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Whatever You Do, Don't Blame Gamer's Death On Diablo III

It's a tragedy. But perhaps more importantly, it's a tragedy that must be viewed in the correct light.

A Gameranx writer has reported a gaming-related death; a friend and coworker apparently died of a heart attack after a three-day Diablo III binge. You can read the heartfelt article if you wish, but bear in mind that a friend clarified, saying the victim was out with friends until 1 am the previous night, and the "three-day binge" isn't true.  

But either way, this must be said:

Video games can and often do contribute to a sedentary lifestyle, so the knee-jerk reaction to blame this unfortunate incident on gaming is inevitable. Thankfully, I don't know of anyone who will make this mistake, but there are a lot of people out there who despise this industry or, at the very least, say it contributes significantly to the ill health of our nation. Therefore, it's critical that we recognize this as just more evidence of how bad off we really are; this society is in dire straits due to the aforementioned "sedentary lifestyle," and it goes well beyond games.

Many a citizen's diet is horrendous. In fact, the majority of most popular food should be flat-out banned from existence, as far as I'm concerned. Every new invention lets us sit more and move less. We rely on medication. We don't believe in self-discipline because at every turn, we are told - often subtly or even subconsciously - that we don't need it. The picture of the late Russell Shirley is sad but for bigger reasons...it's depressing because the man was obviously in poor health and worse, he was far too young to be in such a dangerous condition. Reality doesn't let me place all the blame on society (we are all responsible for our own conditions, at least to some extent), and in point of fact, I have to defend gaming.

There's no doubt that video games can exacerbate an existing problem; i.e., a person who is given to sitting more than anything else and eating terribly. But is it right to label the hobby of gaming a cause? If we're going to do that, driving is a cause. The horrid health of truck drivers is legendary. Everything we do that eliminates the possibility of burning calories, from watching a movie to taking the escalator at the mall, is working against us. It's our responsibility to overcome the constant daily temptations, correct? But those in such poor condition as Shirley face what might seem to be an impossible struggle.

It's my hope that the name "Diablo III" is considered irrelevant in this tragic report. Yes, it very well could've been the catalyst, the straw the broke the camel's back, but for many years prior, a heart had struggled to beat. And all we've really done in the past several decades is to discover new ways for hearts to slow. That, my friends, is an issue that dwarfs the idea that "games make you fat." Look deeper, ever deeper, and you'll discover the truth. ...didn't someone famous say that?

Tags: diablo iii, gamers death, gaming industry, video games

5/23/2012 11:39:15 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (37 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 12:24:29 AM
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Perhaps his lifestyle had something to do with it, but so too does that of the active athlete who isn't medically fit for it.

Some of you know a friend of mine died 3 months ago, it wasn't under these circumstances but if you could understand what the world of Skyrim and Amalur meant to him you'd see that video games aren't the enemy. He was a monetarily poor man that took solace in our virtual worlds.

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Knightzane
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 12:27:55 AM
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Exactly, this is also in regards to GTA. I played my first GTA when i was 8. Now i never ran around killing people or stealing cars. Yet people also say that video games are the cause of most violence, and laziness. I work out everyday. I run a mile everyday. I also play video games everyday. So i don't believe that video games are bad, in the least bit. Diablo lll had as little to do with killing that poor guy than GTA does with people stealing cars...or killing hookers.

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MrAnonymity
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:44:00 AM

Wait... so doing all of those things in real life is wrong? Hm... must've missed that memo...

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ProfPlayStation
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 6:39:12 AM

On the point of GTA, regardless of what people think it may "cause," there are things which children simply should not be playing. Back in GTA3 and such, I'll agree that it was still more or less just a giant juvenile playbox with nothing much *that* bad in it, but today's GTA is quite a different beast, making the games of old look almost naively cute in comparison. Exposure to the wrong kind of material, at the wrong time and in the wrong context can and does warp a child's world view. That's not to say that they'll go out murdering people, but it *can* be a very negative influence. To say that nothing in any video game is bad for a child is simply wrong.

As always, it boils down to proper parenting and child rearing. Regulation is not the answer, but getting a parent up off their lazy butt most certainly is. They need to provide proper guidance as to the values they wish to instill in that child, and carefully monitor what kinds of entertainment they are consuming. The same goes for physical activity. If the parent doesn't take the lead, don't expect the kid to realize the need for exercise on their own.

