In honor of The A.V. Club’s Love Week, enjoy this look at video game couples from 2021.
Every artistic medium has its iconic love stories—Harry and Sally, Cersei and Jaime, Dexy and Eileen—and now that video gaming has been around for a few decades, it has established some memorable romances of its own. Of course, while we all got misty-eyed when John Marston finally went on a real date and proposed to Abigail in Red Dead Redemption 2 or when Commander Shepard and Liara/Garrus/whoever finally got space-naked in Mass Effect, those modern games have it too easy when it comes to love. They have writers and actors and actual stories that don’t involve getting getting points for eating a ghost or killing a turtle. But what about classic video game couples? What about the retro romances that have been around for years and years? Are Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man going to stay together forever? Do Super Mario and Princess Peach ever talk about their feelings? Are these relationships as two-dimensional as the characters themselves?
That’s exactly what we’re here to find out. Now, it might seem silly or rude to criticize someone else’s relationship, but these characters chose to be in the public eye by being in video games, so it’s totally fair, for example, to suggest that a certain yellow circle with a bow should pack up her life and start over with a new Pac-Person.
To determine the strength of these gaming relationships, we’re going to look at some specific criteria: How much time the couple spends together, whether or not they’re equal partners, whether or not they’re both committed to being together for a long time, and, finally, how good is their chemistry on a scale of one to five Legend Of Zelda hearts. (They’re just regular hearts, but this is a video game thing.)