Video gaming is one of the pillars of entertainment and a lot of people have spent countless hours on console, handhelds and other devices playing video games. It’s a known fact that video games have become of the top forms of media and it’s easy to see why as it is both an interactive and fun form of entertainment.
It’s not without controversy though. For years on end, numerous people have insisted on linking video games to murder, theft, violence and several forms of crime in general. While there is no actual proof that video games are the direct cause of several crimes throughout the world, people are eager on finding links between the two subject matters.
Violent and mature oriented video games like Grand Theft Auto, DOOM, Mortal Kombat and a few others are always under the watchful eye of parents and officials because of the lingering fear that these games might influence otherwise innocent minds. But then again, we can’t always blame human acts and crimes on video games and consoles alike.
Throughout the years, there have been a few crimes that are linked to video games that will surely shock you. Here are the 15 most heinous crimes linked to video games.
15. Man Kills 17-Month-Old Daughter Over Xbox
Back in 2008, the world was shocked to hear the story of Tyrone Spellman, also known as Anwar Salahuddin. The gaming community was enraged along with the rest of the world with what Spellman did to his 17-month-old daughter after she pulled the cords of his Xbox which caused the console to fail.
Spellman was accused of pummeling his 17-month-old daughter, Alayiah. The father’s pummeling caused Alayiah’s skull to crack several times. The reports also revealed that Spellman may have thrown the poor innocent child across the room. Spellman confessed to the crime a day after but he then insisted that the confession was forced and the accusations aren’t real.
14. Child Starves To Death Following Neglect
South Korea takes gaming very seriously. The country’s government has devoted a lot of funds to back up their competitive gamers making it easy to see why it became such a large part of their culture. Sadly, video games have taken a toll on families such as in the next case when addiction caused harm to an innocent child.
Back in March 2010, South Korean police arrested a couple; a 41-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman for starving their daughter to death. The starvation wasn’t intentional but it was the parent’s recklessness and addiction to a particular video game that led to the death of the poor child.
What makes the crime more despicable is that the couple was playing a video game that allowed them to raise a virtual child online. The game was the popular MMORPG, Prius. Basically, instead of raising their real child, the irresponsible parents chose to care for a virtual child.
13. Brothers End Video Game Dispute With An Ax
Video games get competitive at one point and there’s no doubting that it causes a few arguments and small quarrels between friends or acquaintances. In some cases, a few players take the argument too far which results in injury and other crimes. The latter was the case for Nebraska teen, Luke Marshall who had to face the consequences of his crime back in 2013.
Marshall allegedly struck his 21-year-old brother after a recent argument in their very own home in Lincoln, Nebraska. Luke Marshall’s brother was apparently playing video games too loud and this caused him to attack his brother, hitting his wrist and foot. The video game that caused the argument wasn’t revealed but Marshall’s weapon of choice during the attack was a double-bladed medieval ax; which could’ve cost his brother more than just a few injuries.
12. Too Much WoW, Not Enough Parenting
Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is one of the most addicting games ever made. Gamers have spent countless hours on the MMORPG. Despite its addictiveness, people should not forget their responsibilities no matter what.
Lester Louis Huffmire and his wife Petra Huffmire had an addiction to World of Warcraft and it’s this addiction that made them plead guilty to child abuse. Their children, ages 5 and 10 were discovered in horrible condition back in 2013. As per the investigators, the Huffmire household had “Kitchen appliances ‘covered in mold and cobwebs,’ stacks of trash, debris, mold, and feces throughout the home, a pile of used condoms under a stuffed teddy bear, and inoperable toilets.” The girls themselves weren’t even allowed to leave the house. All this because the parents wanted to play World of Warcraft nonstop.
11. Columbine High School Massacre
In one of the early cases of school shootings, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in 1998. The massacre took the lives of 13 innocent people. Harris and Klebold then committed suicide, bringing the death toll to 15. The world was shocked by the crime and one of part of the issue was DOOM.
