Pokemon Go is the newest game craze. It’s fun and it’s addictive – but that isn’t why it’s making headlines. Pokemon Go is in the news because of how dangerous it is! And people are clamoring to play it because now it has an added thrill.
It’s only been out for a little over a week, and already plenty of injuries have been reported. They started out with people bumping into each other while playing the game due to distracted walking. Now, people have gotten so into it that they are ignoring all common sense and natural instinct. One girl apparently got so wrapped up in it that she walked right into a moving car. And two dopes were so intent on capturing the little creatures that they walked right off a cliff… and fell over 50 feet. Players are even being lured by criminals to special locations, only to get robbed. We don’t even want to think about what catastrophe could ensue with people playing Pokemon Go while driving. Even people who aren’t playing the mobile game are getting into dangerous situations since their homes and businesses are being over-run by fans. One man got so mad at fans that were congregating near his home that he opened fire. Doctors and police officers are already warning the public to play it safe.
While Pokemon Go may be touted as being really harmful, it’s hardly the first game to cause serious injury or have a potential for death. In fact, there are a lot of games out there that are way more dangerous. Read on for our countdown… we promise it’s more serious than getting the “Go to Jail” card in Monopoly.
15. Five Finger Fillet
Five finger fillet is the classic knife game. You put your hand down flat on the table and spread your fingers apart. Then, you stab quickly back and forth in the space between your fingers. The objective is obviously not to hit your fingers (obviously). In North America, the game is relatively uncomplicated as it calls for the player to go back and forth between the fingers, from behind the thumb to past the pinkie finger. But the ante is upped a little in Europe, because players must use elaborate patterns in order to complete the game. If movies are any judge, this game is only played by hitmen and drug dealers.
14. Drinking Games
Where do we start with drinking games? There are case races, Edward forty-hands and beer pong. There are quarters, flip-cup and truth-or-shots. There is even an OITNB drinking game, as well as a Big Bang Theory one. These games are popular on college campuses, and add a good bit of fun to swilling a depressant. But they are also super dangerous. Drinking games encourage over-consumption of alcohol. The obvious repercussions are vomiting, blackouts and hangovers for the general public. But of course, we also hear about all those scary stories of alcohol poisoning resulting in death or deadly falls. Drinking games are also blamed for turning co-eds into habitual drinkers. It’s the combination of glamorizing alcohol, peer pressure, and using alcohol to mask emotions. So be safe and stick to the games your grandmother played as a twenty-something during Prohibition. There’s bridge, Monopoly and radio quiz shows. 23 skidoo.
13. Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto is a video game that critics hold up as the quintessential reason why video games are destructive to society. It glamorizes crime; it encourages gang violence; it encourages disrespect of women; it makes you a couch potato. We’ve heard it all a zillion times, going back to 1997. Back then, video games seemed like harmless fun. But that was in a time before rampant childhood obesity and the beginning of what many are calling a new race war. And it was certainly before the advent of SmartPhones and iPads – which meant that the game couldn’t be played anywhere, anytime.
It’s not to say that GTA is the most corrupting of all video games – because Cupcake Factory and Candy Crush are just as controversial. What we’re saying is that living in a digital age with access to video games is rather unnatural for the human race and playing games too much can be addictive. Misuse can lead to social isolation, short attention spans and low morals. Researchers also believe that it can lead to neurological deficits which make players more likely to get Alzheimer’s Disease. All things in moderation, people.
Who doesn’t enjoy a little gambling now and then? The music of the slot machines gives us a jolt of happiness, playing online poker can be an incredible way to spice up an otherwise boring day, and participating in a football pool can help you bond with co-workers. But gambling is one of the most dangerous things to do – for your wallet! Gaming in America is a $40 billion industry. This is bad news for gamblers’ bank accounts, because the house always wins! Studies show that a player can lose up to $1500 in an hour on a high stakes poker machine. That money adds up, because gambling addicts will often spend at least five percent of their family’s income on gaming. The result is that they go into debt, and have physical and emotional problems. With easy access to gambling, it is becoming a problem for twenty-somethings and high school students.
Critics of the gaming industry also cite statistics that gambling leads to other societal ills like alcohol abuse, drug addiction and prostitution. But with casinos popping up all over the place, no end seems to be in sight. Local governments enjoy the revenue it brings, and residents enjoy the tax breaks they get as a result.
