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My favourite video game couplesWed, 14th February 2018
It's Valentine's Day, and to celebrate, I thought I'd make a list of my favourite video game couples.
#5. Cloud and Aeris, Final Fantasy VII
The little flower girl was essentially the first character that players were introduced to when starting up Final Fantasy 7. Aeris' personally is one of a very playful and caring nature, one that Clouds responds well to. It involved plenty of flirting and affection, one which can (depending on the player's actions) result in the two embarking on a date together once they reach the Golden Saucer. What was most interesting was the way in which players responded to Aeris. It's probably not a lie to say that gamers were more in love with Aeris than Cloud. This became very evident due to the outpouring of emotion upon Aeris' death midway through the game. Aeris in this respect is a very important character, as it showed that gamers have feelings and emotions, and could become very close to those on screen. In a way, Cloud and Aeris as a couple is really more about the player and Aeris, with Cloud acting as the conduit.
#4. Tidus and Yuna, Final Fantasy X
Another Final Fantasy romance, but one that was handled a lot more organically (and maturely) than those that had come before it. Initially without much care for Yuna, Tidus sees the summoner as a way for him to return home; her sacrifice will destroy the monster Sin and allow him to return to his own time. However, as the game goes on, the two begin to develop feelings for one another, with Tidus becoming distraught when he learns that Yuna will have to sacrifice herself in order to defeat the monster. This changes everything for Tidus, who, out of his love for the summoner, chooses to sacrifice himself in order to save Yuna and everyone else. The final scene left a good number of gamers with a tear in their eye.
#3. James and Maria, Silent Hill 2
"I'm here for you, James. See? I'm real."
To say that James and Maria had a strange relationship in Silent Hill 2 would be a tremendous understatement. In the base game, it's never quite made clear exactly who or what Maria is: a manifestation, a ghost, or some other entity unique to the creepy town. What is made clear is James' affections for the woman. Looking just like Mary, his deceased wife (albeit, a sexed-up version of her), James is instantly drawn towards her. For the most part, she reciprocates, teasing and flirting with him, as well as offering him help and advice. She is prone to mood swings, however, ones that James comes to tolerate and just expect from her. Things soon become creepy when Maria begins to take on Mary's personality and mannerisms; a classic scene in the game involves Maria speaking to James from behind the bars of a prison cell, asking what's wrong with him, and why he is behaving so strange. The conversation culminates with Maria asking him if he thinks the video tape the pair made together is still in the hotel they stayed at in Silent Hill, and telling him firmly that she is not his Mary. At the very end of the game, the James ends up battling and killing Maria, picking Mary over this strange entity. Unless, of course, through various actions, the player has chosen to side with Maria instead of Mary, finding her a more fitting companion than his ex-wife (incidentally one of my favourite video game endings).
#2. Nathan and Elena, Uncharted series
Of all those on the list, Nathan and Elena are probably the most realistic couple. All their interactions feel natural and their relationship experiences a number of peaks and troughs during the course of the four games. It was quite a surprise for me to learn that in Drake's Deception (the third game in the series) that, after having married at the end of the previous game, the two were now separated; Drake's lust for adventure and unwillingness to settle down put too much of a strain on their relationship, and so they split. They are subsequently seen back together again in the fourth outing, and living a happy life together, at a much slower pace. Drake continues testing Elena's patience with him, however, and in one memorable sequence she catches him having deceived her, lying about going on a salvage job when instead he was returning to his life of treasure hunting. They eventually make up with one another after a series of 'good talks'. It is moments like these that mark them out to be a very well realised couple.
#1. Max and Chloe, Life is Strange
If ever there were two people in a video game that were absolutely perfect for each other, it is Max and Chloe, from Life is Strange. What marks them as a great couple is how they are willing to do anything for one another, move the Earth, if need be. Their personalities also compliment each other very well. Max is quite shy, something of a geek, and a little lacking in confidence. Chloe is the opposite: a confident, badass punk girl; a go-getter, who is driven to succeed. She is always encouraging towards Max, and helps to draw her out of her shell. At the same time, Chloe can be a bit of a wildchild, and it is good that Max is there to calm her down from time to time. It becomes clear early on in the game that Chloe has very strong feelings for Max, feelings that go far beyond mere friendship. Naturally, it is up to the player how they respond to all of Chloe come-ons, but to me, it's obvious that the two are meant for one another. Which makes the whole thing all the more tragic. Better to have loved and lost, than not at all.