Yesterday I had the somber task of interviewing Ms. Margaret Ruger, a woman who recently lost her son. Her son, Darko, was 22 and still living at home while he worked hard to finish his degree at MacKenzie Community College here in New York. He hadn’t been a shining star at math or science, but in general he had always been a warm and pleasant person.
That all changed about a week before his death by suicide.
In the days leading up to his death, Darko became “unrecognizable.” His mother explained that Darko “didn’t seem like my Darko” anymore: He abruptly withdrew into himself and became sullen and anxious, like something terrible had happened that he didn’t know how to deal with. He stopped eating and sleeping, he locked himself in his room for days at a time, and whenever his mother asked him what was wrong he would become overwhelmed and quickly shy away.
Then, one day, Darko posted a message on his school’s Facebook page threatening to go on a shooting spree. He was found dead in his room soon after by police, who were shouldering the door with dirge-like persistence to open it against Darko’s dead weight.
On the surface, this case seems exactly like the dozens of other school shootings that plague our country: A young man with a history of mental health issues tries to shoot up his school, and ends up dead himself.
There’s just one problem: Darko never had a history of mental health issues.
Darko might not have been a model student, but he had been a model person: He did community service, he helped his mother every day with groceries and housework, and he had a lot of friends who all described him as happy and personable. No one—no one—saw anything wrong with him until a week before his death.
So, what changed? What happened in Darko’s life 7 days before he died?
The answer lies in DevilsGame. I freely admit that I'm an evangelical Christian with an already proclaimed stance against videogames, and I particularly consider DevilsGame to be the most virulent, violent and invidious videogame ever created! So, you may find my perspective skewed. But let the facts speak:
- Darko was over $27,000 in debt on DevilsGame.
- He lost that money in just a few short weeks, around the same time when he started acting strange.
- Prior to losing that money, he had been betting heavily at the DevilsGame casino site UGot1Shot.
- He had spent over $10,000 of his own money on virtual gear for DevilsGame, not counting additional gambling money that he won and reinvested in the game.
- And he had spent over 230 hours playing DevilsGame just in the past month—that’s almost 8hrs/day, more time than he spent in school. When he wasn’t gaming or gambling, he spent his time watching elaborate animated porn on DevilsGame’s sister site Foxxx.
Still think this evangelical gal is talking nonsense?
Darko Ruger was a rounder: someone who makes a living mostly through gambling. He gambled by earning virtual currency in DevilsGame, selling it for real-world dollars (a process called “gold farming”), and then placing that real money on bets at DevilsGame’s online casino.
Darko Ruger made one bad bet and fell $27,000 in debt over a videogame. And do you know how many people are supervising this game? Do you know how many government agencies monitor these bets, or how many laws exist regulating gold farming in this country?
DevilsGame is more than just a videogame. It’s a fully immersive community with businesses, economies, and lots of completely real money being traded, won, and lost. And no one is regulating any of it.
Darko Ruger died because DevilsGame, like most unregulated corporations, plays with millions of people’s livelihoods and well-being without having to answer to anyone. DevilsGame was effectively the noose around Darko’s neck. He lost everything overnight—all his means of paying for food, gas, bills—and he didn’t know how to handle it. And if this hasn’t already happened to other DevilsGame players yet, it surely will soon.
This has to stop. The United States government needs to crack down on DevilsGame, impose regulations on its rampant policies, and stop more people from being completely ruined. DevilsGame has been much more than a videogame for a long time now, but it has managed to avoid scrutiny because no one is sure how to regulate such an elaborate virtual organism, and no one wants to believe that this virtual creature could pose a very real threat.
Well, the threat is here, and the damage is already being done. So we need to address that damage…NOW. As Margaret Ruger explained, “Darko was a sweet boy who just wanted to provide for his family. He started playing this game, and before he knew it, it seemed to take over every part of his life.” DevilsGame does indeed extend to every single part of players’ lives, and so it’s time—at last—to look at every single part of DevilsGame.