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Jul 29, 2006

CivCity: Rome

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: FireFly Studios
Platform: PC · Genre: Simulation
Release Date: 07/24/06 · Origin: U.S.

review: In CivCity: Rome, gamers will recreate the glory of Rome by building a small settlement into a mighty imperial city. Features hundreds of buildings including gladiatorial schools, amphitheatres, the circus maximus, legionnaire forts, weapons workshops and much more.
Original Rating - the rating the source gave this game as originally published on their site and/or publication. Adjusted Rating - the rating the source gave this game, adjusted for the GameStats rating scale. (0.0 to 10.0).

GameSpot 07/28/2006 6.6 /10 6.6 07/27/2006 5 /10 5.0

Yahoo! Video Games 07/27/2006 3.5 /5 7.0 07/25/2006 8.2 /10 8.2 07/25/2006 3.5 /5 7.0

Average Press Score:

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Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain

Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Platform: PC · Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date: 03/28/02 · Origin: U.S.
review: Blood Omen 2, the latest installment in the Legacy of Kain Series is a 3rd person 3D action/combat game in which you assume the role of the vampire Kain. A compelling story drives you through huge lushly detailed 3D environments and challenges game play skills in combat, puzzle solving, stealth and exploration.
Original Rating - the rating the source gave this game as originally published on their site and/or publication. Adjusted Rating - the rating the source gave this game, adjusted for the GameStats rating scale. (0.0 to 10.0).

Computer Gaming World 01/07/2004 3.5 /5 7.0 04/03/2002 7.1 /10 7.1

Average Press Score:
based on 2 reviews
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War Lust


GIRLS GAME FOR THE THROAT—WE’VE gotten used to it. Now ubiquitous, the Ubisoft-sponsored Frag Dolls started spreading their message of equal-opportunity deathmatching with a foxy face in ’04. Others share similar stories, including the international all-female team girlz 0f destruction and Les Seules, the so-called Swedish Girls of Gaming who use pro coaching and Olympic-like training regimens to triumph in Counter-Strike and other red-toothed shooters. So, what’s yet another gal group to do to get attention? Challenge the rest and rise to the top. Or, if you’re the Girls of CS (an offshoot of the LANFusion network), simply take the top off.
“We’re coding our website for community, with custom user profiles, blogs, message boards, and everything else you’d expect,” says Dan Matthews, co-owner of the adults-only GirlsofCS .com. “Premium members get access to a private voice-over-IP (VoIP) channel and CS server to Nixing the network’s original reason for being interact with models outside of the site. They also (to thwart the assumption that formidable gal have first access to physical events, LAN parties, gamers have to be homely ones), Matthews now and such.” To wit: pay, ogle, yap, play—more or less in line with the other taut trigger-pullers’ has an easier-to-buy explanation: It is what it is. “By charging a membership fee,” he says, “we homepages, plus pinups. To answer your second can cover overhead costs and afford to pay mod-question first: Yes, Hillary, Mousie, Princess, and els for their participation in the community.” And Girls of CS’ other models know team flashers make something for himself—or so it stands to from blockers from mic spammers. Partial to map reason. For her part, Hillary cites “the community Dust2 and her AK-47, Hillary says she plays daily. and competition” as personal motivation, adding:


click to full view

Adds Matthews: “We set certain requirements with regards to how often models play and how active they need to be in the community.” Of course, female players need neither pose “Of course, the money is also a nice perk.” As for specifics on the site’s cheesecake content, Matthews says: “We might incorporate playful Counter-Strike themes into some of the nor look the part to participate, and according to shoots, but one of the site’s points is that the Hillary, “The Girls of CS tag just identifies models; models are normal people. So with that in mind, anyone can apply for admin privileges and com- we try to tie the photo shoots into their personali pete. Last weekend, for example, we got together ties. The girls have creative control of settings for a LAN party, and five or so other women gamand overall feel. One of the sets, for instance, is ers who don’t model showed up to participate.” of Hillary walking around her apartment and then As for your first question…well, one second. playing CS.” Scandalous./Shawn Elliott

