Fans that took their love of gaming way too far

There are fans, and then there are fans. You know the type. The people who cherish video games more than anything else. The people who will swap financial stability for the latest, greatest technology — or the latest batch of cool merch. The people who put their personal safety (or the well-being of others) on the line in order to get a little closer to that high score. The people who love video games so much that they're willing to sacrifice almost anything else.  

But you may not know these individuals, all of whom make the most hardcore gamers look like clueless noobs. They love (sometimes literally) video games just a little too much. Now, we're not saying that these folks are crazy. We're just saying that, in their slavish devotion to their favorite games, they might be going a little overboard. Hey, at least they're happy. That's the important thing, right?


The woman who discovered a different kind of pick-up line

Look, everybody loves Tetris, but Noorul Mahjabeen Hassan really loves Tetris. Loves it as in she wants to marry Tetris and have its beautiful, blocky babies. Hassan, a 20-year-old student at the University of Florida, began her literal love affair with Alexey Pajitnov's uber popular puzzler in 2016, and now spends most of her time playing Tetris and collecting Tetris-themed memorabilia. "I think Tetris is so beautiful, he is about perfection and he stimulates your mind," Hassan says, gushing about her digital beau (notice the use of the word "he," not "it").

It's not the first time that Hassan has fallen for something that can't really love her back. Hassan describes herself as "objectum sexual," meaning that she has romantic feelings for inanimate objects, not people. Hassan's had crushes on monorails and treadmills, but her first real relationship was with a Garmin GPS. Since then, she's also dated a calculator.

These days, however, Hassan is convinced that Tetris is the love of her life, and she intends to marry the game as soon as she graduates from college. "Physically I get that feeling that people in relationships get — that you know they are the right one," she says. In fact, she's already planning the ceremony. "I want everybody to be there," she says, and even implies that she's willing to change her name to Mrs. Tetris. It's weird, but Hassan isn't embarassed. After all, love is love, no matter what form it takes.

The man who found true love (plus)

Nene Anegasaki is quite the catch. The third-year high school student might be a little young, but she's cute as button, is happy to dole out advice to anyone who needs it, and loves both horror movies and cleaning the house. There's just one problem: she's not real.

Nene is one of the three love interests in the Japanese dating simulator Love Plus, but the fact that Nene is little more than a collection of pixels hasn't stopped one Tokyo resident from marrying her in an semi-official ceremony. The groom, who goes by Sal 9000, livestreamed his wedding for curious onlookers, although a previous ceremony in Guam — where rules about marriage aren't quite as strict — might've preceded Sal and Nene's big day.

Sal, who met Nene in September 2009 when he picked up a copy of Love Plus for his Nintendo DS, knows that the relationship is unconventional. "I understand 100 percent that this is a game," he says. "I understand very well that I cannot marry her physically or legally." Still, Sal claims that he prefers Nene to a real, flesh-and-blood wife. For one, she's always around when he needs her. For another, she doesn't get mad at Sal very often—and when she does, Sal says, "she forgives me quickly."

The artistically inclined Lord of the Rings fan

Is "Box Shipment #2" performance art or an excuse to play video games for a week uninterrupted? It's hard to say. In either case, back in 2011, Arkansas native Jordan Wayne Long packed himself into a crate with nothing but a PC to keep him company, had two friends load him into a van, and crossed the country while playing the massively multiplayer online role-playing game The Lord of the Rings Online.

It took seven days for Long and his buddies to make the trip from Bald Knob, Arkansas to Portland, Oregon, and Long stayed in the crate gaming the entire time. According to the project's official blog, that meant that the van's drivers needed to keep the car running all day and run extension cables from their hotel rooms to the vehicle at night. Otherwise, Long's machine would lose power. Along the way, Long ate nothing but protein bars, drank nothing but water, and urinated into jars. Yeah, Long didn't leave the crate for anything.

Meanwhile, in the game, Long's character Adanwings fought off monsters in Moria, found some of the best fishing spots in the Ettenmoors, brokered a peace treaty between the Rangers and the hillmen of upper Dunland, and partied in the town of Bree. Ostensibly, the whole project was designed to explore the effects of PTSD, but we wouldn't be surprised if Long just wanted some solitude while he explored Middle-earth. We get it. After all, we've all been there.

