07 November 2005

Accidental Long Rant

On 8 October 2005, a Beijing gamer Snowly (character's name in game) died from playing World of Warcraft. A week later, an online funeral was held for Snowly in which hundreds of players attended. I first read about this at Joi Ito's blog where he had his own thoughts on the matter along with a quote from another blog. Here's the quote in its entirety (minus the links):
[004] Snowly of The World of Warcraft (Xinhua) A young girl nicknamed "Snowly" died last month after playing the online game "World of Warcraft" for several continuous days during the national day holiday. Several days before Snowly's death, the girl was said to be preparing for a relatively difficult part of the game (namely, to kill the Black Dragon Prince) and had very little rest. She told her friends that she felt very tired. A big online funeral was held for Snowly one week after her death (see photo from The Mirror).

Curious to know more besides what was quoted, I clicked on the links which led me to a Yahoo China news article (in Chinese) and a China View article (in English). The latter cited CRIENGLISH.com as the source of the article. (Yes, the China View article is the same as the CRIENGLISH.com article.)

Well, the Yahoo China news article certainly had more details. But one thing was odd. Nowhere was it mentioned that Snowly was a "young girl". In fact, after some googling and dismissing of articles, I found a DoNews.com article (in Chinese) that says Snowly was a 28-year-old man.

I don't doubt the credibility of that as a CNET (China) news article used the same article, and both sites cite their source to be Shanghai Morning Post (新闻晨报). Numerous other articles also point to Shanghai Morning Post as being the origin.

On the other hand, the few English articles I found on the subject seemed to be parroting one another (especially the case for blogs)—only one had major paraphrasing and some different things to say, and that was an article from The Inquirer. However, I chose to dismiss that article as well mainly because of this: "The event was only made more morose by the more recent death of another player named Nan Ren Gu Shi, another videogame related death". The Yahoo China news article did mention the death of this player, but they also mentioned the circumstances surrounding his death. Suffice it to say, Nan Ren Gu Shi's death was only videogame-related in the sense that he was an avid gamer.

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