Online gaming kills dogs and promotes sensationalist headlines, stupid woman is proof

UPDATE: Seems the original sources might have got the details of this story wrong. A recent post by the makers of Small World implies a confusion with their product and the unrelated Not that we'd ever blame this woman's behaviour on products from either company.

Usually, a story of online gaming turned dangerously addictive would force me to trot out hoary old cliches about one idiot giving the rest of us a bad name. But in this case, I don't feel the need to. Because in this case, the addict has gone so far above and beyond the call of incompetence that they've overshot the "games are a dangerous influence" line by a good couple of light years, landing in a whole new realm of personal irresponsibility that only a truly pioneering individual could reach.

The other residents of that realm? Two dead dogs and a three kids eating beans straight out of a tin.

Hold on a sec. I need to check I actually read this and that I'm not just reporting the cheese-dream I had last night. That's happened before.

Above: Dramatisation. Not necessarily of this story

Nope, it actually happened. I've had a coffee before writing this morning, so I thought a repeat of the "Futuristic clown-bear designed Halo 3" incident was unlikely. This woman (who cannot be named, you know, for legal reasons) became so addicted to online strategy board game Small World that she was eventually sleeping only two hours a night, operating a strict 'no food that needs cooking' policy, letting rubbish pile up all over the place, and forgetting that she even owned two dogs. Oh yeah, and neglecting her kids. I nearly forgot about them, but it's not too bad, because so did she. And they're her kids, not mine.

Arrested after a neighbour noticed the state of the house via a quick peep through the letter box, the woman has been given a six-month sentence suspended for two years, ordered to do 75 hours unpaid work, and banned from the internet. So say anything you like about her in the comments. She's never going to read them. According to her solicitor, she was a "devoted and competent mother" until the death of her husband a few years ago caused her to withdraw from the world. And that tiny, barely audible squeak you can hear if you really strain yours ears? That's my sympathy gland squeezing out exactly how much sorry it feels for a woman who started neglecting her children after their dad had died.

But maybe I'm just a cold-hearted old sod. What do you reckon?




  • ramenbox - September 14, 2010 9:21 a.m.

    Not everyone is able to cope with stress, traumas, etc. Instead of reprimanding this woman for what she did, people should offer help. Anything which can be used as a form of escapism is definitely gonna be addictive. In this case, I'm glad she resorted to some online board game (but seriously why board game instead of MMORPGS? heh) instead of drugs. She needs a therapist and lots of support. I do feel bad for the kids though. Sigh. At least they didn't suffer the same fate as the dog.
  • lhjwamangoo - September 14, 2010 6:33 a.m.

    n bloody kids neglected the dogs.
  • BazyLastard - September 14, 2010 12:12 a.m.

    Ha, I missed this gem in the Days of Wonder (creators of Small World) response: "We have invited these journalists to check their facts a little more closely next time by visiting the Small World board game web page or the Small World for iPad section of the App Store." Zing!
  • BazyLastard - September 13, 2010 11:57 p.m.

    Click on the link to Small World in the article, then navigate to the parent company's site (Days of Wonder) and you'll find their response to "Google journalism" (their words) surrounding this story (under the link "DOW responds to outrageous UK press stories." It appears Small World has no online component whatsoever that this woman could have become addicted to. So one has to wonder what other facts are erroneous. May want to update this article with the response from Days of Wonder to be fair. For as they state: "Days of Wonder categorically states that the Small World board game is not in any way connected to this tragic story and we are asking the papers in question retract their stories."
  • ManiacalMuphin - September 13, 2010 10:28 p.m.

    Now kids can say that gaming is bad for their parents! HUZZAH! Also, people who kill dogs can rot in hell.
  • Ravenbom - September 13, 2010 9:34 p.m.

