People often compare video gamers to crackheads, but that’s unfair. Crackheads are way more motivated to get out of the house. While gamers cozy up on the couch to battle orcs and inhale their own farts, crackheads dart through shadowy housing projects, use their wits to find the next $20 rock, and occasionally fight for their lives. Pit a chronic gamer against a drug addict in a cage fight, and I’d throw my last hundred dollars on the dopehead.
If it was a shootout, though, I might bet on the nerd.
During Anders Breivik’s ongoing trial, prosecutors submitted the fact that the Norwegian mass murderer continuously played World of Warcraft at his mom’s house for a full year. The killer has shown little emotion in the courtroom thus far, but according to Reuters: “Breivik broke into a smile when the image of his online character was displayed.”
Breivik rationalized his compulsive gaming as a training program to attack multiculturalists:
I feel that this period was needed in order to completely “detach myself from “the game”, my “former shallow consumerist lifestyle ” in order to ensure full focus on the matters at hand.
Columbine murderer Eric Harris had a similar love affair with first-person shooter games—rather than a steady girlfriend—and wrote in his journal:
I must not be sidetracked by my feelings of sympathy, mercy…so I will force myself to believe that everyone is just another monster from Doom....
A handful of violent video game-players have gone on to become rampage killers, but for now these are isolated incidents.
A more likely scenario is the atrophied couch potato who flexes his ego in the real world like he’s playing Call of Duty, then gets his teeth kicked in. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of violent video games is that constantly playing them will make you a pussy. Compulsive gamers don’t experience enough real sex and violence to become grown men.
More importantly, the crippling effect of excessive gaming is laid bare in the countless stories of “gamer widows” who watch their lovers slip away into prefab digital fantasies. Of all the tragic reasons that relationships fail—alcoholism; incompatible sex organs; differences in taste or temperament; incessant infidelity; porn addiction—the #1 lamest reason for a broken relationship is when a man can’t tear himself away from World of Warcraft long enough to give his lady a kiss, let alone an orgasm.
A computer programmer recently told me that he’s witnessed three marriages collapse under the pressure of “massively multiplayer online role-playing games” (or MMORPGs) such as EverQuest, Skyrim, or the unstoppable World of Warcraft, which boasts over 10 million subscribers. Out of the three newly single gaming buddies who chose goblins over girls, only one showed any remorse. The other two were relieved to log endless game hours without “wife aggro.” Your loss, ladies.
There are always those lucky geeks who manage to physically connect to their cyber-soulmates and crank out a few babies. But I have to wonder if they’ll actually reproduce at replacement levels, considering the cases of game-nerd infanticide that surface in the news:
April 2012—Seoul, S. Korea. A young woman gave birth in a 24-hour Internet café’s bathroom. With the father long gone, she proceeded to stuff her newborn into a trash bag, toss it into a street-side can, and step back inside to play her online game into the night. Two days later, a cleaning crew found the tiny corpse.
The woman later told police that she didn’t know how to raise a baby.
January 2011—Flaxmere, New Zealand. Mikara Reti left her five-month-old son in the care of her boyfriend: 21-year-old Trent Hapuku. She returned to find the baby crushed to death in Trent’s arms as he sat absorbed in his PlayStation game. The infant had suffered blunt-force trauma to his liver, internal bleeding, and a severed spinal cord which caused him to vomit on Trent’s shoulder just before dying.
Mikara was pregnant with Trent’s child at the time.
October 2010—Shelbyville, TN. Eighteen-year-old Andrew Johnston went overboard in his attempts to silence his one-month-old son William during an intense gaming session. “I…held him in my hands and squeezed him harder than what was intended,” Johnston wrote. “I then took both of his legs and shook him with enough force to hurt him.”
The infant died a week later from a severe brain hemorrhage.
September 2009—Yangju, S. Korea. An unnamed 41-year-old man and 25-year-old woman met online, fell in love, and had a baby. The couple repeatedly left their daughter home alone to go care for their virtual daughter, “Anima,” at a local Internet café. After an engrossing 12-hour session, they returned to find their three-month-old biological daughter had starved to death.
It is unclear whether their favorite daughter, Anima, is still alive in the virtual world of Prius Online.
Not every MMORPG story is a pathetic tragedy. Take the anomalous Rick K., for instance. His ex-girlfriend grew so hungry for his attention that she would go down on him while he played games. She’s gone now; but Rick has no trouble attracting women. An athletic animatronics sculptor, he recently met a hot young lady online while playing Mass Effect. They finally met in real life at the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention and felt immediate chemistry.
“All of my free time is spent in movie theaters, playing video games, or having sex,” he tells me. “The costumes get expensive, though.”
Rick is the Keith Richards of geekdom—the rare exception who can feed his addiction and still pull women. Most compulsive gamers never even land a girlfriend to lose.
Not that I’m one to judge. I played Nintendo religiously as a kid. Any female companionship I enjoyed was in spite of my obsession with Tetris and Mario Kart. Everything changed when I bought The Legend of Zelda for my N64 system. Having anticipated its release for months, I found myself playing Zelda for 14-hour stretches—smoking, napping, then starting the next shift.
After four days it suddenly dawned on me: If female affection is inversely proportional to hours playing video games, I might never get laid again. So I sold my game system and all of my cartridges for a few hundred bucks, then hitchhiked to a commune in Florida.
A year later, I met my first love in a den of depravity—a raven-haired Goth chick named Zelda. (True story.) She broke my heart, but I have never looked back.
The women in real life are cruel, but at least they are soft to the touch.
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