From the Pong and Asteroids era to Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, and even recent titles like Halo, Last of Us, and Fallout, video games have had a drastic and exponential growth in terms of quality, realism and popularity. Complex games that took the space of an arcade, can now all be enjoyed in the comfort of your living room, or in the palm of your hands on your favorite mobile device.
But what happens when games stop being fun, or when the players take it a little too seriously? The majority of people can enjoy a video game regardless of the content and go on living their normal lives regardless of what happens, or what they experience in the game. However, some people become so obsessed with certain games that it affects their lives and their actions. The following games were blamed for the crimes of individuals, leading one to question whether it is the fault of the game creators of the culprit’s damaged psychological state. Is it the fault of the player, or were these the: Top 10 Most Horrible Deaths Caused by Video Games?
10. Manhunt Murder: Stefan Pakeerah Bludgeoning
Back in February of 2004, seventeen year-old Warren Leblanc murdered Stefan Pakeerah (14) with a claw hammer. What’s worse is that the victim thought he and Leblanc were friends, making it all the more easy for the 17 year-old to lure Pakeerah to a remote area of Stokes Wood Park in Leicester, UK.
Leblanc claimed he only meant to rob his friend to pay off a 75 pound debt, but the victim’s body was riddled with more than 50 separate injuries, leading many to doubt his shaky defense. While Leblanc claimed he committed the crime due to his affiliation with a gang to whom he owed the 75 pounds, the victim’s parents blamed the very popular and extremely violent Manhunt video game, published by Rockstar Games, the company behind the widely controversial Grand Theft Auto Series.
This speculation and publicity around the case caused Dixons, one of UK’s biggest retailers, to take Manhunt off store shelves. Regardless of the publicity blaming the Rockstar video game, the judge’s words while sentencing Leblanc, showed that he blamed one person alone: “One thing is clear – you and you alone were responsible for this prolonged, vicious and murderous attack on someone who thought of you as a friend.”
9. Grand Theft Auto IV: Thailand Taxi Driver Stabbing, Kuan Pohkang
54 year-old taxi driver, Kuan Pohkang, was senselessly stabbed to death by 19 year-old Polwat Chino, in early August of 2008. Instead of paying his fare, Chino stabbed the taxi driver to death with the intention of robbing him. The teenager told police he was addicted to the highly controversial Rockstar video game Grand Theft Auto IV, an installment of a series hailed and known as the most gratuitously violent game series of all time.
The victim’s son told authorities “My father never hurt anyone. He was a gentle man.” Chino attempted to flee with the stolen taxi, while Pohkang’s dead body lay lifeless on the back seat, but Chino failed in his escape, as he did not know how to drive. After the police arrived and arrested Chino, he later told police: “Killing seemed easy in the game.”
8. Everquest: Shawn Wooley Suicide
Back in October of 2007, Shawn Wooley (21) committed suicide at his computer. When he was found, he had already shot himself, with the Everquest game still loaded on the screen. While his mother admits that Shawn may have had other issues in his life, she blames the game entirely for his death.
“He shot himself because of the game…He couldn’t stay off it. That’s how strong that game is. You can’t just get up and walk away”. Liz Wooley said her son spoke about a character named “iluvyou” and assumes that some sort of rejection pushed him over the edge and led to his tragic death. Liz Wooley had even thought about suing Sony and at least would like the company to include a warning label on the game. Sadly, Shawn’s mother remarked: “In the end…the game became his life.”
7. Grand Theft Auto IV: 8 Year-old Kills Grandmother
Marie Smothers (87) was shot to death in the comfort of her home in September of 2013, while she sat in her living room. The culprit was her 8 year-old grandson. The young boy shot his grandmother in the back of the head, and psychologists and detectives say the violent Rockstar video game is to blame.
It seems as though the Grand Theft Auto series is finding it difficult to stay out of headlines, which begs the question as to whether or not the game should be pulled from shelves. Arguably one of the most popular and successful video game franchises of all time, the Grand Theft Auto series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, and has been banned in some countries. Some psychologists say “There is a direct causal link between video games and violence.” The 8 year-old murderer claimed it was an accident, but police believed it was intentional. However, the boy was never charged due to his age.
6. DotA: Filipino Teen Kills Grandmother
In Quezon City, Philippines, a 17 year-old male was accused of killing his 68 year-old grandmother back in March of 2014. The teenager claimed that he didn’t have full memory of what exactly occurred. He was at an internet cafe playing DotA, when his grandmother interrupted his game and took him home around 6:00 pm.
