I'm a 22 year old gamer living and working in the San Francisco area.
I grew up playing JRPGs so I have an extensive collection of them. My favorites include Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VII and Xenogears. I also play the Action Adventure genre and First Person Shooters.
Currently Playing: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Final Fantasy IX
(Original can be found at http://accordingtoyu.wordpress.com)
Girls are complicated. I should know. Being the pimp that I am, managing relationship with multiple girls is a pain. Sometimes it can get you in trouble.
Na, Iím kidding. Readers, you may not believe it, but Iím actually really shy when it comes to women. I am also a hopeless romantic, who watches too many RomComs (thatís romantic comedies to you less civilized men). Why watch romantic comedies? It appeals to an inner sense and desire of many to have a perfect relationship.
Maybe video games are the same way. Immersion and experience of a relationship thatís an escapism from the truth about them. I give to you now my top 5 romantic relationships in video games. How did I determine my top 5 relationships? I used the following two criteria: ďHow warm and fuzzy did it make me feel?Ē and ďHow close did it get to making me cry?Ē For reference, please refer to the following scales:
How Warm and Fuzzy Did it Make Me Feel?
1 - Aw, that's cute.
2: Man, why cant love always be like this?
How Close Did It Get to Making Me Cry?
1: Man, that sucks
2: That's. So. Sad!
3: I'M NOT CRYING.
Keep in mind that a good part of my gaming library are RPGs, so this list will also be heavily influenced by the genre. Danger! Spoilers ahoy! Skip over games that you intend to play, but havenít yet.
5) Welkin and Alicia Ė Valkyria Chronicles
Nothing Can Stop Us. Our Love Will Demolish That Tank.
Yuís Warm/Fuzzy Factor: 2
Yuís Cry Factor: 1
In my opinion, Valkyria Chronicles is one of the most underplayed and underappreciated games of the past couple of years. If you own a PlayStation 3, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game. It has beautiful, gorgeous art direction and a creative blend of a Strategy RPG, Traditional JPRG and a First-Person Shooter.
Welkin and Alicia were made for each other. In the story, they meet under tough circumstances, as their country of Gallia is caught in a struggle between the two military powerhouses, the Imperial Alliance and the Atlantic Federation (based on, and loosely connected to World War II). They are drafted into the military and what transpires is your typical letís-bond-and-fall-for-each-other. Then the shit gets crazy.
The reason I picked this couple is because of it demonstrates the ďpower of love.Ē Alicia is faced with a terrible burden in the game, as she learns that she is a Valkyria, part of a long forgotten race with tremendous and terrible powers. Reaching the climax of the game, she runs off to try to sacrifice herself and save those important to her and the one she loves. Welkin refuses to let that happen and uses the POWA OF LOVE to save her. He then proposes to her, with a ring made of her favorite flower. Stupid, cheesy and unrealistic, but hey, thatís what romances are supposed to be in these kind of stories right?
So what does this relationship say? Love conquers all. Thatís a great ďawĒ message. The epilogue shows the two happily married and with a kid. Itís cute!
4) Garnet and Zidane Ė Final Fantasy IX
Don't ever leave me again!
Yuís Warm/Fuzzy Factor: 2
Yuís Cry Factor: 1
Alright, so itís another stereotypical story. Thief-kidnaps-Princess, Thief-charms-Princess, Theif-saves-Princess. It was a satisfying relationship to see unfold from resistance, to friendship, to love.
There are two ďawĒ scenes in the game. At the beginning of the game, Zidane harasses Garnet, constantly teasing her and hitting on her. In the middle, traumatic events leave Garnet mute, and Zidaneís attitude changes completely. A knightly sense of duty to protect Garnet develops, and he does everything in his power to make sure Garnet talks and smiles again.
The second ďawĒ scene is the ending, where Zidane dives headfirst into a suicidal mission to save his brother. He leaves the rest of the group, including Garnet, in a safe place. The place he runs off to blows up (I think?) and Zidnae is presumed dead.
Garnet is heartbroken. She returns to rule as Queen, but just isnít the same. As Queen, she is presented with a play, ďI Want To Be Your Canary.Ē This only saddens her more, as she was kidnapped by Zidane over the course of the play in the beginning of the game (I know, these stories are messed up). It is then that the protagonist of the play reveals himself to be Zidane! She runs from the balcony and into Zidanes embrace. Itís a sweet scene, but the story does make Garnet seem completely dependent on Zidane. Sounds an awful lot like Twilight, without the glittery vampires. Instead it has monkey people (Zidane has a monkey tail). Monkeys Own Vampires.
