Thursday, April 7, 2011

Games that can kill you

You know, playing games like Magic the Gathering or Heroclix, sometimes brings me under fire by some aloof and holier than thou type who thinks I should play something more "adult" or less fantasy oriented. I've had a date or two or friend even, who laughed at how much money would go into my collection. I used to say, "Hey, if you have to have a vice (and everyone does) mine is better than drugs and lasts a lot longer." They couldn't really argue with this; especially one friend who's great vice was alcohol (which also kills people by the way). In that, I have come to the realization that what I play (while educational and useful in it's own right) is a lot better than so-called adult vices. I'm going to point out some of them right here. After you read this, try googling "killed while playing" and your favorite game or heroclix or Magic the Gathering. You won't find much unless your game falls into these areas. If they do.. uh oh. And I'm not talking about Russian Roullette either, that's obvious. Here are the top four ways games will kill you.

DICE: If you are a true gamer geek, you have tons of dice and use them for all sorts of games. So what's the harm? Can playing with dice kill you? Sure, if you play Craps in Chicago (or anywhere else for that matter). Not just craps but any dice game played in dark corners for money can earn you payment in knives and bullets. Not even just the desperate but the stupid argument in these games can get you shot. In Chicago a 12 year old boy (youngest tried for this crime) shot two men in a dice game. In another case, an adult man in his thirties shot his own brother. These games often involve three other elements that you have to watch out for; criminals, drugs and alcohol. These should never be in a healthy game environment. So, next time you get razzed for collecting heroclix, tell them it's better than getting shot for rolling craps.

CARDS: Collectible card games come under scrutiny by religious groups and parents all the time. They cost money and have even caused their fair share of trouble in public schools. Yes, kids get in fisticuffs over Pichachu. The result was Pokemon getting banned from a lot of schools for kids own protection. If someone is willing to beat you up over a Charizard, you probably don't want to play anything with them anyway. Let them go try a card game more their speed, but people who kill in this game are serious contenders for the criminal world. I'm talking, of course, about Poker. Poker has been getting people shot since before Craps was invented. There are famous people killed in poker games dating back through the old west. Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back during a poker game, by someone he played poker with and whooped the snot out of. Once again, it's the gambling issue, any game with gambling involved can get you killed. But then there are killer games that you don't have to have money in, you just have to be one of the players...

BLOODSPORTS: Whether in an "official" ring or a backyard, these games can and will kill you. If they don't kill you, they can still disable you for life. Many theories have placed blame for Muhammed Ali's affliction of Parkinson's on his boxing career. Bruce Lee died of a brain hemmorage theorized to have built up over time and from too many hits to the head. That's in games with medical personnel on hand. Famous wrestlers have died in the ring from a stunt gone wrong that made for a broken neck or worse. Go past that to the backyard dipsticks who get themselves killed or maimed by jumping off rooftops to land on their buddies across a buffet table. Of course when it comes to dumb stunt games, I put this one in with the bloodsports because it's killing an estimate of a thousand kids a year. It's called the Choking game and now it's even got it's place on the internet. Kids are accidentally killing themselves for a stunt and semi-high feeling. They do this by pinching off the blood flow in the jugular veins of the neck until they get dizzy. They use various choking methods for this "high" and even video it for youtube. One study found 65 videos posted (reported by news agency) in an 11 day period. It's a game worth warning your kids about. Many of them claim they didn't know it would kill. Well, whether it's gambling, violence, or sheer stupidity, this area of games kills more than cards and dice combined. But there's still another genre working on catching up and killing even more... ready to be surprised?

VIDEO GAMES: What? Really? Yes really. Video games are getting attributed to all sorts of interesting and shocking deaths. Amongst the most bizarre occur in Asia where marathon gaming is a big trend. Here's a tip though, if you have a bad heart, you shouldn't be pulling a fifty hour marathon of anything. That's what one South Korean man did in an internet cafe in 2005 before dropping dead on the spot. Lack of nourishment and proper sleep were thought to have contributed to his heart failure while he played Starcraft. Since 2007 there have been at least 7 other men in China who died playing World of Warcraft or other internet game marathons going anywhere from 3 to 7 days. And if the marathon player isn't enough to convince you, random triggered arrythmia from playing Wii Fit might. A 25 year old (thought to be very healthy) man in Europe died that way. But why stop there? People can get really worked up playing video games, have you ever noticed that? Well, apparently even Farmville is too much for some. Last year a woman in Florida plead guilty to killing her baby for crying. Crying? Crying during a game of freaking Farmville on Facebook! Another man shot a child for interrupting his Xbox game. Gamer rage (yeah they have a rage for everything don't they?) is a growing phenomenon of homicidal behavior during games, specifically computer and video games. Problems with addiction and mental illness are contributing factors. That doesn't change the death rate or what it's attached to.

I know, I know, it's not the games fault, it's the people playing them, right? Okay, so when I searched for people who died playing Heroclix, do you know how many I found? ZERO. I searched for people who died playing Magic the Gathering... ZERO. If there are any out there, they're such small stories that there was no connection at all. So, when you get razzed over your safe gaming vise... point out how safe you really are playing it, because even if you meet some scary people at tournaments, the numbers just don't lie. And if you are dealing with a serious addiction to where you freak out if your Farmville game is interrupted... please seek professional help.

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