Videogames are an art form. There is no denying that. Games have the capability to stir emotions just as much, if not more so, than movies, books and music. Games can do it all. Awesome music, stylish graphics, and the ability to connect people and tell stories that no other form of media can replicate. However, there has been one thing that even the greatest films and novels cannot overcome: intercourse.
See, relationships aren't a problem (except most games from Japan). You talk to someone else, fall in love with them, get the ending with them. Success, right? However, that's the core problem; it's normally way too obvious for the main character, you, to hitch it with someone. Just agree with them and do what they want. Basically, since you agree with them, they think that you are in love with them, and they fall in love with you.
Relationships in games aren't necessarily easy to make, but a connection
is next to impossible. I can only list two games where I felt like I would do anything for someone, and it wasn't even based on love. Those games are ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.
Certainly, the main characters were in love with the girls they were trying to save, but how do we know that? It's never stated, barely implied and doesn't even matter gameplay wise for at least most of the game. Want to know why I wanted to help them? Because they never spoke of the relationship.
You can see how Ico and Yorda may be in love with one another only by their actions. Ico saw the girl in his dreams and rescued her. Yorda, helpless as she is, is the only way for Ico to get through the doors blocking his path out of the castle. He guides her through the entire castle with nary a word except to call her to his side. That's why this relationship works. Actions speak louder than words.
Shadow of the Colossus is a far better example. The main character wants to save a girl, and the only way for him to accomplish this task is by defeating 16 colossi. Gigantic creatures that could stomp him easily, he did not stop, even if he knew these creatures did nothing to him. Three things make this relationship stand out.
1. The language is impossible to understand, much like in ICO. You rely on the subtitles to tell you what they are saying, but because they cannot be understood, you have to fill in the blanks yourself as to what they may be thinking.
2. The girl could be anyone. His mother? His daughter? His girlfriend? His sister? Why does it matter? It's because we know nothing that we fill in the blanks. Since she could be anyone, we feel as if this love is so powerful that it does not matter who she is, only that he wants her to live.
3. The colossi themselves. The main character fights these beasts, becomes visibly weaker as the game goes on, and never questions himself or his goals. He never thinks "killing these innocent creatures isn't worth it." Not once. Love may be blind, but it doesn't change the fact that he did this all for her.
One of the issues may be the fact that a lot of games are getting levels and experience points for doing stuff. Like in Persona 3/4 or Harvest Moon, how someone loves you is only determined by how many hearts/exp you have with them. It makes the relationship seem one-sided, like they're a weapon or a quest, and you're just trying to complete it. Hell, even Bioware does it, and they're considered some of the best RPG makers out their.
One thing that needs a quick mention before I wrap this up is sex scenes. They're, at the moment, horrid. Heavy Rain's was poorly inserted (hurr hurr) into the plot, Bioware's is creepy, and God of War's is almost a joke. The biggest problem is that it's like having sex, except you're watching someone else having sex instead of you. That is a disturbing feeling. Because the main character is supposed to represent you, the player, the relationship goes how you choose. However, you can't partake in the fruits of your labor. Lots of buildup, no rewards.
In summary, relationships in games can work. Sex, on the other hand, needs to be discreet. Otherwise, we get kissing/making out/uncanny valley levels of creepy, and that causes nightmares.
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