Online personas lead to an offline wedding

Due to the increasing convergence of online chatting and gaming, Internet games have long served as a form of cyber-dating. As gaming becomes a more integral part of the lives of many youths and adults, however, digital lovers are taking their romance a step further and “bringing it out” into the analog world.
A couple with the screen names “Einjuk” and “Hoyanuim-x” met over Cabal Online, a massive multiplayer role playing game, and recently got married. The two lived in different cities in Gyeonggi province ― Paju and Pyeongtaek ― but after playing the game together, they met offline and developed their relationship.
“If it weren’t for the game, I’d still be looking for my other half,” said the groom, Einjuk. “I hope other game players can be as fortunate and happy as us.”
When the game’s maker learned that the couple was getting married, it gave them each a gift certificate for 100 years of free gaming on Cabal Online. They also received a four-day trip to Phuket, Thailand, and fancy online “wedding garments” to clothe their game characters.
Internet users had much to say about the marriage on game forums and Web sites. One user argued that hardcore game players should not marry each other: “If they were spending all their time playing games, that’s probably what they’ll continue to do. I can’t say they’ll be a very productive couple.”
Most players, however, wished the couple happiness. “There are a lot of couples in our guild too, but they beat us to getting married. I’m so envious,” one user named Pookie wrote.
Not all offline romances, however, end up with silver bells and wedding cake. Kim Dong-han, a 31-year-old computer repairman, pointed out that break-ups can put one in a “worse” position than ever. “Hundreds or thousands of people may be playing online, but usually people group together in smaller guilds, which leads to offline meetings. It’s great once you start dating, because you can meet offline in person and online through a different game character, which can be very exciting. But when you break up, the community is small, everyone knows each other and it’s uncomfortable for both people to stay. One person usually ends up leaving the game,” he said.
“At any rate, for a game player, it is sort of annoying because it takes a lot of time and effort to build up a game character and you have to throw it away. And since you’ve broken up with your girlfriend as well, it’s kind of a dual loss.”

by Wohn Dong-hee

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