N64 Killed My Son!
Published on Sat 24 August 2002
A woman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is suing Nintendo for "unspecified damages" after her thirty year old son died during a marathon session on his N64. Apparently the unfortunate man died after hitting his head on a table during a seizure while playing with the console. While this was obviously a tragic loss for the family involved, it's hard to feel much sympathy for them once you start to read the details of the accident.
According to the report from the Associated Press, the man first started suffering seizures after buying his N64 in 1999, but ignoring this inconvenience he carried on playing on the console for anything up to eight hours a day, six days a week.
This despite the now standard epilepsy warning that comes with every Nintendo game, informing players that "some people may have seizures or black outs triggered by light flashes, such as while playing video games, even if they have never had a seizure before". The warning adds that "anyone who has had a seizure, loss of awareness, or other symptom linked to an epileptic condition should consult a doctor before playing a video game", and ends by suggesting in big capital letters that you should "stop playing immediately" if you experience any of these symptoms while using the console.
It's also hard to see how the woman can seriously expect to sue Nintendo for "her son's lost future earnings" when he was a thirty year old who spent 48 hours a week sat in front of the TV playing Mario.
Nintendo are understandably denying any responsibility for the death, although in a similar case last year (also in Louisiana) a jury decided that the company "did not provide an adequate warning concerning the risk of seizures". They did however determine that the console in question (a SNES) "was not unreasonably dangerous in design". Which is nice to know.