Parents of a 13-year-old Chinese boy are suing the distributor of “Warcraft: Orcs and Humans” in that country after their son committed suicide after playing the real-time strategy game for 36 hours straight.
The Associated Press quotes a Xinhua News Agency report that the boy left behind a suicide note saying he wanted “to join the heroes of the game he worshiped.”
The basis of the suit is that in the United States “Warcraft: Orcs & Humans” is rated by the ESRB as T (Teen) meaning the game’s “content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.” The Associated Press story incorrectly suggests that T (Teen) means the game is suitable only for children older than 13.
And that leaves aside the obvious problem of how a 13-year-old ends up playing a game for 36 hours straight. Is poor parental supervision actionable in China?
The only upside to this might be if we could persuade Jack Thompson to take his violent video games dog and pony show to China. Permanently. Certainly, the Chinese seem to have the same respect for freedom of speech as Thompson does.
Game distributor sued over boy’s suicide. Joe McDonald, Associated Press, May 12, 2006.
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