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Awh Yeah! We 'Bout To Get Romancin'! - Destructoid




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About
The following blog is set for One Fall! Introducing first, he is the Hylian Champion! Winner of the Seven-Year Slam, making the Hylian Ring safer, one Powerbomb of Courage at a time!

AboveUp!





Started gaming on an Atari 2600, grew into the gamer I am now with Nintendo, playing on an NES and SNES. Became more aware of the wider scope of gaming through the Playstation and Xbox. Now I'm loving the PC gaming life.

My favorite games include A Link to the Past, Terranigma, Guilty Gear X2, Viewtiful Joe, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and DotA 2.

Huge comic book reader, and currently keeping up with Saga and Hawkeye.

My favorites are The Sandman Vol 4, Batman - Court of Owls, and V for Vendetta.

Lover of wrestling, although not so much of the infamous Attitude Era. Much of more a CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler kinda guy.

Life-long reader of books of the fictional and non-fictional variety. Love Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Wendig and Haruki Murakami.

My biggest dream is that one day Quintet returns and makes a current generation Terranigma.

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Warning, this blog contains spoilers for Mass Effect 1. Some light hinting of spoilery stuff for Knights of the Old Republic that you likely already know without playing, and  possibly for GTA: San Andreas if you never got past the two hour mark or even care about side story stuff in that game.

GTA: San Andreas has one of the best romancing systems that I have come across in gaming. I realize it sounds really sad putting it like that, but let that sink in for a moment while I describe my brief experiences with romance in this game before I quit playing early into it because I'm not a big fan of GTA.

I met my girlfriend when I saved her from a burning building. Amazingly, this was the exact same building I was throwing molotov cocktails towards only ten seconds earlier. Talk about coincidence! As I was giving her a ride home, we instantly connected and realized we had a lot in common.

* We're both black ghetto trash stereotypes.
* We live in the same area.
* She was happened to be in the house I was burning down.

It's as if we were made for each other.

After I dropped her off at her home, which confused me because I was under the assumption it was her home that I had just burned to the ground, the game tells me that she is my girlfriend from now on. We're officially together. Which is great, because I'm always terrible at knowing if a relationship has progressed enough to say we're boyfriend and girlfriend or not. Still, it all went so fast that I'm not even sure that I ever even got her name.

Within five minutes of dropping her off she called me on my cell phone, complaining about how I'm neglecting her.

As I'm trying to figure out how she got my number, the game tells me to take her on a date, but nothing too fancy. So I took her to the closest and cheapest place around. Some shitty pizza joint a three-second drive away.

On my way to the pizza place, she was hanging out of my stolen car's window as I was driving full speed, shooting a bunch of thugs on the street. Those thugs then followed me and started a gang war. Now I didn't want any trouble, but trouble wanted me. I accidentally killed one of the members and started a gang war. That's when we decided to just go inside and enjoy our meal. Thankfully, the gang didn't follow us in.



After our successful date, the game told me my “relationship progress” stat had increased.

Whatever that means.

Now reading that, please realize that there have been no dialogue options where I chose to blindly agree or be polite to her. That’s the way it usually works in most games, most specifically, BioWare loves doing this. You can be polite to people for long enough, and eventually they’ll fuck you. Why? Well, you’re nice to them. They’re pretty much obligated to at that point. Every Good Guy RPG run I do, I keep being amazed at how NPCs physically throw themselves at me just because I was being nice. No shared interests, no mutual benefits, just straight up nice guy getting it.


Those same years never taught Bastila the moral perspective needed to understand how absolutely disgusting and abusive a relationship between her and the main character would be. Seriously, I still get grossed out thinking about it.


It shouldn't bother me, but it does. I can't get invested in these relationships between characters because there are no real characters involved here. There's nothing to relate to. And yet despite that video game writers really want to sell us these emotionally underdeveloped love stories. It's enough to make you a virtual aromantic asexual.

It gets even worse when game series like Mass Effect try to play the "being faithful" crap. The way they tied that into the series made me feel really uneasy about the entire romance angle, even beyond the Nice Guy Reward bullshit already there since the first place.


