Hermetic Hawaiian Man Sues Game Developer... and WINS

Ty Dunitz September 1 Gaming

The worm has turned, gentlemen. A Hawaii man has sued developer NC Interactive over his addiction to the computer game Lineage II. And won. For real. Someone just beat the end-user license agreement.

Craig Smallwood has sunk more than 20,000 hours into Lineage II, compulsively playing when he could have presumably been doing more constructive things. Like going to the pub with friends. Or dressing himself. Or bathing. Or playing a better game than Lineage II.

Smallwood was reportedly hospitalized for extreme emotional distress and depression after he was locked out of his three accounts, and continues to receive therapy three times a week. His lawsuit blasts NC for failing to warn him of how potentially dangerous the game is.

Naturally, NC fired back in exactly the way developers have fired back for years: by citing its EULA, which among other things generally absolves the developer of any such liability as Smallwood. Normally, that’s all. Case closed. But, luckily for Smallwood, Hawaii law bars contracts that waive in advance a company’s ability to make gross-negligence claims. As such, NC has found itself on the receiving end of the pwn stick. You can see said pwnage in PDF format here.

As much as I’m happy for Smallwood, is it really right to finger the developer when you’re addicted to a videogame? I could become addicted to Tetris tomorrow, but I can’t imagine suing Alexey Pajitnov for ‘not warning me of the dangers’ would be exactly fair. Certainly he didn’t design those falling blocks with danger in mind – so too would NC not have designed Lineage II to keep you from taking a bath.

So what do you think, guys? Weigh in, and let’s make this a Weighty McWeighterson of a discussion.

Written by Ty Dunitz

Ty is an illustrator who stays up too late, and has to wear glasses. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to (@glitchritual), but he's just gonna throw your stupid PR crap in the garbage, so don't email him.

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  • sean

    that idiot needs to pick up his labia, take a bath and get a life. Obviously anyone who finds them selves that involved in a video game has a problem – the least of which is a video game

  • alpha


  • Fl3sh

    I agree with Sean. I don’t look forward to a time when the world around us is surrounded by warning labels and we’re forced, by law, to wear helmets when walking down the street.

    There was a time when Darwin would have taken care of this.

  • Geoff Dillard

    Just think of all the lawsuits WoW players can have against Blizzard.

  • DigitalCHET

    This individual probably has a personality that is prone to addiction. The truth is that if it wasn’t Lineage II, it would’ve been something else, probably WoW.

    What’s more unbelievable is that the judge allowed this travesty of a human being to get away with this. Let’s just teach everyone to not take responsibility for their own actions and sue someone else for the crappy state of their lives.
    The justice system is a joke.