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Some class of a microchip

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Cartman exploding
Galway Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames has decided that, of all the serious and important issues facing Ireland today, she should focus her time and energy campaigning to stop people playing video games for more than two hours at a time. She’s looking for “some class of a microchip to be installed that shuts the game down after two hours, and that it cannot be restarted for another period of time.”

What a wonderful use of her time.

What sparked this crusade off? The death of a 20 year-old in the UK from deep vein thrombosis, which his father says resulted from 12 hour gaming sessions. (The senator implies that the coroner linked the death directly to excessive Xbox use – I can’t seem to find the source for this.)

Death from playing videogames is so rare you end up on Wikipedia’s unusual deaths lists for doing so. If you’re worried about the number of people dieing from excessive video gaming you should also show concern for people killed by flying bears or Segways.

The problem here isn’t video games – it’s people doing stupid things. If the guy had died after getting off a twelve hour flight, would she be looking to ban intercontinental travel? If he died after a 12 hour sex session (like this guy) would she be looking to install a chip in people’s testicles to shut them down after two hours? The guy died from sitting still too much. A chip wouldn’t have solved that.

It’s just nonsense grandstanding to get a bit of attention, with no possibility of ever having to do any more about it, because it will NEVER HAPPEN. Can you see Sony and Nintendo going … “hang on, someone in Ireland wants us to put in a class of microchip… best get on that!” (The fact that she confuses consoles and games is a bit telling too).

Why pick on videogames when there’s much bigger problems out there? If you want to moderate people’s behaviour based on a dangerous addiction, why not say, propose a cap on gambling? 1% – 3% of the Irish population may suffer from compulsive gambling (source) which leads to suicide, destitution and broken families. Why not make a law that says people can only gamble €20 a week? Surely, being an Irish senator, that would be a lot easier to accomplish than having Japanese and American multinationals change their product line? If you’re going to start a crusade, why not make it a sensible one?