For most of us, video games are a beloved pastime. A way to chill out after a long day. An awesome way to hang out with friends. We've grown up with them, we talk about them, we read articles about them written by the funniest (and most humble) writers on the planet.
Sometimes we spend a little too much time with them. Who hasn't stayed up all night playing a game to beat it, or get that one rare achievement, or trash talk people online? Most of the time though, it's something we can recognize and either compensate for or deal with. Other times, things can go past incoherently babbling, through sleep-deprived eyes, as we play our fortieth game of Wheel of Fortune for the NES.
For some of us, video games can become an obsession. An addiction from which it's incredibly hard to escape. In many cases, it is difficult for the player (and their loved ones) to take seriously, because for a very long time it wasn't recognized as a real disease. In fact, the bible for psychiatrists everywhere, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, only listed Internet Gaming Addiction as recently as 2013. It's hard to get help for things when society as a whole sees someone's problem as a character flaw rather than a disease, and unfortunately, these troubled gamers' stories can end in bizarre, scary, or tragic ways. Here are a few of the weirdest ones I could find, sorted from least to most effed up.
20 Guy Sues MMO For Being Addicting, Actually Wins
So apparently, games have their own 'McDonald's hot coffee case.' It's common knowledge that video games, especially the MMO genre to which Craig Smallwood started playing, can be addictive. Personally, I've been playing World of Warcraft since the game launched in 2004. Craig, however, has me beat by a mile and then some. Craig's game of choice was Lineage II, a game released one year before WoW. Enraptured by it, he sank over 20,000 hours of his life playing the game. He couldn't communicate with his family. He wouldn't bathe, wouldn't dress himself, he would just do nothing but play Lineage. Because he felt the game ruined his life, he decided to sue the game's maker, NCsoft, for damages.
Now, in most cases, judges take one look at the game's End-User Licensing Agreement (EULA), find the clause in it that protects them from this sort of thing, and dismisses it. However, that wasn't the case here. In Hawaii, where the case was filed, contracts that waive the ability to make gross-negligence claims are not recognized, so NCsoft's only defense didn't hold up.
19 Dad Plays Zuma While Kids Run Naked Around The Neighborhood
Okay, let's get this out in the open from the get-go: the game in question was not actually Zuma, the puzzle game that basically equates to Bubble Bobble on rails, but rather a knock-off made by the same company called Atlantis. I don't know if that makes this story that much more disappointing, but it feels like it does.
Timothy Hausaman was playing games in his apartment, with the front door open, when the police walked in and had a conversation which probably went a little like this:
"Sir, do you know where your children are?"
He looks up from his laptop, nonplussed. "My what?"
"Your children, sir." At this moment, the kids run in from behind the officer, shouting his name.
"Oh, these guys! Yeah, officer, I got ya. Well, I guess they're right here."
That's when the police arrested him. In one of the most obvious statements ever committed to record, Hausaman was quoted as saying "I am obviously not very good at watching children."
18 Seven-Star Criminal Rating: Mom Narcs On Son
I remember when I used to play Grand Theft Auto a lot. I felt so edgy when I fired up my PS2 and ran dudes over, picked up hookers and then killed them to get my money back, (and then worked my way through the infuriatingly difficult campaign). I never really caught much flack from my parents for playing too much, but that wasn't the case for one kid from Boston. He played so much GTA that he refused to sleep. In an incredibly odd point of contention, the boy's mother also said he kept all the lights on in the house.
This apparently aggravated her so much she called the cops on him, and they actually came up and shut the kid down. I can only hope this happened when he was in the middle of a killing spree, the sirens wailing and shots being fired. Hopefully the knock at the door scared the crap out of him.
17 Pokémon GO: A Wild Dead Guy Appears!
Pokémon GO, or as some like to call it, Peeing in Public Simulator 2016, is a game that dangles the carrot of nostalgia at chubby gamers to get them to go outside and be the very best, like no one ever was. Sometimes though, being the very best means going to semi-remote locations to track down that elusive Hitmonchan or Dratini. In 19-year-old Shayla Wiggins's case though, she ended up stumbling on something a little too real.
The Riverton, Wyoming native was walking along the Wind River when she noticed a corpse floating in the water. Shocked, she called the police. When the report came in, it said that it had been the body of a 24-year-old man who appeared to have drowned with no concern of foul play, just a really unlucky dude who reportedly drowned where Wiggins found him. In real life, you don't wake up at the nearest PokéCenter.