11. The Choking Game
The choking game is a vile, risky game that sounds exactly like what it is: players take turns choking each other to decrease oxygen to the brain in an effort to bring on a temporary high. It’s unnatural, and totally discouraged. This game is most popular for youths, who perceive it to be a harmless rite of passage. They couldn’t be more wrong. Of course lack of oxygen can lead to death, but a danger most people don’t take into account is the permanent brain damage that can occur which is a fate worse than death. Players can suffer from neurological damage which will forever impair their memory and motor skills. Less serious consequences involve hemorrhaging of the eyes and tongue biting. This is one game you never want to play.
We don’t have the statistics, but we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is more dangerous than sky diving. And don’t think we are exaggerating the prevalence of this “game.” Lifetime made a TV movie about this phenomenon in 2014 because it was so popular.
10. Online Challenges
Our parents’ generation would tell stories about how teachers would discourage them from emulating the antics of the Three Stooges. The equivalent today would be participating in online challenges. There’s no difference between the cinnamon challenge, the Kylie Jenner challenge or the chubby bunny challenge – because they are all foolhardy. Swallowing copious amounts of cinnamon can actually lead to pneumonia and collapsed lungs. Putting a suction cup on your lips for a plumper look can lead to broken blood vessels and scarring. And stuffing marshmallows in your cheeks like an animal runs you the risk of choking, or at least diabetes.
The problem with these online challenges is that they seem so innocuous. They all have a common thread: they are easy to do. And it’s easy to forget what the risks are when there are plenty of pics and videos online showing participants successfully completing the challenges. In today’s society, no one wants to suffer from FOMO, but the collaboration between the masses is really a sophisticated version of peer pressure. So remember what your mother told you, “Would you jump off a bridge if everyone else did?” Uh-oh… we smell another ill-advised challenge coming on.
9. Drag Racing
Drag racing is treacherous – and we aren’t just talking about RuPaul’s drag race! Racing cars on neighborhood streets is dangerous for everyone from the drivers to the bystanders. Hitting the gas like you are Jeff Gordon in a NASCAR race is not something anyone (and we mean anyone) should be doing – and we also mean you, Danica Patrick! The NASCAR drivers have the benefit of expert training, a closed course and safety personnel on hand. In California alone, 100 people die each year due to drag racing accidents. 50,000 people in this state have been ticketed for drag racing, which just shows you how prevalent this game really is.
If Dennis Byrd’s spinal cord injury didn’t convince you that football is a dangerous game, then the movie Concussion with Will Smith, probably did. Football is a game that many think is barbaric. We’re not going to argue semantics, but the statistics show that there is a great risk of injury in playing this game. Aside from danger to the central nervous system, players run the risk of broken bones; torn ligaments, tendons and muscles; and ruptured organs. The game has taken a lot of heat recently. Critics argue that it’s too dangerous – especially for children. Some theorize that the NFL is deliberately sweeping injuries under the rug. The most conservative have called for football to be banned.
Football is often held up as being an evil sport for reasons other than physical injuries. Many criticize the over-the-top lifestyles and attitudes of profession athletes, and the outrageous profits of the franchises. Others take issue with a sports-centered world that puts athletic skills above academic prowess. And some just don’t like that it encourages a culture of people to watch things rather than do them. We don’t want to ruin football for you, but the times, they are a-changing.
7. Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is actually a dangerous game. Seriously! It carries with it the obvious danger of being viewed as a sexless nerd, but there is something more insidious going on with D&D. It has been plagued with rumors of its players going too far and committing suicide due to getting caught up in the game. Some of the more notorious allegations include teens trying to emulate characters, as well as getting mixed up in Satanic rituals as a result of being too immersed.
This game may seem outdated, but role playing is alive and well in today’s world – and arguable at an apex. Do you participate in Cosplay? Do you punch-up your various online profiles? Do you enjoy your video game avatars? If so, then you totally role play! Aside from the horror stories we’ve all heard about online dating and the Furry Convention, role playing can be dangerous to the psyche. What starts as escapism can lead to one having unrealistic expectations for real life, developing an unhealthy addiction with games/social media/trolling online for a potential mate, and ultimately becoming socially isolated.
Cheese-rolling has become an international phenomenon. Popularized near Glouchester, England, it is a game whereby people roll a nine-pound round of cheese down a hill and chase after it. This sounds like good, clean fun. Most of the time it is – except for when it isn’t! These cheese rounds can gain speeds of up to 70 mph while going down the hill. This gives them a lot o
f force, and players and spectators alike are often knocked down. People have broken limbs, and have suffered head injuries.
