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In the life of an avid gamer is not always as rosy as the author of this confession. I read in the comments of another story, too, that commenters advise a girl to start playing online games to meet a good guy there. I, as a person who has been playing for a long time, a lot and knows the fate of more than a dozen fellow virtual weapons, hasten to dispel this myth. Looking for love among addicts is not a good idea.

I started playing computer games back in high school. My favorite pastimes were Quake 3 and Civilization 3. Often they left homework uncollected, my apartment untidy, meetings with friends missed… Then came online games, cheap Internet, and things got even worse. I played around the clock, barely made it out of uni, didn’t get along with old friends and didn’t even try to make new ones. But my list of virtual contacts grew and expanded, and I communicated with many people from Vilnius and Haifa to Minsk and Arkhangelsk. I knew all their problems, worried about their failures, and rejoiced at their achievements. We worried together about the fate of our virtual world, sat up nights “in very important battles,” spent all our spare money on game currency, and seemed to be happy.

I started playing computer games back in high school. My favorite pastimes were Quake 3 and Civilization 3. Often they left homework uncollected, my apartment untidy, meetings with friends missed… Then came online games, cheap Internet, and things got even worse. I played around the clock, barely made it out of uni, didn’t get along with old friends and didn’t even try to make new ones. But my list of virtual contacts grew and expanded, and I communicated with many people from Vilnius and Haifa to Minsk and Arkhangelsk. I knew all their problems, worried about their failures, and rejoiced at their achievements. We worried together about the fate of our virtual world, sat up nights “in very important battles,” spent all our spare money on game currency, and seemed to be happy.

Then something happened that was bound to happen to any young guy sooner or later: I fell in love. We were in the same class, but in different groups, and during one exam we got to know each other better, got to talking, and started dating. After 4 months I moved to Sveta (she is not local, her parents bought her an apartment in our city when she entered the university) and everything was great with us. We made plans for our career, family, travel together and we were happy. I almost forgot about my online game… but she didn’t forget about me.

An old acquaintance asked me to throw him things from my character, since I no longer play. I went into the game… and that’s where I stayed. My thirst for virtual experiences came over me with renewed vigor. My Svetlana didn’t care at first, but then she started playing with me. We sat at night, staring into the monitors and smiling at our thoughts and jokes of our Internet acquaintances. In this online world, we played as opposing factions and soon began to really fight in real life about the pictures we drew. We became less and less interested in each other and instead immersed ourselves in the fantasy world.

Oddly enough, I woke up first. I started explaining to Sveta that this was wrong, that we shouldn’t waste all our free time and money on the virtual, that this wasn’t what we wanted and this wasn’t what we dreamed of. She agreed, we didn’t play for weeks, and then slowly everything went back to normal.

One “beautiful” day Sveta forgot to unlog in ICQ, I sat at her computer and read her correspondence with her fans. I was disgusted, offended, and hurt. I packed my things and left, leaving her a note.

When I got to the computer, I threw away all the game items and asked the game administration to erase the character from the base. I knew I had to do it now, because later, when the pain and resentment subsided, I might not have the willpower. And I didn’t want to turn into a computer plant anymore.

Sveta is still playing. We went out a few times after that, worked it out, and kind of stopped hating each other. I’m doing fine, I have a pretty good job, a new girlfriend I like, and a lot of big plans. But since then I’ve been avoiding any online games. Not because I’m not interested in them, but because I’m afraid of falling off again and becoming part of the computer reality.

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