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Level Up: From online gaming buddies to life partners

A couple talks about how their shared interest fuelled a lasting relationship

By April Zara Chua

For avid gamers Tan Wei Chiun, 44, and Jacqueline Pak, 38, it was business as usual when they both joined the same gaming guild for a multiplayer mobile game in 2014. Little did they know that this was the beginning of something more.

Bonding through teamwork

Back then, the pair was playing Dynasty Kingdoms, a mobile strategy battle-style card game. The game’s multiplayer Guild War System relied heavily on teamwork and strategy to advance on the leaderboard. For serious gamers, this requires a lot of planning and coordination in order to increase their team standing on the game’s ranking. Besides in-game chatting, it’s common for guild members to plan offline to strategise a game plan.

“We were part of a Whatsapp group chat where our guild mates would coordinate in-game wars against our opponents,” recounts Jacqueline, a corporate relations head.

It didn’t take long before someone in the group suggested a real-life guild meet-up. “It was just a casual affair with one big group meeting up for dinner one night,” adds Jacqueline.

Hitting the right notes

Wei Chiun, an engineering specialist, and Jacqueline hit it off at dinner and decided to join a smaller group of guild mates for karaoke after. “Throughout the dinner and KTV session, Wei Chiun and I just clicked!”

After discovering another shared interest in KTV, Wei Chiun and Jacqueline went out for more karaoke sessions, without their guild mates. “The more we went out and got to know each other, the more our feelings for each other developed. ” shares Wei Chiun.

“Honestly, we both didn’t think much about it. We met in a big group and we were not looking for romance at all!” says Jacqueline. “We had no expectations. The feelings developed over time.”

The game plan

According to the couple, their gaming styles also gave an insight to their real personalities. They discovered that they are jokers both in the game and in real life. “We both like to inject a bit of humour to the otherwise serious gameplay,” says Jacqueline. It was this humour that attracted Wei Chiun to Jacqueline. “What I like about her is that she always makes me laugh and she’s a very caring person.”

Jacqueline also admits that she is meticulous both in the virtual world and real life. “I pay very close attention to detail ­– whenever there are new game features and updates, I’ll be the first to explore it in detail. I will take the time to think it through and strategise on how to achieve certain in-game goals.” As for Wei Chiun, he prefers a different strategy. “My game plan is simple: just charge!” he adds. “That’s pretty much us in real life.”

Leveling up

The couple ended up dating for a year before tying the knot in 2015. These days, they still find time for gaming and KTV but are enjoying their level-up status as parents to their baby daughter. Jacqueline is thankful she has found a good man in Wei Chiun. “He has a good heart and loves to take care of his family,” she says.

Their advice to anyone who meets people with a shared interest? “Keep an open mind, don’t set any expectations and go with the flow. Let things develop naturally, and do not be afraid to express yourselves!”

Sharing is caring

Here are the top five reasons why shared interests can help in a relationship.

  1. Keeps the conversation flowing. You will always find topics to talk about, and you can easily start a discussion on something that you are both interested in.
  2. You understand each other. For instance, if you’re both passionate about online gaming, then you’ll be more tolerant if your partner spends majority of his or her time in front of the computer because you do it too!
  3. It’s easy to be friends with their friends. When you have shared interests with your partner, you’ll likely share common interests with their friends as well.
  4. Date night becomes easier. Deciding what to do and where to go on date nights becomes less of a headache if you have similar tastes and preferences.
  5. You’re each other's best friends. You’re more than just lovers. Even after the “honeymoon phase” fizzles out, you’ll always have something fun to do together.