Murder on the Avatar Express

I bought my first computer in April of 93 after my typewriter broke. A trip to the local electronics store and two thousand dollars later, I walked out with a Compaq 386 windows 3.1 jam packed with 2 megs of ram. I could have gotten 4 megs but as the salesman noted, "Nobody will ever need that much memory."

Fast forward fifteen years. Today, we can do virtually anything online. Our computer is an office. A school. A university. A shopping mall. A tennis court. A baseball stadium. It allows us to see and speak to people around the country and around the world. You can be at work and watch your nanny and your child at home. Computers can speak for the mute, type for the handicapped and remind you to take the roast out of the oven. You can create your own universe, your own countries, cities and neighbors. You can live a whole nother life in a whole nother virtual world and interact with all sorts of people and their avatars and like reality, you can get virtually screwed.

Por ejemplo: A 43 year old woman in Japan was arrested at her home in Miyazaki and jailed some 620 miles away in Sappporo, for virtually killing a virtual online husband from whom she was virtually divorced, in an online game called Maple Story. The virtual murder took place last May. When the 33 year old man discovered that his online avatar was dead, he called the police.

The woman has not been formally charged but if ultimately convicted, could spend five years in prison and pay a fine of $5,000.00. "I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning." she is quoted as saying. "That made me so angry," Using login information she got from her virtual husband when their characters were happily married, she logged into his account and killed his character. There is no evidence that the woman plotted any revenge in the real world.

That he gave her the log-in info suggests that she didnt hack at all but merely logged in. Actual hacking is a different story. And while computer hacking is a crime, Im going to assume that the Japanese police have more important things to worry about than a dead avatar, hacked or not.

And I gotta believe that somewhere in the virtual land of Maple Story, there is a virtual lawyer with a bad virtual tie, a virtual divorce court, and a virtual judge sporting a vitual set of mismatched socks under his virtual robe. If the woman was really smart, shed have sued her virtual husband for virtual alimony and virtually half of everything he owned, and called it a day.

 

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