We all have played those games in which your character stumbles across another and wishes to take their relationship to the next level – dating, sex, maybe marriage. My question is: Is that really necessary? Let’s look at Bioware, they have done a great job of making meaningful relationships bloom in their games.
Other companies have also made matchmaking part of their in-game repertoire. Not all of them give you the chance to pick who your character will be with, but a relationship is there none the less. But what does this mean for us gamers? We don’t actually get to be in a relationship with these animated people, so why does it matter?
I firmly believe that, in certain games, a relationship option is very important for us players. Think about it, there will always be that one character we can rely on to do right by our character, to make our character feel happy, and to make us as people see that and feel that happiness. I’m sure not everyone agrees but the connection from player to game via romance seems to be imperative to loving the game. Some of our favorite characters are romantic interests, and they are our favorites for lots of reasons.
We pick them as our romances because somewhere deep inside, we care for them. You may be thinking “Care for a video game character? Well that’s just insane!” but think about it: Your character in most games with romantic options are extensions of you. You may get to choose who your character is as a person and what decisions they make, decisions that may effect the game and others in it. When you choose to get down and dirty with another character in a game, it’s because you as a person find that character admirable. You probably don’t ever just pick some dude or chick all willy-nilly, not caring who they are, what they have done, or what they can offer your character. If that were the case you would probably just choose to be single in the game. And no one likes to be alone, am I right?
I think that as human beings, we long to have these connections throughout our lives, which is why we choose to be with each other in the first place. So having those bonds in games is appealing to us on some primal level, if nothing else. I believe we as gamers will continue to establish these in-game romances and be happy with our choices because, really, we all want our characters to be happy right? They need love too!