A Taiwanese gamer’s life comes to a tragic end in a New Tapei cafe.
Recent research has suggested that social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are every bit as addictive as cigarettes and alcohol. It’s easy to get wrapped up in online conversations and sometimes quite hard to tear yourself away — and it’s just as easy to zone out playing your favourite games. In Taiwan’s Internet cafes, it’s common for locals to spend hours wrapped up in marathon sessions.
That’s what Chen Rong-Yu had in mind when he sat down in a chair to play League of Legends in New Taipei City. Rong-Yu was surrounded by other customers — around 30 in all — who were all engaged in online activities. At around noon, Chen was spotted by a waitress talking on his cell phone. Later that evening, police arrived on the scene following a grim discovery.
Chen had died about nine hours earlier, and none of the staff or other patrons had noticed. His rigid body sat motionless with arms outstretched towards the mouse and keyboard for the entire afternoon and evening and yet never aroused suspicions. Police ruled the cause of death to be cardiac arrest triggered when blood clots formed as the result of low temperatures, a lack of movement, and exhaustion. Chen had also been previously treated for a heart condition.
Were the other customers too shocked to call attention to the deceased? Were they simply so wrapped up in their own activities that they didn’t notice? Or is it possible that they simply assumed Chen was totally absorbed in his League of Legends adventuring?
This certainly isn’t the first such incident we’ve posted about here on Sync. In the summer of 2011, a 20-year-old UK gamer died from deep vein thrombosis after a 20-hour gaming session. In 2010, we were shocked by news of a couple whose tragically neglected daughter passed away as they tended to a virtual child in an Internet cafe in South Korea.
Thankfully, these events have been relatively infrequent — but they’re still worrying. Here’s hoping that lessons are being learned and awareness increased so that others can avoid similar fates.
[On February 8, as part of Let's Talk Day, Bell will be donating 5 cents for every text message and long-distance call to mental health research which will hopefully find new treatments to combat addiction - Ed.]
Disclosure: Sync is owned and operated by Bell Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of BCE, parent company of Bell Canada.