The real-life Frogger fantatics

One Clemson, South Carolina resident might love Frogger, but he's no George Costanza. In December 2010, an unnamed 23-year-old yelled "Go!" and rushed into oncoming traffic, where he was promptly struck by an incoming SUV. As it turns out, the man didn't have a deathwish. He was simply playing a real-life version of Konami's arcade classic, in which players must guide a hapless frog across a busy road and an alligator-infested river.

While the Frogger aficionado, who had been talking about the game with his friends before the incident, was sent to the hospital, news reports from the time listed his condition as stable. The driver of the SUV didn't face any kinds of criminal charges, either. More alarming? This wasn't the the last time that real-life Frogger was a problem. In 2015, kids in San Clemente, California were caught playing Frogger in front of the local high school. And back in 2006, a group of fans in Austin put a Roomba in a frog costume and dispatched it on a busy Texas road, though luckily this didn't result in any car damage.

Thankfully, most die-hard Frogger players try to find safer alternatives to recreating the game than simply running into the street. Best example: a Manhattan art installation used a webcam to track actual cars on 5th Avenue, and then used the real-life traffic patterns in a modded version of the arcade game.

The most dedicated Pokemon trainer in the world

How far would you go to collect 'em all? Probably not as far as Michael Baker, who resides in Forest Grove, Oregon. One night in 2016, back when Pokémon Go was the biggest thing on the planet, Baker was wandering the streets during a late night Pokémon session. He passed a fellow pedestrian, and asked if that man was also playing Pokémon Go. Apparently not, because in response the man drew a knife and stabbed Baker in the shoulder.

Instead of going to the hospital like a regular person, Baker decided to keep playing. He made his way to the local Plaid Pantry, a chain of Pacific Northwest convenience stores, and picked up some chips, beer, and extra Pokémon. When the police arrived, Baker refused medical treatment, opting instead to keep the hunt going (he did end up getting the wound looked at later and received eight stitches for his trouble).

In the aftermath, Baker says that he'll be more careful while playing Pokémon Go at night, but has no plans to stop his quest to fill out his Pokedex. After all, Baker wants to the be the best like no one ever was, and in order for that to happen, he can't let something like a pesky little knife attack get in the way.

The worst 911 dispatcher of all time

It's one thing to risk your own life for video games. It's another to risk other people's. Yet, that's exactly what Palm Beach's Charles M. Morris did during his stint as 911 dispatcher, when he decided to play "handheld video games" instead of alerting authorities to potential emergencies.

The Palm Beach Post's report doesn't specify which games Morris was playing, but they must've been pretty good ones, because in October 2015 the sheriff's office employee decided to keep a 911 caller on hold for 40 minutes while he finished up a session with a handheld game device. That same month, Morris waited almost 10 minutes to dispatch police to the scene of a shooting. The games were that compelling.

As the Post notes, this kind of behavior is par for the course for Morris, who was demoted after an internal sherrif's department investigation. In addition to gaming on the job, Morris has also been reprimanded in the past for "misuse of sick days," and as an official training officer, reportedly spent his time watching television instead of instructing his subordinates.

The Metal Gear cosplayer with cash to spare

Don't be fooled: cosplay might be fun, but for devoted costumers, it's also serious business. Many cosplayers invest hundreds, if not thousands, of hours and lots and lots of money into making the coolest and most accurate costumes that they can imagine.

Still, while cosplayers' passion is admirable, they can take things a little too far. Take Ruby Taki, a Williamsburg-based real estate employee and professional DJ, for example. In 2014, Taki stormed into New York Comic-Con dressed as Metal Gear Solid's walking tank, Metal Gear REX. It's an amazing costume that looks exactly like something out of the video game. It also took Taki eight months to build, and cost her $7,000 to put together.

The sacrifices that Taki made for her art didn't end at her bank account, either. The Metal Gear REX outfit needs to be transported via truck and takes three people to assemble. It's very heavy, and while she's wearing it, Taki must wear two-foot stilts, making it incredibly difficult to move. All that, and Taki says that convention goers don't always realize that there's a person inside, and that people online often mistake the outfit for a piece of CGI. That hardly seems worth the effort to us, but cosplayers are a dedicated bunch. If it makes Taki happy, that's all that's important.

The man who can't say no to video game collectibles

Some video game fans aren't content spending all of their free time in front of their console of choice. Some want to express their affection by snagging as much video game-themed merchandise as possible, too. If you measure love by how much stuff a person has, then Brett Martin is the biggest video game fan on the planet: his collection of game-related memorabilia consists of 8,030 items—and it's still growing.

