Total Nerd 11 People Who Died Playing Video Games  

Autumn Spragg
972.1k views 11 items

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.

Virginia Beach Father Dies After 24-Hour Video Game Marathon For Charity

Virginia Beach Father Dies Aft... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 11 People Who Died Playing Video Games
Photo: Wargaming/via Gamezone

Gamer Brian Vigneault died after playing an online game called War of Tanks for nearly 24 hours. Vigneault was raising money for the Make-A-Wish foundation during his marathon. When he stopped to take a smoke break, he had a massive heart attack and died. 

According to a friend, Vigneault had not slept for 22 hours and was drinking Five-Hour Energy and Red Bull to stay awake. 


Three-Day Gaming Binge Kills Taiwanese Man

Three-Day Gaming Binge Kills T... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 11 People Who Died Playing Video Games
Photo:  Rob Fahey/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Two Taiwanese men died from marathon gaming binges within three weeks of one another in 2015. The first was a 38-year-old man who was found dead after playing video games for five days straight in an Internet cafe in Taipei. The second was Hsieh, a 32-year-old man who died from cardiac arrest after playing for three days without stopping. 

Even worse, workers at the Kaohsiung Internet cafe didn't discover that Hsieh was dead for hours. He'd been known to sleep face down on the table during his gaming binges, but when workers found him sprawled out and unresponsive, they finally sent him to the hospital. Authorities believe that cold temps and over-exhaustion were to blame. They noted that none of the other games in the cafe seemed to even notice that one of their own was being carted off, stiff as a board, by paramedics.

If there's a lesson to be learned (besides "don't play video games for days without stopping to sleep or eat"), it's this: don't get caught in an emergency around gamers. Unless your dying body impedes their ability to play, they might not be any help at all.

40 Hours of Diablo III Proves Fatal

40 Hours of Diablo III Proves ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 11 People Who Died Playing Video Games
Photo:  Diablo 3

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 might have led to Chuang's untimely demise.

Jeff Dailey and Peter Burkowski - The First

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Video: YouTube

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.

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.