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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MattsworknameConster, I vet what your saying, but lets not bring up Baltimore, that place had a very bad week.05/03/2015 - 5:48pm
MattsworknameFair enough Infophile, regardless of my own issues with the gaming industry and press, im just sorta tired of the whole GG thing as it is. it just seems pointless now you know?05/03/2015 - 5:46pm
ConsterThe trolls hiding behind GG may be too busy pretending to be looters in Baltimore right now.05/03/2015 - 3:32pm
InfophileWhich is to say, GG isn't people writing articles about GG; it's the swarm of people lashing out. That's still going on, even if not as many articles are being written about it05/03/2015 - 7:32am
InfophileIt's not about the articles, but about the people receiving threats. Found an article from just last week which says Zoe Quinn is still receiving daily threats: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2015/04/28/gamergate/05/03/2015 - 7:31am
Mattsworknameup hating the game industry on a more general level .05/03/2015 - 7:25am
MattsworknameIts funny, you know what i just realized, I love video games, and I hate the industry that has been forged around them. I hate the big name publishers, the press, all that jazz. But I still love gaming. that kinda sucks that I love games and still wind05/03/2015 - 7:25am
MattsworknameIt's like teh whole thing just went quiet.05/03/2015 - 6:28am
MattsworknameInfophile, I haven't really seen much activity either way, other then a few minor articles here or there, its like GG just sorta went dormant. I dont deny that I have some concerns with gaming press and industry, but I followed GG the last few months05/03/2015 - 6:28am
Infophile@Mattsworkname: It's more of a case that many media outlets have lost interest in their usual actions. "GamerGate still viciously harassing Zoe Quinn" isn't exactly news. Even if they are. *puts on sea lion hunting gear* Come at me, GG! I dare ya!05/03/2015 - 4:40am
MattsworknameAs much a I have some of the same concerns GG supposibly crusades against, i was really under the impression GG had sorta gone into dormantcy , it had been kinda quiet the last feww months05/02/2015 - 7:42pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bxcc3SM_KA if you guys haven't seen it, john oliver goes after patent trolls.05/02/2015 - 6:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I dont like the guests, who ever did this is stupid. I can understand not liking GG, but come on.05/02/2015 - 6:17pm
Wonderkarpwell how about that shi.....poop05/02/2015 - 6:07pm
Andrew EisenKotaku caught it. Ran the story an hour ago. http://kotaku.com/gamergate-meetup-evacuated-after-apparent-threat-170176164505/02/2015 - 5:36pm
Wonderkarpevent was treading pretty hardcore on twitter last night. course thats just twitter. I'll agree with you if it does get reported05/02/2015 - 5:25pm
Andrew EisenAwkward wording on my part but "event" was referring to the bomb threat. It's silly to chastise mainstream press for not covering something that happened a mere 12 hours earlier, well after close of business on Friday, at a gathering very few knew about.05/02/2015 - 5:14pm
Wonderkarpthey arent "uppity" over the event not being covered. they are uppity over the harassment/bombthreats not being reported.05/02/2015 - 5:09pm
Andrew EisenWe've known that for quite a while now but I agree, completely cutting the feature is not a good move.05/02/2015 - 3:49pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/2015/05/02/splatoon-multiplayer-online-shooter-wii-u/ excuse my language, but I call bullcrap. enough with this crap Nintendo its stupid.05/02/2015 - 3:27pm
 

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