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Finding romance through video games

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Sometimes, Cupid shoots an arrow through the knee instead of the heart.

Video games might not seem the most romantic of hobbies, but for some, they've been the path to true love — and in many cases, marriage.

Whether it's an especially geeky proposal that revolves around a game or a pair of guildmates who realize that their interest in each other extends far beyond the realms of the online world, game-centric romances are growing increasingly common.

Love affairs that start in the MMO world aren't all that different from traditional dating. You meet a person as part of your day to day (online) life. Along the way, you learn a little about their personality and mutual interests. As time goes on, you become comfortable enough with this person to agree to a date and see if there's a chance at a love connection.

[Related: Great geeky wedding moments]

Of course, with traditional dating, you're generally not falling for an orc. Still, hundreds of couples have made a go of things after meeting in games like World of Warcraft.

The first known couple to strike a romance in Blizzard's online was Rhovan the hunter and Delora the druid. The players behind them met at a guild meeting in their native Germany and decided to meet again — without any ties to the game. By 2006, they were married and before long were the proud parents of a young daughter.

A few years later, a gamer named Gabi launched the MMO Couples blog, relating her own story of finding real-world love in a virtual land and began gathering the stories of others who had met their significant others in-game.

"It is very hard to pinpoint when the friendship turned into something more," she wrote of her own experience. "I do remember being curious about him from the start. … We played almost every day and whenever I saw the phrase 'Tofukiller has come online' in the chat, I felt an adrenaline shot run through my body. When he would start to whisper me, I felt even happier. Before I knew it, he was on my mind constantly and I could not help wondering and fantasizing what the guy would be like for real."

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Gary and Stephy

Games have also served as the backdrop for some incredibly romantic wedding proposals. Gary Hudston's proposal to his girlfriend Stephy last August using a playable, modified version of Portal 2 (which featured Ellen McLain, the voice of GLaDOS) still ranks among the top romantic geek gestures of all time. The couple's planning to get married later this month.

2011 was actually a banner year for game-based proposals. Texans Ben and Tora had been dating for a short while before he confessed his gaming habits. As it turned out, she was one too — and they both loved Gearbox Software's Borderlands.

When Ben decided to propose, he convinced the developer to help him do so via an animated short featuring Borderlands' sassy robot, Claptrap. The proposal eventually arrives, but not before a string of jokes about nicknames and STDs.

The proposal went off with only one small hitch.

"He got to go to Gearbox?" Tora said. "I was like, 'You bastard, I want to go!'"

There's a difference, though, between proposing using a game as a prop and doing it in-game. Gary and Stephy were alone when he arranged for GLaDOS to pop the question. Ben proposed to Tora in front of a group of friends in their living room. In both cases, once the question was asked and the answer was given, the couple could celebrate appropriately.

But when one MMO player proposed to his girlfriend in front of their World of Warcraft guild — in-game — things got a little awkward. He asked. She said yes and cried happily. The friends cheered. Then…they all kept playing the game.

Which, when you think about it, might be the perfect way to celebrate their engagement.

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