Video games have always been an immersive experience. Whether it’s the world, the characters, or the story, there’s always something to love. Often, the writers will create romances that will make players weak at the knees or tug at their heartstrings. Whether it’s the player’s choice or part of the story, these relationships are just a few of iconic romances in video game history. Some are recent and some have been around for a long time. No matter the age, the impact they have on players will be remembered for a long time.
10. John and Abigail Marston (Red Dead Redemption)
Even though Abigail is rarely seen in Red Dead Redemption, the way that John talks about her is so romantic, especially considering it takes place in the Wild West. Fidelity is a rare trait for a cowboy to have, but John happily abides by it when he gives up his outlaw status for a more homely life. And when he sets out to rescue his family from the feds, he is never distracted by the lovely ladies of the night he comes across.
When he is eventually reunited with his family, he goes back to living happily on the ranch, until his unfortunate demise at the end of the game. While their romance may have ended tragically, it’s hard to deny that their love was real.
9. Joker and Makoto (Persona 5)
Trying to decide which of Persona ’s female protagonists is the “best girl” is the Sophie’s Choice of gaming in this decade. Every girl has her own quirks that can make or break a decision to be in a relationship with them. Persona 5’s main girls quickly made their way to nerdy stardom (arguably more so than previous Persona protagonists) and with the fame came the never-ending waifu war. But, really, Makoto’s the best.
While the main protagonist, Joker, can technically date anyone, his relationship with Makoto feels more natural than the rest. If we think in terms of traditional romance cliches, their relationship just works. Smartest girl in school sneers at the delinquent boy until she realizes his true intentions. Then, they have to face against her older sister who means to destroy their entire operation. Is there a bigger Tsundere trope than that?
8. Tidus and Yuna (Final Fantasy X)
The lost boy who gets transported to another world and the shy priestess who just wants good in the world. Tidus and Yuna are frequently thought of as one of the best couples in the Final Fantasy franchise. Their casual flirting and sexual tension is off the charts, and when they finally kiss, it’s magical. Their kissing scene is one of the most memorable scenes in the game as the trees light up with magical orbs and illuminate the scene. Unfortunately, that happiness ends at the game when Tidus gets sent back to his own world. Seeing Yuna’s face as she struggles to cope made playing that game feel like a waste of time.
But we’ll always have the memory of their laughter in our hearts.
7. Kairi and Sora (Kingdom Hearts)
Kingdom Hearts has one of the best examples of young love. Sora has literally traveled through different worlds and fought different villains to save Kairi, one of his best friends. No matter how long they’ve been separated, they still seem to find each other (even if it’s through their Nobodies). When Sora turned into a heartless, it was Kairi’s heart that saved him and brought him back to his normal self, and despite the fact that it makes no sense narratively, it makes so much sense emotionally, setting a president for the most engaging moments in the series. And when Kairi was held hostage by Organization XIII, Sora saved her with the help of his friends. No matter what kind of trouble happens, they will always find a way to save each other. Because of that dedication, they deserve to split the paopu fruit together.
6. Geralt and Triss (The Witcher)
Andrzej Sapkowski skyrocketed to fame when his fantasy series, The Witcher was adapted into a video game series. His characters have become icons in the fantasy genre alongside the likes of Game of Thrones. Geralt of Rivia is a cold individual who spends his free time fighting beasts and women off of him. Triss is a sorceress who takes care of Geralt when his he loses his memory. While there are a couple of options, romance-wise (including spending time with prostitutes), Triss Merigold was always the perfect compliment to Geralt. Her spunky, optimistic attitude contrasts his wild and cold personality, but she was able to make him look at the world differently. Also, their bathhouse sex scene ranks as one of the top love scenes in video games, so that’s another reason why they’re so perfect.
5. Commander Shepard and Everybody (Mass Effect)
Bioware knows how to make a compelling series. Storyline aside, the character of Commander Shepard can go so many ways with the different paths that the player is given. The romance options are all so different and fun that it’s impossible to choose one person overall. Kaidan is sensitive, Garrus is badass, and Tali is just adorable. Those are just some of the options that Shepard has to romance. And it’s fun seeing the different types of scenes and dialogue that come out of choosing different people. Just as long as you don’t choose Jacob, you’re good.
4. Nathan Drake and Elena (Uncharted)
Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and Elena are certainly one of the more realistic couples in gaming. Even though they have broken up in every game, there’s a force that keeps bringing them together. Even though she may not be an explorer, Elena is by no means a damsel in distress; she has saved Nathan’s ass far more times than he deserves, and has held her own against many villains. On top of that, her inquisitive eye has helped solve one of Nathan’s riddles now and then.
But what really sells Nathan and Elena as a realistic couple is their genuine comfort between each other. Even in the most dangerous situations, they still manage to engage in playful banter or cheesy sentimentality. One of the best scenes is in Uncharted 4, where Elena and Nathan are enjoying married life, and just playing Crash Bandicoot together, with Nathan clearly never having played a video game in his life. Leave it to Naughty Dog to create complex relationships that are allowed to develop over four games.
3. Lavellan and Solas (Dragon Age Inquisition)
If Dragon Age: Inquisition was ever turned into a film, Solas and Lavellan’s romance would most likely be the one used. It felt like the most natural out of the other romances offered. However, Their relationship is not a happy one. The biggest twist in the game is that Solas was not exactly one of the good guys and had his own selfish motivations in mind. At the end of the game, he leaves without a trace, leaving Lavellan heartbroken. But even with that sad conclusion, you can tell that Solas’ love was real.
He took off Lavellan’s elven “slave” markings and was worried about her drinking from Well of Sorrows. Players were frustrated when they seemingly didn’t get any closure at the end, but the last DLC, Trespasser made us even sadder. Lavellan comes across him and there is genuine sadness on his face. He’s so understanding of her anger towards him and accepts any hatred she may have. That doesn’t stop him from kissing her while healing her arm. If and when “Dragon Age 4” gets made, I can only hope that this story continues. Even though Bioware has a tradition with starting with new characters in this franchise, there’s no reason why they can’t continue with Lavellan’s story. If Mass Effect can do it, so can they.
2. Link and Zelda (The Legend of Zelda)
These two go back to the 1980’s when Link was saving Zelda in 8-bit form. The games have had such an impact on the video game community that anyone can say “Link and Zelda” and people will know who they’re talking about. Their relationship has developed through the years and they’ve gone from close allies to potential love interests. In “Skyward Sword”, the potential romance is more obvious than in any other game. Link and Zelda have been friends forever and there’s enough chemistry and set-up to insinuate that they get together in the future. Regardless of what their relationship is, it’s always beautiful to look at.
1. Mario and Peach (Super Mario)
Mario and Peach are the quintessential couple in video games. The story between them has usually been the same. Mario has to go on an adventure and save Peach from Bowser, the primary antagonist. Unlike other relationships, Mario and Peach haven’t really evolved through the years. It’s simple and focuses on cute rescue stories that you know will always have a happy ending. But the “damsel in distress” role isn’t the only thing that’s iconic about Mario and Peach. Their relationship is also about social prejudice and how people can fall in love with each other no matter what their social class is. How’s that for deep lore analysis!
Trope filled romance? Yes. Classic? Of course! And Peach makes cake to celebrate, by the way. Cakes are in right now.