Counter Struck!

When Games Turn Deadly

While many Americans and Europeans take computer games far too seriously, the Far East is a constant source of bizarre gaming news stories, from real-life gangsters demanding protection money in massively multiplayer role-playing games to professional Starcraft players earning six-digit salaries and making regular TV appearances alongside footballers and Olympic athletes.

One of the more disturbing stories we've seen coming out of Asia recently though was a report in the Electric New Paper about a Counter-Strike player in Thailand who dropped dead after an all-night gaming session.

"Mr Thanet Sommoi, 22, was found slumped over the keyboard by his friends", according to the Thai website. "He had started playing on Wednesday evening and continued playing without a break. Police said friends rushed Mr Thanet to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared him dead. He had died of heart failure. Police said investigators believed the Thai worker developed tension and fatigue after playing the game for hours."

Even more worrying though was a story in the Straits Times about a computer games player who was jailed after stabbing one of his opponents who had knifed him in the back during a game of Counter-Strike. "In the middle of the game, Tan suddenly yelled out who had 'killed' his computer game character", the Straits Times reports. "When Qiyong confessed it was his game character, Tan hurled vulgarities at him. He then stormed over to Qiyong's computer terminal and a scuffle ensued. During the scuffle, Tan pulled out a knife and stabbed the teen in the back. Tan's victim suffered a 1-cm-deep cut and the wound had to be stitched."

The 21 year-old player has apparently now been sentenced to six years in jail and six strokes of the cane, although his cause probably wasn't helped by the fact that he was caught taking drugs while on bail before the trial. And speaking of drugs, police apparently suspect that gaming bars in Thailand like the one in which Thanet Sommoi died may be adding amphetamines to the water to keep people playing longer. No arrests have yet been made, but Ananova reports that a number of locations were raided after the man's death.

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