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  Category: Articles » Arts & Entertainment » Article

How Text-Based Gaming Improved My Lovelife

By Darcy Gafeira

I met my husband online in the mid-nineties on IRC(Inter-Relay Chat). For the first few months we knew one another, it was like any relationship -- we spent most of our time talking(or in this case chatting) about anything, everything, and nothing in particular. This was fine at first, but after a while, we began to look for things to do with one another. Unlike dating someone in the same city, dating across the Atlantic provided activities difficulties. We couldn't just go out to dinner or to the movies together, and so we began to look for things we could do together online; something to do to be together mentally while we could not be together physically. A hobby.

My husband had been role-playing online for a few years at that point, and he kept trying to get me to give it a whirl. For a couple months, I resisted. I made excuses not to. I actually will admit now to poking a bit of fun at the concept. After all, aren't the people who role-play weirdo geek Poindexter's who escape into a world of make believe in order to avoid reality?

The only problem with this view was that I knew him. He wasn't one of the 'Poindexters' I was imagining.

As stubborn as I am, he eventually wore me down. I caved in and logged onto my first MUSH (a type of text-based role playing game). I really had no intention of playing, but I humored him. If he was going to make me play this weirdo game, I was going to make him make my character. It was too much work for something I really didn't want to do anyway.

A couple days passed without another peep about his kooky role-play idea, and I thought I had been granted a reprieve. I thought he'd gotten bored with it. I was wrong. He logged onto our usual chat place and announced the character was done, and it was time for me to put my money where my mouth was. So, on I logged, and after an hour action-packed with grumbling, learning my very simple character and the simple system of commands... In Character I went, threatening him with bodily harm if he left me to do it myself.

Within five minutes, I had gone from disdainful to absolutely terrified.

I didn't know what I was doing. I had always fancied myself a good writer, but these people made me feel like a grade-schooler. The text they were churning out sucked me in. And in my not so humble opinion, my then-husband-to-be was the best writer of them all.

By the end of the evening, I was hopelessly hooked. The game was fun. The writing was fun. The people were fun... but that wasn't what got me. The whole time we'd known one another, all the hours we'd spent chattering the night away, I had learned he was a funny, smart, and a rather shy man, but I never gotten to see into his imagination. I never even caught a glimpse of his creativity and talent before that. He dazzled me with his stories and with the polish of his writing. I couldn't wait to see what he would write next. I learned from him. He took me outside of my comfort zone, pushed and encouraged me, and made me better a better writer. A writer of fiction.. and I had fun the whole time.

I also got another unexpected treat from it. Few people get to really see what their significant others really think of them, but I did. He made her just like me, he told me, because he thought that would be the easiest thing for me to play. The character he made me was smart, sassy and sweet... it was an amazing compliment, and quite an ego boost to see just how he saw me.

Now, years later, we are married and I'm the only one of us who role-plays. I found another place that fills me with the wonder of my first game: FiranMux, where history, fantasy and intrigue rain down terror and delight on the masses. It's been almost two years that I've played on Firan, and I found out something else new about my dear husband in that time: he's more stubborn than I am. It took him a couple months to wear me down until I logged onto his game, but it's taken me a couple years to wear him down. He logged on tonight. Now it's my turn to dazzle him.

Melani, of FiranMux, 5000
About the Author
I'm a returning education art student in a small town in Ohio, married to a man I met online who was from Europe -- so invariably creative ideas for online activities helped us spend time together online without ever getting bored :)

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