The approach of Valentine’s Day has many in search of things that will give them those warm fuzzy feelings inside. Whether it’s a romantic movie, a special date night or just a pint of ice cream endorphins are sent to your brain and you get that comforting warm feeling down in your stomach. As storytelling in video games has evolved so have the virtual romances. Many RPG’s (role playing games) have romantic subplots a player can explore which will create just as many happy butterflies in your stomach or bittersweet tears as a beloved romance novel.
This February Examiner takes a look at some of the most emotion inducing romances in video games. There are a lot of iconic video game couples out there but the ones that really stick with players are the ones which they chose for themselves. No matter how deep the story having agency as a player to choose your love interest can mean more than the trials you’ve been through. More modern RPG’s and dating simulator games do just that letting the player choose their love interest and how they approach things from courting to official status, sometimes even marriage.
Video game relationships of course aren’t a substitute for the real thing. Nor do they often simulate a very realistic sort of romantic relationship. However, video game romances can pull on our heart strings and does a pretty good job of making us feel those warm fuzzy feelings we’re all looking for.
Check out this slideshow of some RPG video games ( in no particular order) with romantic interests that can make you feel all the feels.
Bioware is the first video game creator to come to mind when you mention in game romances. That's because many of their games include interactive romances and compared to most games they do it very well. The "Mass Effect" series offers romantic entanglements in all three of it's games spanning different races and genders. Some relationship choices may be more rewarding than others but many a player has cursed themselves for saying the wrong thing to a potential lover and felt elation after patching things up with them. Not to mention the myriad of other emotion inducing options you have in these games not just with love interests but friends and crew members.
Say what you like about the "Fable" series but the third installment in the game set out to emulate romantic love in it's adventure questing game and for many players it did. Whether romancing another player character or an attractive NPC "Fable III" could make your heart beat quicken if even just a little. Sharing gifts, skills and eventually the bond of marriage had a satisfying relationship feel compared to it's predecessors.
Another Bioware RPG the "Dragon Age" series let players find romance amidst a rich fantasy adventure. Romance is a recurring theme in the franchise and a memorable aspect of the game for some players. "Dragon Age Origins" controversially introduced a male and female character each of witch is woo-able by player characters of both genders. Male or Female, Elf or Human the conversations you'll have with any of the NPC's are just as memorable as your flirtations.
"Love Plus" is a dating simulation game from Konami and is extremely popular in Japan. The game has a few editions including a version for the Nintendo DS and allows players to court one of three high school girls. Rinko, an angsty music loving freshman, seems to be the favorite but all the girls have their merits. The game cuts to the quick limiting your options and choices, not bothering with much else than building up your relationships with these three girls. Some think the phenomenon is sexist and strange. Others however find the game a great way to build up your skills and confidence in the dating scene. You can only play as a high school boy and can only romance one of the three available female schoolmates but the game does create that "in-a-relationship" feeling allowing you to give gifts, pay compliments and even get a hug or kiss from your significant other.
"Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic" is a well loved RPG. The original game was created by Bioware so it's no surprise that there are some romantic interactions woven into the conversation options. In both games you can have your character romance an NPC from a small selection of characters. Your quixotic decisions don't influence the story much and your relationship doesn't go that far either but it's fun and likely to make your heart flutter a little in the process.
"The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim" is known for it's beautiful expansive world that lets the player develop and adventure as they choose. In this Elder Scrolls game you can also get married to an NPC of any race or gender if you play your cards right. The interpersonal actions between the player and their love interests may not be the most enthralling but it is nice to have someone to come home to after all that questing.