I was dozing on the train this morning when someone on a podcast read the news headline “College Student Loses First & Second Life On The Same Day”. I snapped awake pretty quick at that. I knew SL could make you rich but not kill ye’ ass.
As the original story, which has taken a turn around the web and at least one podcast (any other reports of other sightings of this story?) said:
College Student Loses First & Second Life On The Same Day
Ann Arbor, MI–A University of Michigan college student was pronounced dead early this morning only hours after a virtual character he played in an online universe called Second Life met an eerily similar fate.
Jesse Smith, an 18 year-old sophomore from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, was found lying unconscious in the parking lot behind his dormitory by some passing joggers early this morning. He was immediately rushed to the hospital, but doctors were unable to revive him.
“He barely had a mark on him,” stated hospital staffer Camille Starkey, “but we figure he was hit by a car somewhere near the location where he was discovered. He had massive internal injuries and the doctors were not able to save him.”
“It looks like he tried to crawl back home to get help, but I guess he never made it.”
Strangely enough, Smith had spent most of the previous evening playing Second Life, until his virtual alter-ego was also killed in a car accident sometime around 3 AM.
[Edit 28/11/06: for the avoidance of doubt, I believe the above ‘story’ to be entirely fabricated]
My theory is this: The ex Miss Norway, who played LegendMUD did not die in a car crash as widely believed but instead saved up an almost unimaginable amount of Monopoly money on the Pro-Monopoly circuit under the pseudonym F4t4l123y (pounced Georgina) which (s)he cashed in. Using the money in part of for a gender re-assignment becoming Jesse, and in part to study at the University if Michigan, no doubt under Professor Urizenus Sklar (Emeritus professor of journalistic ethics), majoring in illogical shemantics.
But seriously, I’m starting to see signs of major video game addiction. News outlets, PR agencies and editors around the globe are starting to need higher and higher doses of virtual world ‘news’. It started with mixing partial facts with hysteria, now doses have been cut so thin that we no longer need any trace of a fact at all.