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Article - 'Love in Games' by Stormshadow

An item about Plots/Characters posted on Apr 1, 2004

Blurb

A guide to portraying one of the most powerful elements of a storyline: love.

Body

Ok, I'm straying a bit here and writing an article. And, well it's on a subject which gets thrown about all the time and wastes many opportunities. Love in video games, it is a recurring theme in most games, but rarely pulled off well. I will be explaining the three main types of love, and giving examples(not just video games), and also commenting on how they could be used in your game (if they suit it)

1.Love at first sight(Romeo and Juliet, FFX)

Well, this is the most common form of "love" that appears in video games, and is is always so obvious. Let us take the awful Romeo and Juliet, written by Will Shakespeare. Romeo thinks he is in love with someone named Rosaline, and follows the cliche sighing, writing poetry etc. But his friends Benvolio and Mercutio invite him to a party so he can see other women, and would you believe it! He falls instantly in love with Juliet. This, my friends is bad writing, it hints upon fate and destiny, but all in all it is very poorly done. People do not fall in love at first sight. It is pure nonsense! It has never been well done, ever! FFX is another example, when Tidus meets Yuna, again you can tell that there is love at first sight. It is one of the reasons why the game is in my opinion the worst FF game there is. In (most of) the other FF games, you can see the characters growing on each other, liking each other more then building up to love. I personally do not think that anyone should ever attempt this in their games, as it always looks awkward, if you need proof then see a Leonardo Dicraprio film.

2.Smuggler meets the princess (Star Wars Trilogy and FFIX)

No surprise that I mention the holy trilogy here, but it is one of the best examples of romance out there. There is the old saying that opposites attract, well it works. There is usually a genuine feel here, and you can see the characters. At first the princess seems disgusted by the rouge (who coincidentally reeks of boyish good looks), but then he grows on her. The constant flirting and monkeying about will win her over at the end. Han had to wait till the middle of The Empire Strikes Back, just to get a result from Leia. This works well in my opinion, it is cliche (especially if you are a fan of Harrison Ford films) but it does work. The romance feels more convincing and real, but again the cliche-ness of it lets it down. Unlike the first style of love, this one a fairly easy to implement, especially if your main character is a bandit, thief etc(which they usually are)

3.the subtle type(most games)

Ever played Resident Evil 2? if you have, then you have seen possibly the best example of this, Claire and Leon both share something, you can tell it but it is very well hidden. I can't really analyze this stype of love, as it is hidden, but it usually starts off as a crush, like Snake and Meryl in Metal Gear Solid, Adon and Joshua Fireseed in Turok 2, Snake Eyes and Scarlet in Gi-Joe, Hot Rod and Arcee in Transformers, Maya and Ritsuko in Evangelion (though the movie does kinda bring the feelings more to light). The characters often subtly flirt with each other, or feel lonely when the other is not around, they usually help the target of their affection more then other people. This is fairly tricky to impliment, as making the flirt more then just a suggestion often makes the dialog seem awkward and often humiliating. Again, this is suggested with Shinji and Kaworu in Evangelion (hoe noes, more controversy) when Shinji blushes whenever Kaworu talks to him. Just by making your character blush, you can suggest a feeling of intimacy, which feels more believable then the other two. Are your characters shy? they don't need to immediately ask the target of their affection for marriage or say "Oh she doth make the candles burn bright".

4.Conclusion

OK where to end on? well I doubt this has been much help, as all it does is identify the three main types, so I doubt it'll get posted. By the way, I'm not claiming to be a love guru, or someone with any experience on the matter, just someone who watches an awful lot of films and TV series'. If this does get posted, I may write another article, about drama and how to avoid making a game about Eastenders. That's all for now, Bye!