The Christmas holidays are over, we have dragged our way through the January blues, and now we are here in February – the month with the most romantic holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day.
It’s a time to reflect on our affections: who do you love? Do they love you back? How will you express your feelings? Can you really step away from Apex Legends, or one of the best dating sims, in order to spend time with another, actual human? Important questions all.
Many people will, indeed, ransack department stores in search of the perfect present to woo their partners, or call a fancy restaurant to secure a table for two with the one they love. But what about spending some time with your other love – you know, videogames? There’s no need to start snogging your PC (though we won’t judge you for indulging in some of the best sex games) but you should join us as take a look at what games can teach us about love, romance, and relationships. Turns out it’s quite a lot.
And what list of romantic games would be complete without The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt? A shoddy one, that’s what kind. We’d better start there, then.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Throughout the course of The Witcher 3, Geralt has women throwing themselves at him everywhere he turns – and hey, why not, he is gorgeous. The temptation to romance others is hard to suppress, but there are two important ladies in the witcher’s life that no-one else can hold a flame to.
Geralt’s main love interest is either Triss or Yennefer, depending on the choices you make (cough team Yen cough). It is possible to flit between the two, abandoning loyalty altogether to instead give into more base instincts, but this will not net you happiness for long.
Staying true to the witch you love lends itself to a much more satisfying experience. The game’s rich story really pays off by the end when you get to spend the rest of your days with your chosen saucy sorceress.
The Witcher 3 teaches us that loyalty and commitment can be better than a quick payoff – whether that be a quest reward, a monster trophy you can hang on the wall, or a one-night fling on the back of a unicorn. We’ve all been there.
Space warrior and alien romancer Commander Shepard travels through space meeting fellow humans, aliens, and machines from hundreds of strange planets. When she isn’t spending her time saving just about everyone in the universe from Geth and other mysterious invaders, the commander spends her time looking for action of another kind.
A lot of races in the Mass Effect universe do not like to mix with others due to past wars or tainted relations between leaders. However, playing as Shepard we are able to transgress these barriers through the power of love. Across the series we are shown that love sees beyond where a person is from and the colour of their skin – from the Asari to the Krogan, love is universal.
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Mass Effect shows us that we should all keep our minds and hearts open to a universe of possibilities.
Farming and village life sim Stardew Valley is thorough enough in its recreation of country living that it also includes love and the pursuit of it. After inheriting a farm you move to Pelican Town to live a new life with your fingers in the soil. But working on the farm can become tedious, not to mention lonely – crops and cows are not known for their riveting conversations.
After a hard day’s work it’s necessary, then, to head to the local saloon to get to know your neighbours. You’ll soon learn that every villager has their own life going on, with their own daily routines and personal interests. Chat with them and you can find these details out so that, later on, you can look at your calendar to see important events that give you a chance to woo your crush. It might be that Sam’s birthday is coming up or a festival will be held in the town square where you and Emily can spend your time dancing and playing games.
Stardew Valley teaches us that the best way to plant the seed with a potential spouse is to take an interest in the things they love. Nurture those you hold dear, really put the effort in, and hopefully your love will blossom.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Previous Wolfenstein games are little more than shooting galleries filled with Nazis to kill. But Wolfenstein: The New Order added to that a surprisingly beautiful love story between protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz and Anya Oliwa.
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B.J. meets Anya after waking from a 14-year coma to find that she had been nursing him during his catatonic state. Sat in his wheelchair, amid a Nazi takeover of the Western world, B.J. falls in love.
Wolfenstein demonstrates that sometimes love can pop up when you least expect it – even during a Nazi-ruled dystopia.
World of Warcraft
Many people have been questing their way through Azeroth since World of Warcraft launched in 2004. It’s a phenomenon that introduced a new opportunity to adventure with people from all over the world. Together, you can take down raid bosses, climb mountains, and swim oceans to slay underwater foes.
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Despite being a shared experience with thousands of people, World of Warcraft can still feel lonely, especially if you are playing it in your room by yourself. But introduce your partner to the game and it can become more fun and rewarding all round. Going through such an epic journey together can have a great effect on your relationship – if you have never played games together, try playing WoW with your significant other. It gives you plenty to talk about and, even when you cannot be by each other’s side, you can log in to the world of Azeroth and still have adventures together.
World of Warcraft is the game that suggests couples who play together stay together. It doesn’t matter if you are storming the gates of Stormwind or gulping down a flagon of ale in the the Goldshire Inn, the best adventures are shared with the ones you love.