What's Left Behind When a Gamer Dies

In today's very special installment of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Mark Vincent N. Cocjin waxes eloquently on the ghostly digital echoes left behind when a gamer passes on.

Where do gamers go when they die?

It's a very difficult question where people's beliefs vary according to their faith or lack thereof. It's also a very controversial question in this modern era of compromise and neutrality. As gamers though, we do have something in common with each other and when someone passes away. We are faced with a realization that one's absence in the interconnected digital world may not give us much of closure. Thus we are brought to another question. One that can be answered by all and yet, just as painful.

What happens to gamers when they die?

In the early hours of September the 11th, a guy created a thread on Steam user forums Off Topic to say that his friend died today. [forums.steampowered.com] I didn't know the guy or his friend but I read what he had to say.

The guy died of cancer in his early twenties. He was a gamer and he loved Valve games. Gabe gave him a Portal 2 poster signed by the Valve employees. He was like any other person who loved games that passed away. Loved by those close to him. Missed by those who were used to him. I looked at his earlier posts and threads and then I looked up his Steam profile just to see what he had and what he liked. The feeling hit me real hard as I saw the "last online" notification and knew that; yes, he is gone.

I felt really sad thinking about it. About the young man, his loved ones, his friends, his friends list, and the people who don't care. As a result of this thread, some random guy who knew nothing about the deceased posted on his profile "you're dead". Maybe it was to troll or God knows what the hell goes on in some people's minds to think it's cool to blurt out awkward comments. What I do know is, this is what happens to a gamer when they die.

Your modern existence as a gamer lives online with your profile floating around on the internet. Your very existence as a gamer is all in the pursuit of fun and enjoyment and all the things that make people happy. And then it just ends. Last online __ days ago... and counting. If Steam lasted till the end of days, this is a fitting tombstone. Buried with you is your collection of game licenses you own.

I may sound overly sensitive but this is what we will be eventually. An idle account. A virtual room filled with toys waiting for you to come back and play with them. Frozen in time.

P.S. Someone logged into the guy's account. Yay for account inheritance?

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