Details Don't Add Up In Story About Mother's Game Addiction

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Details Don't Add Up In Story About Mother's Game Addiction

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A story about a woman who became addicted to a Facebook game and endangered her children is garnering public outrage, but the game doesn't actually exist on Facebook.

A woman in the UK has apparently been banned from using the internet and keeping pets (as well as earning a suspended jail sentence), after an addiction to an online videogame caused her to leave her home in squalor and create a dangerous living environment for her kids. The details of the story are rather horrifying, but there are too many inconsistencies for it to be believed outright.

According to The Daily Mail, the woman ("who cannot be named for legal reasons") became addicted to Small World, an online board game. She was so obsessed that she neglected her three children and let her dogs starve to death (the article claims they spent two months rotting in her dining room). While her children were never starved themselves, they were reduced to eating food like cold beans straight from a can. On the surface, this story is really unsettling, but it doesn't exactly hold together on close examination.

The problem is that Small World doesn't actually exist on Facebook. In fact, it doesn't exist on the web at all. Small World is a board game - a really fun one, actually - that was released in 2009 and was recently put out on the iPad. Speaking as an owner of this edition, the iPad version does allow you to play against an AI opponent, but there's no online mode. There's also no PC version of the game, either, which is strange, since the article claims the woman was practically glued to her laptop during her addiction.

The funny thing is that the Daily Mail's article has a sidebar that goes into a lot of detail about the game, giving a fairly accurate description about its fantasy elements and the fact that it's actually a board game. In fact, the only incorrect assertion in the sidebar is that, Small World "can be played with friends online."

The story becomes even harder to believe because, "aside from shots of the boardgame they included shots of Warhammer Online, even sticking a false URL on it."

There are also a number of issues with this story that are raised by common sense: Did the kids not know how to cook or clean for themselves? The oldest is apparently 13; I was certainly capable of making my own meals, doing laundry, and going to the store on my own by that point. Also, leaving two dog corpses to rot for a couple of months seems a little too shocking to actually be real.

Thanks to all these inconsistencies, it's hard to discern what's real in this story and what isn't. At best, it's a poorly-researched piece of journalism that is in serious need of some investigation and fact-checking. At worst ... well, that incident with The Daily Star wasn't that long ago.

Source: The Daily Mail

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Two words.
Daily , mail

Also even if it isn't true, we all know this will proberly be used against gaming some way or another.

wow, it's almost as if you were expecting some sort of journalistic integrity from The Daily Mail. I've never trusted anything they've put out. They're a tabloid, and this only goes to show it.
However, I applaud you for doing a fact-check rather than doing what most other news-wires will do and just print the story work for word.

Inflammatory news? Oh me oh my

OT: There is most definitely a grain of truth in there, I just don't know where.

sigh mainstream media and games should be keep well away from each other. like different universes.

In other news, Daily Mail in "outright lie" shock.

Oh Hai Daily Mail.

What's this? Newspapers making up stories now? Well now Escapist, you'rte just trying to make me mad. If there's a cheerful story, then wake me. 'Cos right now, if this story is true, she is sick and deserves bad things, but since the things here don't add up, I am angrier than ever.

Calumon: Aww... I don't like today...

This just sounds like some kind of elaborate scheme to make videogames look bad.

It's the Daily Mail, I think they once ran a story about how there was a secret RAF base on the Moon because they found a picture of a WWII plane on the moon... Then ran a story about it later claiming how they ran said story and how stupid that would be...

The most retarded part of it is that some people actually pay for it and will believe what they write.

Not just the Daily Mail. This was the front page of that beautiful read, the Metro this morning.

Daily Mail.uk

UK's Fox News? I don't know, I'm not British

Jack and Calumon:
Oh Hai Daily Mail.

What's this? Newspapers making up stories now? Well now Escapist, you'rte just trying to make me mad. If there's a cheerful story, then wake me. 'Cos right now, if this story is true, she is sick and deserves bad things, but since the things here don't add up, I am angrier than ever.

Calumon: Aww... I don't like today...

There there Calumon, Have a digi-cookie
???
OT: I really do hope this is another one of those tabloid lies.

:O a news media not telling the truth and making up stories? proposterous!

OT: Seriously, everything points at it being false and made up, isn't there some sort of press guild or something that can do someting against this?

Alpha Centauri:
Daily Mail.uk

UK's Fox News? I don't know, I'm not British

Yep, just about. Hates foreigners, paedophiles. Loves half naked celebrities. Especially young ones.

you know it is a good sign if the only way the media can make games look evil by making stuff up but the problem is that only gamers and friends of those gamers know it's a lie so most people who read those stories will believe them which is not good the only good thing this can to is if California uses this as part of their argument for there bill saying that games can even effect grown ups so especially minors but then it turns out it isn't real and bang their argument is lessened.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/09/13/mail-implicates-unrelated-games-in-tragedy/#more-38646

I've already been contacted by the Daily Mail on this - indeed I did a check
with the reporter who supplied the story yesterday afternoon after a query
from The Sun.

The best I can tell you is that the judge and lawyers all referred in court
to a game called Small World - not Worlds. Whether they were wrong in the
way they were referring to it we cant say. Going on your comments it sounds
as if they may have been.

The reporter could only go on what was said in court though. That is of
course privileged, and if he had changed it to another name he would have
been laying himself open to trouble if he changed it wrongly.

He's not a computer games player so he wouldn't be up on the finer computer
game points you've mentioned.

Afraid that's the best I can tell you.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Alpha Centauri:
Daily Mail.uk

UK's Fox News? I don't know, I'm not British

Yep, just about. Hates foreigners, paedophiles. Loves half naked celebrities. Especially young ones.

You and me have read vastly different versions of the Daily Mail. I agree with the first part though.

