I think we've previously discussed the hardcore zombie survival mod built on top of Arma 2. Wired has a profile of Dean Hall, the guy behind it, a former 2nd Lt in the New Zealand army. It's a fascinating read about the genesis of the game in a training exercise for the Kiwi military.
It was December 2010 and the officer cadet in the New Zealand army was alone on a survival-training mission. Given only two days’ worth of food for 20 days, he supplemented his diet with raw fish and ferns. He slept on a bed of sticks, and by the end of the mission he’d lost 44 pounds from his already lean frame. There were other trainees out there, and he started to plot raids on their food supplies. He thought of himself as an honorable person, but he was too hungry for honor. As he approached one man’s camp, the guy spotted him and tossed him some rancid ramen. Hall boiled the noodles and wolfed them down.
That night, as water pooled around his bed and ramen roiled his stomach, he imagined himself inside his favorite videogame, a military simulation for PCs called Arma 2. He had been playing it since its release in 2009 and often spent three to four hours a day on the game. Now, lying on the jungle floor, his feverish imagination turned Arma 2 into something different. He visualized a new kind of game, one in which there were no missions, no objectives, and no ability to simply be respawn when killed. You had one life, and if you lost it, you lost everything.
The story finishes with an odd, sort of unsettling anecdote about Hall climbing Mt Everest, partly as a way to gather experiences for the game, and getting more than he bargained for when he had to make a choice between saving a dying climber or pushing on to the summit.
He pushed on.