Earlier this week, the Internet was abuzz by the report that a Taiwanese teenage died after playing Diablo III for 40 hours straight. The 18-year old male booked a room at a café in Tainan on July 13, to which he spent nearly two days playing Diablo III without eating (and likely without drinking water or even standing).
Two days later, someone found him resting on a table, to which an attendant at the café woke him up. The teen stood up, walked a few feet, and collapsed. The hospital authorities were contacted, the teen was rushed to the hospital, and was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival at the hospital. It is assumed that the teen died of cardiovascular problems that involved him sitting for far too long, resulting in blood clots, which proved to be his undoing.
It is speculated that the teen was staying on Diablo III for so long because he was busy using the Diablo III auction house, in which players are able to sell and purchase items for real-world money. Potentially, the teen was likely trying to obtain a rare item that he could either keep for himself for bragging rights or sell to other Diablo III players for a hefty payday. Regardless of the reasoning, the teen felt that he had to continue playing all the while disregarding his basic needs such as food, water, and being active.
This isn’t the first time someone has died from excessive playtime; it isn’t even the first time this year. In fact, earlier this year a Taiwanese player died from a heart attack while playing League of Legends. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive help in time, as everyone was too engrossed in the game, resulting in everyone failing to notice he had died until nine hours later.
Additionally, last year a Chinese gamer died after staying up for three days straight. He barely ate or drank anything, and eventually died. Last August, a 20-year old named Chris Staniforth suffered a pulmonary embolism after an intense marathon session via his Xbox 360.
This raises an important point regarding game addiction, and the advice can be used for any hobby in life: don’t participate in your hobbies for so long that you can die. Sure, we know how intoxicating it can be to play with friends via online games, and most of us have had marathon sessions where we played for hours on end. For example, I used to have intense Halo marathons with friends that would last from early evening until early morning sometimes. We’ve all been there, and it’s great to socialize and have fun with friends via a game everyone loves, but you have to pay attention to your needs as well.
Going back to my Halo example, we all knew that we needed to take a break every few hours as well. Many of us would take breaks every 1-2 hours to use the restroom, drink some water, grab a little something to eat if we were hungry, and generally walk around and rest our eyes. It’s why we were all able to stop playing when it was time to get ready for work and actually go to work in a healthy state; albeit, we were tired but at least we were not on the verge of dying.
This is really the key to every activity you participate in: don’t overdo it. If you are an athlete, you have to take breaks so you can allow your body to rest and obtain fluids every now and then. If you are a painter, you have to take a break and move around for a little bit so you do not develop cramps in your legs. Even if you are reading a book, you need to look away now and again so your eyes can rest.
As gamers, we need to recognize that we need to pay attention to our basic human needs and take breaks often. Gaming is awesome, and it’s addictive in the best of ways; but never, ever ignore your human needs, as nothing is that important.