When gamers die, their instructions can live on

Gamers are now making arrangements to notify other players in the event of their own death. And there are sites that will help them do it.

There are some things that never cross my mind. The recipe for chicken cacciatora, for example. Or the name of George Stephanopoulos' hairdresser.

And, until my wandering eye caught this remarkable story on Yahoo News, I had never thought about what happens when gamers die.

Do their fellow gamers wonder where they've gone? Do they try and contact them? Or do they just assume that they have given up gaming and checked into a halfway house, either on Earth or in the sky?

Here is the example of Robert Bryan's father. Last year, he died. But he's left a technological last will and testament: a black USB flash drive. On it were the names of those who needed to be told, one whom being the administrator of an online group.

"It was kind of creepy because I was telling all these people that my dad was dead," his son said.

You will not be mortified to hear that someone has begun to cater to dead gamers' need for warcraft closure.

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist at Houston's Baylor College of Medicine. The thought of passwords seems to have entered his head when he espied people passing into the yonder above.

So he set up a site, charmingly named Death Switch. Those who commit just $20 a year can have up to 30 e-mails sent on their behalf if, instead of checking into the site on given days, they actually check out of this firmament.

Death Switch has a quite lovely tagline: Bridging Mortality. And the site suggests that one important use is to ensure that "unspeakable secrets" can be passed on after your death. ("Your mother used to be Joshua Fingletree of Sonoma, Calif.")

But perhaps a rather lovelier site name is the positively cuddly Slightly Morbid. A delightful image of the Grim Reaper adorns Slightly Morbid. Yet its tone is quite sober. It invites you simply to "Notify your online friends if something happens to you."

And no one will ever know their passwords. CC Hans Vandenberg 30

Slightly Morbid is the brainchild of Mike and Pamela Potter, of Colorado Springs. They have a business that makes software for online games and were worried when a volunteer, who assisted some of their customers on an online message board, suddenly disappeared.

He was not dead. He'd merely decided to get away from it all for three months and didn't bother to go online in that time. (Those message boards can be depressing places.)

There's one thing that is slightly amusing, if a little from the dark side, about Slightly Morbid. It offers military personnel a 20 percent discount.

Yes, those who really have to shoot 'em up get a discount in informing friends with whom they virtually shoot 'em up, in the sad event that they've been really shot up.

I'm sorry, I just can't think about this any more. It's like a never-ending episode of "Six Feet Under."

 

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