TOLEDO – Zed Rigby, 65, a life-long computer game enthusiast, died in his home in Toledo, Ohio last Monday.
Mr. Rigby leaves behind no family or actual friends, but a number of his virtual friends are now engaged in virtual grieving.
Several of Zed’s Facebook Friends have taken the time to “Like” his Funeral page. A few have even added Comments including “Condolences man,” “Zed’s dead,” and “Sorry Dude!”
Rigby’s demise has also not gone unnoticed on Twitter.
“I’m sitting shiva for #Zed!” tweeted Maury Yablonovich (@MaurWaste), a fellow World of Wastecraft enthusiast and Rigby’s closest virtual friend.
Rigby left instructions in his will for a Funeral Facebook page, which has already been created by Mr. Yablonovich. Rigby’s all-time WasteCraft high score (Seniors level) and many other gaming triumphs, some going back to Atari days, have been immortalized on his Facebook tribute page.
Rigby earned second place in the 1999 International Video Games tournament in Baltimore, Maryland.
He worked for many years as a computer games tester, but had been unemployed for the last seven years, before formally retiring earlier this year.
According to his employment records, Rigby started out playing Pong in 1975, at the age of 27. After buying his first Atari system in 1980, he quit his job to devote his life to gaming. He was a pioneer, setting ridiculously high scores in games such as Space Invaders, Asteroids, and Donkey Kong. But sadly his reflexes began to decline while he was in his early thirties and younger gamers bested his earlier high scores.
Rigby then progressed to Sim City, Civilization and Colonization, strategy games where his wisdom and dedication were more important than the trigger-happy reflexes of the other games. But Rigby had his prejudices, writing off Farmville “as strictly for morons,” according to Yablonovich.
“He always said that the greatest achievement of his life, the thing he was most proud of, was his high score on Sid Meier’s Civilization II,” continued Yablonovich. “His score was the highest score from anybody in Ohio ever. He once said that learning to play Civilization taught him more about history, economics and war than countless books on the subject, which was why he didn’t waste his time reading them.”
“As per his instructions, his all-time high games have been preserved on a memory stick which will be kept with his ashes.”
“It’s a pity I never got to meet Zed personally,” lamented Yablonovich.
Rigby was discovered by his neighbor, who preferred to remain anonymous. “I knocked on Zed’s door to borrow a Diet Coke. I found him sitting by the computer, head down on the keyboard. It’s so sad. All I could think was: ‘Zed’s dead.'”
Police and medical personnel soon arrived on the scene. Paramedics determined that Rigby had suffered a heart attack.
According to police, Rigby’s laptop web browser still showed the World of Wastecraft Seniors All-time High Score List where Rigby’s score had just been blown away by another player known as “Old Hand.”
Yablonovich’s personal tribute to Rigby on Facebook reads: “It’s a tragedy Zed will no longer be with us, to sit alone at home in peace and play video games for eighteen hours per day. After a long period of unemployment as the most dedicated damned game tester I’ve ever chatted with, he had just retired. He was training to beat his personal best on Civilization IV.”
“While I never met Zed in person, I’ve read many of Zed’s posts on the Wastecraft forums. And we used to IM sometimes. And I can say truthfully: he was a warm guy, very generous with his emoticons and quick to Like others’ Facebook posts. He shall be missed.”