The tradition is over 200 years old, and is associated with another danger – booze! Participants often get a little Dutch courage (often in the form of hard pear cider) which makes them rather foolhardy. Although most of the danger comes from running down a steep hill after a piece of cheese, we’re sure there are lots of injuries as a result of over-eating the cheese, too!
Virtual sharpshooting has been popular since Nintendo launched Duck Hunt for home consumption. Remember how you could never accurately hit the targets, whether they were ducks or clay pigeons? Well, the same is basically true for just about anyone that tries to sharpshoot that hasn’t been expertly trained by the military or by their dad to be a marksman. Most people can’t throw a dart to save their lives, so they certainly can’t hit a stationary target with a pistol or rifle. Thus, sharpshooting is way out of their league. But it doesn’t stop them from trying to be Annie Oakley! The Internet is filled with sharpshooting gone wrong. Guns backfire, stray bullets go soaring, and hearing impairments are rampant. Playing with guns is just about the most dangerous thing you can do – aside from driving in your car to the range, that is. So play it safe! Have the proper training, supervision and equipment. And for God’s sake – don’t ever let your nine-year-old shoot an uzi.
Bullfighting in an important cultural tradition that started in Spain ages ago. Suffice it to say, this is one “game” that the upper two-thirds of North America doesn’t understand. For one, it’s pretty dangerous for the matador. He stands in front of a raging bull and taunts it with his cape. The matador is just looking for trouble. Usually he seeks by with minimal injury. But a Spanish matador died just this week from being gored by a bull in Spain. After decades of modern day debate about this so-called blood sport, the conversation is reaching fever pitch about whether bullfighting should be stopped for good.
3. The Stock Market
Have you ever played the Stock Market Rock? First, you invest your life savings in the stock market. Then, you watch your money go down the crapper while singing “Stock Market Rock” as your bank account hits rock bottom. The song is basically “Jingle Bell Rock” with “stock market” substituted for “jingle bell.” It’s quite catchy, and you can sing it all the way to bankruptcy court.
In all seriousness, whether your game is the Dow or NASDAQ, you stand to lose more than a pretty penny. Last year, 70 percent of people lost money on the stock market. At the start of this year, 93 percent of people lost money. While some people may view this as an opportunity to buy low and sell high, others think the average Joe investor is better off playing it safe – i.e. keeping his money under his mattress (next to the dirty magazines he hides from his wife). The female equivalent to this is keeping her money where she can see it – in her closet! If you don’t understand what that means, then you haven’t learned anything from all those Sex and The City episodes your girl made you suffer through.
Jousting is such a dangerous game, that it’s no wonder it hasn’t been popular since the Middle Ages. It’s basically like fencing on steroids. Two guys try to ram each other with lances while playing a game of chicken on top of horses going full speed. Yikes! You might think the heavy armor helped, but in reality it prevented movement of the knight, and weighed down the horse. King Henry VIII got seriously injured during a jousting match, which many believe was the beginning of the end for him health-wise. After that, he stopped being an avid sportsman and started binge-eating. We do wonder what happened to the knight that injured him, though… we’re guessing he was killed via the king’s absolute favorite pastime: beheading.
1. Russian Roulette
Russian roulette is a lethal game that only the Ruskies could think up. It involves players loading one chamber of a revolver, spinning it, and then pulling the trigger of the gun while aiming it at one’s head. Basically, you have a one in six chance of being blown to smithereens. It’s a blood-curdling game that is often depicted in movies like 13 and The Deer Hunter. The media is blamed for promoting this sick game, and this assertion seems to be true. The game was first written about in a novella in the 1840s, and the term Russian roulette is believed to have been coined in a short story in the 1930s. “Russian” refers to the country of origin, and “roulette” refers to the risk taking and spinning.
There isn’t any concrete data on how often this practice is actually performed – in Russia or otherwise. But we do know that people have been unfortunate enough to try. A boy in Pennsylvania was convicted of manslaughter due to killing a friend in Russian roulette gone wrong. A Finnish man also killed himself in front of a crowd while playing the game.
So you are probably wondering what sort of a person would play this devil-game. Not surprisingly, Lindsay Lohan was alleged to have participated in a few rounds during a night of heavy drinking. Writer Graham Greene (The Power and the Glory) admitted to having played the game alone as a teenager. And Malcolm X claimed in his autobiography that he willingly used the technique to prove to his partners in crime that he wasn’t afraid to die. This is one disparate group, which goes to show that you never can tell with people.
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