You may have heard that virtual gaming worlds can engender real-life economies. As it turns out, virtual breakups — and, more to the point, virtual revenge — may also have real-world consequences. As PC World/The Washington Post reports:
The line between virtual reality and its flesh-and-blood cousin blurred a little this week as a 43-year-old Tokyo woman was jailed for murdering her virtual ex-husband’s* avatar.
After she suddenly found herself divorced in “MapleStory,” a popular 2-D side scrolling MMORPG, the unidentified woman used her ex-husband’s ID and password [which, the AP notes, she had gotten from him when all was well in both worlds] to log into the game and kill him off. Call it Death by Deletion.
When the man discovered his beloved avatar was gone, he contacted authorities, which led to the woman’s arrest. “I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning,” the woman told investigators. “That made me so angry.” The AP reports that the woman had no intention to carry out violence in reality.
The charges are “illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data,” which carries a sentence of up to five years in jail or a fine up to $5,000.
I’m not saying anyone’s justified in killing anyone, except perhaps a Pirate Octopus. But yeah, before you dump someone — anywhere — it wouldn’t hurt to at least have a talk. No man, after all, is a Maple Island.
*From Wikipedia: “Players may participate in in-game marriages at the town of Amoria. Guests may be invited to the wedding, and the marrying couple will receive wedding ring items. The wedding ‘ceremony’ requires the completion of various quests. If a premium wedding ticket from the Cash Shop was purchased, the player is entitled to have a party after the ceremony. In Amoria Dungeon, players can fight exclusive monsters. The KoreaMS version of Amoria has been altered to remove the training grounds and the Chapel area, leaving only the Cathedral. MapleStory currently does not allow same-sex marriage.”