16 Monster Assaults Girlfriend Because He's Terrible
I'm not going to try and get us to identify with a piece of human garbage here, but we've all been annoyed with people who block our views of something we're doing. From the seven-foot dude in a top hat right in front of us at a standing-room-only concert to our little brother getting in our way as we try to watch TV, we've all been there. However, most of us all agree that the proper way to handle those situations is to either shift positions or grin and bear it.
However, Isac Benjamin Pettinger decided that the best way to get his girlfriend to stop him from blocking the TV while he was playing video games was to beat the crap out of her. She had apparently been annoyed because he wouldn't stop playing, so she used the trademark move of neglected loved ones everywhere and ol' Isac wasn't having it.
Thankfully, he was convicted of assault and various other crimes.
15 Stupid Kids Try To Kill Their Friend Over Slenderman
We can all agree since we were all them at some point or another: kids are really, really stupid. It's not their fault. They're new to this whole "life" thing. It takes some getting used to. However, in getting used to it, some kids make mistakes that not only affect their own lives, but the lives of other, innocent people.
Take for example Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, two girls who were so obsessed with the dumb fictional online character Slenderman, that they believed they had to kill their friend Peyton Leutner or he was going to kill them and their families. While they ended up failing, the case made headlines out of sheer shock value.
It's just sad to hear stuff like this getting to this incredibly fever-pitched level of obsession so quickly. And it's especially sad to hear about kids so young believing in something that's so easily able to be debunked.
14 Darwin Award: Idiot Gets Creamed Playing "Real Life Frogger"
Frogger is not a game to emulate. It is literally about navigating traffic, the most mundane, irritating, and soul-sucking point of anyone's weekday. Only in the game's case, you're a frog trying to weave in and out, knowing the oncoming vehicles could crush you at any minute.
So why in the everloving hell would you want to take this game into real life? Well, to get your answer, all you need to do is ask this idiot with no name, who (most likely) got drunk and decided to play the game for real on a four-lane highway in Clemson, South Carolina. He and his friends had been talking about the game beforehand, probably asked one of them to hold his beer, and set off. Unsurprisingly, shortly after he yelled "Go," he got smacked by an oncoming SUV and sent to the hospital. Hopefully, his insurance had a "no-morons" clause, so they didn't have to pay for his idiocy.
13 Counter Strike Salt Is Most Insane Salt, Part 1: Stabbed In The Friggin' Head
Counter Strike and its many incarnations have been the OG of the online first-person shooter scene for over a decade. This means the game has had a very long time to attract some very dedicated fans, and some obviously very crazy ones.
Take for example the case of Xiao Wei, the poor kid who got the business end of a kitchen knife through the head after he was playing CS at the wrong place and the wrong time. As he was racking up the kills, a local gang came into the cyber cafe he was playing at and attempted to coerce him to load malware onto the establishment's computers. After saying no, he and his friend were attacked, but Xiao got the worst of it.
A 10-inch knife was found embedded in his skull, and miraculously, he was able to walk into a nearby hospital and ask for help. To the amazement of every single person involved, he made a full recovery, and now, probably, only plays his games at home.
12 Counter Strike Salt Is Most Insane Salt, Part 2: Wild Hunt
Not to be outdone by China I guess, France has its own Counter Strike horror story, one involving an obsessed gamer with a vindictive streak a mile long named Julien Barreaux.
One of the many many ways you can frag dudes in CS involves melee kills with your knife. It's a thing that most resort to after running out of ammo, or do deliberately because they're either awesome or lame — depending on if you're the victim or not.
Unfortunately for Mikhael, Julien thought it was pretty lame. After getting knifed in-game, Julien made it his life's mission to track down the man responsible for committing such an affront. He eventually discovered that he lived only a few miles away from him. In a completely rational response, Julien drove to the man's house, broke in, and stabbed him in the chest, missing his heart by only a few inches.
The obviously shocked judge sentenced him to 2 years in prison along with much-needed anger management classes, calling him a "menace to society."
11 The Worst Case of Swatting Ever
Swatting is one of those trends that is incredibly hard to believe exists. It's also even more ridiculous to believe that the people who pull it consider it a "prank." Yeah, like anyone who's ever had a SWAT team called on them has ever found it hilarious. It's a move that's sheer terrorism, made to entertain some jerk who didn't like somebody's livestream. What's more, it uses up the valuable resources of local police stations for absolutely no reason. Most of the time the end result is a lot of confusion and a very shaken up livestreamer. But sometimes, the consequences can be a bit more dire.
