Happy Valentine’s Day! I know this is an Xbox One site, but I thought I would do something a little different today, and open things up a bit. To celebrate our national love holiday (besides Sweetest Day, and uh, Secretary’s Day for some of you philandering bosses) I want to run down the top five romantic couples in gaming. As much as I love the good ol’ Xbox across its three generations, I don’t think there’s enough to pull from without opening the list up to love throughout the history of gaming, or else it’s just going to be Master Chief and his rifle five times, which sounds really dirty, now that I think about it.
I’m also attempting to stick with actual romantic partners so this won’t be simply a list of great duos. Sonic and Tails certainly love one another, but it’s more like a bro love, you know? And most of us wish we could find someone who looks at us the way Barry Burton looks at a pool of blood that he hopes isn’t Chris’, but that doesn’t make the cut either because I’m pretty sure that infatuation was one sided.
Without further ado, here are the five best couples in games.
Leon Kennedy and Ada Wong – Resident Evil Series
Here’s the thing about Leon and Ada that I like: they never officially have a relationship. They only see each other for a day or two every now and then, and they’re always on opposite sides in a biohazard emergency. Leon is a good guy trying to save the day, and Ada is a mysterious woman doing mysterious things for mysterious employers. It’s a classic Romeo and Juliet.
First meeting during the Raccoon City incident, Leon is taken with Ada, who he thinks is merely a damsel in distress. She’s actually much more than that, and she uses Leon to further her own agenda. As the horrific night wears on and their paths continue to cross, Ada finds herself drawn to the rookie cop, and she lays her life on the line to save his. They both go on to escape the city and will meet occasionally afterward.
It’s safe to say that Leon was genuinely heart-broken to learn of Ada’s true intentions, and while he never seems to forgive her, it certainly appears as though he can never just turn and walk away whenever they cross paths again. It’s a true will they or won’t they romance, that has gone on for a long time, whether in the game universe or outside. While it’s never gone past flirting, it’s clear the characters care deeply for one another, and the fact that they are always at odds despite their attraction earns them a spot on my list.
Solid Snake and Meryl Silverburgh – Metal Gear Solid
Solid Snake is a soldier extraordinaire pulled out of retirement for one last go-around (which leads to uh, more last go-arounds.) Meryl Silverburgh is a young soldier determined to do the right thing even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Look, if I tried to explain everything that goes on in any Metal Gear Solid game, we’d be here forever. So I’ll leave it at that, and just talk about what we really care about today: the romance.
Meryl already has a bit of a hero worship thing going with Snake. She idolizes old school FOXHOUND, which Snake was a valued member of. When she meets him at Shadow Moses, it’s clear that she’s attracted to him immediately, even if she attempts to pretend otherwise.
Snake takes a little longer to come around. He came to do a mission, he wants to do it, and he wants to get out. Of course, it’s not going to be that easy, and as the game goes on he finds himself leaning on Meryl more and more, and the great thing about the game is you can buy their relationship, so that by the end of the game, when it appears as though they’re in love with each other, you believe it. You literally watched it happen before your own eyes. It’s honestly a great piece of gaming storytelling and stands out as one of my favorite relationships in all of gaming.
Later, of course, you find out they broke up at some point between the first MGS and the second, and by the end of the fourth MGS Meryl ends up marrying some clown who craps himself a lot while Snake has turned into an old man in the span of a decade or so. But man, that love they had in MGS1? That was the real deal.
Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man
So I guess they aren’t married since she’s still Ms., but that’s alright, my wife and I dated for almost ten years and had two kids before we were married, so everyone works in their own time.
You can’t deny the love two people, or uh, yellow circle things, have for one another when they look so damn similar that one of them needs to wear a bow so everyone can tell them apart.
Actually, I’m starting to wonder if Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man are twins or something. Shoot.
Oh well, I’m keeping them on the list. If you think of video game couples, these two will be among the first few you think of.
Link and Zelda – The Legend of Zelda Series
This is a cool one. Much like Metal Gear Solid above, if we spent time working through the various stories of all of the Zelda games, it would simply take so long. But there’s one constant in the series, which takes place across multiple timelines, and I’m fairly certain different universes: Link and Princess Zelda. As varied as the games are, you can count on our boy Link trying to save the woman he loves.
Of course, Zelda is no push over in need of being saved. She’s actually pretty badass, whether disguised as a professional badass or wearing her pink frilly dresses. Sure she might need to be saved a lot, but she can do some butt kicking herself.
Link has been a young boy sailing the world on a talking ship. He’s been older and more mature, heading from dungeon to dungeon in his unending quest to save the girl and end all evil. In the Zelda universe it seems as though no matter the time, there’s always a Link and always a Zelda. And it’s their love for one another which keeps them both going strong.
It’s a great take on unending love, where two souls, or spirits, or whatever you want to call them are continuously reincarnated (as the same people) and find their way to one another, over and over. It doesn’t get any more romantic than that.
Mario and Princess Peach – Various Mario Series
If Mario is the king of vidya (he is.) then Peach is his Queen. Sure she needs to be saved all of the time, but Mario does it, over and over again, because of one thing: love. He loves her, and he’ll march miles across the kingdom, stepping on all of the jerk turtles he has to in order to save her. He’ll chuck Bowser into lava over and over. He’ll kill monster mushrooms. He’ll stare down ghosts. It doesn’t matter what evil he comes across, he will slay them all and keep on going, just to save the love of his life. Mario and Peach are gaming royalty, and they deserve the top spot on this list.
And what about when Peach doesn’t need to be saved? Well, Mario and his lady lead the absolutely coolest and most fulfilling lives.
First of all, they’re sporty as hell. They play golf together. They play tennis. Baseball. Go kart racing. They’ve been in the Summer AND Winter Olympics. They’re the sportiest couple in the history of video games. It’s amazing the sheer amount of athletic endeavors Mario and Peach (and their friends and enemies) have taken on.
Outside of the sporting world, well Mario is a doctor, so I like to think there were a lot of sleepless nights where Peach helped Mario study, sweat and tears and gallons of coffee going into his education. She stood behind her man, pushing him to greatness. I’m sure she got kidnapped a few times at some point during his med school years, but when she wasn’t waiting on him to save her, she was urging him to reach for the stars. (Not just the kind that makes you invincible.)
Mario and Peach clearly love one another, and they’re a couple which will stand the test of time.
Alright, who did I miss? Sound off in the comments below!