Don't fuck with a monkey. A monkey will shank you.
3) Drake and Elena Ė Uncharted Series
Alright, alright! I'll come shopping with you!
Yuís Warm/Fuzzy Factor: 2.5
Yuís Cry Factor: 1.5
Elena and Drake are the only couple from a Western game that is on the list. Maybe the Japanese are a more sensitive people. Hm.
Itís tough for me to tell you why I love the relationship between Drake and Elena. I think a lot of it comes down to the design decisions that Naughty Dog took with the Uncharted series. For those that havenít played an Uncharted game, itís basically like playing a super epic Indiana Jones movie. There is a heavy emphasis on character development and story telling. When creating cut scenes, the game designers decided to have the voice actors interact with each other and play out the scene, instead of just letting them talk to each other through headphones in separate sound-proof booths.
From a plot standpoint, what makes Drake and Elena so great? Once again, it goes back to the need for that perfect relationship. They have a chemistry together, made clear through the playful banter executed beautifully by actors Nolan North and Emily Rose. It also has that ďbad guy/good girlĒ dynamic. Iím not sure why we love this in story telling, but itís used all the time (See: Han Solo/Leia).
If it werenít for the story telling and great chemistry between the two actors, Elena and Drake would have been another run of the mill couple. However, the folks at Naughty Dog have figured out how to take video game storytelling to a new level, and that shows in Elena and Drake.
The greatest aw moment for the two lovebirds? The ending of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves when Elena asks Drake: SPOILERS FOR REALZ! ďSo on a scale of 1 to 10, how scared where you that I was going to die?Ē It was cute, funny and showed that the two were made for each other.
2) Yuna and Tidus Ė Final Fantasy X
So uh, we're drenched in water and you're wearing a white top...
Yuís Warm/Fuzzy Factor: 3
Yuís Cry Factor: OVER 9000!!!!!
Fine, Iíll admit it. I cried like a baby to the ending of Final Fantasy X. The whole game they develop a very strong and very powerful love for each other, only to end up losing everything to the call of duty.
Yuna and Tidus are forced to give up their love to save the world. Tidus is forced to give up his existence in the world as well. He doesnít just die. He dissipates into NOTHINGNESS. Itís a tough decision, but one that has been explored before in countless other stories. What made this one so powerful?
The way the ending was presented was poetic and really brought home the feeling of sacrifice. They donít get to hold each other one last time. They are denied even that right. As Yuna approaches the podium to address the millions of people she saved, she remembers everything about the one she lost. In the end, she knows that even though Tidus is gone, his legacy has changed her life, as well as the lives of everyone on the planet of Spira.
1) Fei and Elly Ė Xenogears
Sorry, this was the best I could find. Just pretend the tarot card crap isn't there.
Yuís Warm/Fuzzy Factor: Over 9000!
Yuís Cry Factor: 2
Based off the Warm/Fuzzy and Cry Factor criteria, you may be asking, ďWhy does the pairing of Fei and Elly take the top spot over Yuna and Tidus?Ē The answer is simple:
Because Iím a nostalgic fanboy.
Itís been a couple of years since Iíve played Xenogears, so if I mess up the story I apologize. The story is so crazy and balls to the wall insane, if you call me out on a mistake, I can only assume you have either the IQ of a Mensa Member or way too much time on your hands.
The reason Fei and Elly are awesome is this: their love has lasted across multiple lifetimes. They are constantly reincarnated throughout time and they fall in love every time theyíre born. However, in every single time period, Elly ends up sacrificing herself to save Fei. In Xenogears they finally break that cycle and get to spend their days getting old and having children. Theyíve waited over at least three lifetimes for that to happen!
Overall, Xenogears also has a much more mature storyline than most of the other games on this list. Thereís sex, blood, murder and all other kinds of juicy goodness. A more mature storyline allows Fei and Elly to be more realistic and realized as their characters develop throughout the course of the game.
What can I say? I love happy endings.
Also, donít ask me why Rinoa and Squall arenít on this list. I didnít want Final Fantasy to dominate the entire list! I also hate Squall cause heís an emo kid for 75 percent of the game.