After arriving home, his grandmother scolded him. It is at that point where he claims to have blacked-out. The next thing he remembered was cleaning up the crime scene and going to his aunt’s house to tell her what had happened. After returning to their home, his aunt called the police who found shards of a bloody vase in the garbage bin next to the house. “The victim lived alone with the boy, whom she had raised herself.” The boy was taken into the custody of social workers following the event.
5. Farmville: Woman Murders Own Child
Alexandra Tobias (22) killed her own 3 month-old baby boy back in January of 2010, after he interrupted her game of Farmville. Tobias told police that she was playing Farmville when her baby wouldn’t stop crying; frustrated, she began to shake the baby repeatedly. Allegedly, the baby was hit on the head during this incident.
Tobias called 9-11 after her child stopped breathing, and doctors found head injuries, as well as a broken leg on the baby, who died due to his injuries. At first, Tobias blamed the child’s injuries on the dog, saying it knocked her child off the couch. After confessing, Tobias was later sentenced to fifty years in prison for the offence.
4. Grand Theft Auto 3 & Grand Theft Auto Vice City: Two Police Officers and One Dispatcher Shot Dead
On June 7th, 2003, Devin Moore (Devin Darnell Thompson) was taken into custody by police officers in Fayette, AL under suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle. After entering the station, 17 year-old Moore grabbed one of the police officer’s guns, and shot and killed the two officers along with the dispatcher.
Afterwards he fled the scene in a patrol car, before being apprehended. Soon after, a lawsuit was filed against the game’s manufacturer and the companies that sold Moore the games (at a time he was only 16 years old), under the age suggested by the Mature rating of 17 and up. The suit was filed against: Wal-Mart, Take-Two Interactive, Gamestop and Sony. Allegedly, Moore told police at the time of his apprehension: “Life is a video game. You’ve got to die sometime.”
3. DotA: 11-year-old Stabbed to Death
In February of 2014, an 11-year-old boy in The Philippines was stabbed to death by a 16-year-old male, allegedly due to the hacking of an online DotA account. The victim was found in a construction site behind his home with 40 stab wounds. The 16-year-old denied any involvement and/or association with the victim, but was allegedly found with bloody clothes and drops of blood were found leading into his home.
While the DotA video game was initially blamed for the murder, no concrete evidence was found to support that allegation. The 16-year-old was since put into the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare.
2. Microsoft Xbox/Ghost Recon: Father Kills 17-month-old Daughter
Back in 2008, Tyrone Spellman (28) beat his 17-month-old daughter to death, caving in her skull. Spellman was said to be playing Ghost Recon at the time of the incident. His infant daughter somehow knocked his Xbox console to the ground, breaking it, which caused Spellman to enter a fit of rage that ended in his child’s death.
Spellman was characterized as “obsessed with video games”, allegedly playing for six to seven hours straight at a time. Spellman, who fled the house after the murder, allegedly said he snapped because he was worried that his daughter had broken his brother’s $600 console and he didn’t have any means to pay the money back. Spellman was later convicted and sentenced to 47 years in prison.
1. Slenderman: Payton Leutner, 12 year-old Stabbed 19 Times
This incident was placed at number 1 because it is possibly the most horrifying video game related incident, in which oddly, no murder occurred.
The details of the Slenderman Stabbing sound like a horrifying tale taken straight out of an HP Lovecraft Compilation, but what makes the stabbing all the more frightening is that it is a real, true, attempted murder. On May 31st, 2014, Payton Leutner (12) was stabbed 19 times and left to die in the middle of the woods. Miraculously, she survived the stabbing and somehow made her way to a path where a passing bicyclist found her, alive. However, the most horrifying thing about the case was its culprits: two of Payton’s classmates and girls she thought were her friends, Morgan Geyser (12) and Anissa Weier (13).
Slenderman is a PC survival-horror game in which you wander through the woods and find cryptic and frightening notes, all while trying to avoid a tall, slender, very creepy looking man in a black suit who kills you if he catches you. Geyser and Weier somehow believed that Slenderman was real and would harm their families unless they paid tribute to him, and unfortunately, Payton Leutner was their attempted sacrifice. The two planned to kill Leutner on the night of Geyser’s birthday party, in which Leutner was one of two invited guests (the other being Weier). However, they backed out at the last minute and decided to kill her the next morning during a game of hide and seek in the woods. Thankfully, they failed and are now on the verge of being tried as adults for attempted first-degree murder.