It's not often that I actively regret not nuking someone from out of orbit, but damn, even the villains are more sympathetic than Ashley was.


For instance, I accidentally romanced Ashley. Don't ask me why, the only reason she was still alive was an accident to begin with. I figured Aiden had this situation covered, so I could put more pressure on him. Ashley needed saving because she's a narrow-minded, whining child that needs handholding. Kaiden died a total bro, Ashley... Ashley whined about aliens and God some more before deciding she wanted a free entry pass to my quarters. Then I nearly dropped the controller, forcing me down the path of sexy times.

When I met Ashley in the second game I was pretty clear it was over. I met her once, and as Ashley tends to do, she threw a fit. Apparently my death was harder on her than it was on me. My slow asphyxiation in outer space made her absolutely livid, and it was all my fault. We reached a clear moment where we both realized it just wasn't going to work. She hadn't changed and was still acting the part of a whining teenage girl, and I'd been genetically brought back to life by an evil corporation. The only healthy thing to do was to move on.

But no! Moving on is bad! You have to hold out for the partner you've been away from after having died and come back to life years later! No matter how loudly she yells at you or blames you for all that's gone wrong, you have to be patient and wait it out. She'll come round to you, because Nice Guys are patient and get the Reward at the end! If you meet your ex years later and she seems to have moved on, that's just all an act. Don't try and start anything new, that makes you unfaithful!

Everything about that just rubs me the wrong way. In comparison, even the new Saints Row handles sex more maturely than that, even though you literally just walk up to people and ask if they want to fuck.


I don't even like Saints Row and I absolutely appreciate everything about this.


When you're endlessly picking Nice Guy options for a girl to impress her with this image of what you hope she likes, chances are she's going to end up with someone who actually has a spine. That's not to say nice guys don't have spines, but Nice Guys aren't exactly nice, nor do they have the balls to be allowed to call themselves a guy. If you do end up with a girl following the Nice Guy road, expect things to fall apart the first time you're yourself around her.

I know I'm using the Nice Guy phrase here, but honestly, this could apply for women just as easily. Funny enough we don't typically say Nice Girl the way we do Nice Guy. We tend to say things along the lines of... Well... Too easy. Or slut. Because, you know, when a girl is nice to a guy it immediately means She Wants The D, which is just stupid.



Movies and books aren't all that much better at representing actual relationships either, so it's unfair to completely pin it on videogames. In a typical guy movie, the hero gets the girl at the end, but that's secondary. He'll also save a group of hostages, cure cancer, finds life on a far-off planet, and has a cool one-liner at the end. Naturally, the girl is impressed by all of this, so they end up together. That's how we know it's a good ending, the dude gets the girl.

For chick flicks, it gets even more shallow. The guy is often the end goal, and her self-esteem, boosted by a makeover or drastic last-minute lifestyle change tends to be the road she has to travel to get to him. If the movie is "modern" or "smart", she'll realize she didn't have to make all these changes, and instead makes a mental shift. She'll still end up with the guy as if the meta observation of movie tropes and the realization of self weren't that important to the story.

Relationships and sex should never be the goal. It shouldn't even be the end or post-game. They're a thing that happens. Two (or if it's your thing, three or four or five) people realize they're both kinda not gross and somewhat okay and they get together. Sex isn't a magical reward for being a good person, it's something people just decide to do together. You don't even have to share the same hobbies, interests or attitudes to make it work.  Of course, that'd make for some incredibly boring gameplay mechanics if put into action in a game. And how are we going to understand a movie character has learned something if their relationship status hasn't changed at the end of the movie?


Just look at these freaks, acting all freaky like the freaks they are!


We've always been pretty damn horrible about presenting proper relationships in media. Heck, one of the best couples that television ever had were Morticia and Gomez Addams Family, and they Addams Family is supposed to be a freak show. They're one of the first-ever married couples on television to share a bed, show that they're sexually attracted towards each other, and always remain supportive of one another instead of hating each other as a "hilarious" foil for your typical wife-husband dynamics.



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