Step #1: play Everquest twelve hours per day. Step #2: shoot yourself in the head.
April 2, 2002 11:44 PM   Subscribe

Step #1: play Everquest twelve hours per day. Step #2: shoot yourself in the head. This being America, step #3 is of course: have your mother sue Sony on your behalf. She expects to uncover documents proving Sony knew Everquest is addictive, but maybe she'll just discover why she didn't do more to help her epileptic son as his life spiraled out of control.
posted by tiny pea (29 comments total)
Parker said people who are isolated, prone to boredom, lonely or sexually anorexic are much more susceptible to becoming addicted to online games. Having low self-esteem or poor body image are also important factors, he said.

No way!
posted by Frasermoo at 11:48 PM on April 2, 2002

BTW, can anyone make sense of "sexually anorexic"? The best explanation I've seen is "pencil dicked".
posted by tiny pea at 11:50 PM on April 2, 2002

Well, I imagine sexually bulimic would be somebody who spits instead of swallows, so sexually anorexic would be somebody who just doesn't eat?
posted by willnot at 12:11 AM on April 3, 2002

What a ridiculous article. Warning, playing this game for 36 hours straight could be hazardous to your health. Yeah, thanks. While I feel sorry for the guy who killed himself, as he obviously didn't receive the help he needed, I think his mom is desperately trying to place blame on something other than herself. She should get together with Kevin Mackle's mom, they'd make a great team.

You have become better at suicide! (3)
posted by Driph at 12:20 AM on April 3, 2002

The bigger question is was that guy seeing a doctor? Taking is medicine? I have known several people with depression problems, and you really need to, as a friend, help them help themselves stay on the straight and narrow. One friend I know suffers from depression and is bipolar. She was addicted to the Sims for a long time last summer. It was really hard to get her out and to socialize with people.
posted by ericdano at 12:30 AM on April 3, 2002

Oh God, the Mackle website... they just won't let the dude who screwed up tipping over a coke machine die, will they??

As far as Everquest goes - addiction is addiction, no matter what the source. Whose fault is it? Certainly not Everquest's - if only 1 in 100.000 people die due to the playing of their software then the benefits outweigh the costs. Buck up people, it's called an acceptable economic loss.

Seriously though, to blame a voluntary service on someone's suicide is ludicrous. My suggestion to the mother? - find out the underlying causes for your son's suicide... the game may have been the vehicle, but it certainly wasn't the source of inspiration.
posted by matty at 12:33 AM on April 3, 2002

BTW, can anyone make sense of "sexually anorexic"? The best explanation I've seen is "pencil dicked".

Try frigid, asexual, etc. Usually a sign of mental illness, but not always.

This is an old story that somehow keeps getting back into syndication. Twenty or so years ago it was Judas Priest's music that "killed" someone. Or Dungeons and Dragons. The precedent is pretty set on this.

"The manufacturer of EverQuest purposely made it in such a way that it is more intriguing to the addict," Parker said. "It could be created in a less addictive way, but (that) would be the difference between powdered cocaine and crack cocaine."

Was there some secret document that Parket managed to get? This guy throws accusations out like yesterday's trash.

"The graphics are absolutely thrilling. They just haul you in," said Parker, who has treated several people for EverQuest addiction.

Okay, he's never played it, let alone seen a screenshot. He's on a crusade against this. Maybe treating agoraphobics glued to the monitor might have affected his judgement on how most people play and are affected by this game. Again, I'm seeing parallels with D&D and the pundits who came out against it.

The overall issue here is responsiblity. If Everquest is a 'draw' for the socially awkward, mentally ill, etc shouldn't Mom be paying attention and doing Mom-like things like disconneting the internet connection or taking away computer priveldges? Its absurd to think Sony is going to get both of them out of the house and into a doctor's office. Even if Parker's inane allegations are true, the responsibility seems to fall within the family. To prove something is addictive in the classical sense it must affect almost everyone who takes it. Considering that Everquest players don't all become recluses, let alone suicidal, the drug analogy fails.

I'm sure many parents are dealing with kids spending 10 hours in chat rooms, playing online games all-night, etc. Its tough I'm sure, especially with a mentally ill teenager, but putting all, or even some of the blame on Sony is ridiculous.

One thing this article lacks, unless I missed it while cut+pasting, was the obvious comparision to television. TV is quite the time-waster and has been found to lull people into alpha-like states creating a reward system that could be addictive. How would this article play out if someone killed themselves and was an 8-10 hour a day TV "addict?" I suspect very differently, common sense tells us TV is just a harmless entertainment and anyone watching that much who happens ending up killing himself is obviously an ill person. But in the internet connected world of games and chatrooms technophobia creeps in and we get people like Parker or his anti-D&D contempories that know Everquest is truly the problem here, not the individual or his family.
posted by skallas at 2:07 AM on April 3, 2002

The risks of suicide are trivial, when compared to the chances of meeting beautiful elven princesses.
posted by Spoon at 2:13 AM on April 3, 2002

sexual anorexic: An elven princess could sharpen even the dullest of swords, if you catch my meaning.
posted by Spoon at 2:14 AM on April 3, 2002

"TV is quite the time-waster and has been found to lull people into alpha-like states creating a reward system that could be addictive. "

How about reading a book? Why doesn't anyone ever claim that reading a book for 5 or six hours is very antisocial behavior and a good book could be highly addictive. Everything my mother used to tell me about watching too much TV I could say about reading!

