Video game relationships can be really cool. They can also just be plain bizarre.
In any game where player choice or character choice is important, there’s a certain desire to live out the fantasy of a romantic relationship. Especially in a scenario very different from your real life, you wish to make comparisons. That’s why most games fitting this type involve some sort of romantic encounter.
This can be done very well, and this can be done very poorly. The 5 on this list fall somewhere in the middle. These are the five strangest in-game relationships that fail to explain themselves, while remaining pleasant to play.
1. Anna and Artyom, Metro Last Light
We start off the relationship with a flurry of insults, Anna referring to you as ‘little rabbit’, and then you get captured by Nazis. A few days later you make it to the church where you fight off a giant shrimp. She gives you a great big hug soon as you enter.
This touching encounter is soon interrupted of course. You have to go through mutant infested tunnels to rescue her. The end of which results in both your masks being broken and you end up in hospital together.
So, with a grand total of less than an hour together over the course of less than a week, she’s suddenly whispering ‘touch me’, and on board with having your kid.
2. Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance, Half Life 2, and Episodes 1,2, and oh wait…
You playing ‘The One Free Man’, a voiceless protagonist, are met early on by the daughter of your former supervisor. By the end of Episode 1, it’s obvious that under any other circumstances she’d be all over you like cheese on macaroni. This is despite you never saying a word the entire time you’ve known each other. And your obsession with carrying a garden gnome for hours on end. Only to place it on a rocket a few minutes before you have to go to Siberia. Or wherever Valve didn’t feel like making a game…
3. Anyone and Everyone, The Sims
Those of us who wanted to play out our childhood fantasy of owning a house and having friends will be delighted to hear that all it takes is some cheating and gibberish. But perhaps the most baffling thing is how romantic relationships form and evolve.
Drag your sims into the same room, and force them to talk to each other over and over for a few minutes. Next thing, they’re dancing around to the silence of an empty kitchen. Because you spent all your money in the bedroom. Talk some more and you’ve got them giggling in gibberish under the covers. If the circumstances are right, you can even end up with a baby when they’re done. No wonder they had to expand the scope of the game for Sims 3 and 4…
4. Commander Shepard and Half the Crew, Mass Effect
Depending how you play, over the course of 3 games you can have between zero and seven potential sweethearts. Though before the end of each game, if you have more than one, the game forces you to choose one or none.
So potentially you could have Liara or Ashley/Kaiden in ME1, then Jack or Tali, in ME2. Then flirt with both Tali and Liara in ME3, only to have to choose one by the end of the game. That’s not to mention the side action you can get with Yeoman Chambers in ME2, and the ride-along reporter Diana Allers in ME3.
5: Sole Survivor and a bunch of Randoms you meet whilst wandering around, Fallout 4
Each possible relationship, out of context, is as normal as any real life relationship involving the same types of people. Put it in context though, and it starts to get weird.
You are the Sole Survivor. You exit the Vault having, just a few minutes earlier, watched your spouse shot and your baby kidnapped. Within an hour of in-game time you can meet your first potential love interest/task master, Preston Garvey. A man who will follow (drag) you around all over the map in a matter of days. In this time you can rebuild the whole Commonwealth and restore order to the wastes. Except when all your new colonies keep getting attacked and need YOU to go help Fort Starlight fend off a few mole rats…
Anyway, it only gets weirder, because once you’ve successfully seduced Preston you can cut him loose. Then you go on to The Reporter, the Bodyguard, the Ghoul, the Addict, The Synth, the Other Synth, the Maybe a Synth, the Robot who becomes a Synth… Once you’ve seduced them all you can have them all converge on one of your settlements.
Somehow they all get along just fine. It’s as though there’s nothing odd about the situation at all. As though they don’t have lives of their own to go back to. And of course everyone’s completely forgotten that at one point you were looking for someone…
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