Our Romantic Moments of 2011

As we celebrate Valentines Day this year, it gives us an opportunity to reflect upon our top romantic moments of the last twelve months; in games, that is!

We asked members of our mailing list:

“What were your favorite romantic moments in games from last year? Noteworthy achievements, innovative game mechanics, new depths of storytelling. Or, anything else that you’d like to highlight around love and romance.”

We ruminated on these key moments in games over the last twelve months (or roughly thereabouts!) – some of our fondest moments were highly subjective, others less so. Some of our responses are collated below, after the jump! We’d also love it if you leave a comment with your fondest romantic/love-related moments in games from the past twelve months.

Emily Short, Interactive Fiction Writer (http://emshort.wordpress.com/)

Teenage Kicks”

“I really enjoyed the romances between the non-viewpoint characters in Don’t Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain’t Your Story. Several of those felt emotionally persuasive without being over-explained, perhaps because we see most of them through fragmentary evidence.”

Emily Flynn-Jones, Writer, Games Researcher (@finalfinalgirl)

“A musical interlude.”

“I feel like I had a lovely, possibly romantic, encounter in Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. In the dream realm (side b) my Scythian character met the game’s composer Jim Guthrie in the woods. He had a guitar and asked if I wanted to jam by the fire for a while, or in the games twitter integration speak, I quote:


So we sat an he played and I tapped at the trees, as a sort of keyboard, to play along. You can do this for a long as you like. And I stayed a good while. Maybe not conventionally/overtly romantic, but it was a boy meets girl moment and a really charming break on the pretty harrowing heros journey.”

Marc Bell, Dirolab Guardian (@marcs_tweet) 

“A damning realization?”

“Unfortunately, I can’t say I experienced anything of particular note in regards to romance in video games last year… for 2011 there was no ‘Dragon Age: Origins‘ for me, which will remain my personal bench mark for romance in video games. I suppose the only interesting thing I seen in a video game relating to romance / relationships [in 2011] was Shadows of the Damned. [Marc wrote about it here on Digital Romance Lab: http://dirolab.com/2011/08/21/shadows-of-the-damned/]

… Here’s hoping 2012 proves more innovative.”

Anne Sullivan, Games Researcher, UC Santa Cruz

“Someone else’s beautiful story.”

To the Moon weaves a beautiful love story, although the characters you play are not involved in it, you do play a major role in it. If you haven’t played it, I definitely suggest you do. It’s no Alistair (Dragon Age: Origins) romance, it’s more like an adventure game front to a visual novel (but with even fewer choices on how you affect the story), but if you go in being okay with a linear experience, you’ll find it’s a very well crafted linear experience. It reminds me more of a book (someone else’s story) than a game (my story).”

Chris Charla (@iocat)

“Capri-cious escapism”

“The relationship I had with my mouse side-kick in Escape Goat (XBLIG) really is pretty affectionate, although not romantic (a goat and a mouse — it would never work). He felt like Flyod, and I felt bad when I killed him, even though there was no in-game penalty for doing so. Building these emotional ties is essential for ultimately making romance work.”

Ashley Brown (@gamergrrl)

“♪ Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage…”

“My favourite romantic moment had to be the cheesy music and cut scene involving marriage in Fable III. They tried hard to make you feel like this was a touching and emotional moment, but, well… my character was wearing a bright red chicken suit and armed to the teeth.

My other favourite moment was the assassination quest line in Skyrim where you need to spoil one of the Royal’s weddings by killing the bride/groom/officiate or whatever. On one character, I sneaked up a tower and shot them with arrows and then casually walked away… being chased by 300 guards. On the other character, which had lycanthropy, I strolled into the wedding, went behind a bush and turned into a werewolf, rained bloody havoc down on all assembled, went back to the shrub, changed back, and then walked out with my hands in my pocket whistling dixie while the guards went searching for a wolf.

I just realised that both of my favourite moments involve weddings that aren’t very romantic. It’s probably because I’m in the process of planning one and raging.”

Mitu Khandaker, Dirolab Editor, Indie Developer, Games Researcher (@MituK)


Firstly, I want to give a shoutout to the result of a Global Game Jam in early 2011, entitled The End of UsIt’s by (real-life couple) Chelsea Howe and Michael Molinari, and I think, in the few, short minutes that the game lasts, it takes us through many stages – and, astonishingly, complexities – of a relationship. All through nothing but movement and music. What an amazing achievement!

Secondly, ilomilo is one of my highlights of the last year in terms of romance – and not for the reason I thought it’d be, either. It is heartbreaking allegory wrapped in a layer of cute, jubilant characters, neat puzzles, and innocent poignancy, yes. But more than this: I first played it two-player with my sister, and, with our similar play styles, we sailed through the first few levels. However, when I came to play it with my other half, to my amazement, due to our conflicting play styles it was fraught with bickering! I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that ilomilo had, in a way, portrayed stereotypical real-life romance more accurately than intended!



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4 responses to “Our Romantic Moments of 2011

  1. Pingback: The DeanBeat: Video games can be about love, not just violence | VentureBeat

  2. Pingback: The DeanBeat: Video games can be about love, not just violence | VentureBeat

  3. Pingback: The DeanBeat: Video games can be about love, not just violence - 312 Squad Gaming

  4. Pingback: The DeanBeat: Video games can be about love, not just violence | Simply Boundless Entertainment

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