Great Moments In Video Game Romance

Every once in a while, a video game transcends the typical shoot and kill stereotype that some games fall into and has an actual plot behind the action. One of the hardest to pull off is the convincing love story that seems almost cliché when Hollywood pumps out their dime a dozen romances. However, a good video game romance is hard to write and even harder to make work in the context of a game. So here’s my list of the best video game romances of all time.

(Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD)

Prince of Persia: The Prince and Farah

Time heals all wounds, they say. Unless, of course, you start messing around with time and we have things happen that never really happened and we get into a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey mess. In PoP: Sands of Time, the Prince and Farah work together to put the sands of time back in their hourglass and save the Prince’s kingdom. Naturally, they fall in love along the way. But when the sands are returned to their hourglass, that reality was erased and Farah doesn’t remember their time together. Fast forward to the third game of the trilogy when the Prince has to save the world from the sands of time again and runs back into Farah who doesn’t know who he is. They fall in love again and this time it sticks without a change in the timeline getting in the way. They eventually breakup over a disagreement on the use of 3 Doors Down in their romance montage.

Uncharted: Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher

These two sure have a funny idea of romantic. Saving the world from zombies, foiling Serbian war criminals and running from the occasional blue-skinned monster in a yeti suit; the usual sort of stuff that people hit it off over. All that slightly Hollywood cliche stuff is what makes the Uncharted series just like your typical Hollywood summer blockbuster. It’s just better written, better acted and a video game. Anyway, part of the appeal of this video game romance is that they’re saving each other’s asses instead of Drake off to rescue Elena the whole time like some classic video game romances went. That and she broke his heart between the first two games before they got back together. Now there’s a good change from the status quo.

Legend of Zelda: Link and Zelda

Two of Nintendo’s most iconic series feature an intrepid hero that you play trying to rescue a princess. I’ll get to the other one later but for now, let’s look at Zelda and her beau Link. I’ve never really gotten into the whole Legend of Zelda series but the jist of it is that Zelda is kidnapped by an ugly evil guy and Link must rescue her by cutting grass and running around in green tights. I’m sure it was far more romantic than I’m making it out to be. Then again, classic NES games were never that big on story and instead focused on gameplay. But if you’re saving her for over 20 years, you must have a thing for her.

Pac-Man: Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man

It sure sounds to me like they’re married. In their arcade appearace together, they shared white dots, fruit and ghosts. Nothing says date night like a night of dinner and dancing on the town… Or whatever the Pac-Man family equivalent to that is. I say family because there’s a Pac-Man Jr. too. I don’t know of any other offspring produced by members of this list. Well, at least any that appeared in a video game.

Final Fantasy X: Tidus and Yuna

I didn’t think it was one of the better Final Fantasy romances but every bit of research tried to convince me otherwise. The majority are usually right so here are Tidus and Yuna. They start out as an unlikely pair. Tidus is a sports star from the past displaced in time and Yuna is trying to save the world. It’s an “opposites attract” sort of romance. Of course, the romance was all tied in with developer Square’s great cinematic cut sequences (which are increasingly becoming the highlights of their games). Long story short, Yuna has to sacrifice herself to save the world and Tidus is willing to do anything to save her. He pulls off the trick but doing so causes him to be undisplaced in time leaving Yuna broken-hearted at the end of the game. Don’t worry, romantics. If you can get through all the J-pop in FFX-2 and get 100% completion, there is a happy ending in store for our star-crossed lovers.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Revan and Bastila

I never played through this game as a female Revan so you’re just going to have to deal with one possible romance possibility. Developers BioWare did include romance possibilities for male and female Revan characters but Star Wars canon says Revan was a man so we’ll go through this scenario. The end of the game can heavily hinge on whether or not you play through the romantic storyline. You flirt with Bastila for the entire game and use your forbidden Jedi romance to turn her from the Dark Side. Or you could be so madly in love with her that you rule the galaxy as king and queen of the Sith. Your call. But supposing that you play out the way that Lucasfilm canon would want you to, you have the best Star Wars love story since Han and Leia.

Mass Effect: Commander Shepard and Anyone With A Pulse

Here’s another BioWare game. They sure have a knack for this sort of thing. If this was Star Wars, there would have been a canonically correct way for Shepard’s romance to play out. He would have saved Ashley from the geth and they would have lived happily ever after. (Well, except for time the Collectors got in the way. And the whole Cerberus thing was a bit of a mood dampener.) The great thing about Mass Effect is that you aren’t limited to one set way to play through the story. Off hand, I can think of about seven different people who Shepard can woo and do the intergalactic horizontal tango with. Each romance story is different and adds another layer to an already great game. The fact that the intergalactic sex scene in Mass Effect 1 nearly caused a nuclear meltdown among overly concerned censorship groups makes it all the more fun (mostly because it exposed them for not actually having researched the game). Bonus for fans of TV’s Chuck: In ME2, Yvonne Strahovski’s character is a potential love interest. Mind you, I think the video above would have helped you figure that out.

Final Fantasy VII: Cloud and Aerith

Sure, Cloud and Tifa ended up together when the story picked up again in the movie Final Fantasy: Advent Children (at least I think that’s what was going on in that movie) but that wasn’t how fanboys wanted it to play out. No, this was about the cute flower girl from the slums Aerith and her bodyguard/freedon fighter Cloud who would be together forever and never to part. Well, that was until the romance met a tragic end at the hands of Sephiroth. The romance was so powerful that a popular myth circulated stating that by meeting a certain stringent set of criteria, you could bring her back from the dead. Turns out that’s a croc of shit but it just goes to show how powerful the romantic story resonated with the gaming community. That’s proven by the number of sappy music videos on YouTube compared to other video game romances.

Super Mario Brothers: Mario and Peach

You can’t tell me that Mario isn’t head over heels for the Princess. He’s dodged barrels thrown by a giant ape. He’s run over and through worlds multiple times. Stomped thousands of those little brown dudes. And he’s eaten more mushrooms than your average drug addict could without OD’ing. Over a dozen times, Mario has gone off in search of and rescued Princess Peach. If that isn’t the quintessential video game love story, I don’t know what is.

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