Dialect Magazine

Online Gaming: Can You Say “I Do?”

Some brides in Bangladesh are still expected to pay a dowry

“…Others, who play in order to socialize, might forge a partnership because they wish to flirt, romance, and marry, as these are certainly social activities.” – Athena Carrillo Lee, Holistic Psychotherapist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, commenting about in-game relationships formed online, February 9, 2012.

Among the gaming crowd, online romance is a hot topic in more ways than one. Players of the popular “MapleStory,” can get engaged and married virtually. The groom can even purchase a ring, though just as in life, that will cost real money.

A bit of a different take on matrimony is the Facebook based “Angry Brides,” a game that involves throwing objects at prospective husbands, which in India, is no laughing matter. The seemingly amusing challenge came about in response to violence frequently leveled against Indian women who can only provide meager wedding dowries to greedy future husbands. Virtual perhaps, but dowries are no laughing matter.

Cyber marriage in “Mapleworld”

MapleStory prizecard

“MapleStory,” the multiplayer role-play game, developed by the South Korean company, Wizet, is easy to access, requiring nothing more than a keyboard, mouse and a free download. Participants, who roam about as characters of the virtual “Mapleworld,” can get married with a ring, have a ceremony and invite guests. As a result, “MapleStory” saw nearly 27,000 weddings during 2010 according to Jacob Lopez, of the blog Venturebeat.com.

Lopez published an item on February 9, 2012, “Your odds of staying married in Maplestory may be better than in real life,”  which looked at the divorce rate of the game’s cyber nuptials:

“Sadly, for those looking for romance on MapleStory, the odds aren’t great. In 2010, of the 26,982 in-game marriages performed, 20,344, or 75 percent, ended in a virtual divorce. The good news? If you are still interested in finding love, MapleStory divorces dropped to 46 percent in 2011, at least for North American gamers.”

What’s the secret to keeping a virtual marriage together?  Lopez’s article offers some advice from Carrillo Lee, the California therapist:

“Don’t marry to get something, marry to share something — you. It’s a great way to get to know yourself.”

Ill-treated brides

Grooms in Bangladesh, India who are looking for a big payoff from a marriage dowry, may want to heed Carrillo Lee’s words of wisdom.

Though it’s been outlawed for the last five decades, the practice of a bride’s family giving the groom an amount of money at the time of matrimony continues in India today. Instances have been reported where a potential husband, dissatisfied with the value of a dowry, has made a bride-to-be pay dearly, by way of brutalized treatment, sometimes including death.
Katerina Nikolas, a columnist for Digitaljournal.com, states “In 2010 India recorded 8,400 dowry deaths and 90,000 cases of torture and cruelty towards women by their husbands or family.”  Out of that context, in early 2012 came the online game, “Angry Brides,” from Shaadi.com. Three would-be husbands resembling a doctor, police officer and engineer, insist on being paid a very high-priced dowry from a bride who possesses eight arms. To their misfortune she begins throwing a barrage of stylish shoes, pots, pans and a variety of other objects until each man is toppled.

What’s the motivation behind “Angry Brides?” The game’s creator says, “Shaadi.com has always believed that marriage is an institution of love, where there is a place for togetherness, mutual understanding, family values and emotional support but not for dowry!”

Can’t make up your mind on which game to play? Just be aware that marriage is serious business, even in cyber society.

As a dedicated writer, storyteller, journalist, interviewer and biographer, Paul Wolfle, B.A. ARM, contributes original material to a number of social media sites, online magazines and a popular digital news reporting services. Paul is also the author of eBooks and frequently offers commentary about contemporary music topics.

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