A couple in Korea (Kim Yoo-chul, 41, Choi Mi-sun, 25) reportedly let their real-life child starve to death while they were taking care of a virtual child in a video game.
The parents would spend up to 12 hours at a shot in internet cafes, playing free-to-play Korean MMO Prius Online where you raise "Anima" children. While gaming, they would leave their three-month-old baby behind at home to fend for itself. Newborns are notorious for being bad at fending for themselves, even if you leave out a bowl of kibble, so their child died of malnutrition. There are no words for how terrible those parents are.
"The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life, because they didn't have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby," Chung Jin-won, a police officer in Suwon, the Seoul suburb, told the Yonhap news agency. "They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby."
My confession: I have neglected my real child in favor of my virtual one. Before you call child protective services on me, let me tell the story: A couple weeks ago, I was immersed in Heavy Rain; It was my kid's bedtime, and I said to my wife, "Honey, do you mind putting him to bed. I'm in the middle of this... it's for work."
The very next scene in the game was the one where Scott Shelby is feeding and changing the diaper of a baby, and I realized that I was literally passing up interacting with my real child to put a diaper on a fake one. It was a bit freaky...but unlike the couple in Korea, my wife was putting my kid to bed, and it was only like 10 minutes as opposed to many hours, so it's completely different, but still...freaky, right?
BTW: Raising a real child is harder than a video game child by about the factor that playing a real guitar is harder than playing Guitar Hero, but leveling up is a lot more rewarding.