Reflexive Arcade LEGO.Builder Bots v1.3

Catch falling LEGO bricks and power-ups to create robots that build classic LEGO towers, characters, animals and more! Watch for power-ups and learn to recognize and avoid hazards. Always pay attention and keep on catching to maintain a steady supply of robots working for you. Brick by brick, level by level, the robots you create will build classic LEGO structures for you!
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FarCry War Zone

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Crytek Studios
Platform: PC · Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: 03/23/04 · Origin: Europe
review: The game begins under mysterious circumstances where main character John Carver finds himself tied to a chair in the empty, rusted belly of a decrepit cargo ship. Thanks to the help of an unseen stranger, John's restraints are loosened and he sets out to escape his captors. From this point on you are in control of John's destiny. Far Cry offers a variety of ways to approach each challenging situation, where players can choose to rely on firepower, strategy and stealth. An amazing new game engine (the CryENGINE) features breathtaking graphics, highly intelligent computer AI, and a host of other visual effects and technological advancements.

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Icame from Kentia Hall

Field report FIVE HOURS! SOME PEOPLE SPENT HALF THE flippin’ day waiting to lay hands upon Nintendo’s Wii (the new console) during the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo. I, on the other hand, spent that time casually strolling through gamingdom’s undiscovered country—the infamous Kentia Hall. It’s where small developers with big dreams start. It’s where nations of the world come together. It’s where I learned that Tai Chi is “The only Kung Fu Which kills in Space [sic].” Yes, when I think of the gateway to China, I think of Asian women in space-suits striking martial arts poses. Don’t ask; just accept it when walking past the Hong Kong pavilion—the Ultra Dimension of Digital Entertainment.


It’d be far too easy to dwell on lost-in-translation beauties like the Ultraman Happy Fun Unicorn Princess [ Study 3 (in case you hadn’t already guessed, no, that’s not real). Instead, how about the games you might actually want to install on your PC at
some point?
Dead Island ( I’m vocal in my love for all things zombie. But when Techland stranded me on a digitized desert island, the developer had me at “Braaaaaains!” Dead Island looks like a tropical Romero flick...but with box-lifting puzzles. It promises a fully interactive environment to use against the zombie hordes, but one thing that already works for me is the setting. While walking through the tall grass, tension ratchets up since you’re unsure where a zombie might lurk. And I can’t fault the game for any bad A.I., since g the enemies are—after all—the bumbling undead.

Elveon ( It’s medieval Earth with elves. Honestly, this game caught me by surprise—I mean, a high-fantasy sword-and-sorcery action-RPG using Unreal Engine 3? Hell yeah! Though you start Elveon as an elite archer, this isn’t a fantasy FPS. The game emphasizes swordplay through group combat and Soul Calibur-esque 1-on-1 dueling. As your skills improve, you learn new combat styles with multiple weapons (will you use a polearm or dual-wield a dagger and short sword?). Definitely one to watch.
Death to Spies ( Not since Snakes on a Plane have I seen a more self-explanatory title. However, 1C’s new stealth game is more than just squashing spies—it’s based on real events. The Soviet army’s SMERSH department had a dirty job during World War II: detect and deal with German spies. DTS tells the same tale, taking you behind enemy lines to eliminate the bad guys (and wear i their uniforms, and then booby- trap their bodies). Eidos: This is what Commandos Strike Force should’ve been.

Kentia is also where gadget-loving gamers step ! into tomorrow. Or go to die. If you want to hear more about actual, useful, and innovative hardware, turn to this issue’s Hard News report (pg. k 102). If you want potentially embarrassing, nookie-repelling products, read on. CGW editor Shawn Elliott practically bought the R2 Mark II gaming mouse ( on the spot for ^ all his fragging needs…but the superfluous Fragpedals (sold separately) look ridiculous. An , extra $80 for what amounts to foot-pedal mouse buttons? Who am I, Def Leppard’s one-armed drummer? The people behind the BodyPad ( have a different approach—they assume you actually want to get off your ass. Strap the sensors onto your limbs and, once you calibrate the thing, real-world kicks translate into game-world moves. The upshot: You’ll be in great shape to beat up all your hecklers.
Me? I’d rather just shed my humanity and strap a TV to my face. Yes, $600 is a small price to pay for turning yourself into a cybernetic death-dealer from Dimension Awesome. 3001 AD’s Trimersion ( is a wireless, head-mounted display and gun controller guaranteed to make even the nerdi-est of the nerdy run screaming from the room. I don’t know what made my head spin more: the less-than-optimal 320x240 resolution or the heave-worthy head-motion-based aiming system. It’s an…interesting…idea, but I’m more impressed that 3001 AD managed to talk the pictured booth babes into wearing fashion-forward silver unitards to enter the Matrix. Indeed, the future is now./Darren Gladstone