Tyran Dobbs was a guy who liked playing Xbox games. And like most people who do that, he played them online. The only problem with that is sometimes (most times, let's be honest) the random people he'd play with were complete dung-piles. And one night, the pile of asses turned into a mountain of sphincters as some guy called in a threat on him at 3 am, claiming Tyran had a gun and three hostages in his house. When a confused and irritated Tyran answered the cops, and then tried to go back into the house for something, a cop on scene shot him twice in the face with rubber bullets, causing extensive damage and requiring him to be hospitalized.
10 The Worst High Score Ever
Stories of people dying in internet cafes and elsewhere after playing video games for far too long are everywhere. And the length of time these people play their particular games of choice are all over the map, too: three days, fourteen days, one day, the list goes on and is festooned in sadness.
However, in my trawling of the internet for your amusement, I found one man. One poor, obsessed, paragon of a man who no one should aspire to. For 27 days, this man sat in an internet cafe in the Chaoyang district of China, eating nothing but instant noodles and stereotype fodder until he fainted. Apparently, in the last three days of his marathon, he had stopped eating or drinking, and it was all apparently too much. He will be remembered by parents and spouses everywhere who want to nag their children and other spouses when they won't turn the damn game off.
9 Berzerk: The First Virtual Killer
In what is probably the first case documented case of video games killing someone, there's an omnipresent smiley face. Berzerk was a game that looked like most games did in the mid-80s: black screens, blue walls, and sprites that looked less like people and more like the floaters in your eye from staring at the sun too long. In other words, cutting-edge technology that's totally rad.
Sadly, all this next-level technology was far too much for Peter Bukowski, who after battling valiantly with the insane levels of stress the game incurred upon him, suffered a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. He didn't make it, and from there the 'video games are evil' camp had a whole new talking point to harp on about. However, I would like to point out that, in the news article I found, the county coroner was hesitant to link video games and heart attacks.
8 Niantic's First Confirmed Kill
Besides being one of the worst-run game companies on the planet, Niantic Labs is really well-known for making Pokémon GO. What you may not know is that before POGO, they did another game that was successful to a degree. It was called Ingress, and it was essentially a dry run for POGO. Players picked one of two factions and then walked around their neighborhoods essentially tagging it for one or the other.
While it was nothing in terms of the phenomenon its little brother turned out to be, Ingress had people getting out and playing. But for at least one overzealous player, things did not pan out well. In an article as sad as it is Brazilian, we hear of the tale of Gabriel Cavalcante Carneiro Leão, a 16-year-old kid who wanted to get to one of Ingress's equivalent for Pokémon gyms so badly he forgot to look both ways and got nailed by an oncoming bus. He spent four days in a coma until finally succumbing to his wounds.
7 Insane Florida Man Kills Girlfriend with Xbox
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Florida Man and reading this story, I think Florida has been ruined for me. Darrius Johnson is a troubled young man with some very bizarre astrologically-tinted beliefs. He stabbed his girlfriend, Monica Gooden, multiple times, but if that were the end of the story, it wouldn't be on this list. Among the grizzly scene, investigators found a broken and bloody Xbox 360 and controller, implying that among the stabs, he ruthlessly beat her down with the silver medal of last cycle's gaming consoles. A truly undignified end to a woman who seemed to have things going well for her, besides a very unstable boyfriend, that is.
When asked why Darrius committed such a heinous act, his response was pure, undiluted Florida crazy: Monica had control over his spirit, and he had to fight her like a dragon. She was a Taurus, and needed to sacrifice her for his and her benefit.
6 Woman Dies of Water Poisoning (Yes, That's a Thing) Over a Wii
Did you guys know water poisoning was a thing? Because until I dug this story up, I did not know it was a thing.
Anyway, local Sacremento, California radio station KDND decided to have a contest to win the biggest console at the time, the Nintendo Wii. To the delight of Lame Dad Joke enthusiasts everywhere, they decided to call it the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest. Participants would have to drink half-pint bottles of water every fifteen minutes for as long as they could without going to the bathroom. The one who drank the most and held the longest would be declared the winner.
