See updates at bottom of article for the conclusion to this story.
“Yesterday, around 4:00pm, I received a phone call telling me that Richard (Dampe) has been in a fatal car accident…”
What a tragic accident. A 15-year-old Melbourne boy is struck and killed by a car that lost control on a wet road. Richard Denton, developer of Ocarina of Time 2D, is dead, and with him a highly anticipated game is no more.
Except I don’t believe that for a second. In fact, I think it’s bullshit. Here’s why.
Richard is supposed to have died on the 23rd of March. The announcement was here, but those forums have since been closed down, with not so much as a memorial message remaining. A final post from the forum is preserved on Digg.com:
Unfortunatley, On March 21st, We lost our great man, Richard (Dampe)
The official police record has read that Richard was hit by a car that had swurved on the wet road, the car WAS NOT speeding. Richard was knocked unconcious and shortly after passed away.
So, did Richard die on Wednesday the 21st, or on Friday the 23rd? News sites invariably quoted the 23rd, which was on the original message. Why was the first announcement off by two days?
Well, we could turn to local newspapers for some clarification. Diligent googling has so far failed to reveal any relevant articles. Never mind, not every single death gets reported. What about death notices? A search of news.com.au and Fairfax classified notices reports no deaths by the name of ‘Denton’. Well, if Richard isn’t going to get himself into the papers, we’ll just have to go to the government.
Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission has an excellent road toll statistics tool, searchable by date, location, victim and injury type. Let’s see what happens when we plug in a search for “pedestrian fatalities, 21-23 March”. Results: One fatality, an 18-20 y/o female killed on the 22nd between 2am and 4am. That… doesn’t sound much like Richard at all.
For a ten-point explanation of why faked his death, let’s pass the microphone to Nihiljin in the Kotaku comments:
1. No rain in his area for several days, ruling out death by a car that swerved off the road to hit him. [NB there was 1mm of rain on Wednesday 21 March]
2. No local news in his area mentions the death of a teenager named Richard Denton.
3. No info at local police stations about an accident.
4. There were several Ocarina of Time 2D projects. His was being done in Gamemaker and it was the least impressive.
5. Months and months of work and we get a few screenshots of the Deku Tree.
6. Only 15 years old. I’m the same age and I frequently move from different stuff, getting bored quickly with the same things. He could’ve gotten tired of it.
7. Pressure. People would expect great things from anything with the words “Ocarina of Time” in the title. He might have cracked.
8. “Mention OoT2D on the forum and you’re banned. Forget about it. His family doesn’t want you to talk about it.” ^Short version of what was posted on the site. Why would mentioning it be bad? Why would his family care so much about a project they probably didn’t know or care about? Why would they be so desperate to eliminate all traces of it if they were grieving so much? If I died I think my family would have other matters besides shutting down my accounts on the Sony and Nintendo forums.
9. His account was acessed a few hours after his “death”.
10. A bit too perfect. The brilliant young developer is tragically killed and his last words were “I love you” to his girlfriend.
In addition to point #9, Dampe’s YouTube profile shows that ’someone’ was logged into his account as recently as March 28th.
Ask yourself what happens more frequently: a 15-year-old boy is run down by an out-of-control car, generating no press coverage, or a 15-year-old boy gets bored with a project and gives up on it. On the facts available, I can’t accept that Dampe is dead.
This is abhorrent - the gaming community has mourned his death, and this news has upset many people who knew Dampe through the project. The record needs to be set straight. Prove me wrong, if you can.
Update: Solitary Angel posts on Gaming World Forums:
The thing that kind of makes this topic worse is that Dampe’ is very much alive…
By signing on with an older MSN account (not just me), a few people found out that he was in fact still online…
His reasons for wanting people to think he is dead was so that they would stop adding him and asking about OoT2D, and to also kill his reputation, stopping whatever pressures he may or may not have been under to complete his game…
Nonetheless a lot of us are pissed off and I just thought I’d say this before more RIP posts pop up.
Update 3: There’s a new YouTube bulletin. And in response to a forum post saying this article is ‘bullshit’, the former host of Dampe’s site has this to say: “But he isn’t dead. [He faked his death] to make sure no one bothered him about OOT2D, he couldn’t take it, his parents were getting angry at him, people were actually calling him.” Well, I hope that Richard’s learned a valuable lesson: being caught in a lie has worse consequences than telling the truth to begin with.