In celebration of Valentine's Day this week, I am going to spill all the juicy details about my romances. Computer game romances, that is.
Yes, many of the rpgs that I play incorporate romances into their stories. Some people who look on these games as outsiders tend to find these romances odd, geeky, and even sketchy. This may be so, but consider that most movies have romances, whether they are the main plot or just a "side quest". Even if a story is not explicitly a "romance", it is likely to have a number of well-developed, interesting characters, and it is only natural that in some cases, romances may bloom between them. And if the story is a good one, the audience will feel some connection to the romance, and have some stake in it. Does the movie Garden State not ask guys in the audience to fall a little bit in love with Sam? Does Pride and Prejudice not ask women in the audience to fall a little bit in love with Mr. Darcy? Well, the romances in computer games are a lot like the romances in any movie or book.
The main difference, of course, is that the main character of a computer game is a more direct representative of the player (that is, the computer game player, not... player player...) in the story's fictional world than the main character of a movie or book is of the audience. The player is in charge of the actions of her character, and it is thus her choice to pursue the romance. Does that make it sketchy? If you had to choose whether Andrew Largeman would fall for Sam, or if Elizabeth Bennet would fall for Mr. Darcy, wouldn't you choose in favor of the romance (assuming you don't have some unfounded aversion to my two examples)? Keep in mind that romances in a game are already written, just as in a book or movie. They are in fact harder to get, since they are not guaranteed; in the games I have played, the player has to make the right choices--in dialogue and in action--or the romance won't happen. I have definitely failed in a number of romances on my first play through a game, by either mistreating or neglecting the eligible wooer.
Hopefully this has given you some level of appreciation for video game romances, if you were not already one of the converted. If you still think I'm crazy, fine, laugh all you want. In my next five posts, I will bury my embarrassment to share my experiences with my computer game romances.
Part 1: Baldur's Gate 2 - "You're so vain"
Part 2: Neverwinter Nights - "He has horns..."
Part 3: Knights of the Old Republic - "I should tell you - I got baggage"
Part 4: Neverwinter Nights 2 - "The Paladin and the Hagspawn"
Part 5: Mass Effect - "So this is what happens when the graphics get more sophisticated"