And if you're an adult who hasn't learned these lessons in self-control and self-care, it's your life to ruin. So, yes, don't blame Diablo 3 if someone does something incredibly stupid like not sleeping in three days.

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AcHiLLiA
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 7:06:02 AM

what's sad about the whole thing is, their was a real life event that happened mentioning GTA.

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xenris
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 8:41:33 AM

Because we all know Hitler started WW2 because he lost a round of Counter-strike right?

Man kinds history is filled with blood and violence. The worst of which was around long before video games came to be. Anyone who studies ancient world history will see how much bloodshed and war there was.

I do think that kids under 10 shouldn't play violent games as it can cause tendencies when they are older.

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Underdog15
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:08:20 AM

I agree, Xenris.

Violent games have potential effects on even the most well-adjusted children.

Heck, after an evening of COD once, even I woke my wife up in the middle of the night once because I was jabbing her in the ribs in my sleep with my finger, babbling on about how I need to "get the kill". lol

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saintaqua
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 12:37:43 AM
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Video games are not high on my list of things to blame.
I blame parenting, lack of self discipline, smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating and plain old sloth.

The media will take stuff like this and run though to start scandals.

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Geobaldi
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 12:40:55 AM
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Time for Congress to try introducing some new legislation about gaming again.

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ZenChichiri
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 12:56:51 AM
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I blame Mountain Dew.

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tes37
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:08:09 AM

..and truckloads of moon pies

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AcHiLLiA
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 7:10:52 AM

all soda for that matter, which is a real big problem.

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gray_eagle
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:22:33 AM
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easier to blame what you can see than what you can'nt see.

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MrAnonymity
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:43:26 AM
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I blame American Idol.

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evilmunkie
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 3:21:24 AM
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The one at fault here is the only person that could've done something about it, himself. But even thats not entirely true...... people are lulled by the trust they have in their bodies, a trust that it will give as a warning before any real health issues become serious. Something that anyone would be fortunate to live through depending on what were walking about. Unless someone stands on a scale each day can't see how much weight we gain day by day. The scale is not important, what is important is to not grow comfortable adding afew pounds to your frame every month. That will add up quicker than one thinks. Some people would even say they don't feel the extra lbs that they can pack on a poor diet but thats because it happens gradually and we grow used to it. People need to start caring about themselves before they get any type of warning from their body. Most people don't really care or just say something like 'we all got to go sometime'. We should atleast try to make it later than sooner. I woke up about 8 years ago in the middle of the night with what seemed the weight of two men standing on my chest. I stood in my dark room trying to calm myself and trying to get a breath in till it just went away. I had always been a more than stocky kid at that time. Not long after that night I went vegetarian for three years, and that how i learned I loved indian food, enough to learn how to make some myself. I lost half my total body weight just eating great food, before the first year the smell of cooking meat made me feel sick, I stopped being vegetarian when I noticed that I needed atleast a little meat in my diet, that and when strong winds started to mess up my walking. I still love the crap out of vegetables though. I want to say most of my weight came from not really caring about my weight (I was 18 on that night), too much soda and way way too much fattening mexican food. I was the weird mexican in my family for a while, lol the one that wouldn't eat meat and cooked strange food. It was GTA-SA that reminded me that all you got to do is actually try to lose it. Unlike the game fat doesn't melt away fast, but just because one can't see progress doesn't mean progress is not being made. Afew pounds is not going to kill anybody, but that crap can sure snowball

Last edited by evilmunkie on 5/24/2012 3:22:55 AM

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TheCanadianGuy
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 8:32:35 AM
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when i read the headline i thought it was the ERROR 37! guy.

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xenris
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 8:35:04 AM
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I liked this article. Especially the part where a lot of the food on the market should be banned. As a fitness trainer an athlete AND a gamer, it's just a simple matter of finding balance. Some weeks when my work is light I play more games, sometimes I only have time for an hour or so a week. But I know my body and my limits with both game binges, and the amount of exercise I can handle before needed a rest and recovery period. Sadly most people do not. Couple this with the fact that something like only 10% of Americans get an adequate amount of physical exercise on a regular basis, and your going to end up with a sick nation of people. Canada is just as bad too.

