It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. By “love”, of course, I mean extravagantly over-priced plushies, chocolates, and other shit covered in pink hearts that nobody would ever actually buy if we weren’t conditioned by the adverts to think we’re bad, bad people if we don’t. In bold defiance of this consumer culture crisis, I’ve compiled a list of the hottest video game romances because, you know, I might as well. So no, maybe it’s not strictly bold defiance, or any kind of defiance whatsoever for that matter, but let’s not argue. It’s Valentine’s Day.
Mario / Princess Peach (Mario)
Pretty much obligatory, although I’m not sure this even counts as a proper romance unless Peach is playing history’s greatest game of hard-to-get. Or she’s secretly boffing Bowser, which would explain everything. I mean, how hard is it to not get kidnapped by the same monster, like, eight zillion times? Not very hard. There’s more to this than she’s letting on, but gold star to Mario for effort.
Gordon Freeman / Alyx Vance (Half-Life)
Freeman is old enough to be Alyx’s dad, but in a bleak dystopian future where Earth has been occupied by a hostile, tyrannical alien invasion force, the concept of a “dirty old man” is probably taking a backseat to more immediately important things like the very survival of humanity. Besides, he’s got a nice suit.
Master Chief / Cortana (Halo)
In the future, people can have full on romantic relationships with AIs, which is a bit like those Japanese dating sims but marginally less sad because in the 26th century they have holographic projections so you can at least pretend you can touch your virtual partner. The significant size difference between Master Chief and Cortana does present some logistical problems when it comes to you-know-what, perhaps, but then, so does her being not real so whatever. Not many couples can say they’d be okay with the very real prospect of floating together in space forever with only a distress beacon to cover up the snores and farts, and that’s some serious commitment.
Dovahkiin / Lydia (Skyrim)
THIS SUMMER, A HERO WHO’S DESTINED TO KILL A BIG DRAGON AND THE WOMAN WHO’S SWORN TO CARRY HIS BURDENS UNEXPECTEDLY FIND LOVE WHEN SHE KEEPS GETTING IN HIS WAY, IN THE ROMANTIC COMEDY THAT CRITICS ARE CALLING “THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO AI PATHFINDING SINCE THE MULE IN DUNGEON SIEGE”.
Commander Shepard / Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect)
The love that dare not speak its admittedly somewhat creepy inter-species name, until it did. And even then, it was all a bit awkward because when you think about it… how would that work? Apart from the chafing, Turian body fluids apparently have a high density of dextro-amino acids which are likely to cause allergic reactions in humans. Good thing there’s a doctor onboard the Normandy.
BONUS! Marcus Fenix / Dom Santiago (Gears of War)
I know, you were probably expecting Dom Santiago and his wife, Maria. But really, one or two inconsequential flashback sequences simply can’t compare with a bromance that’s spanned three whole games. Did Maria ever take on a Lambent Leviathan with Dom? Thought not.