Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’re spending it with a significant other, I congratulate you. If not, well, as these 9 games show us, it could definitely be worse.
9. Lollipop Chainsaw ♥ Juliet Starling x Nick Carlyle
Lollipop Chainsaw is a classic love story between a cheerleader named Juliet, and her athlete boyfriend Nick. Wait, I meant to say, the classic love story between a cheerleader and her athlete boyfriend’s severed head.
In order to prevent the effects of a zombie virus from spreading, Juliet cuts off her boyfriend’s head, and proceeds to wear it on her belt. If that’s not immediately a little weird to you, please proceed directly to your nearest police station.
And make no mistake, Nick is totally alive throughout this (and generally not very thrilled that he’s been reduced to a talking fashion accessory). Despite his repeated requests to end his life, Juliet hangs on to her portable boyfriend, which actually turns out to be a good idea since he’s rewarded with a new body at the end of the game. Well, the body of a 70 year old man that is. Love conquers all I suppose.
8. Mass Effect 3 ♥ Joker x EDI
Romancing an alien? Fine. But you have to draw the line somewhere, and that line just might be robots. Sure EDI is sentient by some definitions, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still a hyper-advanced computer with no organic parts.
EDI having a conversation with Joker is about the same as you making baby-talk noises at a dog. It would be easier for her to crush his head between two fingers than to find common ground with a human. That’s really not a good start to a healthy relationship, and that’s completely ignoring the fact that Joker has basically fallen in love with a really smart appliance… albeit an appliance in a sexy, chrome body.
7. Bionic Commando ♥ Nathan Spencer x His Arm
Speaking of sexy chrome, the 2009 game Bionic Commando has the distinction of somehow managing to shoehorn in both a terrible romance and a plot twist in the exact same scene.
The setup is pretty simple: there’s a guy named Nathan whose wife has died, and he has a bionic arm (and I guess he’s a commando). There’s not a whole lot of room for clever writing there, but that didn’t stop the game from trying.
As it turns out, making bionic appendages work requires the use of a human catalyst, a person who is integrated into the device during the procedure. And in order for the bionics to successfully bond, the catalysts need to have an emotional and physical connection to the host. Can you see where this is going?
Yup, Nathan Spencer’s arm is his dead wife. That might be taking those “your hand is your girlfriend” jokes a little bit too literally.
6. Braid ♥ Tim x The Princess
Major spoilers for Braid incoming, so prepare yourselves accordingly. In Braid you play as a guy named Tim in a typical “damsel in distress” situation. Your lady-friend has been kidnapped by some evil knight, and it’s up to you to rescue her.
That is, until the end of the game. In one of the most brilliant video game twists I can think of (seriously, it’s a moment that needs to be played to be fully appreciated), it’s revealed that you weren’t actually the hero at all. Instead, you had been chasing the princess this entire time, and the knight you thought you were rescuing her from is the one doing the saving.
It’s a pretty twisted version of the classic Mario and Peach dynamic we all know, although that’s not to say that the Mario games don’t have a pretty messed up relationship as well…
5. Mario Series ♥ Bowser x Peach
Ah, gaming’s classic one-sided relationship between a princess and the loneliest turtle monster who ever lived. Some might say that Bowser’s habit of kidnapping Princess Peach doesn’t count as a “relationship,” but let’s be honest, it’s not like he’s ever asked for ransom money. And the game series’ spin-off titles basically all but confirm that Bowser has the hots for Peach, albeit in the form of completely unrequited feelings.
In Paper Mario, Bowser pens a diary entry expressing his hope that Peach will like him, and even tells his son Bowser Jr. that Peach is his mother. That of course turns out to be a lie, as Bowser is forced to admit in Super Mario Sunshine. Then in Super Paper Mario, the two actually get married (although it’s a total sham orchestrated by another villain). Unsurprisingly, Peach hates the situation, while Bowser takes every opportunity he can to call her his wife.
So, we have kidnapping, lying to his son, a phony marriage, and well, just Bowser being Bowser. One has to wonder if all of this “invading her kingdom” and “enslaving her people” stuff is just his version of pulling her pigtails on the playground.
4. Sonic the Hedgehog ♥ Sonic x Princess Elise
Look, I get that the modern interpretation of Sonic is supposed to be some dashing, roguish hero, saving the day with a wink and a smile. That being said, there’s still something fundamentally disturbing about seeing a four-foot tall cartoon hedgehog romancing a (comparatively) photo-realistic human girl.
Let’s also not forget the fact that she’s only 17 years old. I’m not sure how age of consent works in this fantasy world, but Sonic might be looking at some serious prison time. Although… Sonic in jail sounds like a way better idea than any of the games we’ve been getting recently.
3. Metal Gear Solid ♥ Otacon x Sniper Wolf
Do you think love can bloom on the battlefield? Sure Otacon, but you’re still not going to get anywhere with a sociopathic killer just because you fed her pets.
In Metal Gear Solid, a military base gets taken over by a band of terrorists. One of the hostages is Otacon, a scientist who’s being guarded by a mercenary named Sniper Wolf. Fun fact, girls named Sniper Wolf are seldom interested in romance.
Apparently curious to see just how far Stockholm syndrome can go, Otacon ends up falling for her hard, despite the fact that she has absolutely no interest in him (again, her name is Sniper freakin’ Wolf). Even worse, Otacon seems completely unaware of her disinterest, taking her permission for him to feed her dogs as tantamount to a marriage proposal.
Her eventual death dashes any hopes of this “budding” romance, but let’s be real, I don’t think it was going to work out anyways.
2. Shadow of the Colossus ♥ Wander x Mono
We’ve already covered how Shadow of the Colussus‘s ending is actually super depressing, but pretty much the entire relationship between Wander and Mono is pretty messed up. When dragging a dead, barefoot body into an abandoned wasteland is the least weird thing about your relationship, you’re in for some issues.
Basically, the game has you playing as Wander, seeking the help of a trapped demon in order to bring Mono back from the dead. The demon tells you that she can be revived, but only after killing the giant colossus that inhabit the land. So Wander goes out and does just that, and despite having to sacrifice his life at the end, manages to bring his love back from the dead.
Romantic right? Sure, except for the fact that the demon explicitly warns you that it’s imposible to reconnect a soul to a body, and bringing back Mono also brought the demon back into the world. Putting two and two together, it’s pretty likely that the demon is the one currently inhabiting Mono’s body.
To make matters even weirder, at the end of the game, the newly ressurected Mono finds a baby… who is strongly implied to be a reincarnated Wander. So not only is she probably a demon now, she’s also both Wander’s love interest and his surrogate mom. Gross.
1. Half-Life 2 ♥ Alyx Vance x Gordon Freeman
At first glance, there’s not really too much out of the ordinary between Half-Life 2‘s Gordon and Alyx. They’ve been through a lot together, fighting the Combine side-by-side, so it’s no surprise that as the game progressed, romantic feelings began to emerge.
It’s a pretty typical video game romance, except for you know, the twenty year age gap, Alyx being the daughter of Gordon’s former co-worker and friend, and most importantly, the fact that Gordon Freeman has never uttered a single word.
Characters in the game even reference this fact, so it’s not like Gordon is some Chatty Cathy when we’re not looking. I imagine their day-to-day conversations would go something like this:
Alyx: So how was your day honey?
Gordon: *Smashes a door with a crowbar*
And let’s not forget, the two were permanently linked in an alien ritual that literally weaved their lives together. So, chalk that one up to a bonus “weirdest marriage ceremony ever.”