Gamers starve baby to death


Talk about giving gaming a bad name.

After a five-month chase, authorities finally caught up and arrested a Korean couple who allegedly starved their three month old daughter due to their excessive gaming habits.

The couple identified as Kim Yoo-chul, 41, and his partner Choi Mi-sun, 25, both unemployed, reportedly engaged in all-night gaming binges playing “Prius Online” that ironically involved raising a virtual daughter.

Prius online is a Korean 3D fantasy MMORPG billed as an “emotional” game because of its unique feature where players have a young girl called Anima who will serve as their companion and grows as the player progresses. Anima has her own skills, which can be strengthened when players bond with her.

According to South Korean police, the couple, who met through a chat website, left their infant unattended while they went to Internet cafés. They also admitted to feeding their child rotten powdered milk, frequently spanking her, and leaving her at home during marathon sessions at the “PC bang” gaming clubs that have become part of Korean gamer culture.

“The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life because they didn’t have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby,” Chung Jin-Won, a police officer, told reports. The couple were apparently too engrossed in “raising” Anima; while in reality their daughter, who was never named, was allegedly left at home alone and fed once a day, when they took breaks from their 12-hour-long game-playing shifts. After one marathon gaming session in September, the couple came home to find their baby dead and called the police. The autopsy revealed the cause of death to be prolonged malnutrition.

Professor Kwak Dae-kyung of Seoul’s Dongguk University suggested that the couple felt that their online efforts “erased any sense of guilt they may have had for neglecting their daughter” in real life.

This is not the first Korean death linked to gaming addiction. Last month, a 22-year-old Korean man murdered his mother because she apparently nagged him for spending too much time playing games.
After killing her, the man went to a nearby Internet cafe and continued with his game, said police. In 2005, a man collapsed and died after playing 50 straight hours of Starcraft at an Internet café in Taegu.
He went into cardiac arrest and died at a local hospital.

Korean lawmakers are considering legislation to curb excessive gaming. Lee Joung-sun, an MP from the ruling Grand National party, last month submitted a bill restricting the hours offered to online gamers.
Several bills are pending in the national assembly suggesting restrictions on teenagers’ use of Internet cafés and games. But in a country where online gaming teams have corporate sponsors, and neighborhood high-speed internet cafes are open 24/7, 83 percent of South Koreans say they feel the government has no right to regulate any of it, according to data from the BBC. About 70 percent of the people in South Korea are online, and 96 percent of the population there considers Internet access to be a fundamental right.

Tweet now and save the world
No it isn’t Twitter vs. Zombies, but a new iPhone app called Tweet Defense uses the power of your tweets to fight off the undead. It is a fairly standard “tower defense” action game in the wherein you place stationary guard towers to defend against attacking hordes of zombies. In Tweet Defense, however, it scans your Twitter account, and translates your number of tweets, followers, and friends into in-game bonuses. Tweet more, and you’ll kill more zombies.

According to Nelson Rodriguez the game’s executive producer, they wanted to take social network and activities and turn it into a game and the result was a tower defense game that uses friend lists and tweeting activity to make your towers more powerful.

So if you love tweeting, or are into tower defense games, now may be the best time to tweet like crazy and seek new followers to beef up your frontlines.

Lara Croft Way
After conquering games and movies, the infamous videogame vixen now has a street named in her honor.
The iconic game character won the privilege beating Derby soccer star Steve Bloomer, astronomer John Flamsteed and engineer George Sorocold via landslide by a whopping 89 percent of the 27,000 public votes. The stretch of the road has been named “Lara Croft Way.”

The town of Derby used to be the location of Core Design, the now-disbanded creators of the original Tomb Raider franchise.

“The vote really captured the imagination of people from across the world and, despite my lack of gaming knowledge, I accept that a majority of 89 percent for Lara Croft is too overwhelming to ignore,” Lucy Care, Cabinet member for planning and transportation, told news reports. “She was created in Derby and deserves to stand alongside some of the more traditional icons of the city.”

Besides the new street, Ms. Croft has also ditched the Tomb Raider tag and will now have a new game entitled Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Square Enix has officially revealed the game and will be created by Crystal Dynamics, who also did Tomb Raider: Underworld.

The new game marks a few firsts for the daring adventurer. It would be the available as a digital download, making it her first non-retail release and the absence of the words “Tomb Raider” from the title indicates a fresh direction for the series. Unfortunately, the company has only released a logo, with no word about its gameplay or game design, despite being set for release later this year.

Plastic surgeon is new
Donkey Kong champ
Meet Dr. Hank Chien, surgeon and King of Kong. The 35-year-old plastic surgeon adds another achievement to his resume as the world’s greatest Donkey Kong player by scoring a whopping 1,061,700 points in the original arcade version of the classic coin-op hit. Chien accomplished the feat in just two hours and 35 minutes. The video game scorekeeping gurus at Twin Galaxies verified the number, which trumps the previous mark of 1,050,200 set by Billy Mitchell, infamous antagonist from hit documentary The King of Kong.

It was that very film, Chien said that got him interested in beating the DK record. “The King of Kong piqued my interest in the game and after watching the documentary I started to play seriously in November of 2008,” he told Twin Galaxies. “Back then I wasn’t shooting for any world records; I was just playing for fun. I had no idea I could even reach the killscreen. What kept me interested was that I kept improving. Otherwise, I would have quit a long time ago.”

Chien’s accomplishment is the latest in a resurgence of classic game record-breaking efforts. In January, Pat Laffaye of Westport, Connecticut scored 896,980 to set a new world record for Frogger, while David Race of Beaver Creek, Ohio recorded a perfect score in Pac Man in a world record time of three hours, 41 minutes, and 22 seconds, beating the previous record by 42 seconds.

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Gamers starve baby to death

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