Starcraft Series

Publisher: Blizzard
Developer: Blizzard
Platform: PC · Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Release Date: 12/01/97 · Origin: U.S.
review: Ground-breaking real-time strategy game that pioneered the concept of dramatically different races in one game. Players choose to control one of three races -- one human and two alien -- in single-player or multiplayer. The human Terrans have the latest in combat technology, including tanks and nukes. The Zerg are vicious slimy organic entities with teeth and carapaces, controlled by a hive mind. The Protoss are ruthless interdimensional robotic entities with powerful shields and energy weapons. Their Carriers and Reavers can unleash swarms of attack drones to complement their smaller numbers of juiced up units. Combine that with a smattering of maps and memorably sound bytes, StarCraft remains the high point of '90s RTS gaming.

Jul 28, 2006

Formula One 2006

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: SCE Studios Liverpool
Platform: PlayStation 2 · Genre: Racing
Release Date: 07/28/06 · Origin: U.K.

review: More pickup and play than ever, fully loaded with brand new features: Put on your racing gloves and get ready to go. Formula One 06 on is all about speed, competition and fast-paced action. If you're a novice, switch on the improved driver and racing aids to race for fun; or turn them off for a full length GRAND PRIX experience if you're a Formula One professional. Formula One 06 features the ability to Network Play between PlayStation 2 and PSP. This means players can now compete online across platforms to see who the fastest Formula One 06 racer is. Thanks to new racing aids, any gamer can pick-up and play Formula One 06 and enjoy the exhilaration of driving a Formula One car. Equally, if you're a confirmed F1 driver, you can scale the gameplay to make it more simulation oriented. Either way, you will have access to a Tips and Learning Center to constantly improve your racing skills

Europe Racer

Publisher: Koch Media
Developer: Inverse Entertainment
Platform: PC · Genre: Racing
Release Date: 06/15/01 · Origin: Europe

review: This racing game leads you through many well-known European cities like Rome or Berlin. Teams from Europe, Russia, Japan and the USA compete in this illegal street race, always trying to hide from the police.

Jul 27, 2006

Civilization IV: Warlords

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis
Platform: PC · Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Release Date: 07/24/06 · Origin: U.S.

An all-new expansion pack, Warlords pays homage to some of history's greatest military leaders, delivering six new scenarios, giving players the chance to change the course of history with the help of their new powerful "warlord" unit. The expansion pack is loaded with new civilizations, new leaders and more units, resources and wonders that can be used in both single and multiplayer games.
Original Rating - the rating the source gave this game as originally published on their site and/or publication. Adjusted Rating - the rating the source gave this game, adjusted for the GameStats rating scale. (0.0 to 10.0).

GameSpot 07/25/2006 8.6 /10 8.6

Yahoo! Video Games 07/24/2006 4.5 /5 9.0

Average Press Score:


Fallen Lords: Condemnation

Developer: Novarama
Platform: PC · Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 12/31/99 · Origin: Europe

Fallen Lords: Condemnation takes you beyond your own death. Declare your life, and be assigned the campaign you must follow: Fight under the right of Light, the realm of Dark, or the unchosen Souls of Purgatory. Fight large groups alone or with an army that responds to your commands with an intuitive interface, ride fantastic creatures and vehicles, and unlock new character and weapons as you progress. Learn new fighting moves as you advance, using more than fifty different weapons. Fight as any of the three sides, or play with your friends in cooperative and competitive multiplayer mode. And when you think the battle is over, get working with the bundled level editor or share them online for an open-ended universe where war never ends.


