Single? Spending Valentine's Day alone? Grumbling to anyone who'll listen that it's a wholly commercial date driven only by the greed of greetings card manufacturers? Then let me plunge you deeper into misery with this special Valentines Day edition of Gaming's Beautiful People. Ably assisted by Prettyscale.com's photo evaluation app, I'll be assessing the attractiveness of various gaming couples. And occasionally casting scorn upon them when I realise their happiness outweighs my own. So alone. So without further ado, and in no particular order...
Couple #1 - Mario and Princess Peach (Super Mario Bros)
One of gaming's longest standing couples, Princess Peach has been Mario's plumbing paramour ever since 1985 when she first appeared in Super Mario Bros. Strangely, Mario's previous girlfriend Pauline mysteriously disappeared after he rescued her from a giant gorilla in Donkey Kong. But Peach is content not to ever bring that up, nor to ask what's buried beneath that new concrete floor Mario put in. Sadly, while their love can overcome the frequent 'kidnappings' that Peach undergoes, it can't conquer Prettyscale's rating system which places them both at the lower end of the prettiness scale.
Couple #2 - Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley (Monkey Island)
Mario and Peach's ongoing love affair proves that a relationship can survive kidnappings, mystical banishements and all manner or ridiculously contrived occurences. And this couple is no different - they things official when everyone's favourite pirate bent down on one knee and asked their frequently beleagued barely competent counterpart for their hand in marriage. Luckily Guybrush accepted and the rest is history. They're also surprisingly evenly matched in terms of attractiveness, although I don't know what Prettyscale would have made of Guybrush's subsequent goatee.
Couple #3 -Max and Chloe (Life Is Strange)
While they may not have technically been a couple throughout the game, Max and Chloe have certainly been heavily 'shipped as a much sought-after pairing. And given that one of the game's scenes has them sharing a long and passionate kiss, that's enough for me to shoehorn them in here. Could it be that Max's shyness perfectly compliments the sassiness of her blue-haired partner, punching slightly above her weight? It could well be - though it's just as possible that Max has been using her time-rewinding power to brainwash her way into Chloe's affections. Think about that the next time you're uploading your Maxfield fan fic to Deviantart.
Couple #4 - Royal Guard #1 and Royal Guard #2 (Undertale)
A love born of trying to murder a small child, Royal Guard #1 and Royal Guard #2 may not be the prettiest couple in the world, but at least they have found each other. Unless you murdered them, in which case you are a terrible, terrible person. That said, I'm not sure quite how long a relationship built around sweaty pecs and ice-cream can last, but if it doesn't work out, at least they don't have to work together .. .. oh, wait...
Couple #5 - Miles Edgeworth and Wendy Oldbag (Ace Attorney)
While it has been suggested that there's a certain frisson between Miles Edgeworth and his defense-bench counterpart Phoenix Wight, Wendy Oldbag would beg to differ. And by beg, I mean threaten She has relentessly pursued Miles across several games and seeks to make him her own. Of course, Miles may not agree but Wendy seems so relentless that nothing will stop her in her menopause-driven quest. And if she can overlook Miles' wide face, tiny chin and narrow nose then maybe, just maybe, they have a chance. Isn't love wonderful?
Couple #6 - Cloud and Zombie Aeris (Final Fantasy 7 / Advent Children)
Aeris may have met a tragic demise in Final Fantasy 7, yet the CGI-animated movie Final Fantasy: Advent Children proved that love can conquer even death. In a surprise twist, she arose from the grave to persue the object of her affections, drawn no doubt to his friendly demeanour and upbeat attitude to life. Sadly, it was not to be when, in a climactic scene, she ripped Cloud's throat out and feasted upon his still-warm entrails. If there's one lesson we can learn from this it's that you should never buy Phoenix Down potions from discount stores.
Couple #7 - Chris and Laura (Thomas Was Alone)
Prettyscale clearly can't see the inherent beauty in the relationship between two faceless blocks. But Chris's small chin perfectly counterbalances Laura's massive jutting jaw, making them a perfect match. Or to put it another way, it's Sexy Tetris Time. On an unrelated note, if you're planning on starting a rock band, feel free to call it Bad Face Symmetry, just as long as I get royalties.
Couple #8 - Chell and the Companion Cube (Portal)
Our final Beautiful Gaming Couple (TM) features the unlikely coupling of unwilling test subject and inanimate object. While this pairing may seem strange at first, it serves as a touching reminder that love can cross all boundaries, a beautiful beacon in a sometimes bleak world. No, scratch that - she's murdered him. The monster.
And that brings to an end our sojourn into the world of romance, flowers, kittens and resentment. Next time, in the fifth and possibly final entry in this series, I'll be exploiting one of Prettyscale's other features to make a whole range of videogame characters feel worse about themselves. Till then, have a happy Valentine's Day Massacre.