I'm not anti-reading...I'm just PRO-videogames.
posted by darkpony at 2:47 AM on April 3, 2002

Can I get his credits if he isn't using them??
posted by Settle at 3:45 AM on April 3, 2002

This harkens back to the 1980's when Judas Priest got sued over teen suicide.

I doubt very much that the game drove this guy to suicide. As has been stated in the thread already, there is most likely far greater reasons than an online game. The game was just the distraction from his real issues.

Settle: hehehehe, dark humor, I like it
posted by a3matrix at 5:03 AM on April 3, 2002

I was reading this story on and they mention the reason she's suing is not so much the 'warning labels' but to try and discover what was going on with her son's account the few days before he died. sony has been less than forthcoming with that particular information, citing privacy for the still living players. that's why she's suing.
posted by bliss322 at 5:09 AM on April 3, 2002

Indeed, I too would like to know what he "lived" in there during the couple of days before he died. It was such a big part of his "life" that something that happenned in there must/could have led him to lose it.
In that way, I understand the mother. Although I'm just being curious; I think she needs to know...
posted by XiBe at 5:21 AM on April 3, 2002

Maybe she'll go into a deep depression herself when she loses and has to pay $ millions for Sony's court costs.
posted by fleener at 6:20 AM on April 3, 2002

If Everquest is the new crack, and Metafilter is more addictive than crack... I hope Matt has his lawyers ready for when one of us snaps.
posted by tdismukes at 6:34 AM on April 3, 2002

Everquest almost drove me to suicide by being so goddamned boring. Thankfully I cancelled my subscription before it was too late.

I'd like someone to set a precedent for suing due to lost time spent camping for items however. I'd take the Asheron's Call people to the cleaners.
posted by frenetic at 7:08 AM on April 3, 2002

She also needs to take a look at what epileptic drugs he was on. some of them have emotional and mental side effects that can lead to suicidal ideation.

But it really is stupid for her to blame the company. Even if the game had that effect on him, he -and she depending on his age- have to take the responsibility for his actions, assuming the epileptic drugs weren't messing with his head.
posted by bunnyfire at 7:35 AM on April 3, 2002

Dude, there's a reason everyone I know calls it Evercrack... don't know of anyone committing suicide before, but I do know a couple people who failed out of school because of that game.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:40 AM on April 3, 2002

Sexual Anorexia is the flip side of sexual addiction: an obsessive state in which the physical, mental, and emotional task of avoiding sex dominates one's life. Apparently being popularized by a book, but it's not clear whether it's exactly the same as what DSM IV calls Sexual Aversion Disorder.

Whad'ya know. There are people who have to avoid sex.
posted by dhartung at 7:51 AM on April 3, 2002

Okay, the CDC says "Suicide took the lives of 30,575 Americans in 1998 (11.3 per 100,000 population)." We can expect 32 suicides from the current pool of players regardless of any other factors. In the event that there are a lot more than 32 suicides, then we might look to see if Everquest is a contributing factor. Suicide is awful, but a reality that can't be ignored.
posted by stormy at 8:16 AM on April 3, 2002

She also needs to take a look at what epileptic drugs

Good point, bunnyfire. The side effects of many anti-convulsants vary widely between individuals. There's often a very narrow line between a therapeutic and intoxicating dosage, and many react strangely when taken with other substances.

Also, contrary to common knowledge, not everyone with epilepsy is photosensitive, and so do not have seizures in response to flashing lights or other visual stimulation. It's actually a pretty rare condition.

Lack of sleep, on the other hand, is almost always a contributing factor.
posted by groundhog at 8:17 AM on April 3, 2002

I just love it when game developers get accused of making an "addictive" game. As if they had a moral or legal obligation to make sure their games suck and nobody plays them.
posted by Foosnark at 8:46 AM on April 3, 2002

It's just a good thing Tom Hanks never got his hands on a copy of Everquest.

Seriously though, the fault probably lies more with insufficient supervision and parental involvement. If it wasn't Everquest, it would have been something else.
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:56 AM on April 3, 2002

you have to wonder whether the game developers who participated on the round table about the addictiveness of games at the recent game developers conference are going to regret it.
posted by jimw at 9:23 AM on April 3, 2002

uh..tiny good as the title of this thread is a bit violently stated.
posted by Settle at 9:26 AM on April 3, 2002

My first flatmate was absolutely addicted to it. He'd play all day, play it at work (he worked in a cyber café) and play it all through the night. He'd sit at his desk for days with giant bottles of Coca-Cola lying all around him. Perhaps Shawn Woolley's mother should sue Coca-Cola for providing him with enough caffiene to stay up (or Nescafé, whatever).

I can't understand the lure of EverQuest. My flatmate used to want me to watch him play (fun!) and I just couldn't. I didn't think it was that impressive. However, I did get absolutely addicted to The Sims, Black & White and Bubble Bobble (the original version, oh yeah!). My addiction was cured after losing my entire HDD after playing The Sims, and then another crash after playing Black & White for weeks, then my power supply fried so I can't play Bubble Bobble. I should be glad, I suppse.
posted by animoller at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2002

the fault probably lies more with insufficient supervision and parental involvement

he was 21 years old.

he had his own apartment, but quit his job. was mom taking care of his rent for him?
posted by tolkhan at 12:54 PM on April 3, 2002

>You have become better at suicide! (3)

That is so fucking cold.
posted by McBain at 12:01 AM on April 4, 2002

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