The two students were allegedly obsessed with DOOM. It was then rumored that Harris created a large mode called Tier, a mode which he considered his life’s work. The Tier mod was allegedly a DOOM mod that gave Harris and Klebold access to a virtual replica of Columbine High School. This allowed them to practice on the game first. Despite the persistent rumors, there was no evidence that revealed the pair practicing on DOOM.
10. Cody Wygant Suffocates Son
It was back on April 19th, when Cody Wygant did the despicable and inhumane crime of killing his 16-month old child. Wygant suddenly rushed to his son in a fit of rage and suffocated the poor and innocent child to death. The reason behind the gruesome murder? An Xbox and TV.
In a statement, Wygant said that he was frustrated at his son for crying uncontrollably. His son’s cries for care and attention was enough reason for Wygant to suffocate the poor child. All the poor infant wanted was fatherly love, but Wygant wanted to play Xbox and watch TV without any distraction.
Wygant covered his son’s nose and mouth for at least 4 minutes before putting him in a playpen. He then proceeded to play and watch Fringe for 5 hours straight before checking up on the boy. By then, the boy turned blue and unresponsive. Wygant was charged with 3rd-degree murder and child neglect.
9. Mother Kills Toddler Son To Play More Farmville
Along with the rise of Facebook was the rise of a few games accessible to the budding website. Among the list of addicting titles is the farm simulator, Farmville. Almost all of us has gotten a notification because of the popular title. As with most cases of video game addiction, Farmville also has an extremely disturbing case associated with it.
Dylan Lee Edmondson was only 3 years old when he was killed by his own mother, Alexandra Tobias in October 2010. Tobias was an avid fan of Farmville and she didn’t want anything or anyone getting in the way of her and the game. When her son began crying, Tobias shook him several times to stop the crying. Dylan’s autopsy revealed that he died as a result of her actions.
8. GTA And The Triple Murder
Grand Theft Auto is the common suspect when it comes to crime related to video games. In what is perhaps one of the worst video game related crime, Alabama native Devin Moore was convicted of 3 acts of first-degree murder in 2003. Years later, it was only in 2005 when Grand Theft Auto was seemingly linked to Moore’s actions.
The first of Moore’s crimes was that he was under suspicion of stealing a car. The police who tried to apprehend Moore was surprised to see the teen fight back. Moore killed policemen Arnold Strickland and James Crump and dispatcher Leslie Mealer. After killing the trio, Moore fled in the patrol car.
The Alabama native was caught a few hours later in Mississippi. When caught, Moore allegedly said “Life is a video game. Everybody got to die sometime.” What struck everyone the most was that Moore was a regular kid with no records of misbehavior. In fact, Moore enlisted in the Air Force and was due for deployment. This led many to believe that Moore was greatly influenced by Grand Theft Auto.
7. Sandy Hook Shooting
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting back in 2012 is perhaps the most devastating case of shooters on a rampage in recent history. The shooter, Adam Lanza took out 20 innocent people, 6 were teachers and the rest were school children aged 5 to 10. It was heartbreaking news at the end of 2012 and the police and investigators went to numerous extent to learn the reasoning behind Lanza’s heinous crime.
Many considered Lanza’s video game addiction as the inspiration for the shooting. Numerous video games were found in Lanza’s Newtown home including Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Others included Left for Dead, Dead Rising, Vice City and Doom. Among the titles, one stood out the most. A game called School Shooting was found and it features a character controlled by the player who enters a school and shoots students.
6. Teenager Dead After Mortal Kombat Fatality
Midway Games’ Mortal Kombat was one of the most popular arcade titles back in the day because it was a pretty fun fighting game. The title didn’t sit well with parents of children though as the amount of gore and violence in Mortal Kombat was too much for that time. It led parents to believe that the game could influence their children in more ways than one.
