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Scandal! 10 true scare stories about videogames

The Culprit: The Penny Arcade Expo.

The Crime: Waging biological warfare on the nerd populace.


Above: You are free to assume this is an actual scene from PAX 09

The Case: “This is the real thing,” warned Penny Arcade’s Robert Khoo, speaking to Kotakuduring the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo. The Sept. 2009 gaming event had become what he called the “perfect storm” for vectoring of the H1N1 virus, aka Swine Flu. The convention saw gamers converging from throughout the country, packed like merch-crazed sardines in the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

With so many hands on so many controllers, and booth babe-induced heavy breathing filling the air with malevolent porcine spores, an outbreak was all but inevitable; by the end of the three-day event, cases were being confirmed, and outbound flights were being monitored for the PAX outbreak – which some wits dubbed H1Nerd1. As luck would have it, most gamers are in the low-risk age-range for serious Swine Flu infection, but the viral panic was an unpleasant end to the weekend.

The Culprit: An unspecified arcade cabinet.

The Crime: Transporting narcotics across state lines; enabling all manner of “high score” puns before we got a chance to make them.

The Case: Painfully for second-rate internet humorists everywhere, the identity of the cabinet that Kevin Dixon used to smuggle 172 pounds of marijuana from Arizona to Illinois has been lost to the depths of legal record. We may never know whether the game was ripe for wry comment (Gun.Smoke, Power Stone) or merely open to strained wordplay (Super Marijuana Brothers, 4:20 Yard Fight, Donkey Bong). What we can tell you is that in July of 2009, the 24-year-old Las Vegas resident was apprehended on a DEA tipoff, having recently taken delivery of a crated-up arcade cabinet. On confiscating the cabinet, police found the goods – valued at approximately $175,000 – stowed in the machine’s coin cabinet. Dixon was charged with trafficking, possession and intent to deliver, and sentenced to become the butt of all the Internet’s stoner/arcade-game crossover humour until someone can come up with an even more ingenious yet foolhardy scheme at which to fail.

The Culprit: Starcraft, World of Warcraft

The Crime: Killing people. As in, making their hearts stop and their brains cease to function so you have to put them in a coffin and bury them.


Above: The afterlife, as is our understanding of such things

The Case: Now, don’t get us wrong. We are not saying – and our lawyers certainly are not saying! – that Blizzard and their cohorts perform any kind of black magic on their games to make a sensible person play them literally until their hearts stop. However, there are cases in which people – described by their friends as severely addictive personalities – have become so fixated on a game that they simply will neglect to do any real-life things. And the body can only take so much of that; you might think that prepping for the battle with the Black Dragon Prince is the best use of your time, but the human body has other priorities, such as eating and sleeping and moving. You remember those things – they were what we did with our time back when good games were only released at Christmas.

Oct 15, 2009


See videogames turn respectable journalists (and execrable pundits) into raving lunatics


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Videogame crime report, 2007
So much game-related crime, and GTA IV wasn't even out yet