desperate to spend long hours escaping.

It is deplorable yes, but it is not so surprising.

As a side note, it is not as if the whole populace spends time playing video games. It is actually a small percentage who have the time to play. Most people spend their time at work, but thats just from my experiences.

Samboya makes a point. This is sad to americans, but to Koreans, it's a totally different story.

I think it's sad whether it's Americans, Koreans, or who ever else. It might not be as surprising and might have more valid reasons, but to want to escape your world so bad that you can't even take a break to LIVE? As arrogant as it makes me sound, I'm glad I don't live there.

In the spirit of this article, let us not take this as a spurn of Korean culture. I think Russ is trying to articulate that we need to look to what we spend our time doing.

As far as gamers go, North America has equally sad stories about gaming. Destroyed relationships over MMOGs, neglected children and lost jobs. These may not be as recognizable as death, but they are equally as horrible.

I think, in general we need to consider what we do as gamers and balance our entertainment with other aspects of our lives.

Russ makes an excellent point about death overall. You're going to die someday, it's best to die doing something you love. Live well, live hard, die well. Mind you, dying while playing video games isn't my first choice (mine involves a sword, a target rich environment, and a pile of enemies to serve me in Valhalla) but if you play for 4 hours a day, you have pretty good odds of doing so. Just, whatever you do, live so as to make your death worthwhile. Help people, be kind, give of your time and of yourself... those kinds of things. That way, when you are gone, there will be people who remember you well.

Cool article. It's good to have those events put into some kind of context.

Interesting read, Well done.

from the pic I thought this was about RSI, but hell RSI helps in telling your body to get away from the computer before DVB or a heart attack get you.

And to everybody out there, watch out for DVB. It's more subtle than a heart attack because you don't know you have it at first. My sister had it for a month without knowing it, until she went to the doctors after experiencing shortness of breath and found that she had permanently damaged 5% of her lung. Now she's eating rat poison and taking shots in the stomach to keep her precarious blood level balanced

I recommend The Escapist to a lot of people as an example of upscale journalism about the gamer lifestyle. Usually, it does an excellent job of presenting gamers in an authentic but respectable light. In this case, it's failed on the latter.

If you put a link in your article, it's part of your article. If you don't want to bother explaining a "Zerg rush" and you link to the Encyclopedia Dramatica, then it's as if you're saying you agree with the definition listed there even if it begins, "Zerg Rush is a type of attack in StarCraft, a game by the company Blizzard. However it was perfected with the slanted eye power of AZNS, specifically, the Koreans who are known to die in obsession with the game (see seppuku and faggot)." Slanted eye power? Faggot? Well done, fellas. It's not like there was a slightly more informative, less juvenile, and certainly less inflammatory explanation at Wikipedia.

So, when my friend comes to me and says, "That magazine you linked to is foul-mouth trash," I'd like to be able to deny it. In this case, that wasn't possible. It is possible that Russ Pitts could have picked a source less likely to make him look like a racist prick. It is possible that The Escapist editors could have done a slightly better job screening his links and keeping Russ Pitts from looking like a racist prick. In the future, let's work toward making that possibility a reality and keeping the content on The Escapist free of racist prickery. Please.

WOW I never thought someone could actually play video games to death. Great article well written, informative.

Wow I thought that my addiction was bad, but he really played video games to death well at least he died doing what he loved.

a game that someone can play for that long must be an amazing game

if only i could find a game that could get me that addicted (not to the point of dying though...)


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