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 smallworlds.com. 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?