Six Relationship Problems You Won't See Outside of Video Games
I’m sure you’ll all agree with me when I say that romantic relationships are hard. There’s so much that can go wrong when you open yourself up to another person: maybe you don’t talk enough. Maybe you take your partner for granted, or you don’t set boundaries, or maybe you’re just terrible at communicating. One way or another, your character flaws will become roadblocks in your relationship.
Sometimes, you might even get to the point where you wonder why you bother.
Be thankful that you’re living in the real world, and not a video game. There’s a whole laundry list of relationship troubles in the world of gaming that the average human being will never genuinely have to worry about. Let’s keep to the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and see if we can’t make your romantic woes seem a little smaller by comparison.
She Keeps Getting Kidnapped
Notable In: The Mario Franchise
Things are great between the two of you, but there’s one small problem…somehow, it seems like she inevitably ends up falling into the hands of the villain (or a villain; she might end up kidnapped by a different foe every week). What’s a hero to do?
It’s a tradition most firmly established by Nintendo, but they’re hardly the only ones who do it: the protagonist’s significant other ends up kidnapped by the big bad, and only he can get her back. This is pretty much Tuesday for Mario, who appears to have to jump to Princess Peach’s rescue at least once a week. With the Mario franchise, it’s more of an amusing tradition that Bowser kidnaps the red-clad plumber’s main squeeze; in other games, it’s simply a means by which the writer provides motivation for a big, tough, manly hero.
Supernatural forces conspire against you
Notable In: God Of War
The two of you are madly in love. Maybe you’ve even managed to create a life for yourself, complete with kids and a dream home. Unfortunately, someone (or something) really doesn’t want you two to be together, and they’ve got the means to ensure you can’t be. While it’s quite possible to weather through sabotage visited upon you by another human being, it’s quite another to stand up to a god.
Take Kratos, for example. Earlier in his life, he was pretty much the perfect Spartan soldier, and a loyal servant of Ares, the God of War. Then, for a reason that’s far from adequate, Ares tricks Kratos into killing his own wife and daughter, believing his love for them makes him weak and that their death would turn him into the perfect warrior.
It did…the only problem was that said warrior decided to go on a jolly romp through Olympus, slaughtering every god he could find.
One of you is cursed / has to die
Notable In: Shadow of the Colossus
This is probably one of the only entries on this list with a real-world analogue. I’ve never been with anyone who was terminally ill, nor have I ever dealt with such an illness myself. Having lost my mother to a genetic condition, however...it’s not something I’d wish on anyone. To be honest, I’d almost argue that the whole ‘cursed destiny’ trope of gaming is preferable to illness.
At least curses can be lifted, right?
Anyway, the most noteworthy example of this trope is Shadow of the Colossus. The plot of the game revolves – at least tangentially – around female lead Mono’s cursed destiny, for which she was sacrificed. As Wander, you spend the whole game in the service of Dormin, an entity which claims it’s capable of bringing her back. Dormin eventually makes good on its promise…but the events lead directly to Wander’s death, possibly (and ironically) realizing Mono’s cursed desting in the process.
You’re of different races (literally)
Notable In: Mass Effect
Depending on where you’re from, it can be pretty difficult to date someone who’s of a different ethnicity than you. You can be thankful that they’re at least of the same race, though: many of Mass Effect’s romance options, for example, are aliens. The game touches at least briefly on the challenges which would be encountered in such relationships, which include, but are not limited to:
- Different body physiology
- Different immune systems
- Little to no possibility of children
- Difficulty with physical intimacy
- Different digestive processes
Depending on whom Shepard romances, Joker might actually have it easier– and he’s dating a robot.
You’re too busy fighting evil for much “couples” time
Notable In: 90% Of Games Which Feature Romance Options
It’s always somewhat impressed me how many video game couples actually manage to form a spark while everyone’s fighting for their lives against the coming apocalypse/the evil overlord’s armies/the villain of the week. I suppose, on some level, co-operation on the battlefield could lead to greater intimacy. At the same time though…none of these people have a relationship which could be called even remotely normal.
While some couples might enjoy the added excitement of the lifestyle most video game protagonists lead, most people would probably find their relationship strained to the breaking point – if they even had time for one in the first place.
One of you is working with / for the antagonist (or is the antagonist)
Notable In: League of Legends
The two of you would make a perfect couple, save for one small detail…you’re on completely opposite sides. One of you is a shining hero, destined to save the world. The other is either a cleverly-placed turncoat, or the very villain the hero needs to bring down. Take Garen and Katarina from League of Legends, for example: it’s blindingly obvious they’ve got a thing for each other, but because they both hail from different factions, it’s not terribly likely anything’s going to come of it.
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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