Get more game out of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Extra Life
IT’S BEEN COOL OF BETHESDA TO begin offering extra downloadable content for its awesome Oblivion, but we really don’t need to drop $2 on the odd bit of horse armor or another couple of bones for an additional quest. Thankfully, the mod community is already on top of creating new gear and new worlds to explore. The best part? It’s all 100 percent free, no strings attached. Below are our five favorite mods to date. Before getting to it, though, we need to hand out a very honorable mention to the creators of Oldblivion (, a mod equivalent of the Peace Corps, for bringing Oblivion to those with less-than-privileged graphics cards—even GeForce3!/Darren Gladstone

It s bad enough to die, but to have your sword mock you for getting your butt kicked? You’ve heard of smart bombs; well, Tamriel has smart swords. This mod starts a quest (look for the wandering weaponsmith named Krunk near the crossroads of Bravil) that ends with you owning your very own wisecracking weapon. You’ll have three choices of weapon, each with its own personality and abilities: Fred the Coward is an eternal pessimist that can instill fear with a critical hit; Atkivir the Murderer is a bloodthirsty psychopath that deals heavy damage; and Samson the (wannabe) Hero cripples enemies’ combat abilities.

Oblivion only came out a couple months ago, so it’s still too soon to expect many brave new worlds and missions. However, this short and sweet adventure will have you doing some gangbusting in Bruma.
A secret cave under the city is the current hideout for the Black Bow Bandits. Keep a lookout for a door to the cave, which is hid-, den behind some shrubbery. We know, it’s not much to go on, but half the fun is finding the way in.

Put that mount of yours to good use. Sure, it helps you roam through the countryside quicker, but we found it a little hard to believe that nobody in Tamriel ever thought to invent some saddlebags for your horse so that it can hold some heavy gear. And yes, it’s even compatible with Bethesda’s official horse-armor mod.

As if Oblivion weren’t pushing the graphical threshold enough already, the Natural Environments mod is a 9.3MB must-have for your game. Polishing textures and tweaking ESP files here gives a huge overhaul to the entire game.

This is one of the first mods to race out after Oblivion’s release, and you simply cannot play the game without it. BTmod is a series of major improvements to the game’s UI, including increased view areas on the journals and larger inventory screens. In short, this cleans up the interface and shows you more info without your having to dig for it./

Starship Troopers

Publisher: Empire Interactive
Developer: Strangelite
Platform: PC · Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: 11/15/05 · Origin: U.K.
Rooted firmly in Paul Verhoeven's interpretation of Robert Heinlein's novel about an epic battle of humankind against a menacing planet of bugs (the previous game based on Starship Troopers -- an RTS from another publisher -- put more emphasis on the novel's elements), this first-person shooter has Roughnecks plowing through literally hundreds of bugs at a time in onslaught after onslaught of intense encounters. The game's advanced engine allows for well over a hundred alien creatures at a time in battle scenes to bring the hellacious bug fights to life.
Original Rating - the rating the source gave this game as originally published on their site and/or publication. Adjusted Rating - the rating the source gave this game, adjusted for the GameStats rating scale. (0.0 to 10.0).

G4 / Tech TV 01/24/2006 2 /5 4.0

PC Zone [UK] 12/21/2005 58 /100 5.8

Game Over Online 12/20/2005 35 /100 3.5

Worth Playing 12/16/2005 7 /10 7.0 12/15/2005 2 /5 4.0

GameZone Online 12/15/2005 6.7 /10 6.7 12/14/2005 4 /10 4.0 12/05/2005 5.0 /10 5.0

PTgamers [Portuguese] 12/02/2005 8 /20 4.0

GameSpot 12/01/2005 3.8 /10 3.8

Average Press Score:


Jul 26, 2006

Street Legal Racing: Redline

Summary Review
Publisher: Activision Value
Developer: Activision Value
Platform: PC · Genre: Racing
Release Date: 07/18/03 · Origin: U.S.

The streets come alive after the sun goes down, and you're behind the wheel of a high-octane import.
In one of eight vehicles, plus a bonus car, you must earn respect from your opponents by racing throughout the city streets.
There are multiple styles of courses to test all aspects of your vehicle's performance, from handling to top speed.
With hundreds of interchangeable parts, you can customize anything on your car from exhaust pipes to flywheels.
Buckle your belt, hold on tight, and hit the nitrous oxide for an extra boost.

