Valentine hearts: ten of the best video game couples
Valentine's Day. It's a day of cherubs, chocolates, and vases full of long-stem roses — and for many people, expressions of bitterness and proud declarations of their single status. Whether you have someone to share Valentine's Day with this year or you're choo-choo-choosing (any Simpsons fans out there?) to stay at home and play Twisted Metal (and really, who could blame you?), we can all live vicariously through these ten awesome video game couples and inseparable duos.
Garcia Hotspur and Paula
Not many men would take on the entire underworld to rescue their kidnapped girlfriends, but Garcia F****** Hotspur is one such hombre. Armed with the wise-cracking Johnson, Garcia books a trip to hell, knowing full well it could be a one-way ticket. If demons aren't the stuff of nightmares, crazed girlfriends who chase you through swamps in full-body lingerie definitely are. If this couple can survive hell beasts and torture, then that's a love worth dying for.
Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers
When you're a nerd, you're a nerd like every other Nintendo fanboy and Dungeons and Dragons master out there. When you're a nerd who meets an amazing girl who dyes her hair every color of the rainbow and who inspires you to challenge her seven evil exes for dating rights, then you're a nerd with the power of awesome. Scott Pilgrim, an ordinary guy who bums around without a job and laments his last break-up, meets the girl of his dreams and starts to put his life back together. Scott and Ramona might not be a perfect match, but they're a couple who bring out the best in one another — and that's worth a little recognition.
Jesse and James
Pokemon is too PG to ever disclose whether Jesse and James are more than just partners in crime (although it's fair to seriously question James' sexual orientation, if the nineties' cartoon is any indication), but no one can doubt they're a rock-star criminal duo, admirable in their refusal to back down — even with their outstanding record of failure. When two people are as passionate as they are about one thing (capturing Pikachu), they're stuck together for life. Meowth, that's right! (Sorry.)
Leon and Ashley (and Hunnigan?)
Okay, we're joking here. A lot. God forbid these two rode off into the sunset (yes, that happened) and actually went on a date. Where would that leave poor Hunnigan? Either way, there's something to be said about the value of commitment when two people are willing to endure hordes of insane villagers shouting filthy curses (no love for Americans, big surprise), the mental taunting of repulsive midgets, and the gutter-minded advances of Spanishmen. Even more commendable is Leon's willingness to deal with Ashley's constant whining and his incredible ability to hoist her big butt onto high ledges. Don't even get me started on that eighty-pound suit of armor she wears.
Bayonetta and Luka
Who wouldn't fall in love with Bayonetta's beauty, fashion sense, physical prowess, and British wit? She can bend in ways that would make your eyes boggle, but she's also an inspiration to women everywhere. No wonder Luka ends up changing his tune about her, and it's not because they're brought together by an adorable little girl with glasses (oh, boy, I wonder who that could be). Bayonetta and Luka prove that you can be from totally different dimensions and still strike sparks. Opposites can attract.
Meat Boy and Bandage Girl
The damsel in distress routine has been done countless times before, but when heroes like Mario pursue their kidnapped princesses, they don't have to watch their failures on loop. Meat Boy happily throws himself against buzz saws and walls (that's gotta bruise) all for his beloved Bandage Girl, and when he's finally successful, every Meat Boy who tried can be seen racing across the screen. It's nice, too, that Bandage Girl shares the same affection — their roles switch in the "Cotton Alley" chapter.
Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher
Everyone likes Drake, but if you're willing to give her a little time, Elena Fisher can surprise you. Naughty Dog's close attention to quality storytelling gives gamers a real chance to get to know these two lovebirds and root them on through one adventure after another. Unlike some, they experience their fair share of romantic tension and relationship problems, and those ups and downs make them one of the more believable couples in video games. I'll take that over the mushiness of Mario and Princess Peach any day.
Tidus and Yuna
Many games give you a choice of which girl or guy you care to fancy — from Harvest Moon and Dragon Quest V to recent releases like Skyrim. Most people aren't interested in marriages they can't arrange themselves, but when your romance is just as breathtaking as the adventure you're on, then that's a different story. The love between Tidus and Yuna in Final Fantasy X was so emotionally gripping that Square Enix continued the tale in FFX-2. It wasn't a terrible game, but it was a terrible decision that at least shows how memorable the romance was — when companies have a really good thing on their hands, they just can't leave it alone, even when they should. Few other games have come close to this kind of romantic depth between characters.
Solid Snake and Meryl Silverburgh
What could be more romantic than nuclear warheads and mind control? Snake and Meryl don't exactly get their happy ending, but they're an interesting couple because of it. Their love survives countless scrapes with death, and Meryl even marries someone else as Snake chooses a soldier's duty over a relationship. Regardless of their differences, they always manage to save each other, and their love persists through the changing years. It takes courage for a couple to part ways and give priority to something more important than themselves: patriotism.
Link and Zelda
Unlike the one-dimensional Mario and Peach, Link and Zelda are brought together by friendship and destiny, rather than merely the obligation to protect and serve royalty. Zelda is just as strong and capable as Link is, even if she does fit in the captured princess role. These characters have survived decades, setting personal feelings aside to fulfill their roles within the kingdom and maintain peace in the land. Their relationship has undoubtedly inspired countless other couples in video games.