University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The myth of the lonely video gamer playing in solitude is dead

Jeff Kaplan met his wife in his 20s, as many do. He was an aspiring writer living in Los Angeles while moonlighting as a Halfling rogue in the multiplayer fantasy video game Everquest. She was a Dark Elf warrior at the time, and, to prove himself worthy of joining her guild, Kaplan had to duel her with a set of serrated bone knives. It's the usual, age-old story of love.

At first, they only knew each other by their screen names, and whatever could be gleaned through the clunky text chat programs of the 1990s. "For years, I thought she was a male," Kaplan recalled.

They became close all the same, then met, then married. At the dawn of multiplayer video gaming,...