Test Drive Preview


Unlimited wants to detail Hawaii’s Oahu in Google Earth density, from Waikiki’s white sands and high-rise glitz to the wave-smashed and somewhat seedy North Shore. Such accuracy doesn’t conflict with the demands of designing raceways, says producer Ahmed Boukhelifa: “You don’t need closed circuits to enjoy driving, and we began breaking boundaries in our previos racers, V-Rally and Need for Speed: Porsche lleashed. Plus, this place is the perfect setting.” Island variety—valleys bracketing Koolau’s volcanic spine and one-road-wide communities of run-down housing and rickety storefronts— bears him out. “We have, however, simplified the interstate network in one important respect,” he reveals. “We’ve eliminated annoying dead ends. The remaining 1,000 miles of pavement recreate Oahu’s more pleasurable routes.” Reflecting the postcard-pretty scenery

Turtle-Waxed carbon fiber, TDU’s lineup licenses Aston Martin, Pagani, McLaren, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini, and other ultracar manufacturers. “Our cockpit cam, a Test Drive tradition, offers unprecedented detail,” says Boukhelifa, citing the dashboard gauges, working windows, and normal-mapped steering wheels that make a skin-deep difference. “When you want to invest in a vehicle, you drop by the actual dealer and choose a model, along with all the true manufactuner’s options,” he says. “Rims, body and interior colors, materials such as carbon, alcantara, burlwood—you name it, we got it.”

Lifestyle branding takes a backseat only to fahrvergnügen…and barely. According to Boukhelifa, “Test Drive encompasses the entire automotive experience: driving cars, collecting them, cherishing them, gazing at them. We’ve made every design choice with that in mind, and the island offers many places to live the life: clothing shops to pick up apparel for your character, realtors to invest in better houses with bigger garages….” We wonder whether PC players will much mind this less conspicuous consumption (at least to other online players who can’t see your Guccis on the aluminum pedals), but if paper-doll play in detached menus cranks your shaft, then more horsepower to ya.

Instead, player-to-player interaction rides on wheels. “When free-riding online, you can see and chat with the nearest players who fit your preferences (friends list, skill level, and so on),” Boukhelifa says. “Essentially, you’re in an eight-player peer-to-peer session that dynamically and constantly updates as you move.”

Competing against CPU-controlled bots and plugged-in people nets cash and pink slipscapital in an emerging market economy—and Boukhelifa sees trade areas, accessible from your house, as a sort of stock exchange: “You can pick one of the cars you own and make a sell order at the price you wish, and you can also scan all of the cars other players are selling (it’s possible to monitor prices on TDU’s website, too). And even though vehicle dealers vend recent makes and models, less recent rides might be more difficult to track down—in which case, contacting other players about that Aston Martin DB4 Zagato might be the more convenient and cheaper option.” /Shawn Elliott

Love Bytes

“LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MARRIAGE and what BS this ‘fairy tale’ is,” says William Hughes, a 42-year-old veteran of romance in online games and, apparently, bad online-gaming breakups. The object of Hughes’ cynicism? A four-year-long relationship that began in the virtual world of a role-playing game and ended in the real world only months before the couple’s prospective wedding date. “Live by the sword, die by the sword,” says Hughes. “How my relationship came to be was also how it came to end.” It’s a familiar story for those who find in computer games not just entertainment, but also the perfect pick-up bar—a place where first impressions are formed by what you say instead of how you look, where you are whoever you pretend to be.

