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Lee Seung Seop[1] (이승섭, born c. 1977,[2] died August 5, 2005),[3] was an industrial boiler repairman in Taegu, South Korea. On August 3, 2005, he achieved global notoriety when he visited a nearby internet café and died while playing StarCraft[4] for almost fifty consecutive hours.

A vocational-college graduate, Lee was described as a "skinny guy with glasses"[5] and his death is one of the many factors leading a higher public focus of gaming addiction and the computer gaming subculture.


Prior to his death, he had been recognized as a game addict by his family, friends, and coworkers. Due to lack of adequate nutrition and sleep, he began to arrive at work late which prompted his firing. It was around this time (six weeks before his death)[6] that he had broken up with his girlfriend, also an avid gamer.[3]

He started his 50-hour gaming binge on Wednesday, August 3. The internet cafe's atmosphere was described as "dimly lit and hazed from cigarette smoke"[3] and Lee reportedly ate and drank very little while only leaving his computer for washroom breaks. When he failed to return home on Friday, his mother asked his colleagues to find him.[6] When they discovered the internet café he was at, he told his friends that he would finish the game and return home, only to die moments later.

Death and impact[]

As described by witness Kim Jin U, "(Lee) just fell off his chair. His eyes were closed, he was conscious, but we could tell right away that it was serious."[5] Lee was rushed to the nearby hospital where it was concluded that the cause of death was heart failure induced by exhaustion and dehydration.

His death and others like it urge people and government powers to seriously consider the ramifications of gaming addiction. NCSoft Corp., South Korea's largest game developer, has put warnings in its popular "Lineage" and "Lineage II" games alerting players that after an hour online, they ought to take a break for the sake of their health.

"We want a decent, healthy gaming culture. Of course, you can't force people not to play games, just like you can't force them not to smoke," said an NCSoft spokeswoman, Min Ji Seon.


  1. Barbara Demick, "Gamers Rack Up Losses", The Los Angeles Times, (08/29/05). Though only referred to by his surname 'Lee' in other articles, The Times state his full name (referenced in the GameSpot Article).
  2. According to numerous sources, he was 28 years of age
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 John Andersen, "Spot On: Korea reacts to increase in game addiction", (09/12/05)
  4. Various sources debate and provide conflicting information whether it was StarCraft or World of Warcraft he died playing. Examining the information sources and articles, it has been concluded that World of Warcraft was one of Lee's favorite but it was StarCraft which he died playing from (example of examination seen here: Talk:Lee Seung Seop - Wikipedia, the free encypclopedia - Subheading: The Articles).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Barbara Demick, "Gamers Rack Up Losses", The Los Angeles Times, (08/29/05).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Philippe Naughton, "Korean drops dead after 50-hour gaming marathon", Times Online, (08/10/05)

Further reading[]