If we're going to "blame" anyone, why not blame the food industry for selling all of this garbage and trying to play some of it off as healthy? Why not blame it on the school system not enforcing 30 minutes of physical activity a day outside of the required phys-ed class?

Its so unfair to blame games, it is the individuals responsibility to know when to stop. Even if a game has addictive qualities most people know when to take a break. However certain personalities have a hard time stopping and it eventually can snow ball out of control. This happened near where I lived, and my father was on a local tv station talking about the pschology of it. You can wikipedia search the dissapearance of brendan crisp for more details. But basically this boys parents took away his Xbox because he was playing too much CoD, and he ran away from home. Something like a month later they found him dead in a forest somewhere. He fell out of a tree and broke something then froze to death. You wouldn't believe the people who were blaming the game for this happening. My father was talked about the pschology of it, and how the instant gratification can be what hooks certain personalities, as they aren't rewarded or don't feel special enough in real life.

Anyway great article I 100% agree with you, people like to try and blame things because humans don't want to have to be responsible for their own actions.

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Underdog15
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:18:47 AM

To be fair, Xenris, Canada is bad, but not equally as bad! ;)

In 2008, 32.6% of the US met the Obese definition, while in Canada it was 24.3%.

Either way, both of our fine countries are full of "fluffy" people!

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jimmyhandsome
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:48:37 AM

Its up to 35.7% for Americans. We keep out doing ourselves!

This statistic is also heavily skewed by people who live in the southern and midwestern states, though. Just saying.

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xenris
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:02:10 PM

Hahaha, I am Canadian, I said Canada is just as bad in hopes to not anger anyone :P

The problem is even people who aren't "obese" still have all these health problems that they wouldn't because they don't stinkin move their bodies :P There are what we call skinny fat people, who can't look "healthy" but still have a slew of issues. While there can be bigger people that are putting in the time, but results are coming slow. Either way, I think we can agree, people in general don't seem to be moving enough.

Its not even that much, 10-30 minutes a day of moderate to high intensity exercise is all you need. If you are consistent, all of the sudden life gets better.

Not only that, your body releases this stuff called Brain Derived Neurotropic factors, or the BDNF gene. These proteins can create new neurons in the brain, as well as protect existing ones. Which seems to be why people who exercise can learn better, and as they get older don't develop poor memory. Not to mention the endorphins released, epinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, growth factors etc, and help to enhance pretty much every bodily function we have.

It blows my mind with all of the benefits to exercise that less and less people are doing it :
Don't even get me started on North Americas food system.

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AcHiLLiA
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 5:16:15 PM

I blame the bad food that we have in this world, it's just people make bad decisions.

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jimmyhandsome
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 8:46:53 AM
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I would like to think of these incidents more as isolated ones, rather than ones that represent our society (and I assume you're referring to American society). Some people, be it because of their job or work hours, their lack of motivation, or even low self confidence don't do much in the way of exercise. It's good that a lot of schools have begun implenting mandatory programs for exercise, but eventually the kids will grow up and be their own individual.

Some people just don't find the value in a healthy lifestyle and that's too bad.

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xenris
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:09:40 PM

Its true, people don't find merit which is a shame. Usually I find people think its too hard to exercise or they don't have time, or they don't see the benefits as mattering until its too late and they have diabetes or a heart attack.

But literally if you don't have an extra 10 minutes a day to get some high intensity exercise in...well you are a slave to somebody :P Not only that if you do it your more efficient so you might have even more time and be more productive once you do get your exercise in for the day.

I look at it all like this, exercise wasn't a thing before we had local markets and grocery stores. We had to hunt, gather, walk, and run after our food. Then maybe carry our food and water to others if we wanted to live. Exercise was built into humans day to day lives. Now food is a phone call away and the work we have to do to get the money to get it doesn't need too and in most cases doesn't involve any serious exercise(excluding construction workers or things of that nature) We basically don't "need" to exercise like we used to in order to live.

So I pretend that each meal I eat has to be earned like in the good old days. When I shift perspective like that, I find its much easier to exercise consistently.

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duomaxwell007
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:07:20 AM
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i can understand why people would blame games for it.. lets say for example those ppl who have passed out and died i internet cafes from playing games for 24+ hours straight.. how is that NOT the games fault? I mean they were addicted, their addiction beat them it was the addictions fault correct?