Unfortunately, when you build a relationship on the fiction of roleplaying, it’s hard to separate what’s real from what’s character. “In the online game world, you’re seeing the person—and you’re not seeing the person,” says Hughes. “A lot of it is alter ego. You’re not a Quake killer or a jet pilot. You’re doing a lot more exciting and memorable things in the game than you are in real life.” In 1999, Hughes (a systems engineer) and his now-ex-fiancée Caron (a dental assistant) began their comparatively action-packed alternate lives in a game called Starship Troopers. They soon found themselves decoding the subtle flirtations hidden in text messages. “Typically, when you meet people [in real life], there’s a physical reaction. There’s eye contact, hand gestures, a lot of subliminal messages going on,” says Hughes. “With text, you’re just getting these words and phrases. A word could mean good things for one person and bad things for another. It’s just your choice of words.”
The two played the game together, typing out an elaborate modern-day mating ritual for a year before finally agreeing to meet in person. It might seem like a long courtship in this age of socially acceptable online dating, but for Hughes and his ex-fiancée, the jump from the screen to the street was huge. “Nowadays, you have all these audiovisual communications that you can use,” says Hughes. “You can just get online, talk to the person, use webcams. You can see what they look like before you get in your car to drive up there.” The couple had traded pictures, of course, but the vast majority of the time they spent getting to know each other had been inside Starship Troopers. It put them in a strange new situation, having to guess each other’s real-life personality based on the way they play a computer game. “Depending on the type of game, you get to know a lot of their real qualities,” says Hughes. “Are they a hacker or an exploiter? Are they uptight? Do they have a sense of humor? If you’re doing that every day for weeks and months, you really get to know the fiber of a person.” Or so he thought.

Separated only by the four-hour drive between Hughes’ Connecticut abode and Caron’s former residence in Massachusetts, the couple decided to take a chance on human-to-human contact. The short commute allowed what might’ve been a onetime hookup to turn into something more serious. “You can fly from New York to L.A. to meet someone,” says Hughes. “You can like or not like them, have a one-night stand, whatever. But it’s very difficult to keep that kind of relationship going if you’re not in a close proximity. That opened the door.”
Door opened, Caron and Hughes walked into the harsh light of real life, where things weren’t exactly how they’d seemed online. There was the issue of Caron’s marriage, which she had claimed was over. “The online thing allowed her to take liberties,” says Hughes. “She really wasn’t divorced, separated, or anything else that she said at the time.” Alarm bells should’ve gone off, but the couple continued their relationship. Eventually, Caron moved into Hughes’ Connecticut home, where they discovered a new love: Star Wars Galaxies. Plugging away at separate computers for hours at a time, they fell into the grip of a 30-hour-a-week fantasy-life habit. “A game that should have consumed free time began to eclipse all time,” says Hughes. “The game devoured so much time that, after six months, Caron left her job at a dental practice. She played over the next six or seven months nearly full time.” It was during this gaming binge that the couple became engaged and began to plan their wedding. But while Caron and Hughes seemed to grow closer in real life, their online lives were diverging.

“Our gameplay started to change,” Hughes says. “I’m a pretty hardcore combat type, and so was she. But Star Wars Galaxies offered all these other things that I hadn’t done: crafting, creating a financial empire, different forays. I started going down this other road, while she continued down the player-versus-player road. As our gameplay and styles changed, we kind of grew apart.” We’ve all known couples that split over religious, political, or lifestyle differences, but can you really destroy a relationship with role-playing character development? “You start grouping with different people,” says Hughes. “One’s gathering resources, and the other is gathering bullets.” As in real life, bankers don’t spend their time hanging out with soldiers, so the two soon formed separate social circles. “We were getting involved with all these other > people around the country,” says Hughes. “It wasn’t just her flirting with other guys; I was flirting with girls in other parts of the country. The only difference was that she actually followed through.”
Then one day, on the same carefree whim that took her to Connecticut, Caron flew halfway around the world to live with another Star Wars player, though Hughes calls him an “online boy.” “I stress ‘boy,’” says Hughes, “because he was 21 when she flew to Germany to meet him…after four months of knowing him online. She was 41 at the time.”
With that, this half-fictional role-playing romance was finally put to rest. William Hughes came out of it relatively unscathed. He still cruises for single women in online games, though he keeps his gaming habit down to a more reasonable 10 hours a week. If he did find himself in the throes of another gaming relationship, though, he would do things a bit differently. “In retrospect,” says Hughes, “it’s probably advisable to set some guidelines: Always play together. Don’t allow yourself to be in 1-on-1 situations with members of the opposite sex.” Those are rules that most real-life relationships adhere to, but, again, Hughes’ situation is complicated by the deceptive possibilities of online communication. “The hard thing in the gaming world is that with everybody on their own monitor, you never really see what the other people are doing, even if you’re sitting side by side,” says Hughes. “If you’re not in the exact same space, you can’t see what their interactions are. And worse, when they’re typing text, there’s no way to know. They could be saying, ‘Please pass me more ammo,’ or they could be setting up a rendezvous.”

