So Which Small World is It After All?

September 15, 2010 -

The sad story of a U.K. woman so addicted to an online game that she neglected her kids and let her dogs starve to death has been settled in court, but the details of the game she was involved with still continue to swirl.

Originally reported in the U.K. by the Sun, the game was Small World from Days of Wonder. Other U.K. papers picked up on the story, continuing to hammer on the game and offering detailed descriptions of it. Unfortunately, the information they gathered was on the wrong game.

The Sun reporter pulled the name from court proceedings, and while he got the name right, the other facts of the case did not fit. Small World has no online component and is not a Facebook game. It is a board game. The Daily Mail even reported as much, but failed to make the connection that the board game did not have an online component. The Mail even used a Warhammer Online photo as part of its story.

The real game in question appears to have been SmallWorlds by Outsmart, which indeed is online.

Both game companies have had their say. Mitch Olson, co-founder of Smallworlds.com, originally posted that the game in question was not his company's game, but was indeed the Days of Wonder title. He used news article pictures to back up his claim. Days of Wonder responded in their blog, citing "Google Journalism" for the erroneous reports in the British tabloids and challenged the reporters to fact check their stories in the future.

Olson has since responded with another post focusing on what should have been the real issue all along: A case of addiction and the problems it can cause:

Internet addiction is a very serious issue and just like any form of addiction, there are some individuals who are more at risk than others. It is these people who need information and support to help them break the cycle of addiction they become trapped in. Since hearing about this story we have revisited what we can do to increase our vigilance as a responsible online game and community, by deepening our player education program and putting in alerts to warn of excessive playing. You'll be see more of this in the next few days and weeks.

Rock Paper Shotgun weighed in, contacting Roger Pearson, who wrote the original story for Mercury Press Agency. The MPA story was apparently the source for the other stories, but not the embellishments of the individual papers. Pearson's response:

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.

RPS also tweeted that Games Workshop's IP lawyers got the Mail to removed the errant Warhammer Online image as well.

It appears that this is a case of a sad story being made worse by shoddy reporting and the attempt to sensationalize the games angle instead of the true addiction angle.


Comments

Re: So Which Small World is It After All?

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

In other words, he doesn't care about the subject matter so he doesn't have to get his facts straight?

Re: So Which Small World is It After All?

British journalism - best in the world!

 
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Andrew EisenHence the "Uh, yeah. Obviously."09/02/2014 - 12:53am
SleakerI think Nintendo has proven over the last 2 years that it doesn't.09/02/2014 - 12:31am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenObviously, the picture was created by someone who doesn't understand what the issue actually is (or, possibly, someone trying to satire said misunderstanding).09/01/2014 - 4:10pm
Papa MidnightPeople fear and attack what they do not understand.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
Papa MidnightWell, let's not forget. Someone held their hand in a peace sign a few weeks ago and people started claiming it was a gang sign. Or a police chief displayed the hand signal of their fraternity and was accused of the same.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
SleakerEither people don't understand that what the picture is saying is true, or the picture was created out of a misunderstanding of what sexism is.09/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Sleaker@AE ok yah that's where the kind of confusion I'm getting. Your tweet can be taken to mean two different things.09/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - No. No, not even remotely. The pic attached to my tweet was not made by me; it's not a statement I'm making. It's an illustration of the complete misunderstanding of the issue my tweet is referring to.09/01/2014 - 3:13pm
Papa MidnightIn other news, Netflix states why it paid Comcast: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/29/technology/netflix-comcast/index.html?hpt=hp_t209/01/2014 - 3:10pm
Papa MidnightAndrew Eisen: Sites like Tumblr make things seem much bigger than they are. A vocal extreme minority start complaining and things go as they do.09/01/2014 - 3:09pm
 

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