Death by Video Game

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The Taiwanese government is bringing in regulations on how long teens are allowed to play.

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Films have long had age ratings, but video games may end up being the first entertainment medium in history to attract legislation controlling how long anyone can interact with them before taking a break, writes Parkin. Cafe owners are also taking measures: dead customers are bad for business. They will now ask customers to leave. Fears about the dangers of time-wasting activities are perennial, of course.

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But for Parkin, one of the best writers around on games and games culture, the effects are way beyond moral panic. It leaves us reeling and bewildered, hungry and ghosted in the fug of chronoslip. Games take us out of ourselves to such an extent that we forget where we are. We lose the sense of time passing.


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We swap our normal lives for the power fantasy, the exotic, the elsewhere. He died in a corner of an internet cafe.

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And he died in a game. Rong-yu may have had a pre-existing heart condition, he may have suffered from deep vein thrombosis, he may have collapsed because of the poor quality of air inside the cafe. Or he may have been killed by a cycle of stress and release over a long period of time that elevated his blood pressure and heart rate.

Many play games with the focus and enthusiasm of an employee chasing a promotion. The Japanese have a term for that: karoshi , death by overwork.

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This is a book about people, not games. We meet the arcade performers and the e-sports athletes.


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We meet the players who want to be better than everyone else and the players who simply want to fit in. We meet those seeking refuge and those looking for escape. We have loved games since the beginning. In the s, Pong arcade machines proved so popular that their coin mechanisms seized up. According to the Taipei Times, the man was a "regular customer" who often played for consecutive days.

Taiwan is no stranger to deaths from marathon sessions of online gaming. Hsieh's death came after year-old man was found dead at an Internet cafe in Taipei on January 1 after playing video games for five days straight. And in , the corpse of man who died playing online games went unnoticed for 10 hours by other gamers and staff.

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Especially on Halo. Not to be outdone by the likes of his South Korean counterpart, a year-old man from China kicked the proverbial bucket after a staggering 27 days of continuous online game play. No actual buckets were harmed in the making of this news story. Over this period, he barely drank or slept and what little he ingested was in the form of instant ramen noodles.


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In other words, he lived through what most of us would call a normal college experience. You have to hand it to this guy for his level of endurance, if nothing else.

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I know I couldn't eat ramen for more than a few days straight.