Have you ever wanted children so much that you had a baby and then got a second, virtual one online. Well, one Korean couple must have had that mentality. Either way, the real baby is dead now thanks to gaming addiction and one odd case of child favoritism.
Kim Jae-beom, age 40, and his 26-year-old common law wife Kim Yun-jeong, were arrested last month and are now facing five years in prison for the death of their three-month-old infant daughter. The couple admitted to neglecting their child to play Prius Online (known as Anima in Korea) at a 24-hour Internet cafe for up to 10 hours at a time. For those unaware, Prius is a popular "emotional" MMO that has players care for a little girl named "Anima." The game is, by all accounts, a very typical RPG with the exception of Anima; as you progress, your personal little girl will gain powers and grow older.
And the Kims were so addicted to raising her that they neglected their real baby, ironically named "Sa-rang," meaning "love" in Korean. At least her parents show remorse for their mistake, especially with their sentencing day just over a week away, on April 16. They've already plead guilty to negligent homicide.
"I think of our baby in heaven," the father remarked. "I will be guilty until the day I die."
The couple's lawyer is hoping the judge will be understanding, citing their obvious Internet/gaming addiction as a reason for special consideration. In another twist, it seems Ms. Kim is pregnant with their second child, and her husband assures, "There will be no second mistake."
"They were addicted to Internet gaming; they put their baby to sleep and came home early in the morning," said their attorney, Kim Dong-young (no relation) of the Korean Legal Aid Corp. "They regret it, but Ms. Kim is pregnant, please consider this."
A reduced sentence isn't out of the question, actually. South Korea already accepts drunkenness as a mental condition, in that one is not in the right state of mind when drunk. If the defense attorney knows his stuff, he could use the same reasoning with gaming addiction and point to psychological issues.