    @ Eric Bratcher - I looked up sarcastic irony and now I know what it is. It also said that it's something that Eric Bratcher, Gamesradar and as a whole people on the internet never use.
  • Ravenbom - September 13, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    Well, I'm actually mad at the family. They should have known of her condition and taken the kids before the courts did. Her family could have kept her out of prison and could have saved two dogs and helped to raise 3 kids. *If kids are malnourished they will never develop fully* I'm not saying what she did was right, it wasn't, but this is what family is for.
  • kaizer123 - September 13, 2010 9:21 p.m.

    @Tagboomer "I just hope she will get the proper care and attention she needs to help her sort her life out" Umm, really? I dont care if she had her husband died or left her, she should straighten out and help herself and the kids. My dad left my mom and she didnt go and neglect me. Plus getting addicted to a board game online? WTF boring, I could understand if it was somethin better but damn, a board game???
  • EricBratcher - September 13, 2010 8:49 p.m.

    The important thing to remember is that it's video games that have caused all of this dysfunction. It has nothing to do with the trauma of losing her husband. It's games. She'd be fine if not for games. And before some dungheel with no sense of humor takes that comment seriously and decides it's an admission from a gaming industry insider that videogames are inherently evil, I'm kidding. Sarcastic irony. Look it up.
  • Syncmaster - September 13, 2010 8:04 p.m.

    one day I will be just like her... but rich, so my butler can take care of the dogs.. oh and the kids
  • SweatyCrease - September 13, 2010 7:40 p.m.

    The fact that she was playing games is completely irrelevant, She clearly had some kind of mental breakdown and couldn't look after herself, let alone her children or dogs. Her family and friends let her down when she needed them.
  • 8bitBaby - September 13, 2010 5:38 p.m.

    facebook and facebook games are a plague to the earth and should be destroyed.
  • Sevej - September 13, 2010 4:07 p.m.

    Well, it may be odd to most video gamers, but there are people addicted to online board game venues, even to simpler games such as Carcassonne.
  • RandomRaptor - September 13, 2010 3:59 p.m.

    You've got to know you've screwed up when you've been "banned from the internet" by law. It seems almost like a strange, bizarre parody of the WoW phenomenon.
  • blisterd - September 13, 2010 3:24 p.m.

    Thats pretty crazy, at least there not blaming the games... but getting addicted to a board game?! Errr... isnt that extent usually reserved for Mmorpgs? Its a crazy world we live in.... now. I have a clan to talk to xD Ciao
  • geekboy78 - September 13, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    you know eff all about the case. reporting this as the fault of a 'stupid' woman, and then casually dropping in the death of her husband is pretty low. that is the kind of thing people who blame games do when writing articles that gat gamers so wound up. they blame games for a kid going mental, rather than the kid being mental. you blame a 'stupid' woman rather than the very real possibility she was suffering from depression, a breakdown or some other kind of mental illness. well done.
  • Bitchslapthehomeless - September 13, 2010 2:50 p.m.

    Most people with severe depression look for an escape, I get that. However, really she should have focused her grief on her kids and given them more attention. It's a pretty sad tale that the dogs starved to death and the kids almost did as well...
  • Yaro - September 13, 2010 1:58 p.m.

    Superbly written article, especially the first paragraph, I so much enjoy this site, keep it up, please. =) As for the matter, I don't really care what other people do, it's not like I can do anything about it, that is, other than laugh and/or learn.
  • pin316 - September 13, 2010 1:53 p.m.

    another example of how messed up society is... The very fact that anything other than the women herself is being blamed for this is a damning inditement of a world which every day seems to take another step away from the fact that people should be held responsible for their own actions...she's their MOTHER for chrissakes... Yes, it's extremely harsh that her husband died, but that doesn't give her the right to stop caring for her kids. At the very least she should have acknowledged at the beginning that she was struggling with life and arranged for family/friends to look after the kids/pets temporarily until she was ok. I have absolutely no sympathy at all for this women. She has no right to call herself a parent. 75 hours unpaid work - she should be bloody prosecuted for child abuse.
  • Japanjack - September 13, 2010 1:52 p.m.

    Plebeian cannot be allowed to game ever again.

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