How is that no different than someone dying from smoking too much crack? when that happens you blame the crack not the person smoking it right? so why would death by obsessive video game playing be any different?

and i fyou say crack s a druvg that has adverse affects to your body whereas gaming is/does not, ok there are other things you can do obssesively that can cause death too, like overworking or running until you fall out... again in those circumstances people would blame the running or the work for those deaths so its ok to blame the death on the activity for evey other circumstance EXCEPPT when it comes to games?

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:17:15 PM

Are you being sarcastic??? If not then everything you said was a decision by the user. Other than a small percentage of the world who are born with or contract health issues through no fault of their own everything else is a decision by the user. You define what your life is! Granted friends, family, and society play a small part in it, but overall it is upto you.

A large portion of deaths I blame on the people not the things around them. I myself have a couple of diseases I have to watch out for in my life;

1. Scleroderma which if it goes full blown the majority of people die within a year, with this one I just have to hope I don't get it. At least according to the doctors it is mainly genetic. Most of the woman in my family that don't get it at least get Lupas and the whole family is tested every year for CREST Syndrome (calcinosis, Raynaud phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasia) if you get all you have full blown scleroderma.
2. Diabetes, which runs rampant in my family, now through good decisions I have a really good chance of avoiding this one.
3. Heart related issues, again very prominant in my family. This one I can make decisions that greatly increase my chances to avoid these issues, but genetics also plays their part.
4. Alcoholism, this by far is the easiest one to manage as I rarely drink. However when I drink I can put alcoholics under the table even though I rarely drink. I just always avoid drinking for consecutive periods of time.

If I was to die from one of these four two of them I would blame almost 100% on myself. The third might also be my fault, the fourth is just really, really bad luck.

I am sorry but I just find that putting the blame on anything but ones self in a good portion of deaths is just outright wrong. To anyone else that reads this it may come of callous and I am not saying that I feel that way about all deaths just ones that are untimely and usually caused by ones own decisions.

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Temjin001
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:08:35 AM
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I just buy diet pills with the Kardasian girls on them. It's like an exercize in a bottle, plus it'll give me a rock'n set of knockers =p

I struggle to get exercise because I'm programming, doing 3D or something else computer related all day, making it hard to feel enthused to get up and go out and exercise. I'm not a big fatty, or nothing. I just don't want health problems. I signed up for a weight training class in the summer to help force me to get a workout. I used to really be into weight training years ago(until i screwed up my shoulder) with my brother. We'd start the day watching Pumping Iron and then hit the gym lol.

Anyway, right now I feel like playing Ninja Gaiden 3... uh, wait, that's a physical copy, requiring me to stand up and move around, screw that! The Revenge of Shinobi it is!

Last edited by Temjin001 on 5/24/2012 9:09:22 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 10:09:50 AM

"I just buy diet pills with the Kardasian girls on them. It's like an exercize in a bottle, plus it'll give me a rock'n set of knockers =p"

LMAO

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xenris
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:10:46 PM

I could hook you up with a 10-20 minutes program Temjin :P But yeah, at least you know that its good for you. Whatever you do for exercise do it with focus, no matter how short or long. Do your best and forget the rest! :)

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AcHiLLiA
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 5:25:05 PM

when u take a break, u can always do crunches on the chair.

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wackazoa
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:14:22 AM
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3 days ? Thats dedication, I cant play longer than 12 or 14 hours.

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ethird1
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:15:01 AM
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The fact of the matter is that it is Blizzards fault. I almost had a heart attack when I found out I could not play single player offline! Frack you Blizzard!!!

Currently living the game known as Dragon's Dogma. Game of the Year.

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Alejandro562
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:49:48 AM
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Poor guy, but im sure it was more than a release of a pc game that eventually led him to this point.

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Squirrelicus
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 10:00:21 AM
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If memory serves me correct I heard of a similar thing with World of Warcraft or Starcraft in Korea. So let's blame Activision, they don't just kill franchises.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 10:10:03 AM

And it aaaaall comes back to Activision. ;)

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wackazoa
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 10:12:52 AM

Maybe Activision could market this as some sort of anti-ADD thing.


"Buy our games and never suffer from ADD again."




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CaptRon
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 2:22:53 PM
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Lol Diablo took his soul.

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xnonsuchx
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 3:52:05 PM
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Do we ban water when someone drinks so much that they die?

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