9 People Who Died Playing Video Games Causes of Death
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9 People Who Died Playing Video Games

Any video game player worth their salt knows the feeling. Just ONE more level, ONE more achievement, ONE last item before dinner, sleep, or (shudder) some actual human interaction. Four hours later, and you’re still staring blankly at the screen, mouth ajar, hands balled up into an arthritic mass of digits, and any thoughts you once had about tending to your basic human needs are long since forgotten or pushed off indefinitely as you plug along for that never ending quest for virtual fulfillment. It’s easy to forget that our own bodies need as much tending to as our farms or guilds, heck, maybe even more so. Here’s a list of people who died neglecting their real-life health bars for their video game equivalents.

Be sure to check out Ranker's other lists or circulatory system diseases, brain disorders and biopharmaceutical companies.
  1. 1

    40 Hours of Diablo III Proves Fatal

    An 18-year-old Taiwanese gamer named Chuang reportedly died in July of 2012 after a marathon 40-hour "Diablo III" session. And get this, he was at AN INTERNET CAFE at the time. Maybe these places should take a tip from bars and start "cutting off" people who've had enough. "OK, folks, closing time, you don't have to buy a home in 'Animal Crossing' but you can't stay here!"

    Anyway, Chuang was crashed out by a terminal in an Internet cafe when he was awoken by an employee. He then managed to stand up, took a few steps around, and then collapsed. No cause of death was identified at the time, and police were investigating what mind have led to Chuang's untimely demise.

  2. 2

    Jeff Dailey and Peter Burkowski - The First

    The game above is Berzerk.

    The earliest known deaths to have occurred while playing video games are attributed to Jeff Dailey and Peter Burkowski who both expired (they didn't die, they expired) while achieving fantastically high scores on the popular arcade title "Berzerk," by Atari.

    In 1981, Dailey popped a quarter into the robot-killing machine to score an alleged 16,660 points, his personal best. Moments later, he collapsed and was pronounced dead of a heart attack at the tender young age of 19.

    Burkowski died under similar circumstances less than a year later when, after frequenting his local game room "Friar Tuck's" in Calumet City, Illinois for months, he finally pushed himself too far. Shortly after entering his initials on the Berzerk score board for not one but two record high scores, he also fell victim to cardiac arrest.

    Both of these men died in a blaze of glory, and with their literal last ounce of life, they entered scores into machines, dying legends and forever being known as the guys who died not only doing what they love, but perfecting it.

    I'm going to make fun of some of the poor examples of humanity on this list, but these two, these guys started it all. They set the example. And they died right after entering their names into a Top Score list. And that is badass.

  3. 3

    20 Year Old Man Dies While Playing XBox

    The most recent video game related death to date comes in the form of a pulmonary embolism experienced by 20-year-old Chris Staniforth from the United Kingdom.

    Chris frequently participated in 12-hour long Halo sessions without breaks and during one fated campaign, a blood clot traveled from his legs into his lungs, killing him instantly, which is weird because there's plenty of downtime while waiting for the multiplayer maps to connect you to players and load. Especially on Halo. Seriously. Five of those hours were probably spent waiting for Matchmaking to actually find a f*cking game.

    Thankfully, Chris’ father is one of the few parental units that does not blame the games his son loved to indulge in for his unfortunate demise, but wishes to warn others who participate in the sedentary lifestyle to get up and stretch between blowing away your friends online.


  4. 4

    South Korean 33-year Old Man Plays for 650 Hours

    Not to be outdone by the likes of his South Korean counterpart, a 33-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.

    Holed up in an even shadier establishment without a business license or any natural lighting, the Chaoyang man (whose name is still unreleased) had reportedly shelled out over 10,000 Chinese Yuan ($1,519.30) during the time before his, let’s be honest, timely death. 650 hours of consecutive gaming.

    Over this period, he barely drank or slept and what little he ingested was in the form of instant ramen noodles. 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. Lesser men wouldn’t last a week under similar circumstances. I know I couldn't eat Ramen for more than a few days straight.

    He died of heart failure, malnutrition, etc. Pretty much exactly what you would expect.

    The most important part that they never release in these stories: What level was his character at?!

  5. 5

    26-year-Old Man Spends Holiday Gaming to Death, Teachers Sympathize

    In 2007, a 26-year-old man, surnamed Zhang, from Northeast China, died of heart failure after a week-long marathon of online gaming during a national holiday. Which really, whenever there actually is a national holiday anywhere in the world, before we make our "outside" plans, we, as a society, make our gaming plans. This guy planned his weekend right. He just wasn't really "in the right shape" to do it. Yes, you do need to be "in shape" to marathon game like this. And by "in shape" I mean "have the basic tools to stay alive."

    The binge itself could hardly be blamed for the gamer's death, however, as Zhang had evidently led a full-fledged MMO lifestyle that parodies the "Make Love, Not Warcraft" South Park episode. Weighing over 330 pounds, the Internet addict apparently devoted most of his effort to power-leveling instead of, you know, blood-circulation-friendly activities (going outside, playing a Wii game–c'mon, this was recent enough that he could have done that– or, I don't know, talking to women).

    While not advocating Zhang’s decision-making abilities, a local female middle school teacher did sympathize with his plight, saying, "There are only two options: TV or computer. What else can I do in the holiday as all markets, KTV and cafeterias are shut down?"

    Because clearly, if the cafeteria is closed, kids have no choice but to game themselves to death (???). I knew China was usurping America’s role in the global economy, but they’re taking our laziness, too? God help us all.

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