On topic: not surprised that it was in the Daily Mail. Still, British newspapers making up stories about the evils of videogames? Is that a thing now?

What on earth does the Daily Mail have against video games? This is the second time they made something up to make video games sound like the spawn of satan.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Alpha Centauri:
Daily Mail.uk

UK's Fox News? I don't know, I'm not British

Yep, just about. Hates foreigners, paedophiles. Loves half naked celebrities. Especially young ones.

Sooo Fox News's creepy uncle?

I have no idea what is true in that story. There are probably some nuggets of truth in this, and the Daily Mail have blown it out of proportion for the sake of sales.

I'm intruiged to know where the truth lies, though if the oldest kid is 13 years old, did THEY not notice the dead dogs? Why did the dogs not make any sounds when starving?

Nothign adds up

I feel that these are somehow relevant.


Daily mail, never trust them...

The_root_of_all_evil:
Not just the Daily Mail. This was the front page of that beautiful read, the Metro this morning.

wow just wow this is going to spread like wild fire with only non gamers trying to hose this down of course board games aren't evil but computer games oh no. let's just say for a moment this is true the problem doesn't have anything to do with the game but with the women I can't think of a single person who has ever been addicted to a board game.

As said by others above, this is to be expected rom the Daily (Hate)mail.

If it's sensationalist enough to cause the over 50's to choke on their cornflakes they'll print it. Facts and research really aren't required, as long as the story has a strong enough 'What is the world coming to? Thank god we don't live near poor people Doris' feeling.

I'm a little surprised it hasn't found a way to link this to immigrants, house prices, homosexuals (or anything else that could be considered a minority) or the Liberal Democrats as they all tend to be their favourite punching bags.

Remember folks, it's definitely not a bigoted paper, it didn't support the BNP and my, didn't they make a fuss of that fact!

*deep breath*

That said, any game that causes this (supposed) level of addiction is something I want to know more about.

Kill it! Kill it with fire!

How do these tabloids still have any credibility? I think at this point they're just trying to see what they can get away with.

Susurrus:
In other news, Daily Mail in "outright lie" shock.

You mean all those dark skinned immigrants aren't here to steal my organs and replace them with AIDS?

Oh really? But the article was so convincing, with the decaying canine carcasses and all. Are you guys sure it was all made up, cuz I heard that "The Daily Mail" was more reliable than a billion horoscopes and all of Nostradamus's stuff put together...

I thought this story would be too crazy to be completely true.

Will newspapers ever get it right, and tell the full truth without being bias...

It's almost like England has it out against the US and gaming.
Well we have no proof about the US thing


Or the gaming thing

OT:
It astounds me that the whole country of England/UK-land hasn't put their newspapers under a magnifying glass yet, they have a really bad history of doing this stupid stuff. i.e. making up alot and reporting alittle.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Alpha Centauri:
Daily Mail.uk

UK's Fox News? I don't know, I'm not British

Yep, just about. Hates foreigners, paedophiles. Loves half naked celebrities. Especially young ones.

Thing is they print so many pictures of naked or scantily clad women, but don't admit to it like The Sun and it's ilk do. They print them beside stories like "Nation's moral fibre erodes as more young women pose naked for newspapers"

Seems to me that some writer was getting tired of whatever story he/she was being stuck with, and chose to go out and "cry wolf," so to speak, in order to get some credibility. That's just my speculation from what I can tell from this article about the story. And if that were the case, then let's consider this "journalist" fired and blackballed from working in journalism.

Magnalian:
How do these tabloids still have any credibility? I think at this point they're just trying to see what they can get away with.

The story is actually true and has already gone through court

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/09/13/mail-implicates-unrelated-games-in-tragedy/

If you're not aware, core stories are often sourced by agencies, then sold to newspapers who change them to their style and add elements of their own. I wrote to Roger, the writer of the original piece, which included the name "Small World" but no further details on the game, who responded...

I've already been contacted by the Daily Mail on this - indeed I did a check
with the reporter who supplied the story yesterday afternoon after a query
from The Sun.

The best I can tell you is that the judge and lawyers all referred in court
to a game called Small World - not Worlds. Whether they were wrong in the
way they were referring to it we cant say. Going on your comments it sounds
as if they may have been.

The reporter could only go on what was said in court though. That is of
course privileged, and if he had changed it to another name he would have
been laying himself open to trouble if he changed it wrongly.

He's not a computer games player so he wouldn't be up on the finer computer
game points you've mentioned.

Afraid that's the best I can tell you.

In other words, if an apparent error in court filters down and everyone takes it on face-value, with the newspapers who buy the core story seeming to lack the knowledge - or failed in their research - to realise that it must be a mistake. Of course, this doesn't explain the Warhammer image, so we'll keep you up to date on that.

EDIT 2: The Warhammer image has been removed, apparently at the bequest of Games Workshop IP Lawyers.

The only mistakes were unrelated game images and the game is called "small world" not "small worlds"

The_root_of_all_evil:

Alpha Centauri:
Daily Mail.uk

UK's Fox News? I don't know, I'm not British

Yep, just about. Hates foreigners, paedophiles. Loves half naked celebrities. Especially young ones.

actually daily mail is the only newspaper designed with women in mind, so there are none of the page 3 ladies. take it from a paper boy.

OT: daily mail lies, bears po in the woods and pigs don't fly. Huh, just another day.

rosac

Good god, what is this newspaper's damage towards video games? Oh sure its a red letter topic that is certain to garner attention, but even Fox News takes breaks from calling Obama a terrorist.

How the hell is this paper even allowed to still exist if (what I hear from our neighbors across the pond) they consistently print falsified stories? It's one thing to be a tabloid that is pretty much assumed to be fake on all levels but these people bold faced go about telling lies and presenting them as actual news.

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