When one thinks of a video game, it brings visions of men of all ages, playing viciously in a dark room with an empty bottle of coke and a half eaten sandwich. But upon recently the market has changed to accompany female gamers and we are seeing more and more strong, sassy female protagonists enter the virtual world. Like it or not, with more female players come the forbidden love interest plot line.
Heavy Rain was considered a master piece with the beautifully orchestrated love scene between Ethan Mars and journalist Madison Page. Despite the fact the game wasn’t a typical shooter; it relied heavily on the relationship and connection between Mars and Page. Anytime he struggled with his demons, she fell among him, becoming a large part of the story.
Upon recently, fans of Gears of War never expected anything to come out of the suspected romance between Marcus Fenix and communication officer Anya Stroud. Both children of war, their coupling weren’t a surprise until Epic Games announced she was to become a major part of the team. During their conception in the comic books, Marcus and Anya were not shy in their true feelings, but as the games made their way to our consoles, their relationship became a lot more subdued.
In Gears of War when it was thought Anya was killed in battle, Marcus’ strong persona sizzled and Dom tries to comfort him. When she appears from a helicopter in the sequel, the relief in Marcus’ face is touching.
EA’s survival horror Dead Space might seem like a game far from any fluffy love story but if you look closely at the plight of Isaac Clarke trying to find his missing girlfriend Nicole and then being haunted by her image in Dead Space 2 is not short of a heart breaking tale.
Another EA title recently released is Bulletstorm. What was most appealing about the shooter was the sizzling chemistry between lawless pirate protagonist Grayson Hunt and 18yr old Trishka Novak. At first, the sexual tension isn’t as evident but as the pair continues to mock and offend each other; players begin to see more than a working relationship. Hunt is known for his knack of one liners and put them to practice on Trishka who was less than slightly amused. The infamous banter between the two appears to more like brother and sister but has a small hint of harmless flirting. Hunt throughout the game admits he is trying to impress her and one can see that their relationship stands on loose morals, lies and a secret Trishka vows to surface.
As the game progresses, Hunt soon accepts responsibility for her safety after the death of her father and almost becomes her guardian as he is torn between doing the right thing and leaving her behind as a prisoner of war. He feels slightly connected to her and it can be seen when the two try to escape a Hekaton. In a small gesture of selflessness Hunt throws his weapon (a symbol of his status, rights and manhood) grabs Trishka by the waist and dives into a lift. In this moment, Hunt drops his guard, showing more compassion then he normally would, especially for a woman. Trishka has become the catalyst to change his ways, with both of their hard shells cracked by the end of the game, considering each other friends.
Since the game’s release, many forums have been riddled with players denouncing the age gap between Hunt and Novak. She is only 18 and he is 30. Twelve years isn’t such a big difference when they live in a world where survival is minimal.
Whether you like it or not, slipping in a potential love interest into a game does give that element of human connection and give our favourite characters something worth fighting for.