A Virtual Queer Romance Becomes Reality

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Earlier this month, gamers Chris Whitaker and Lisa Junkin Smith went from digital avatars in Here Be Monsters to real-life partners. The couple joined the same in-game "guild" last year, helping each other to explore their virtual world and capture creatures across the globe. Within a brief period of time, the two women realized that they had much more in common than gaming, and began socializing beyond the confines of Here Be Monsters.

Eventually, their relationship blossomed into something much more serious than chasing monsters. In fact, Lisa moved from eastern Washington in order to live with Chris in the western part of the state. The couple tied the knot on a sunny day in the town of Oakville, about an hour and a half southwest of Seattle.

Upon hearing about the nuptials, Gamesys, creator of the game, supported the ceremony by offering in-game events and promotions for the entire Here Be Monsters community. The company also provided Chris and Lisa with a unique fantasy-themed cake. The confection, provided by Seattle bakery The Sweet Side, consisted of four delicious tiers, atop which stood two characters from the game.

"Everybody on the Here Be Monsters team sends a huge congratulations to Lisa and Chris on their wedding," said Here Be Monsters executive producer Michael Heywood. “Seeing players form real communities and relationships in the game makes us all very proud, and we're very glad to have played a small part in their happiness.”

While the video gaming industry has only begun to feature LGBT characters in games, and some companies like Nintendo have struggled to include same-sex relationships, it’s promising to see couples like Chris and Lisa being able to meet each other through a platform like Here Be Monsters. This, in addition to proposals like the one at last year’s GaymerX convention in San Francisco, is a sign of the growth of the queer community in the world of video games.

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