This article originally appeared on video games magazine site NowLoading.co. The site is no longer online, but I’ve uploaded a few articles from my time as a staff writer there (2016-2017) here as portfolio samples.
I’m a fan of video game romances, and I like good story with characters that inspire me to get my woo on. But this story isn’t about them, not this time. Instead, I’m going to dedicate this Valentine to those video game crushes that I wanted to get it on with, but in which the game didn’t really give me a chance.
These girls pressed all the right buttons but, due to story or gameplay reasons, remained unattainable. So I put them on a pedestal forever, obviously.
1. Nicole From ‘Broken Sword: Shadow Of The Templars’
Nico was one of my first video game crushes back in the late 90s, as I tackled the mysteries of the Templars as George Stobbart. She won me over with her quick wit, sharp dress sense, and oh man, that accent. She’s well read, loves to travel, and has a great sense of humor. What’s not to love?
At the end of Broken Sword: Shadow Of The Templars, Nico and George finally resolve their tension with a kiss (after a whole game of “don’t screw this up, Stobbart”). Imagine my disappointment come the sequels when the story mandates that the dynamic duo of adventurers just can’t work things out. You play through the rest of the series as exes. You screwed it up, George! If only I had been there in between games to point and click you towards the right choices.
2. Jennifer Tate from ‘Primal’
Jen from Primal (think Ico but with a cute goth girl protagonist) is a 21 year old waitress and student who winds up on a mission to rescue her boyfriend from demonic forces in an alternate dimension. Along the way, she teams up with Scree, a talking gargoyle. Adorableness ensues:
Towards the end of the adventure, Jen finds out her boyfriend is actually evil and in league with demonic forces. The end result being that this snarky, tattooed badass rock chick ends the game single. Primal never got a sequel it deserved, in which Jen moves on and gets together with that teenage, snarky, gothy gamer dude she was always meant to be with.
3. Delainy in ‘Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast’
Baldur’s Gate 2 won a lot of love from fans for its romance content—which was groundbreaking at the time—but the series actually gave players a little teaser of what was to come in the expansion to the first game.
In Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast, you find yourself stranded on a remote island where you can flirt with a guy/girl (gender is opposite of the player character) called Delainy (or Dudley). After exchanging some sweet words, you can offer to sweep Delainy off her feet and take her away from all this, which ends up scaring her off.
Maybe just as well, because you eventually find out that everyone in the island is a lycanthrope, and after getting close to them, they’re dead set on giving you a rather bitey initiation into their pack. The only option is to fight your way out.
Still, damn you Black Isle, for traumatizing my young Bhaalspawn at the time of his first crush. No wonder he had relationship issues in the sequel.
4. Verse In ‘Tyranny’
Obsidian Entertainment are making their name by making killer RPGs in the style of the Baldur’s Gate series, but they’ve stayed away from romance content in their original settings. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be terrible teases.
In Tyranny, it was love at first sight with NPC companion Verse, a sassy mohawked warrior with cool scars and a free spirit who lashes out with a tongue as sharp as her twin blades. We know that girls prefer swords, but Verse could dish it out with bows and spells too. She proved an invaluable companion, and anytime an enemy challenged us, Verse was ready to back me up.
So what if she was psychopathically bloodthirsty? It’s a harsh, rough and tumble world in Tyranny, and Verse is a bad girl who looks real good in red. Sadly, although you can bring up the subject with her, there’s no joy in sight, and the protagonist gets shot down no matter what. In a game where she boasts of her sexual conquests and bloody battles, she gets squeamish about bunking down with the Fatebinder during wartime.
She must just be intimidated by my awesome power. *Sniff*. Yeah, must be that.
Games that let you romance characters can be great, but they often let themselves down in intimate moments, especially when it comes to really cringeworthy sex scenes. But just as important to fans are those characters that can tug at your heart strings, even though you don’t get a chance with them in-game.
You ever think about the ones that got away?