In 1997, 13-year-old Noah Wilson was killed by his friend Yancy Salazar after Salazar stabbed Wilson in the chest with a kitchen knife. Wilson didn’t die instantly as the knife severed his aorta, causing him to die of blood loss after an hour of suffering. The victim’s mother put the blame on Mortal Kombat and claimed that Salazar was very obsessed with the title. His obsession was to the point that he believed he was Cyrax from Mortal Kombat. The mother then claimed that Salazar was imitating a fatality of Cyrax that featured him stabbing the chest of enemies. That theory was shut down however as there is no fatality of Cyrax doing that.
5. Two People Terrorize With Gun After GTA Inspiration
Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto is one of the pinnacles of sandbox video games but sadly, it’s also the center of a few controversies. The game features violence, sex and other crimes in a virtual world, there’s no surprise that parents are keen on finding links between the popular franchise and crime.
Back in August 2014, Lansdale police detained two individuals after the pair was reportedly seen riding a vehicle and pointing a gun at another car at an intersection in Main Street and Lansdale Avenue. The weapon they were carrying was allegedly a replica of a handgun that was in Grand Theft Auto. Luckily, the pair caused no actual harm to innocent civilians but they did terrify them.
4. School Shooter Evan Ramsey Blames DOOM
One of the earliest violent video games was DOOM. The title was brought to the limelight because it introduced a new and genre-defining take on first person shooters. It was also made famous because it was one of the most violent titles. It’s no wonder why to this day, people are still linking DOOM to acts of violence.
Bullied teen Evan Ramsey was at the center of the Bethel Regional High School shooting back in 1997. The shooting left 2 dead and 2 injured. In an interview, Ramsey explains why he didn’t get the concept of murder. “I — I based a lot of my knowledge solely on video games,” said Ramsey.
He adds, “You shoot a guy in Doom and he gets back up. You have got to shoot the things in Doom eight or nine times before it dies. And I went with that concept on — with — from the video game and added it to life”
3. Murder Following A Loot Sell
When it comes to in-game items, a few players are really protective of whatever loot or reward they get in the game itself. While it may seem stupid to become protective over a virtual item but it’s probably because the best items are acquired through hours of perseverance and sweat. There is such a thing as being overprotective.
In 2004, Shangai resident gamer Zhu Caoyuan was murdered by Qui Chengwei because of a dispute in the MMORPG, Legend of Mir III. Caoyuan asked Chengwei if he could borrow a powerful weapon that the latter won in the game. Being friends, Chengwei did lend the item to Caoyuan. However, when Chengwei asked for the item back, Caoyuan revealed that he sold the weapon. Chengwei tried to get help from the authorities but it fell on deaf ears as the item wasn’t real. He then decided to kill his friend by stabbing him in the chest.
2. 13 Year-Old Kills To Play More WoW
There are a lot of things we can agree about video games on and one of that is the fact the video games cost money. While there are free games out there, real and fun video gaming experiences come at a price. In Blizzard’s MMORPG, World of Warcraft, players are required to pay a subscription fee.
Back in Nov. 2007, at the height of the World of Warcraft craze, Hanoi police arrested 13-year-old teen also known as Dinh The Dan. The troubled teen strangled Mai Thi Mau, aged 81 for money. Dan, later on, confessed that he robbed and killed the woman to play World of Warcraft. Dan strangled Mau with a rope. After committing the crime, the teen buried his victim in front of his house. Dan was sent to a re-education camp since he was still very young.
1. Guild Wars Fight Online Turns To Real Life Deadly Brawl
One of the many features of MMORPGs is guild wars. In this feature, a group of players fights against another group of players in achieving a penultimate goal. Things could get heated in-game as competitiveness is at an all-time high. It’s wrong to bring the heat outside of the game though like what a Russian man did back in 2008.
Two guilds from the acclaimed MMORPG Lineage II decided to duke it out in real life after one member of the guild killed a rival’s character in-game. Like in the game, the two groups fought each other in physical combat. One was so badly injured in the fight that he died on route to a local hospital. An unnamed 22-year-old later confessed to the beating.