Your Old Video Game Systems Spurred War Atrocities
You've probably heard of "blood diamonds," but you probably didn't know that the old PlayStation sitting in your closet is the same thing. A BloodStation, if you will. In the early 2000s, the demand for the PS2 absolutely skyrocketed. Sony had to start mass-producing the parts for the console -- in particular, new capacitors that were extremely heat-resistant. They found their solution in a material called tantalum, which is a highly refined version of a natural mineral called coltan. But there was a catch: Nearly 80% of the world's supply of coltan sat unearthed under the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With huge amounts of money to be made and a politically unstable situation in the DRC, the fight for control of the coltan mines became a bloody eight-sided international conflict. It was colloquially referred to as "the PlayStation War," and any summary of it reads like a Game Of Thrones episode: enslavement, forced child labor, horrendous working conditions, mining deaths, human trafficking, and general violence and bloodshed over control of the mines and borders.
In fact, coltan mining was so profitable that it almost singlehandedly funded the Rwandan occupation of the DRC, which is the only reason it's called the DRC instead of Zaire now. Did we mention that the Second Congo War -- the war that conflict resources like coltan financed -- was the deadliest conflict since World War II, with roughly 5.4 million deaths between 1998 and 2002? Yep. Sorry to Crash your Bandicoot, but literally everything you do makes you a monster!