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August 11, 2005

BehindTheMedspeak: Playing a videogame can kill you

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From the BBC comes news that a 28–year–old South Korean man collapsed and died after playing computer games non–stop for 50 hours at an internet cafe in the southern city of Taegu.

The man refused to stop playing the battle–simulation game Starcraft except to go to the bathroom.

Frankly, I'm surprised he did that.

Taegu police said that the man, identified only by his last name — Lee — started playing last Wednesday, August 3, and refused to eat or sleep.

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A Taegu provincial police official told the Reuters news agency, "We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion."

The man had been fired from his job last month for skipping work to play computer games.

Nah, they're not addictive. But I digress.

Online gaming is hugely popular in South Korea, where more than 15 million people — 30% of the population — are registered for play.

It's no coincidence that in South Korea much of the population has broadband access at speeds of around 100MPS — no, that is not a typo — for around $15 a month.

Just wait until the U.S. and the rest of the world catch up to South Korea — gonna be a lot of sudden Halo deaths.

The current issue of the Economist (below),

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coincidentally enough, has as its cover story the rise of videogames and the furious ongoing debate about whether or not they're harmful.

The Economist concluded that on the whole they're a good thing.

Maybe this news from South Korea is the business world equivalent of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

I always knew there was a reason I've never been a gamer.

Believe it or not I have never seen a mangosteen, used a chain saw or played a video game.

And with two of the three I plan to maintain the status quo.

Now when's my Malaysian homie gonna throw down?

I wonder if perhaps I should pull the plug on bookofjoe while I'm still more or less with the program....

I mean, I haven't yet gone 50 hours straight here — but I could.

August 11, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

I wrote similarly on this gamer, you may be interested in my articles at www.samanthaburns.com. I heard from someone else, and agree, that this man deserves a Darwin award.

Posted by: Sam | Aug 13, 2005 1:20:06 AM

you've never played a video game? that does seem pretty hard to believe... never played solitare or minesweeper on your computer? never a single game of pac-man at an arcade? (i myself cant stay away from bust-a-move games at arcades)
i can understand never playing games like everquest, starcraft, or half-life, but no video games at all...

Posted by: scott | Aug 11, 2005 2:53:58 PM

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