Anything less than third-degree burns is no reason to quit a perfectly good game of WarCraft III.

...especially when you’re winning. There I was, locked in a bitter dispute over a couple centrally located gold mines with another player who was playing as the Undead and screaming obscenities. It was a brutal fight, but I appeared to be gaining the upper hand.

Then, inexplicably, my house burst into flames for no apparent reason. It was completely random, as though some sort of space-based incendiary satellite system had targeted my residence and set the living room alight. I could see the flash of flames out of my bedroom window overlooking the roof of the first floor, but fortunately I was on the other side of the house.

Fortunate, of course, but still under pressure: Now I had to make my move against the Undead stronghold faster than I was really prepared for. I quickly cranked out some huntresses and archers and made my move. By this time, the smoke was pouring up the stairs in thick choking clouds and I had to lower myself to the floor to get clean air.

After all, you can’t just bail out in the middle of a game. It really impacts your rating on

My Priestess managed to sock his town with a Starfall, and then she managed to kill off his Death Knight, but she was nearly dead by the time that was over. And the remains of his army came bearing down ... I had to pull back and regroup with some reinforcements!

By this time flames had crawled across the backside of the house, and licks of fire were ascending the stairs. The back windows buckled and cracked in the heat, and the upstairs bathroom burst into flames. As my forces regrouped and some hippogryphs came to my aid, I took the opportunity to open my window and step out onto the roof above my porch. I pulled my monitor, mouse and keyboard out with me -- thank God my Internet connection hadn’t been severed yet! I still had the upper hand.

I renewed my attack, even with a weakened hero. My opponent sensed it. “You’re pushing your luck!” he typed -- he had just resurrected his hero.

“house on fire” I typed back.

The speed with which the flames engulfed the walls of my former bedroom was almost as horrific as the battle that erupted on my screen over the course of the next minute or so. Right there in the center of his Undead town, my forces bored down on what was left of his army. Steel sliced sinew; magic seared flesh. And as I fought on my rooftop, waves of heat blasted through the open window. During the apex of the battle I reached forward and closed it, careful to leave just an inch or so for the cords that snaked inside.

His hero fell in a screaming mass only moments after my own was cut down in battle! He had just a small group of ghouls left -- three ghouls ... two ... one ... flames filled the window, licking my fingertips, melting my computer inside, but I was about to WIN!

Suddenly I guess the fire hit the gas line, because the resulting explosion blew me from the roof in a hail of shingles and splintered siding.

But I’m pretty sure ... the moment before my screen went dark and hurled across the street with me, tumbling amid the stars and debris before crashing into the neighbors shrubbery ... I’m pretty sure it said “Victory” on there. I’ll have to check when I can next get online. It’ll be a while. Nothing’s left of my house but a latticework of charcoaled beams resting haphazardly around a crater.

Did I mention I think I won?

Victim Pic Small

Later that evening, two kids came walking by with a PS2 in a plastic bag. "See?" the one said, pointing to the wreckage. "He wasn't bluffing!"

Score: 9.07; Total Votes: 2484 as of 2009-12-09.

Just lie low and follow my lead, dude. We’ll get this PlayStation 2 mod-chipped. You just gotta know the right people.

But sir,’s policy about disconnects makes no exceptions if your house blows up. It’s in the EULA.

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