For Jennifer Strange though, things didn't work out as harmless as the station planned. Midway through the competition, Strange started complaining of severe headaches and bailed out. The next time someone saw her, she was found dead in her apartment. The coroner ended up saying her death was consistent with water intoxication, which happens when too much water causes the fluid in the brain to swell, resulting in death. To make this even more heartbreaking, she was a mother of three and doing this for her kids.
5 Fit Guy Plays Wii Fit, Dies
Wii Fit was a craze that put more Wii consoles in the homes of people who wanted to believe they were working out while playing video games than any other game yet released. As a result, there were a lot of accidents with it, considering it was just a plastic slab you stood on and could easily slip off of. But for all the holes in drywall and busted end tables it was responsible for, Tim Eves would have gladly taken that over what happened to him.
By all measures, Tim really didn't need the game. He was a scout leader, and he played the drums, so his cardio needs were well-taken care of. After having some food and drinking a little wine, Tim decided to play Wii Fit for funsies. However, he dropped dead while playing. Medics attributed it to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, which is actually a disorder of the electrical system of the heart.
4 Real-Life Ninja Looter Gets Permabanned From Real Life
Legend of Mir 3 is another MMORPG concentrated around swords, sorcery, and women wearing plate armor bikinis that undermine the armor's sole purpose of protecting one's soft squishy bits from getting wrecked by said swords and sorcery. Like any game, there are rare weapons that are immensely valuable for any player who can acquire them, and in the case of Zhu Caoyuan, they can sell them for a hefty price.
However, this particular sword wasn't exactly Zhu's entire property, because fellow gamer Qiu Chengwei lent it to him for some reason. Well, Qiu didn't take to kindly to Zhu selling the sword for just over $1,000 (7,200 Yuan), and when the police wouldn't do anything, Qiu took matters into his own hands and stabbed him in the chest. That, however, the police did do something about, and Qiu is going to be spending 15 years to life behind bars.
3 Parent Goes AFK On Their Kid, Part 1
Neglect is something that one tends to commit when they really get into an MMO. They neglect chores, hygiene, work, sleep, any number of things, but most of us realize when to cut it out. When we become parents, that juggling act gets too extreme for the most of us, and we usually have to give something up. For one mom in New Mexico, though, she decided that the thing to give up would be her kid.
Rebecca Colleen Christie played World of Warcraft over a nine-day period during which she actively neglected taking care of her 3-year-old daughter. In the end, the child was left with so few options she resorted to eating cat food because it was the only thing she could get her hands on. The day she died of starvation, Christie was online for fifteen hours continuously. Her ex-husband, a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, was also charged with neglect, but he was away on assignment when the incident occurred, so he only received three years in prison. Christie, however, was sentenced to 25 years behind bars.
2 Mother Makes Child STFU Permanently
Facebook games are a waste of everyone's time. I had a rather regrettable stint with Mafia Wars back in college, and I also played some FarmVille back in the day. However, I have never been as mad about getting interrupted in any game as Alexandra Tobias did when her infant son humbly requested she stop playing to feed him or some of the other things infants are known to ask for.
Apparently, her son Dylan was making too much noise, so she decided to shake him until he shut up. He ended up doing so, and then died of head injuries a day later. But hey, she could go back to playing FarmVille and taking ridiculous quizzes telling her she was a crazy bipolar person, so who needs kids, right?
Even though she expressed extreme sorrow and regretted what she had done, she was sentenced to fifty years in prison.
1 Parent Goes AFK On Their Kid, Part 2: Parents
Prius Online is your standard fantasy MMORPG, but with a little twist: instead of controlling one character, you control three at once. Your character works with small girls called Anima, who summon monster mercenaries called Gigas. The player controls all three of these throughout the game. The Animas are always portrayed as little girls who can do things for the player, and quests are given in-game to deepen your relationship with them. In essence, you're taking care of these little girls as you work through the game.
I told you that story to tell you this one. A 41-year-old man and 25-year-old woman in South Korea ended up having a baby together. It's a nice thing to hear about, except that these people were so involved with playing PO that they neglected their own daughter in favor of raising the ones they played with online. I honestly hope I never live to see a darker, more macabre sense of real-life irony as long as I live.
So remember everyone, the next time someone tells you that their faith in humanity has been restored, just toss this article their way to knock 'em back to reality. Because everything is terrible always. Toodles!