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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InfophileI know the ZE series was in the red in Japan, but international series boosted it to profitability. That may not mean it's more profitable in the west, but it does mean ZE3 wouldn't exist without the western market.07/04/2015 - 7:54am
Consterwhy aren't "Video game players" an option on the poll? :P07/04/2015 - 5:19am
Andrew EisenThat was quick! Pretty accurate cosplay of the new Ghostbuster uniform and proton pack: https://twitter.com/mirabellemusing/status/61673135125394227207/03/2015 - 6:23pm
Matthew Wilson@mast I dont know, but I do know it got a cult fallowing here.07/03/2015 - 6:22pm
MastermuneWasn't the Zero Escape series more popular here than in Japan?07/03/2015 - 6:19pm
Matthew Wilson@mast given the game was revealed in the US, I wouldnt be shocked if it was released at the same time.07/03/2015 - 6:15pm
MastermuneI don't trust the big AAA worldwide simultaneous releases though.07/03/2015 - 5:57pm
Mastermune@Infophile I have come to the conclusion that smaller games like zero escape, JRPG's and the like are actually worth preordering sinc they are limited quantities and since they usually release in japan first we know if there are any issues.07/03/2015 - 5:56pm
Infophile@Matthew! Awesome news. I'd preorder on that shout alone if I didn't have a policy against preordering anymore.07/03/2015 - 5:16pm
Matthew Wilsonzero escape 3 was announced today.07/03/2015 - 4:21pm
Matthew Wilson@pnx I am guessing a ddoss since that is what happened to neogaf, but sony needs to do a investment in psn as a whole. steam is still the most reliable and fastest digital platform I use.07/03/2015 - 3:06pm
PHX Corphttp://www.vg247.com/2015/07/03/psn-is-down-sony-investigating/ not again: PSN is down, Sony investigating07/03/2015 - 3:04pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/2015/07/03/digital-extremes-trespasser-keystone-pc/ if true, this is funny and embarrassing for Digital Extremes. companies need too have better security.07/03/2015 - 2:57pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-point-destiny-the-hardcore-gamers-slot-machine/2300-6425852/ this is very good, and well researched.07/03/2015 - 12:41pm
InfophileOther features to become standard: The ability to remap controls however the hell I want. Quicksave at any time (especially for handheld and mobile games). Plus everything Andrew said07/03/2015 - 10:43am
InfophileRegion-freeing becomes tricky for games with a strong online component though, especially when the servers are run by different branches in different regions.07/03/2015 - 10:41am
InfophileI'm in favor of getting rid of region-locking for any purchased games. I can understand an exception for free, ad-supported games, as many ads are only relevant in certain regions, and it's a ridiculous hassle to get ads for all regions.07/03/2015 - 10:40am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/payday-2-has-been-broken-on-xbox-one-for-three-weeks-1715384186 Payday 2 Has Been Broken On Xbox One For Three Weeks07/03/2015 - 8:44am
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/3bxduw/why_was_riama_along_with_a_number_of_other_large/ here is a more complete acount of whats going on.07/03/2015 - 1:32am
Matthew Wilsonredit is on fire right now. most subreddits have been set to private.07/03/2015 - 1:24am
 

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