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 EisenMost are really just a look at the crap that happened the previous day when Sarkeesian's new video came out and almost all are exceedingly clear that they're talking about the specific gamers who are being obnoxious.09/18/2014 - 5:17pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Yep, I had only seen two. I looked at the 12 you sent and while I had seen a few of them, I didn't think to count them. Some aren't about gamers at all. One's just highlighting two others. One is a Gamasutra community member blog post.09/18/2014 - 5:15pm
Michael Chandrawould clearly not apply, since they weren't used as shield. It's more "hey, just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm CISWASP."09/18/2014 - 5:08pm
Michael ChandraIn comparison though, the more extreme views would be fairly countered with "you don't speak for me". But the batshit crazy people tend not to even use others as the shield to defend their batshit crazy ideas and insults, so at that point #notyourshield09/18/2014 - 5:06pm
Michael ChandraWhich is of course real silly because when there are so many horrible stories and statistics too, it's utterly irrelevant whether some don't mind.09/18/2014 - 5:00pm
Michael ChandraIn this context it would be women claiming they don't see a problem with the stuff, so stop claiming women don't like it!09/18/2014 - 5:00pm
Michael Chandra"You don't speak for me. I am not your shield. You cannot use me to defend your own opinion."09/18/2014 - 4:59pm
Michael ChandraAE, if we leave aside the falsehoods some use with the term, the idea is regarding minorities and such.09/18/2014 - 4:58pm
Michael ChandraKrono did just a bit earlier in the shoutbox prh99.09/18/2014 - 4:56pm
Andrew EisenI still don't get the what #notyourshield is supposed to mean. Who is unfairly using who as a shield for what?09/18/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99Didn't said anything about #notyourshield or it's origins. Assuming your comment was directed at me.09/18/2014 - 4:28pm
prh99Leigh Alexander is right though, no one has to cater to them (trolls). I think a lot of them would likely continue playing even if scantily clad women were omitted or protagonist was female.09/18/2014 - 4:21pm
Michael ChandraSo no, normal gamers feeling attacked was not what sparked #notyourshield and only a fool would suggest otherwise.09/18/2014 - 4:21pm
Michael Chandra#NotYourShield was kickstarted by 4chan people, so don't go and make nonsense claims about that.09/18/2014 - 4:20pm
prh99those toxic individuals conduct their trolling under. It could have easily been under the Men Rights banner etc, they are just generally unpleasant and angry people who can't stand people disagreeing with them. 09/18/2014 - 4:00pm
prh99The whole gamer identity is the scapegoat some have latched onto in the wake of gamergate. I am sure it will fade, only to be replaced with the next thing, it always is. I am not so sure removal of identity will fix the problem, it's just the banner..09/18/2014 - 3:55pm
E. Zachary KnightAs for the whole "death of gamer" thing, I am personally patiently waiting for the day when being a person who plays games is as much of an identity as a person who reads books, watches tv/movie, listens to music. It will happen.09/18/2014 - 2:42pm
E. Zachary KnightThought I would share this io9 article as a bit of a rebuttal to the earlier Spider-man/Spider-woman comparison: http://io9.com/10-stupid-arguments-people-use-to-defend-comic-book-sex-163638182409/18/2014 - 2:41pm
Papa MidnightKyle Orland's response: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/addressing-allegations-of-collusion-among-gaming-journalists/09/18/2014 - 12:41pm
Papa MidnightJames, I say this as a person who has managed a gaming press website before: This article is horrendous sensationalism: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite09/18/2014 - 12:41pm
 

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