And then there are people like John and Tevys Taves, a couple—now married—who met and fell in love while playing Star Wars Galaxies. They’re the kind of perfect couple that miserable single folks love to hate, never short on good things to say about each other, floating around in a state of perpetual teenage gaga love. Their story is the exact opposite of William Hughes’ nightmare scenario. Where Hughes now feels a need for ground rules to keep a gaming mate on the up and up, John Taves thinks good relationships, gaming or otherwise, are built on trust.
“Setting rules for a relationship is asking for trouble, whether it concerns online or offline activities,” says John. “There should be a natural respect and limitations that are understood. We live our lives trusting that each of us will respect the other. In the case of roleplaying online, I’m fully secure that whatever she roleplays stays in the game—and that when we step away from the computers, we’re a happily married husband and wife.”
Of course, that’s easy to say when you’ve got the (Star Wars–themed) storybook marriage of John and Tevys Taves. The couple got to know each other mostly through the game’s message boards rather than in the game itself. Instead of growing in different directions in their game, they started at opposite ends of the spectrum. John was well on his way to becoming a Jedi Knight, while Tevys was a notorious villain on the dark side. “I was a hardcore Imperial, and he was one with the Force,” says Tevys. “We were worlds apart, but we somehow found each other in the vastness that is Star Wars Galaxies.” Separated by character class and culture, they interacted mostly on the boards, where Tevys was impressed by John’s suave persona. “One of the things that first attracted me to him was that even when he knew I was a girl, he didn’t try to flirt with me or follow me around like a puppy dog,” says Tevys. “He just played it cool.”
The strategy paid off. After a year of forum flirtation and occasional run-ins in the game, Tevys asked John if he was interested in taking their online friendship in a romantic direction. “I knew I was going to open a big can of worms,” says Tevys. “The next PM from him was: ‘Where do I turn in my application?’ So I sent him all sorts of personal questions. His application was by far the best, so he got the job.”

John and Tevys Taves tie the knot with Imperial pomp.

While William and Caron lived only a few hours away from each other, John and Tevys were separated by more than 5,000 miles. John worked (as he does today) as an engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense in Germany, and Tevys lived smack in the middle of the U.S.—Minnesota, to be exact. It was an insane distance to travel for what could’ve been a disappointing meeting, but the couple’s online relationship had gone as far as it could. “All I could think was: ‘I have got to meet this woman,’” says John. “We were so alike. Either this was meant to be, or we were going to bring about the apocalypse when we occupied the same space at the same time.”
Stateside, the two Star Wars–crossed lovers had their first real contact. It was a nerve-racking experience…until John stepped off the plane. “It was very scary for a while, wondering if he would be the same,” says Tevys. “But he was the same character I grew to love. It was perfection at first sight. He ran up and planted a big kiss on me. I was mush from that point on.”
John proposed months later. “I went to the forums where we had gotten to know each other,” says Tevys, “and there was a thread titled ‘TEVYS.’ I clicked on it, and it was a picture of him in a suit on one knee with a ring in his hand. He had Photoshopped a bubble over his head that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ He flew in to give me the ring in person a couple of days later.”

The forceful brass of the “Imperial March” plays from loudspeakers as Darth Vader marches down the aisle with Tevys Taves at his side. They’re joined by four silent stormtroopers, perfect reproductions from head to toe. This is not some star system in a galaxy far, far away. It’s much more exotic and strange: Las Vegas, where Team Taves put on their ultimate Star Wars fantasy wedding. Their best friends from Galaxies were there, along with the usual family crowd, whom the couple delighted in freaking out. “All I could think was, ‘Man, I wish I could see what they’re seeing,’” says Tevys. “It must have been awesome, from the looks on their faces.” The couple now lives in Germany, where they remain a model for role-playing relationship seekers. “This is the happiest I have ever been in real life,” says Tevys. “Keeping roleplaying and real life separate is not the easiest thing to do, especially when they end up as intertwined as ours. Star Wars has impacted both of our lives in so many ways, and we couldn’t be happier about it.”/Robert Ashley.

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