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Virtually weird

October 23, 2008 - Steve Murch
Reality and virtual — two words that, on first look, shouldn’t be connected. More and more we see stories about how the lines are blurred.

This one might take the cake.

A Japanes woman was arrested after “killing” her virtual husband in an online community, the Associated Press reported. The woman was part of the online community in a virtual game called Maple Story.

“TOYKO (AP) — A 43-year-old player in a virtual game world became so angry about her sudden divorce from her online husband that she logged on with his password and killed his digital persona, police said Thursday.”

The charges the woman could face are illegally accessing a computer and mainpulating electronic data. If she’s convicted she could receive up to five years in prison or a fine up to $5,000.

The AP story quoted a police official as saying the woman said, "I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry.” She’s a piano teacher in the real world and the official said she “had not plotted any revenge in the real world.”

The general rule/belief is that in the virtual world people can drop their inhibitions and do things they wouldn’t do in the real world. Hopefully this is something the woman wouldn’t do in the real world.

The woman and man lived over 600 miles apart, the AP reported, and the woman was taken to Sapporo, where the man lived, after she was arrested.

The police official said he did not know if she was married in the real world.

I’ll bet that if she is, her real-life husband might have second thoughts about divorcing her. He might not want to take a chance.


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