It all started in 1989, when Martin's parents gave him a small Super Mario figurine. A few years later, Martin decided to look for other pieces of the set, discovered eBay back in its early days, and started shopping. He hasn't stopped since. Martin stores his collection in what he calls "The Video Game Memorabilia Museum," but don't let the fancy title fool you: it's really just a room in what appears to be Martin's house in Littleton, Colorado, which is in danger of being overrun with video game-related trinkets.

Martin's collection contains a number of rare items, including prototypes of never-released figures, and focuses largely on the Mario franchise (Martin cites Super Mario Bros. 3 as his biggest influence). Martin earned a Guinness World Record in 2012 for having the world's largest collection of video game memorabilia, but the collection does have some downsides. As Martin notes, he's running out of room to store things, and his wife—who Martin met when his collection was only an eighth of its current size—is starting to lose her patience with all of the clutter.

The guy who gets all the big Nintendo games before you do

No matter how much you love Nintendo, you're not going to be the first one to get your hands on one of the company's big releases, at least not while Isaiah-TriForce Johnson is around. The Power Glove-wearing Bronx native is famous among the Nintendo community for being the first person in line whenever Nintendo has a big release. Johnson was the first person in North America to secure a Nintendo DS, a Nintendo Wii, a Wii U, and copies of various Mario and Zelda games.

Johnson doesn't just arrive at the stores early on launch day. He gets in line weeks and weeks and weeks ahead of time. Now, during these weeks, Johnson doesn't spend 24 hours a day waiting — he gets in line before the Nintendo World Store in Manhattan opens at 9:00 AM, and leaves when it closes 12 hours later — but he shows up every day no matter what obstacles might be in his way. If it's snowing, he brings a blanket. If the subway is down, he'll walk three hours to get to the shop on time. Only Hurricane Sandy forced him to abandon his post.

These days, TriForce (yes, that's his real, legal name) is mostly retired from line-waiting (for the Switch's launch, he passed the mantle on to fellow fan Captain Nintendo Dude), but he's still heavily involved with video games. In addition to everything else, Johnson helped found the eSports organization Empire Arcadia, which holds the world record for the most recorded tournament wins by a single gaming team.

The model who braved the knife to look like a Final Fantasy character

In role-playing games, you can be anyone. A legendary warrior. A powerful wizard. An angsty teenager — but, y'know, an angsty teenager with a destiny.

For some fans, however, that's not enough. They don't just want to be those characters in a game. They want to be those characters in real life, and they'll go to extreme measures to do so. Just look at Amirul Rizwan Musa, a Malaysian model and cosmetics entrepreneur. Musa didn't just relate to Final Fantasy VIII's protagonist, the gunblade wielding Squall Leonheart. He wanted to look exactly like the handsome PlayStation hero, and shelled out $41,000 to plastic surgeons in order to achieve his dreams. The likeness is impressive (and a little creepy). One look at Musa's before-and-after photos shows just how extreme the young man's transformation is.

It's weird, but Musa seems happy. Yes, since news about his cosmetic surgeries went viral, Musa has endured abuse from family members and strangers alike. He's still coming out ahead. After a bad case of chicken pox at age 16 left his face scarred, Musa says he was "ashamed that I looked the way I did," and turned to anime characters to boost his self-confidence. It worked. The notoriety hasn't hurt Musa's modelling career, either. "I am still offered acting roles and product endorsements," he says. "Even though I went viral due to all the wrong reasons, it does not affect my rice bowl."

The teacher who played games for six days straight

Carrie Swidecki didn't just play video games for 138 hours straight, setting the world record for the longest video game marathon of all time. She played Just Dance 4 for 138 hours straight. In other words, Swidecki wasn't just sitting on her butt the whole time. She was up, moving around, and being active for almost six days. That's not just impressive. It's insane. Gamers have died from far, far less.

For Swidecki, however, it's just par for the course. In addition to the 138-hour Just Dance binge, Swidecki owns 10 other marathon-based world records, and is credited with over 400 high scores from various tracks in the Just Dance franchise. Since she got into exergaming (i.e., using video games as a form of exercise) 16 years ago, Swidecki's lost 75 pounds and dropped 10 sizes. She's not keeping all of the benefits for herself, either. Through appearances at charity events and on livestreams, Swidecki has raised over $85,000 for charity.

Did we mention that Swidecki is also a full-time teacher, and that she's used her position to establish exergaming programs in schools and raise awareness for childhood obesity? So, yes, she's entirely crazy — but at least that madness is being used for the forces of good. Hey, it could be worse.