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Plugged In

Video gaming binges cost man his first love

Plugged In

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Doom - id Software

Boys will be boys, and if you ask avid gamers, most will tell you
that a little video game addiction never hurt anyone. Some may think
otherwise after reading the story of Southfield, MI.'s Justin Copeland.

"I thought she was kidding," says Copeland, "but she really did it ...she left me."

Copeland says that his high school sweetheart and first true love
had warned him that his video gaming addiction was getting out of hand,
particularly when "Doom" entered their home. Originally released by id
Software in 1993, this gory computer classic is often credited for
revolutionizing the genre of first-person shooter games.

"I got ahold of the old game, and it just brought back so many
memories," Copeland explains. "After playing the game, I decided to do
some research online and found out there was much more to 'Doom' than I
ever knew."

Copeland says he discovered the world of "Doom" WADs, fan-made
spin-offs based on the engine of the original games. WADs give players
access to new levels, weapons, monsters and several other elements that
enhance the "Doom" experience. Unfortunately, they also played a huge
role in separating a young couple.

"My basement has been packed ever since I started downloading WADs,"
Copeland admits. "We started running Doomathons, usually beginning
Friday afternoon and lasting until Sunday at about two in the morning.
It can get crazy down there ... lots of arguing, expletives and yelling
at the computer screen."

According to Copeland, slacking on chores and bathing and not
spending quality time with his girlfriend as a result of being glued to
the monitor were among the factors that attributed to the breakup. He
reveals that his longtime girlfriend was especially irate after
learning that he had called in sick to work just to complete a few new
levels. However, Copeland says that bailing out on a concert date was
the straw that broke the camel's back.

"I think that's what did it," he says. "She'd been looking forward
to that Backstreet Boys concert forever, and instead of following
through on my word, I made her go with a friend while me and my buds
went crazy with our Doomathon in the basement. Had to work the next
day, get home from the job, and I immediately notice some furniture
missing and a 'Dear John' note on top of the TV."

Although the couple has yet to make amends, Copeland is hopeful that the two will be able to work things out.

"I'm hoping it's just a phase," he says. "We've been together for
over five years, and I'd like to think a stupid game wouldn't come
between us. I'm still waiting for her to return my call so we can go
out and talk or something, but in the meantime, I have more than enough
WADs to keep me busy."

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