Gaming requires a peculiar concentration. It also sometimes attracts peculiar people.
Or is it that gaming makes people peculiar?
I drift into this difficult philosophical territory in memory of Chen Rong-Yu, a 23-year-old gamer in New Taipei, Taiwan. He died while gaming in an Internet cafe.
And, well, according to news agency AFP, no one realized for up to 9 hours.
AFP has it that the young gentleman was identified as mortified by a waitress who must have wondered why he'd been sitting there motionless.
In truth, there is no way of knowing just how long he had actually been dead. No one can be sure when he emitted his final breath. And yet, one might imagine that the actual act of dying might have attracted a soupcon of attention.
Perhaps, being sympathetic to humanity, you might imagine it was an off-night for the cafe. Perhaps no one had been there. Sadly, the report suggests that at least 30 people had been in, gamed, and gone during the time the man was there.
There is no absolute suggestion that the gaming--either its rigidity or its excitement--actually killed him. However, police reportedly theorize that he suffered a heart attack because of low temperatures, tiredness, and the fact that he was sedentary. There was also the fact that he had last year been treated for a heart complaint.
Still, once he was dead, he would have been, well, still. Reports suggest he had rigid, outstretched arms. Might they not have alerted the attention of someone other than the waitress? Might not some gamer have noticed that Chen was no longer tapping his keyboard?
Maybe his fellow cafe gamers thought this was his unusual Zen. Or perhaps they were too busy nuking and neutralizing all that was before them. Yet here was this man, dying in apparent stillness, when fellow humanoids around him no doubt pounded at their keyboards in order to pound various virtual beings into some kind of submission.
You, because you are a caring person, will wonder what game he was actually playing. Sky News reports that it was League of Legends, a game so exciting I can barely describe it without an attack of asphyxiation.
But what were the other gamers in the cafe playing? Perhaps it was something loud, raucous, and mesmerizing, the noises and lights drowning anything else in their presence. Or perhaps they were playing FarmVille and so much stillness abounded in their virtual fields that one more element of stillness seemed entirely natural.
One can only hope that this Internet cafe's visitors might be more mindful of their fellow man in future days and weeks. One can only hope.