Death By Video Game: How 5 Top Games Led to Real-Life Tragedy


By James Nebrig

Video games: the great event of the 20th and 21st centuries. From Pong to virtual reality, video games have been a massive part of the modern world. The great enemy of parents and the great friend of kids and YouTubers, video games continue to grow in popularity. Some argue that video games promote creativity and improve reflexes, but others point to very real consequences of popular games. This article examines the deaths attributed to five popular games.

#1 – World of Tanks

Wargaming’s breakout game rose to immense popularity very quickly. World of Tanks is a massively-multiplayer online game, or MMO. The subject of many awards and much hatred, World of Tanks is a game with lots of strategy, lots of shooting, lots of dumb luck, and lots of funny fail videos. However, there have been 2 reported suicides because of this game. One was a 14-year old boy who killed himself after he drove his tank off a cliff. The other was a 34-year old mom who killed herself after she spent $100 dollars on in-game currency and the tank she bought with the currency wasn’t up to her expectations. These two deaths have caused a lot of concern among parents.

#2 – Minecraft

Of course, any list of games would be incomplete without the massive game Minecraft! This game has only increased in popularity since its 2009 debut. The game involves a virtual world of blocks and ‘mobs,’ monsters which try to kill the player or give him/her resources if killed. The game has been the source of massive controversy over the violent content, the following it has created, and the cases of lethal addiction it has created. There are at least 11 accounts of players committing suicide over the game. Many parents have banned their kids from playing this game because of the risk of addiction. One well-known suicide over Minecraft was an American who played Minecraft for 38 hours straight, then shot himself.

#3 – World of Warcraft

The massive MMO fantasy game that has millions upon millions of followers and thousands upon thousands of addicts has been a constant force over the last 8 years. With massive amounts of money and in-game currency flowing through the game, cases of addiction and harmful behavior were almost unavoidable. There have been 2 reported suicides over virtual objects being stolen by other players. One pair of parents became obsessed and left their children at home as they went to an internet café to participate in a gaming meet. When a child died, that couple received 30 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

#4 – Grand Theft Auto V

One of the most-waited upon and expected game releases of the decade, GTA V is the MMO game about mobsters and crime. This game has not caused many deaths, but many youth and adults have taken to some version of crime to try to emulate their in-game heroes. On a more deadly note, some attributed a 2013 mass shooting in Washington, D.C. to the release of GTA V the same week. The shooter, who was addicted to violent video games, killed 12.

#5 – Farmville

Who would have thought that the bright and happy online farming game would lead to murder? In Jacksonville, Florida, Alexandra Tobias, 22, was playing Farmville when her 3-month old son started crying and would not stop. She began shaking him, and eventually he hit his head and died. The mother is now facing 25-50 years in jail, just because she couldn’t harvest her e-carrots.


Of course, not all gamers are violent, and not all games provoke crime. But the number of deaths attributed to video game addiction is only rising.

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